Tim Koh is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer and visual artist, most notably known as a long time member of the band Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. His unique bass playing and musicianship has been recognized by many as being an influence. Born and raised in Los Angeles, his early years as a teen were rooted in punk and noise music. Koh’s
penchant for underground culture, disillusioned with mainstream music and art eventually led him to study at the California Institute Of The Arts.
For almost two decades, Tim has also performed and collaborated with many different types of artists and musicians such as Gang Gang Dance, Connan Mockasin, Hieroglyphic Being, White Magic, Cass McCombs, Chris Cohen, Animal Collective, R. Stevie Moore, Prince Rama, Eddie Ruscha V, Kirin J Callinan, DJ Harvey, No Age, John Wiese, Thurston Moore… the list goes on.
World-weary of the LA scene, Tim has made a new home in Amsterdam, NL where he currently lives and works. Koh’s new solo endeavour showcases his unique talent as a musician and songwriter, his broad range of juxtaposed styles create a distinctive sound that’s his own. Anchoring his penchant for absurdist pop with more traditional influences from music and literature; spinning out hazy tunes that obscure the line between autobiographical narratives and beautiful, batshit crazy fiction.
Koh hosts a permanent radio show on London’s NTS Radio called Kokonut Trip, works with Amsterdam based store, Red Light Records and has recently launched a new label called Congee Disc, focusing more on his interests in house/techno.
When I was around 2 or 3 years old, I remember watching television with my mother on our little black and white television. I had not thought so much about music yet because I was just too young, and had very little comprehension of life at that point. A live concert of The Beatles was on TV and I recall my mother telling me that she saw them live once and how great she thought they were. It was the only pop music that she liked — whereas most of her musical interest was classical music like Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. My sister was groomed to be a virtuoso pianist and most of the attention was put on her, as my mother taught her with fierce, rigorous lessons. I fondly remember how deeply that footage of The Beatles resonated with me. It wasn’t even the music so much but the effect it had on people. I remember thinking then, that was what I wanted to do, and make people feel happy. I knew in that moment, even at such an early age that I did not want to be the main singer or lead guitarist but I’d want to play bass or rhythm guitar, in the background a bit.
A year later we got a color television and I remember the concert of Elvis in Hawaii was re-broadcasted a lot. I was entranced with that same feeling from when I saw The Beatles. I had a fuzzy, round pillow that I’d stand on as a stage and pretend to perform with my sister. As time passed on, and I grew into an introverted, pubescent teen, I started collecting records. The idea of being a performer had faded into a lost ether of memories, and living through others with the albums I collected was more realistic. These objects started to define who I was and it was my escape from the banal reality that I existed in. It distorted the perception of time and space and that feeling is what I’ve been chasing after even today.
I started playing with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti in 2003-04, and have been touring and doing music quite consistently since. It was the most ideal situation of how I imagined being in a band. The most important thing was that we were good friends and that camaraderie meant the most to me. His music was unlike anything I’ve heard and it was the ultimate dream, it was like being in The Beatles to me. I think it’s the best music and band ever. Ariel gave me a platform to traverse the world, and to see and hear it in a new way. His music made my worldview completely fall apart and I think that has inspired me more than anything. I owe a lot of my life to him; he has saved me countless times and the only reason why I made this record has to do with the constant unconditional support he has given me as a friend and a mutual artist. I never saw myself making a record on my own and falling into the music world brand of what they label as a solo artist, it is far from what I have ever imagined for myself. This is dedicated to Ariel Pink for helping me realize that dream I once had as a child.
— Tim Koh