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FM 102/1 Artist in Residence: KONGOS



THIS WEEK: KONGOS
 

 


To find out more about Kongos, visit kongos.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @KONGOSMUSIC

Get Kongos' new album Lunatic on iTunes.

KONGOS is a rock band of four brothers (Johnny, Jesse, Dylan and Danny Kongos), sons of South African/British singer-songwriter John Kongos, best known for his two international hits ‘He's Gonna Step On You Again’ and ‘Tokoloshe Man’. They grew up in London and South Africa and are now based in Phoenix, Arizona.

All four brothers were raised around musicians, recording studios and diverse cultures exposing them to a wide variety of musical influences. All learning piano at a young age, they later naturally drifted to other instruments, and Johnny and Jesse studied jazz at Arizona State University.

In 2003 the brothers did their first official gig as KONGOS, but it was in 2007 that the band became serious with the self-release of their self-titled debut album. Although it received glowing reviews and gained them local acclaim in Arizona, it did not do much commercially. Between 2007 and 2011 they decided to focus on their live act as well as releasing digital singles for free with a view to building buzz and demand for a second album. They played in clubs all over Arizona, California and the West Coast, with regular residencies in Phoenix, often doing 3-4 hrs a night of their original music as well as jazz/fusion and covers.

Completely self-contained, they write, produce, engineer and mix/master their music as well as direct, shoot and edit all their own music videos under the label they formed with their father, Tokoloshe Records.

In 2011 they decided to send a few tracks to South African radio stations. 5FM, the biggest TOP 40 station in South Africa playlisted “I’m Only Joking” which went on to hit No. 1 on the rock chart and was the most requested song for 11 weeks in a row. The immediate radio success snowballed into a South African release of their second album “Lunatic” through JUST MUSIC (December, 2011). They followed up with multiple sold out tours and headlining slots at all of SA’s major festivals. The band is now on their 7th single in South Africa, with 5 TOP 40 hits and several No. 1/Top 10 hits on various charts, making the album a top seller and the No. 1 download for 6 weeks.

In July 2012, they followed a US “soft-release” of Lunatic with a 20+ date North American tour, including showcases in LA, Toronto, NYC (CMJ), and 2 sold out shows at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix. They then returned to South Africa in November once more to open for Linkin Park on their stadium tour, playing to more than 100,000 people. The songs have been rapidly gaining traction outside of South Africa, with some key syncs of “Come With Me Now” including the Holy Motors Trailer, FOX NFL, ESPN/ABC BCS Bowl games and NBA. In Jan-Feb 2013, the band supported DISPATCH on their European tour, followed by several UK dates supporting AWOLNATION. In March, they played several Arizona festivals and five showcases at SXSW, including the Live Nation Showcase, Amazon MP3/Whole Foods Party, and Marshall Headphones/Crave Magazine Party.

In fall 2013, a Deluxe Version of Lunatic will be released featuring acoustic/re-imagined versions of some of the songs, and the band will head out on a 3 week US run, kicking off with their RiotFest performance in Denver.

 

 

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