By Chris Coutsoukis
This past weekend Headrush TV had the opportunity to catch up with KONGOS, four brothers with roots from London, South Africa, and Pheonix, behind the hit single "Come With Me Now." The band played Samuel Adams OctoberFest, alongside The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, at the World Trade Center in Boston. The band is currently touring in support of their Junior album, Egomaniac, with new music coming around the corner.
We’re at Sam Adam’s OctoberFest in Boston with Kongos. Guys, how does it feel to back in Boston and playing music?
Danny: “It’s cool. We all really love this city, seeing the ancient American history lurking on each corner is very cool.”
Jesse: “I think just flying in and seeing the clouds and the ocean. You start thinking about all the events that made this country possible like the Boston Tea party- it's pretty cool. The food here is pretty good too- haha”
You guys also played the OctoberFest in Cleveland this September, what’s your favorite part about performing at an event like Samuel Adams OctoberFest?
Jesse: “Yeah well we have done these sort of shows a fair amount, where it is a constant kind of festival but also sort of corporate. I mean Cleveland was freezing, it was the first time I have literally worn a sweatshirt on stage. Tonight should be better, a lot of people are apparently coming."
I think our fans would be very interested to hear about your background as a band, because it is quite unique. Not only are all four of you biological brothers, you grew up across the globe in London and South Africa. What is it like being in a popular band and touring as a family?
Dylan: “Well we don't really know any different, this will be the 15th year playing, almost. This is all we have ever really known. But It has its upsides and its downsides, families can argue like no other but they can also recover more quickly. Musically it helps a lot, we've been playing for so long I think there is a connection that allows us to play in a certain way.”
Johnny: “I think a big part of a band that is able to have any level of success, is literally just staying together. Just surviving the first five years of shit gigs and being brothers just made that so much easier."
Since you have such an interesting dynamic of personalities as a band, can you share what your process for making and recording music is?
Danny: “That’s where the egos come out, we all write separately, were doing more together now. But historically we separated the writing process.”
That is a nearly perfect segue to your newest album, Egomaniac. What has it been like touring the album and its evolution?
Dylan: “The songs we play vary set by set, to be honest, but the songs from Egomaniac translate very live very easily, for some reason it's just natural.”
Johnny: “We’ve been playing so much more when we started playing Egomaniac, we had a lot more shows under our belt. When we recorded Lunatic, we had done a minimal amount of touring, so that definitely impacted how we could think about the recording process.”
Are you guys writing new music now?
Dylan: “Yes, we are working on new material. This tour cycle is pretty much winding down, this is most likely the last show of the year for us. So after this we are getting into the studio and actually, start buckling down and trying to finish this new record."
KONGOS are going out with a bang in Boston. Any plans to celebrate?
Johnny: “Yes, we are looking forward to a nice 7 am lobby call- haha"
Maybe you can do the Freedom Trail. It’s a popular 3rd grade field trip destination.
Jesse: “Do they do it at 2 am?”
You can probably do it yourself at 2 am! Shifting gears, how would you say your childhood in London and South Africa influences your style?
Jesse: “We’re American- we have been here since 1996. But I think the exposure to different countries and cultures seeps into your subconscious for sure. We didn’t go back [to South Africa] for 15 years, we had been living in the states before we had gone back to South Africa. So it was really interesting to go back after that and see how it had changed. It’s a strange feeling to go from your home in Arizona to your other home, and you have these feelings of home in both places. But the shows in South Africa are amazing, they kind of launched our career. They jumped on us before anyone else did, but we are very happy that it went that way.”
Johnny: “You get spoiled if you have good shows there because the crowds are way more enthusiastic than almost anywhere else in America. So we got really spoiled there, the energy and the mania at the shows, that you don’t experience here. The scene is also very diverse, massive variety of music from traditional African music to more modern hip hop influence. It is really a vibrant scene.”
Is that where some of the unique elements of your sound are pulled from?
Dylan: “Definitely, more from South Africa than England, we spent so little time in England, and South Africans have such a different scene than other cultures. That influences us a lot, the rhythms, the harmonies, the accordion playing.”
Since 2014, you guys have had some serious mainstream success with your hit single, “Come With Me Now.” A year ago, the band put out your second LP Egomaniac. What is the inspiration behind your 2016 album, Egomaniac?
Jesse: “I think because we each write on our own and come in and play songs to each other, during that process we start to listen to each other's songs and see a thread in those lyrics. Danny said the word Egomaniac and we thought that could be the album title. So we started naming the songs in that theme. We started recording it in the studio our Dad built. When we put it out, it didn't have the explosive power of "Come With Me Now" and that whole cycle so we were reminded that you literally have to work every record, tour every cycle, so that people continue to buy your record and come to your show. A hit is a fleeting thing. We're in it for the long haul."
