Jo Bartlett hasn’t so much seized the day, as seized the year.

There's a new band Kodiak Island, and a new recording label with a sound and direction which is working well for the four-piece band as well as a new instrumental EP hot off the press

Bartlett tells me she gets her fascination of islands from her father, who was born on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. "Islands are like festivals. Once you're there you're in your own world. It is a little anarchic. Just you and the people you're sharing that time with. Also on my list of passions are bears. The film 'Grizzly Man', directed by Werner Herzog, features the bears of Kodiak Island in Alaska. The film's soundtrack is by Richard Thompson. With a combination of music, bears and islands, somehow the band had to be named Kodiak Island."

So why now for the numerous changes? I ask Bartlett.

"The time felt right to move away from solo to band status. I wanted more of a collective input to the new music. I also wanted our instrumentals to be longer, a feel of Yellow Moon Band from years gone by, but this time with lyrics and vocals. I enjoy everyone having an input, new and creative ideas are stimulating as we progress our new sound. The band is going at its own pace, playing, recording, writing only when it feels right for us.2

We released our debut single 'The Sooner' in June this year. The follow-up is planned for next month (October). It's called 'Rowan and Rose'. Richard Handyside wrote the lyrics and I put the arrangement together. We also have film maker Jason Glenister adding his visual ideas to the music we are producing. Again it's nice to have fresh input," Bartlett concludes.

Although there has been a lot going on I try and pin Bartlett for her highlight so far this year.

"I'd have to say playing London's 100 Club. The atmosphere was fantastic. You know when the audience are with you. We did go down really well. Then we moved onto our gig at the West End Centre in Aldershot, which was a smaller venue but I really enjoyed the night. Come November we support Dodgy in Guildford. Mathew Priest from Dodgy was drummer in the Yellow Moon Band with me, so it will be great to hook up with him again."

Bartlett seems to be in a good place with her music. More support from like mixed musicians can only enhance future albums. Personally I like her decision to make some of the tracks longer with added instrumental sections. The band have a new album in the pipeline, with a probable release in spring of next year. In the meantime if you get the chance to catch Kodiak Island at a London and district gig, I'd suggest you grab a ticket. Just like islands, they are best appreciated the more time you spend with them.

Photos of Jo Bartlett by Alexia Arrizabalaga

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