Bella Koshka
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Bella Koshka

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Band Alternative Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Reveille Magazine: Scene Showcase"

Looking for a little violin-led gothic pop to get you through winter in archly dramatic style? Well, look no further, Bella Koshka is here, and they’ve cooked up a bewitchingly baroque musical experience on their debut album, Slow Dancing On the Ocean Floor. Bella Koshka’s core duo of vocalist Laura Boland and violinist Hilary Davis recorded with local music guru Darren Jackson behind the board (Jackson also contributed guitar, bass and various keyboard parts to the record), and perhaps unsurprisingly given that pedigree Slow Dancing On the Ocean Floor’s dark melodies and occasionally menacing guitar textures echo Kid Dakota’s, but overall the sound Bella Koshka opts for is far more lush. If I’m hard pressed to make a comparison I’ll guess I’ll go ahead and say it sounds a bit like a skewed blend of Kristin Hersh and Andrew Bird (in other words, its strikingly original). In particular I find the moments when Bella Koshka allow a little light to poke through their musical darkness most affecting, such as on the sumptuous piano ballad “Stitches.” With new players Matte Franklin [drums] and Matt Vannelli [guitar] recently added to the mix for live performance expect to be hearing plenty more from this intriguing new group in the months to come. – Rob Van Alstyne - Reveille Magazine

"Star Tribune: The Big Gigs"

Stylish local quartet Bella Koshka's debut opus "Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor" (produced by Kid Dakota's Darren Jackson) combines the pleasures of live/electronic collage, string arrangements and a compelling vocalist. Laura Boland whispers, sighs and trills through her dark, grownup poetry; Hilary Davis' violin adds lithesome textures, and the overall effect is something like a lost classic from the underground British dream-pop label 4AD.
- Simon Peter Groebner - Star Tribune

"L'Etoile Magazine: What's What"

Dream-rockers Bella Koshka celebrate their debut release "Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor" at the Bryant Lake Bowl tonight. These up and coming locals combine electronic elements with haunting vocals and violin to spin their ethereally poetic tales. Ghost in the Water opens.

Bella Koshka took a moment to answer some questions for l'étoile this week...

Can you describe your musical style?

A friend of ours called it "lullabies for androids," and we think that's an accurate description of our unique symphonic-electronic sound.

Darren Jackson of Kid Dakota and the Hopefuls produced your new cd - how did he help influence your sound on this album?

In the studio, by the time we'd tracked our vocals and violin for a song, Darren had worked out several guitar lines. He always knew just the right keyboard sound or bass part to fill out the song. Darren's technical mastery, willingness to experiment, and refined ear helped actualize our ideas. He inspired us and taught us to be better musicians both in and out of the studio.

What sets Bella Koshka apart from other groups?

Our fusion of synthetic textures with organic string arrangements to create a melodic ambience.

You all have great style - what are your fashion influences?

Thank you! We are influenced by all of the talented local designers (like Laura Fulk who's designing our wardrobe for the cd release show), artists, and photographers that make this city so vibrant, as well as graphic design trends, avant garde fashion, and other bands.

What's ahead for Bella Koshka in 2008?

Touring the world doing what we love most! Check our myspace for upcoming shows.
- L'Etoile Magazine

"RIFT Magazine"

Bella Koshka has been slowly buzzing to the top of the local music scene. Even before their album has been officially released, people are talking about them. Their songs are electronic, dreamy and atmospheric, which in most cases would put me to sleep; but if you take that same sound and add real guitars, drums, bass and haunting violin melodies, you get an indie rock electronica mix which becomes very cool and interesting to listen to.

Hilary Davis (violin, casio and bells) and Laura Boland (vocals and lyrics) started the Bella Koshka. With any band, the first thing you have to do is come up with a name, which in this case happened at a local South Minneapolis diner.

“Laura and I were brainstorming over a bottomless pot of coffee. At the time Laura was studying Russian and Italian. ‘Bella’ means beautiful in Italian and ’koshka’ means female cat in Russian. We wanted a name to reflect the contrasting elements of our sound. We thought it had a nice ring to it, and it just seemed to fit us,” said Davis.

The complex arrangements of the songs on their album, Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor and the way they fit so well together had me wondering what their process was for getting the final product. Davis filled me in on how the songs came about.

