New Zealand native Connan Hosford first found success as leader of the quirky psych outfit Connan & the Mockasins, who gained some attention and endured a short-lived contract with EMI imprint Regal in the mid-2000s, before its leader found the pop scene too constricting and chose a significantly weirder path as a solo artist. Beginning with his 2011 solo debut, Forever Dolphin Love, Connan Mockasin (as he was so billed) became an indie critics' darling known for his love of jazzy, '70s-inspired soft rock and obtuse conceptual projects, releasing an acclaimed follow-up, Caramel, in 2013 and pairing with collaborators like Charlotte Gainsbourg and LA Priest, forming the sleazy glam-funk band Soft Hair with the latter in 2016. Mockasin eventually directed an absurdist art-house film to accompany his third solo album, Jassbusters, in 2018.
Born in New Zealand's capital of Wellington, Hosford was first introduced to music at a very early age by his father, who played the guitar. Hosford went on to record his first song at age five; a fact that doesn't seem too far-fetched when you consider the playful, imaginative, and experimental style of his work in later years. In 2004, he formed his first group, Connan & the Mockasins, releasing a couple of EPs independently and playing shows in New Zealand before moving to England. Hosford, however, felt the band setup didn't allow him to express his individuality and so broke the band up and moved back to New Zealand to focus on solo material under the name Connan Mockasin. Prompted by his mother to self-produce his own album, Hosford went about using his parents' house while they were at work to create what would become his debut solo album, Please Turn Me Into the Snat, a brilliantly realized record brimming with inventively oddball psychedelic pop. Having played shows with the likes of Crowded House and Micachu & the Shapes in 2010, his music was introduced to label owner, producer, and DJ Erol Alkan through friend and collaborator Sam Eastgate of Late of the Pier. Having initially planned to put out a handful of songs as an EP, Alkan fell in love with the entire recording process and decided to make it the first full-length release on Phantasy Sound. In 2011, the album was re-released as Forever Dolphin Love on Phantasy Sound, and on Because Music with a bonus disc of live content. In 2012, Connan Mockasin composed and appeared on the Charlotte Gainsbourg song "Out of Touch" before touring New Zealand in support of Radiohead. Mockasin's second album, Caramel, picked up where the story of Forever Dolphin Love left off and arrived in November 2013. In collaboration with British musician Sam Dust, known for his solo work as LA Priest, Mockasin formed the glammy, experimental sleaze-pop project Soft Hair, who issued a self-titled album in 2016. For his next solo project, Mockasin continued with his conceptual approach, completing a five-part homemade absurdist film called Bostyn 'n Dobsyn which he claimed he'd first conceived two decades prior. Accompanying the film was his next album, 2018's Jassbusters, which is also the name of a fictional band in the film. ~ Daniel Clancy