Check out this alternative rock band making its way through the charts!
KONGOS is a South African-born Greek-American alternative rock band consisting of four brothers: Johnny, Jesse, Daniel, and Dylan Kongos. Based out of Phoenix, AZ, the band specialize in driving, arena-ready alt rock in the vein of Muse and Kings of Leon that’s infused with the polyrhythmic cadences of the South African upbringing. They released their debut album in 2007, followed by the platinum-selling Lunatic in 2012, which spawned the hit singles I”m Only Joking” and “Come With Me Now”.
I had an amazing opportunity to interview the band at this year’s Bonanza Campout and you can check it out all down here!
K-UTE: What inspired you all to be an alternative-rock band instead of any other genre?
KONGOS: Someone told us that we should do it! We were trying all sorts of different things (hip-hop/rap, metal, etc.) and it wasn’t working out and then one of our music instructors back at Arizona State University told us that we should try out this alternative genre. We gave it a shot and it started to click!
K-UTE: How long ago after did you guys get big after taking the instructor’s advice?
KONGOS: When we started to add the dance element, it started to take off, especially during performances! The audiences were very receptive towards that.
K-UTE: Out of all of the shows you have all performed, which one was your favorite?
KONGOS: We were doing this show in Copenhagen and it was at this tiny club where 40 people showed up and the couches and floors were dirty. There was this energy from the anarchists in the crowd that was the most interested than any other crowd that we performed for. We don’t know whether it was from their political beliefs or whatever but for some reason, it just clicked!
K-UTE: Out of all the songs Y’all have written, what songs are your favorites?
KONGOS: One song that is our favorite is “I Want to Know” because it’s a nice one to perform! Another one we like to perform live is “Birds Do It” because it’s fun.
K-UTE: If you were to give aspiring musicians and bands one piece of advice, what would you say to them?
KONGOS: Roll your stage cables up quickly! Also, learn how to get on and off stage quickly and really listen to everyone’s opinions because often you are wrong about what you think and how you think your music should be. If you listen to other people, sometimes they give you a little bit of insight!
These two men definitely know how to mix up different genres at once to blend and create amazing sounds!
FRENSHIP is an American indie-pop duo consisting of artists James Sunderland and Brett Hite. They are known for their most famous hit, “Capsize”, sung by Emily Warren, which was released last June and was charted in multiple countries. The song also reached No. 1 on Hype Machine and has had at least 360 million streams on Spotify! Because of their success, their follow-up single “1000 Nights” has over 14 million streams and is still continuing to grow throughout different Alternative radios.
I clearly remember the first time I listened to their top hit, “Capsize.” I was walking down the streets of London and experiencing the different sounds of the city that gave off a “foreign” vibe. I loved it and I wanted to hear more; especially being in a different country and then finding out they’re American musicians. Either way, their sound was on-point, and that’s when I knew they were a great band.
Recently, I just happened to watch their set at this year’s Bonanza Campout, and they were one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen in my life. When they played “Capsize”, my memories flew back to when I was in the UK all over again. Perfect moment!
That being said, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with James and Brett and talk about their success and future with their music!
K-UTE: Coming from different parts of the U.S, how did all of you meet and begin this band?
FRENSHIP: We used to work part-time jobs at Lululemon, selling women’s spandex for a while in the heart of LA! We started together with writing and producing it all. A buddy from preschool became our drummer and then a roommate became our guitarist. Long story short, we wrote a song called “Capsize” and needed a girl to sing it! We then hired Celeste to sing and play the keyboard.
K-UTE: Why did you particularly choose Emily Warren to be your singer in “Capsize”?
FRENSHIP: We worked well with her because she was very easygoing and she fit our vibe on the creation side of things and her voice was incredible! She sounds great in everything you do with it!
K-UTE: When “Capsize” rose to the top of the charts, when did you start performing at bigger concerts, festivals, etc.?
