Marathon Music Works

KONGOS

KONGOS

Sir Sly, Colony House

Fri, February 27, 2015

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Marathon Music Works

Nashville, TN

$10.29 - $20.00

This event is 18 and over

Absolutely no refunds - no exceptions. Lineups and times are subject to change.
Gov't issued ID required. No re-entry.

KONGOS
KONGOS
The brothers KONGOS -- multi-cultural, multi-faceted, multi-instrumentalists -- craft a unique and irresistible sound spawned from shared DNA, diverse influences and spot-on melodic and lyrical sensibilities. On "Lunatic," their 12-song Epic Records debut, the band's talent shines on "Come With Me Now"; the title an impossible-to-resist aural summons, the rock-alt crossover tune kicking off with the accordion, jumping into foot-stomping, staccato rhythms, slide guitar, and soaring epic soundscapes reminiscent of U2. "I'm Only Joking," whose lyrics hint at the album's title, hits the mark with decisive tribal rhythms and Pink Floyd-esque mysterious modern rock. Thanks to an earlier self-release of "Lunatic," KONGOS are already stars overseas, playing their numerous hits off "Lunatic" for crowds of up to 65,000 at South African festivals and touring the Republic with Linkin Park, and the UK and Europe with AWOLNATION and Dispatch. With a Feb-March North American tour with Airborne Toxic Event and alternative and rock radio hot on "Come With Me Now" and "I'm Only Joking," (not to mention "Come With Me Now" in promos for NFL, NBA and ESPN), 2014 is quickly shaping up as the year the U.S. catches KONGOS fever.

KONGOS' life story is as cinematic and captivating as their songs. The siblings, who range in age from 25 (Danny) to 32 (Johnny), were born to popular '70s South African/ British singer-songwriter John Kongos ("He's Gonna Step On You Again," "Tokoloshe Man"). Spending their early childhood in London (all were born there except Danny), then South Africa before settling in Phoenix in the mid-90s, the boys were exposed to a wide variety of sounds. "We listened to everything from classical and opera like Puccini to African tribal music to 60s and 70s pop and rock," says Dylan, who cites African bassist Richard Bona, Béla Fleck's Victor Wooten, and singing players like Sting and Paul McCartney as influences. His rhythm section partner, Jesse, who studied Jazz at ASU (as did Johnny), remembers learning boogie-woogie and classical piano as a child before getting into African drums, then jazz greats like Jack DeJohnette. As KONGOS grew together as a rock band, Jesse loved the vibe and feel of Zeppelin's John Bonham, and currently admires gospel and hip hop drummers like Aaron Spears and Carlos McSwain. Danny also boasts a myriad of influences, ranging from Jeff Beck to Mahmoud Ahmed -- "the James Brown of Ethiopia" -- for his use of unconventional pentatonic scales. Johnny, who is a student of jazz and classical piano, cites Keith Jarrett as a hero, while his accordion playing draws from various world styles, including South African maskandi and Qawwali music.

Despite the immense and wide-ranging familial talent, the brothers were never groomed to be a "family band," and as Jesse notes, "our parents wanted us to learn music like you do Math or English." But the siblings joke, "we got to a point where we didn't want to get a real job so we stuck with music." Johnny adds, "Hey, most of the family bands everyone knows have been hugely successful!" Of course, the Jackson 5, Beach Boys, the Osmond Brothers and more recently minted family bands like Kings of Leon do seem to have an advantage inherent in the DNA. That said, despite inborn talent, KONGOS are all about hard work and humility. Interestingly, each brother writes separately and brings completed songs to the group. Additionally, they don't necessarily sing their own songs. Live, Jesse and Dylan share lead vocals, while on "Lunatic," Johnny and Danny also sing: "It depends on whose voice works for that song," says Dylan. "It's a lot of rehearsing to find where each voice fits; like Danny has a high register that's nice." To make the family and musical dynamic smooth, Johnny notes with a laugh: "We are a democracy with an occasional dictator. Everything band-wise is done together, but recording we give the power to the songwriter. As for the day to day organization and business, it's a total democracy."

Clearly, it's a formula that works, and on "Lunatic," they put all the pieces together into a cohesive whole. The brothers use a family recording studio -- Tokoloshe Studios -- named after their father's hit song. Completely self-contained, they write, produce, engineer and mix/master their music as well as direct, shoot and edit all their own music videos. Hardly hermits, since debuting at a high school talent show in 2003 (covering "Eleanor Rigby"!), beginning in 2007 KONGOS played out incessantly, focusing on building a following in Phoenix, garnering local airplay, West Coast tours, and eventually coveted slots at SXSW and CMJ. The years of dedication paid off: In 2011, hanging in the studio, the brothers decided to email a few songs to South African radio stations. 5FM, the biggest Top 40 station in South Africa, playlisted "I'm Only Joking," which hit No. 1 on the rock chart and was the most requested song for 11 weeks in a row. "In retrospect it was one of those crazy stories; the guy opened the email and played it on the radio and it changed everything for us in South Africa," recalls Johnny. "We didn't expect anything like what happened."