“The songs on Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor began with a few ambient electronic layered compositions written by a friend of ours. Laura and I wrote and arranged violin and vocals on top of them. I started composing pieces by looping and layering violin parts and adding samples and textures. Laura wrote vocal melodies to those, and together, we rearranged and restructured the pieces into songs. An audio collage, if you will…when we recorded the album with Darren Jackson, he added guitar, bass and keyboard to most of the songs, which really made them feel complete, and brought a cohesiveness to our collection.”

“As a four-piece band, we continue to write together by experimenting with programming and layering electronic and organic instruments. Sometimes we write around lyrics, sometimes around loops, sometimes around guitar/violin riffs or drumbeats,” said Davis.

The four-piece band Davis is referring to includes Matt Vannelli (guitar) and Matte Franklin (drums), who help fill in the spaces with her and Boland. A fifth and final piece to the puzzle would be a bass player, which they are looking for right now. They are looking for someone who can come in and not just be a bass player, but a partner who can contribute creatively, and on the business side as well.

Many bands struggle with how to bring a recording to life on stage. Bella Koshka has to add in the electronics and layering as well, which can be a challenge. I asked Davis if it was difficult to bring those songs to life in a performance.

“In the beginning, yes. It took a while to work out all of the pre-recorded levels. We’re still learning and experimenting to perfect it. For our drummer Matt, it can be tricky to play live with a loop. We’re following him, so the responsibility is on him to sync up with the laptop. And getting the levels of the violin right during live performances has been hit or miss, but that’s part of the challenge of running an amplified acoustic instrument through a bunch of effects pedals…”

“A big part of our performance, which I’m sure is true of many bands, is to give your audience something that they’re not going to get by listening to your music in any other environment. Each note played feels different depending on where and when it’s played and the mood of the band. Musically speaking, treading the fine line between maddening instability and absolute cohesion is what makes it exciting.”

The other part of being in a band is putting out a cd, and dealing with the artwork aspect. Davis had no problem crafting their cd design, since her day job is being an art director/designer. The packaging and imagery on the cd packaging is very cool, and came about from Davis spray painting lace over a grocery bag.

This sort of creativity, musically and visually, is what has help spawn the attention that Bella Koshka is getting. When the band got mentioned to me twice in a three day period, once by local music website editor David DeYoung, and then again by a respected local recording engineer, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why all the praise?” I asked Davis if she was surprised by the buzz. After some blushing, Davis responded.

“Our sound is different amidst a lot of local music, so we were unsure of how it would be received. But it’s always surprising and overwhelmingly rewarding to hear positive feedback. We are so thankful for the support of our friends, co-workers, and the music community.”

Bella Koshka has a busy schedule over the next few months, playing the cd release show and a handful of local shows. The future looks bright for the band, and Davis informed me that if the world ends according to the Mayan Calendar on December 21st, 2012, she hopes all of the band’s hopes and dreams can be accomplished by that time. Of course, if the end of the world doesn’t happen then, we can only hope the band will be continuing to make great music.

Usually, after an interview, I put out an “Anything else you would like to add?” Davis thought this short poem by their guitarist Matt Vannelli would work, and I thought I would oblige her.

“As she approached me, eating jelly straight out of the jar
I felt helplessly immobile, like a hoofless centaur” (Matt Vannelli)

Bella Koshka CD Release Party
January, 19 2008 - 10pm
Bella Koshka and Ghost in the Water
Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre
810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
Cost : $8/$10
- Rich Horton

"Minnesota Monthly"

The Minneapolis band Bella Koshka sounds like it’s from the future—some industrial, post-apocalyptic future. The musicians create a world that’s kinda eerie, and kinda bleak, but you also think David Bowie might be there, wearing a really cool outfit. The group’s moody debut features Hilary Davis’s keening violin and Laura Boland’s aching lyrics. Heavy bass lines and a procession of other electronica keeps you suspended in murky, lovely limbo land. “Echo” plays like a creepy, slow-moving carousel that’s about to break down, and “Stitches” conjures a lost kitten, yearning to be rescued.


"Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor" debut, released January 2008.

Currently mixing & mastering second album, to be released early 2010.



A dusty violin and the diary of a girl. A tale of two dreamers and their stories lost in time. The stylish quintet Bella Koshka has been captivating audiences, from fashion shows to seaside festivals, with their romantic intensity. Their first album, "Slow Dancing on the Ocean Floor," is a collection of dreamy melancholic lullabies. Bella Koshka's soon-to-be-released second album will be bursting with their gypsy-infused chamber rock.