FRENSHIP: Bonanza Campout was actually our first festival that we have played at! At the beginning of last summer, we started getting big. We had a fall tour and then played some bigger shows last winter.
K-UTE: What was your favorite thing about Bonanza Campout this year?
FRENSHIP: The scenery was gorgeous! We love the mountains right by the reservoir. We loved the crowd also; they were super friendly!
K-UTE: I hear sometimes fans confuse you two of being an EDM duo instead of an indie-rock duo. How often do you get that?
FRENSHIP: Currently not so much anymore! However, when “Capsize” came out, the song came off as electronic. It’s not a big deal because we have a collective taste. We have only been playing as a five-piece band for around five to six months, so if people are confused, they should see us perform and they will see that we are a five-piece!
K-UTE: Do you two have upcoming projects or releases coming out soon?
FRENSHIP: We have been working our butts off since January and started writing for the next round of music. We have a somewhat album coming up and we hope to release it maybe this year, but probably in early 2018!
K-UTE: What genre would you say this album consists of?
FRENSHIP: It’s a mix of everything! It has a lot more “live” feel to it. All of the songs will end up feeling like a band a bit more than a produced track for a pop singer kind-of-thing. I think it’s going to translate into more “live” than our past year of music.
K-UTE: Why did you two decide to work at Lululemon and what is your favorite product from the company?
FRENSHIP: One of us lived two blocks from there and he didn’t want to drive to work so you could say he was lazy and got a job there because it was close! We love their men’s boxers!
Watch out for this name in the works!
Honors is a rising alternative/rock band from Toronto, ON in Canada that is making its way through its musical path. With only two songs out on display, they are still bound to find success. They have approximately 428,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, originally listeners from Manhattan, NY, so that definitely sounds like the right path!
I remember hearing their top hit, “Over”, in San Francisco back in February at a friend’s apartment and I instantly fell in love. I thought, “this is no ordinary rock band”. I felt the synths and the vibrations running through my body throughout the song and I knew that they were going to be big one day (hell, I thought they were already well-known).
I saw their set at this year’s Bonanza Campout out in Rivers Edge this past weekend and it was the best band that could start off this weekend of incredible memories. The crowd wasn’t the largest, but I loved the intimate setting that I was in when I was seeing this amazing band. That being said, I had an incredible opportunity to conduct an interview with the loving members of Honors.
K-Ute: Back in Toronto, how did all of you get together and become the band you are today?
Honors: We all grew up in the same neighborhood and met each other in high school. That’s when we started making music together!
K-Ute: When listening to your songs, I can hear some electronic beats and synths, even through an alternative feel. What made you guys decide to use these types of genres within your tunes?
Honors: We all share so much music with each other that we all make. If all four of us like it, that’s how we decide. We got together and wrote the songs that we wrote and we were like, “We really like this and it sounds cool!”. That’s how we keep doing it!
K-Ute: With all the songs you all have written, how did you find the meanings within them?
Honors: Through life! Different songs get written on different days and these happen to be the ones that we liked the most.
K-Ute: Where and when was your first big gig together as a band?
Honors: Funny you should ask, we’re not that known! This is all still very new to us. For example, we released our first song six months ago! Bonanza Campout is only our fourth show, including our first time playing at a festival together. Everything is a first right now.
K-Ute: How do you see yourself as a band in the future? Any goals, inspirations, etc.?
Honors: We just want to keep making songs that we all love and records that we stand behind and ideally play at many places as humanly possible. Anyone who is in music wants to play at all of the festivals and all we can do is write and make the best music that we can!
K-Ute: Since all of you from Canada, what is your favorite thing about Canada?
Honors: Healthcare! Let’s say I break my leg, I can go to the hospital and not have to pay anything! No one asks for any money, it’s amazing! Another thing about Canada is the Canadian government subsidizes artists with funding for their career, which is pretty cool for any artist that is starting out and ends up making a demo or an album without having to empty out their savings. Also, if you ever go to Toronto, you have to try the Burger’s Priest!