CocoRosie - Biography
The sister act known as CocoRosie came into their own within a reactionary artistic movement of anti-folk and freak-folk artists at the turn of the millennium who focused almost entirely on experimentalism. Alongside artists like Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, and Joanna Newsom, sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady deal strictly with a blend of experimental freak folk, hip hop, electronica, and found sounds, giving less attention for song craft and melody. Think of a music box on acid accompanied by stark tinny beats with a little girl singing through a ketamine fog and you’re in CocoRosie’s neighborhood.
As the daughters of a school teacher mother and a father involved with Shamanism and Peyoteism, the siblings were instilled with an experimental streak at an early age. Sierra became estranged from Bianca after being kicked out of her mother’s house at age 14 due to behavioral problems. She spent the majority of her teens in various boarding schools, and she moved to Paris in 2000 to study opera at the Conservatoire de Paris. During this time, Bianca was secretly writing songs for nobody else’s eyes but her own.
In 2003, Bianca reunited with Sierra in Paris and the duo collaborated for two months on two separate musical projects recorded in Sierra’s bathroom. The first was a still unreleased hip-hop album, and the second was the surreal, La Maison de Mon Rêve (2004 Touch and Go)—a fusion album of Sierra and Bianca’s girlish vocals, trip hop, and found sounds. Initially just handed out to friends, La Maison de Mon Rêve eventually made its way to the offices of the prestigious indie label Touch and Go Records, who signed the pair under the moniker CocoRosie. The name refers to the sisters’ childhood pet names that their mother assigned them—Rosie for Sierra and Coco for Bianca.
Before the album’s release in the spring of 2004, the Casady’s relocated to New York City and performed their first live dates supporting other cutting-edge artists like Devendra Banhart and Ratatat. They would tour later that year, including stops for in-store performances at Amoeba Hollywood and San Francisco on March 30 and April 2 of 2004 respectively.
The following year, the duo released the dark, sprawling, and further experimental sophomore effort, Noah’s Ark (2005 Touch and Go). Featuring guest appearances by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons and Devendra Banhart, the album was widely criticized for its lack of focus and combination of incongruent sounds. They were equally embraced by their growing fanbase for the same reasons. Always ones for theatricality, the Casady’s began staging elaborate avant-garde live shows involving over-the-top homemade costumes. In press photos, Bianca would often dress as a man complete with face paint and mustache while Sierra posed in garish period dresses.
In 2006, Sierra formed the indie-metal act Metallic Falcons with Matteah Baim and released the debut full-length, Desert Doughnuts (2006), on Bianca’s label Voodoo-EROS Records. As with most CocoRosie material, Desert Doughnuts is also heavy on the guest appearances, again featuring Banhart and Antony along with Jana Hunter. CocoRosie’s third full-length effort, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (2007 Touch and Go) reined in their often meandering sound collages with better sound production and detectable hip-hop influences.
CocoRosie released the 7” single—God Has A Voice, She Speaks To Me (Touch and Go)—in 2008, followed by an all new full length in 2010 called Grey Oceans, and Tales Of Grass Widow in 2013.