Express & Star

Birmingham's Karkosa set sights on USA after cracking Korea

Sparkhill has been suckered, Korea conquered, and now Birmingham's Karkosa are eyeing up America.

The new line-up for Birmingham indie rockers Karkosa Photo: Fiona Peake

The former Star Unsigned featured band have pencilled in their next globetrotting adventure after being signed up to play the New Colossus Festival in New York next month. Running from March 11 to 15, Karkosa will take to the stage at Luna in Manhattan on March 14.

"It's an exciting festival with some well-known bands taking part," says frontman Michael Warnock. And he's not wrong. A Place To Bury Strangers, Tim Burgess from The Charlatans, Simon Raymode of Cocteau Twins fame, Larkins, Bad Waitress, King Nun, False Heads, Ali Barter, Catholic Action, Petrol Girls and Ice Cream are all on the bill.

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The American trip comes off the back of a jaunt to Seoul in South Korea in October 2018 to play at Zandari Festa having found fame with influencers in the country using social media app Instagram.

"We've got a system on Instagram," Warnock said at the time. "We follow a lot of people who are influencers and send them a direct message asking them for an opinion on our work. We picked one Korean girl and she absolutely loved it and spread it. I was sat in Costa and watched our followers go from 500 to 1,000 in minutes. It was incredible.

"When the South Koreans got Apple Music [in 2016] it exploded. I am really glad they can listen."

Karkosa wow the crowd in Korea

Their fame on these shores has increased off the back of that too and Karkosa now regularly enjoy media attention across the West Midlands and beyond for their indie guitar rock sound. They also picked up 'best indie band' at last year's Birmingham Music Awards in recognition of their talents.

They’ve had a line-up change since the Korean trip, with Isabella Florence replacing Ryan Trott on bass, and the band are kicking on with growing the brand further locally too. That continues with a hometown show before jetting off to the States.

"We are also promoting our own headline show on February 19 in Digbeth at Mama Roux’s," continues Warnock. "This is going to be the biggest show we have done outside of Korea and we have some fantastic bands lined up to support us - North Parade, Pomelo Fellows and Tall Stories.

Korea fans greet Karkosa at the airport

"The show is a launch event for the release of our next single The Rival, which comes out on February 14."

That will, as always, be available to stream via their Spotify page.

For more information on New Colossus Festival, visit their website, and for tickets to the Mama Roux's show, costing £6, search for their name on Eventbrite.

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