Your father, John Kongos, is a recording artist. Did he have a large influence on your own musical style?
Johnny: “He started in South Africa, he’s from South Africa, he was like the Elvis of South Africa. It is pretty amazing to see photos of him in the army, there are articles about him having to shave his hair. He carried on with that career and eventually learned there is only so far you can go in South Africa so he moved to England. And spent years knocking his head on the wall not getting to far and eventually focused on making his own music by himself. If you listen to his records, you can really see where we are stealing our music from. He is a big reason why we are involved in this, he encouraged us to consider this as a potential career path.”
Johnny: “Were discovering on this new record we are working on, a bunch of his old instruments like synths, that we thought until recently, ‘Oh these are just kind of sitting around.‘ Then we started realizing he has some amazing synths that were just sitting around. We got to take advantage of. You will hear those on the next record.”
The KONGOS finish their tour at Sam Adams Octoberfest and will be back on the road early next year, "...with material of all kinds." For now, check out the bands current album, Egomaniac featuring the hit single, “Take It From Me."
By David McNally
We Came As Romans came to Worcester this past weekend and we caught up with guitarist Joshua Moore before the show. The band has been on tour since late September with I Prevail, The Word Alive, and Escape The Fate. Titled the Rage on the Stage Tour, the band did not disappoint in living up to such a name.
But more importantly, the group released their fifth-album Cold Like War on October 20. Moore was delighted with the release and excited to finally share the music with fans.
Moore said that when looking for influence on the new album, the band reflected on past projects.
“We sat down with our producer, Drew Folk, and he was just like “you guys realize that you just have to make the best We Came As Romans record. That’s all you have to do. That’s what your fans want from you.” So I sat down and I listened to every WCAR album and kind of just pulled from the best of everything that we’ve done.”
Moore also shared memories of the first WCAR tour and having to print out map-quest maps for their families. However, after sharing fond memories of being on the road, Moore also admitted that touring does come with its challenges. The list is long” says Moore, “Foreign Fire is my favorite song on the new album and that song is about us just dealing with loss on the road. No one sees the sacrifices behind the scenes.”
For the full interview click the link below.
Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
A heavy hitting lineup awaited the city of Worcester, Massachusetts on an unseasonably warm October Friday evening. Lines extended from block to block while Spotify playlists provided the before-show entertainment.
First on the ticket: Escape the Fate.
Holy 2009. Escape the Fate brought the, “middle school” out of everyone while these Vegas rockers came out swinging. Opening the set, Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft flexed his finger muscles ripping a solo during the performance of “Just a Memory” off of Hate Me (2015). Cable whips, stick flips and devil horns were on full display. However, like any band that has been around for quite some time knows, there were a lot of dedicated fans present waiting for, “their old stuff.” Que, “This War is Ours (The Guillotine 2)” off of This War is Ours (2008). So much movement. So much nostalgia.
Next up: The Word Alive.
Feeling a bit under the weather, Telle Smith (lead vocalist) showed little to no hinderance opening the evening with their most recent single Misery (2017). The breakdowns these Pheonix natives produced almost put holes through the walls. Even performing through a few technical and health difficulties, the Worcester crowd provided enough backing vocals to leave The Word Alive with a full-hearted appreciation for the cities of Worcester and Boston. Telle took a few moments to express his gratitude for how accommodating the State of Massachusetts has always been. This fueled and ignited the most intense circle pit of the evening while “Trapped” off of Dark Matter (2016) rocked and sent the Arizona boys home with a smile.
Next up: We Came As Romans.
October 20th, 2017 was a special day for the 313 lads. Not only did they return to Worcester, but their most recent album was released earlier that afternoon - Cold LIke War (2017). Speaking of which, “Cold Like War” off of Cold Like War provided a modulated punch to the face as the opening track. Additionally, there was a pleasant surprise-showing of “Glad you Came” off the Pop Goes Punk Volume (2012). In many ways, this caught those attending off guard but in the best way possible. As a going away present, Kyle Pavone (clean vocalist, pianist, synthesist) asked for the crowd’s assistance as he belted the ending verse to “Hope” off of Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be (2011) while being held up by the third row of the pit.
