This Machine Inspires Activists
Name: Koji (Andrew Shiraki)
Where he’s From: Harrisburg, PA
When He Started: 2010
Genre: Punk-damaged Indie Folk
Most Similar: The Weakerthans, Ted Leo, Bright Eyes
Sounds Like: DIY pop punk unplugged and stripped to the bone, i.e.: the perfect soundtrack to dumpster diving for craft supplies
Some guys are just too punk to have a band. Instruments are cumbersome and expensive, after all. Koji is one of those dudes who prefers to just grab his acoustic and head out to fuck some shit up. For extra punk points, being a one-man band is egalitarian too. All your friends (and anyone in the audience, really) can join your band instantly just by singing along or maybe backing you up on drums if there’s a kit around.
The young artist, activist and singer-songwriter is a single-name act but he’s not about being an island. With the Pennsylvania-based art and activism collective Colormake he helps build positive community where he lives, and with activities like his contribution to The Voice Project he seeks to raise awareness about the plight of child soldiers while helping to work for peace.
For musicians like him, art, activism and life are inseparable. It makes his music a little more urgent and a little less disposable than your average blog fodder. Koji’s songs about small, fragile moments and big turning points sound composed on the spot, because they often are, but the lyrics are as thoughtful as his sweetly quavering voice is charged with quiet conviction. His Some Small Way EP has a bigger rock ‘n’ roll sound but his live album Spring Song Vol. 1 is bare boned as the trees in earliest spring.
Punk fans caught him jamming econo at the Warped Tour and The Fest 11 in Gainesville this year, so these days his profile is rising just a bit above the basement level, so to speak. He’s on tour quite a lot, bringing his guitar to venues small and large all over the States. Check him out if you get the chance. It might go something like this: