I interviewed renowned rock band KONGOS! What? Yes, I am that cool. If you still don’t know who KONGOS are then I’m afraid you’ve been living under some sort of sadistic rock that’s been depriving you of some of the sweetest honey the music industry has to offer! But don’t fret, SA Music Zone is here to enlighten you!
KONGOS is a band consisting of four brothers currently based in Arizona, USA. They have recently exploded with major success in South Africa and the US, breaking boundaries with their pioneering beats.
These four very unique characters granted SA Music Zone the privilege of conducting an interview with them.
Get yourself familiar with the KONGOS boys by having a look at the image above; from left to right we have Johnny, Dylan, Danny and Jesse. But enough from us now, on we go with zee interview!
First we had to ask the obvious yet necessary questions;
Who are your influences, musically and non-musically?
Right now our favourite band is Tinariwen, a band from Mali. We actually got a chance to see them in small club in LA recently, which was amazing. Also on the list: The Beatles (of course), Pink Floyd, John Kongos, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Dr Dre, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Salif Keita, Mahmoud Ahmed, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Arvo Part, Eric Satie and many more. Non-musically we’re influenced by The Kenny G.
As a band, what has been your biggest obstacle?
Trying to make it as an independent band along with the 5 million other bands here in the US. Some aspects of the business-side tend to be a distraction from actually making music.
What is your view on the current South African rock culture?
We’re actually just now getting to know the scene a little bit. We’re really impressed! It’s been funny to have our friends here in the US saying “Hey, have you heard of that band from South Africa called Dye Ant-wurd?” It’s very cool to see South Africa getting on the map internationally in so many ways.
How would you describe your live performance (visually and musically)? What can we expect when you come to SA later this year?
Imagine if Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp were a band… we’re like the good-looking version of that. When Johnny breaks out the accordion we always get a huge response. We extend a lot of the songs with improvisation/solos. In Phoenix, at one of our regular gigs we do four 45 minute sets so we play a huge variety of music including some really different covers and instrumentals. Hopefully we’ll set up a show or two like that in addition to more conventional rock sets in SA later this year.
Now here are some fun questions for, well you know…shits and giggles;
Most interesting encounter with a KONGOS groupie?
This 45 year old incredibly drunk “cougar” (more of a hyena really) was up front at show recently and asked “Do you guys need a roadie? I’m really good at that… if you know what I mean ;)” So I said, “Yeah, I do know what you mean… here take my amp to the van”.
If each of you could choose to be a superhero, who/what would you be and what would your super power be?
Johnny: I’d be The Incredible Hunk – when I get angry, I get really good-looking.
Jesse: I’d be Humble Man – my super power would be not realizing how awesome I am.
Dylan: I’d be Captain Viagra – I’d stand up for the little guy.
Danny: I’m Batman!
I asked the South African KONGOS fans to contact us via SA Music Zone and Twitter and present us with what THEY wanted to ask the band;
Why did you decide to move from London to USA Arizona? (by @Miss_EvaL)
Our mom is originally from Phoenix and we have a lot of family here so it was a natural move for us.
Your father, John Kongos, is a South African music icon.
Part 1 – Does this in any way intimidate you in regards to your tour to SA?
No, but we’ve got a lot to live up to!
Part 2 – Does he help write/compose your music? (by @NCJackal)
We write our own stuff, but he often comes into the studio to lend a fresh pair of ears, and always has great suggestions and ideas.
Check out the latest KONGOS music video for “I’m only Joking”. You can also download some of the latest tracks from their website, www.kongos.com by subscribing to their newsletter. (I did it and I promise you, they have NO spammy tendencies)
Now that you know a little more about these talented, cheeky and don’t forget sexy boys from Arizona and their soulful rhythms you are welcome to start getting butterflies for their upcoming SA tour. And to KONGOS, thank you so much for your time with our interview and you can rest assured, we will be standing at the gates with open arms welcoming you back to your beloved South Africa.
We are al waiting in suspense for the tour dates to be finalised and released, so until then keep your eyes and ears open for KONGOS by joining their Facebook Page and following them on Twitter, @KONGOSMUSIC
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.