Completing the evening: I Prevail
Welcome to Wrestlemania - I Prevail edition. The stage set up for the Rage On The Stage tour resembled the ghosts of Royal Rumble’s past. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, I Prevail took the stage without Brian Burkheiser (lead vocalist) due to surgical recovery. Nevertheless, they still laid the smackdown on every jabroni in the venue. Apart from performing their most popular tracks like, “Love, Lust & Liars” off of Heart V.S Mind (2014) and “RISE” off of Lifelines (2016), a few special appearances found their way into the ring. One lucky fan was given the chance to be the Boston’s heel against the I Prevail’s babyface - Dylan Bowman (guitarist). In efforts to shut down the heel, an acoustic rendition of “Get Low” by Lil Jon was dedicated to the fan’s mother. Apart from the music itself, I Prevail incorporated a wrestling role play throughout the entire set. This provided an intimate connection with the fans and band members. And with no surprise, “Scars” off of Lifelines (2016) concluded the evening’s festivities with a wall-of-death that nearly tore the floor in half.
If you have the chance to check out one of the remaining Rage On The Stage tour stops, I highly recommend wearing a DX or Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt. You might get the stunner. Can I get a hell yeah?
By Vicky Branca
Veil of Maya have been shredding the hardcore and metal music scene since 2014, and 2017 is no exception. The Chicago, IL based band continues to dominate with their progressive metal sound, and it shows in their new album, False Idol out on October 20.
False Idol consists of 13 tracks and was released via Sumerian Records. While many would classify the album as being heavy metal, it still has a tuneful, hardcore vibe.
The combination of “traditional” singing and the angst of the heavy metal shout in ‘False Idol’ will have fans of different music genres entertained. As someone who has yet to dabble far into the metal scene, I’m finding favorites off the album such as 'Manichee' and if you’re looking for a good mix of heavy metal and rock, that’s the song for you.
Veil of Maya have also released music videos for ‘Overthrow’ and ‘Doublespeak,’ which can be tide you over until the full album is released tomorrow, 10/20/17.
If you’re a fan of Born of Osiris, Chelsea Grin, White Chapel, and others in the scene, then you’ll love Veil of Maya and ‘False Idol’ no doubt will quickly make your ‘most played’ list on iTunes/Spotify.
The classic punk, metal vibe of Veil of Maya is evident in False Idol and the live shows are not ones you’ll want to miss. The energetic and emotional aspects of every song will have plenty of angry finger pointing, stage diving, and jumping around. Who doesn’t love that?
In fact, Veil of Maya will be heading out on tour soon, beginning October 20 in Dallas, TX and wrapping up in Chicago, IL on November 4.
Check out the full listing of cities.
You can get tickets here.
Where will you see them?
By Jordan Lindley
Saturday night in Somerville, MA was filled with marching drums, dancing, and more Telecasters than you could shake a Schecter at. The ONCE Ballroom hosted Half The Animal, Magic Giant, and Atlas Genius in a floor-shaking performance that had my ears ringing into the next day.
First up was Half The Animal, revving up the audience with tones like Fitz and the Tantrums and Young the Giant. The four-piece group kicked the crowd's energy into a higher gear, giving the first three rows no choice but to dance along. While their originals were exciting and well-arranged, their surprise cover of Childish Gambino's hit song Redbone brought the whole performance together.
Next came Magic Giant, who burst onto the stage with a crazy-cool blend of folk/space rock/pop/bluegrass. I could describe them as a cross between Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, and Imagine Dragons, but there's something new in their set that none of those bands could combine to create. Between swapping instruments mid-song, breaking out two giant bass drums and a viola, and literally climbing into the middle of the crowd to do an acoustic performance, Magic Giant lifted the spirits in the room and left us wanting more. I quite literally heard a fellow audience member say "that was the best performance I have ever seen" before the headliner.
Atlas Genius took the stage to an eager crowd. The 5-piece group played everything from their first EP to a Tears For Fears cover -- no stone in their discography was left unturned. The expected hits came out like "Trojans" and "If So," as well as their newest single, 63 Days, but welcome additions to the setlist, all the same. Keep an eye out for Atlas Genius's new album, due out soon, and for more concert coverage, stick with Headrush TV!
By Haley Biermann
Headrush TV sat down for an exclusive interview with Nothing More’s Jonny Hawkins (vocals) and Daniel Oliver (bass) at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA.
Nothing More has a lot ahead of them. And we mean A LOT. Their newest album The Stories We Tell Ourselves was released on September 15.
“Each song is its own story and own experience…The title The Stories We Tell Ourselves is kind of relating to all of the ways in which we are self-delusion," said frontman Jonny Hawkins. He also discussed the album’s purpose.
“This album is kind of a reminder to step back and observe more,” he said.
The band is touring through various cities in The U.S. and wraps up November 10 in San Antonio TX, the band’s hometown. But they don’t stop there. November 22 marks their first of a long serious of performances in Europe, kicking off in Copenhagen, Denmark!
Both Hawkins and Oliver agree that the fans contribute to maintaining high energy levels at shows. “You get a superpower of sorts,” said Hawkins.
Oliver chimed in, “There’s been more crowd surfers than ever!”
Watch the full interview below.
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