Beautiful pop music bubbling under the radar

Words by Lawson Wrigley

Kota Banks is about to be big news. 23-year old Jess Porfiri steals her stage name from a novel she herself is currently penning, and more importantly, is ready to break into the mainstream. After a tour of most of the capital cities of Australia she ends the string of stops with a sold-out show at the Oxford Art Factory Gallery.

With electric visuals, a neon Kota Banks sign and an eccentric crowd she automatically commands the stage. Screams and cheers signal her arrival and she struts out with her sunglasses still on in the dimly lit club. But it doesn’t feel like just a small club show – her stage presence is truly captivating. As soon as she introduces the bubbly electro “Prize” off her EP of the same name, she has already entranced the home crowd. What follows on is her and Swick’s (her producer) exciting futuristic electro pop landscape.

 Kota Banks’ Oxford Art Factory gig

Kota Banks’ Oxford Art Factory gig

Releasing her debut EP/mixtape “Prize” only last July, Kota came ready to party. She played most of the EP effortlessly singing and dancing her heart out. Highlights included the new Swick collab, “Decisions”, and mix tape cuts “Child” and “Insomnia”. With little time to chat, she did however share a small anecdote when introducing the single “I’m it”. She explained that the song is about “Bae not always being able to be there for you and how that’s okay, because you love yourself anyway.”  

However, after almost an hour of bubbly fun, things started to feel too similar, with some songs failing to really show Kota’s vocal and Swick’s production diversity. Still, for a club show she really kept it bouncing.

Supported by an all-female line up with fellow Nina Las Vegas signee Ninajirachi and DJ Kritty, NLV records showcases Australia’s bright female future. It’s not easy to make comparisons of Kota as just another Australian pop singer, with her proud Italian heritage, sincere song writing ability and futuristic production, this incredible tour was certainly a “Prize” and the start of her takeover of Australian Pop.

Pulp Editors