VIDEO PREMERE: Gibson Guitar x Couch Sessions Artist Series: Kokayi and Matthew Hemerlein

by Winston "Stone" Ford

What have music blogs become? It almost seems like blogs now are just an echo chamber. We race to post the latest MP3 or retweet the latest Kanye West musing. Music in this decade has almost become a disposible commidy. And at Couch Sessions we’re trying to change that.

The Couch Sessions Artist Series tries to dig beyond the MP3. What are an artist’s motivations? Who is he or she inspired by? These nuances always tend to get lost when we jump from one blog on our RSS feed to another.

On top of that, the artist series wanted to pair together two artists who may seem different from first glance, but have more commonalities than you would realize. Even though music is separated by genre, just hit shuffle of anyone’s iPod and you will hear music of diffeent genres, eras, and races. The purpose of the artist series is to do just that. Mix it up.

The first two artists selected for this series are no strangers to The Couch Sessions. Both Kokayi and Matthew Hemerlien have established themselves in their local Washington, DC music scene and beyond. The Grammy-nominated artist Kokayi has made a name for himself in the DC hip-hop scene, rocking with and now fronting his own unique hybrid sound through such projects as Dastardly, The Casarz, and his latest effort, Robots and Dinosaurs. Hemerlien also has a sound of his own, which cannot be compared or quantified, and the master musician came onto the scene blending his trademark classical style with contemporary covers of such artists as La Roux and Sade. His latest effort, Hot Nickels, was released in the Spring.

This Fall, The Couch Sessions teamed up with venerable brand Gibson Guitar and visual masters Stellar Creative to film this exclusive series on the Gibson Tour Bus in Washington, DC. During the series, both artists were interviewed and played a very intimate session aftewards on the bus. Press play and become a part of this amazing collabroation.

Much thanks to Lora Moinkoff of Gibson Guitar and Opiyo Okeyo of Stellar Creative for making this happen. Also thanks to Victoria Ford and Ralston Smith for their support.

Part 1

Part 2

Kokayi “RoxTar” Performance

Matt Hemerlein “Turn Me On” Performance

About The Couch Sessions

The Couch Sessions is the premier online destination for alternative urban music and culture. The online magazine, created in 2005, covers emerging artists in hip-hop, R&B, electronica, house, rock, and all things in between, and has attracted tech savvy and progressive music lovers from around the world who are seeking new, underground and underheard talent. In addition to it’s flagship website, The Couch Sessions is leveraging its brand through Facebook, and Twitter attracting visitors from over 20 countries. With a readership that spans America’s largest urban markets, The Couch Sessions has consistently been ahead of the mainstream, solidifying itself as a destination for a new generation of iPod armed consumers who are on the cutting edge of technology and music.

About Gibson Guitar

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. The Gibson Les Paul guitar is the best selling guitar of all time and bears the name of the late, great Les Paul. Gibson’s HD.6X-PRO Digital Guitar, the Gibson Robot Guitar, Gibson’s Dark Fire and the Gibson Dusk Tiger represent the biggest advances in electric guitar design in over 75 years. Gibson is poised to release the its latest groundbreaking instrument, the Firebird X guitar, in early 2011. The Gibson Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Gibson Guitar Corp., and dedicates its time and services to making the place a better world for children through its support of music, education, health and human services. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corp.’s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Echoplex, Electar, Flatiron, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Maestro, Oberheim, Baldwin, Sunshine Piano, Take Anywhere Technology, J&C Fischer, Chickering, Hamilton, and Wurlitzer.  Visit Gibson’s website at or

Web Resources


Matthew Hemerlein