While live is where KONGOS' uplifting, universal musicality reaches the masses, the studio is indeed a second home for the brothers -- as kids, at their father's home studio in London, Elton John's or Cat Stevens' group was often the house band, while the elder Kongos worked with Mutt Lange to program Def Leppard's drums for "Pyromania." The total lifelong musical immersion makes "Lunatic" -- and KONGOS -- a rare breed of band. Fluent in numerous styles and eras, still, at the end of the day, a rock band. "We're making rock and pop music and our more obscure influences may only come out when we are attacking an extended solo," they explain. "But we definitely relate to bigger bands like Daft Punk, Coldplay and Queens of the Stone Age."

The band also agreed that they were happy with "Lunatic" being a diverse record: "We each have different styles and personalities, so we embrace that. We have a KONGOS sound which is not exactly assigned, but we have an essence, a picture in our mind of what it will sound like." The press concur, praising the band's "classic rock elements, African rhythms and Balkan beats" and their "incontestable youthful talent...[and] emotional outpourings." The bottom line? KONGOS "want to write music that we like listening to." Fortunately, with tastes as diverse as theirs, that's a winning proposition for fans of all ages and predilections.
Colony House
Colony House
In a relatively brief span of time, Colony House has emerged as a vibrant creative force, as well as a beloved fan favorite with a passionate, fiercely loyal fan base. That audience is likely to expand substantially with the release of When I Was Younger, the Nashville, TN trio's first full-length album, whose 14 compelling original tunes fulfill the abundant promise of the band's three widely-acclaimed, self-released EPs.

It's not surprising that Colony House has struck a resonant chord with listeners. The threesome maintains a balance of craft and immediacy that reflects its affinity for the sound of such alt-rock outfits as Interpol and The Killers, while echoing the influence of
such alternative icons as U2 and New Order. They've assimilated their multiple influences in a manner that's wholly distinctive, adding tight harmonies, strong instrumental chops and a keen melodic sensibility that's all their own.

Lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Caleb Chapman writes effortlessly infectious tunes that resonate with personal experience and emotional authority. The songs' messages of faith, hope and perseverance are matched by the organic musical rapport of Caleb and his bandmates, brother Will Chapman on drums and Scott Mills on lead guitar and harmony vocals.

"The songs I write have always come from deep places, whether they're deep places of joy or deep places of hurt, and it can be hard inviting people into those places with you," Caleb states.
That openhearted attitude is reflected throughout When I Was Younger, both in Caleb's expressive vocals and in the band's vivid performances of such personally-charged tunes as "Silhouettes," "Second Guessing Games," "Keep On Keeping On," "Waiting for My Time to Come" and "Won't Give Up," which exemplify the combination of sharp lyrical insight and indelible melodic craft that makes Colony House special.

As When I Was Younger demonstrates, much of Colony House's appeal lies in the three bandmates' powerful rapport, which extends into every aspect of their lives—and which has defined their approach towards the music.

"Our musical and personal chemistry goes hand in hand," Caleb affirms. "The three of us are best friends, which means that at any given moment we are each other's worst enemies as well. Being in a band is like being in a marriage—it's a constant reminder of your own pride, and a reminder that you have to be willing to sacrifice in order for it to be successful. We've made a conscious effort to build the foundation of the band on
our friendship, and then letting that spill over into our creative relationship."

As the sons of Contemporary Christian pop superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, Caleb and Will Chapman have been steeped in music for their entire lives. They began making music together in early childhood, playing with their dad as well as their own
combos. In 2009 they joined forces with Scott Mills, who they'd met through a cousin.

Although initially known collectively as Caleb, the trio rechristened themselves Colony
House in 2013, borrowing the name of an apartment complex in their hometown of Franklin, where Will and Scott as well as Caleb's future wife had all lived prior to the band's formation.
The new combo quickly began to win attention, bringing its charismatic live shows to fans via diligent touring, while earning critical raves with a series of acclaimed EPs: Colony House, Trouble and To the Ends of the World. Along the way, the band
members found time to pursue other musical adventures, with Caleb collaborating with Will's wife, singer Jillian Edwards, as the In-Laws, and Will moonlighting playing drums on tour with noted indie combo Ivan and Alyosha.

But Colony House remains the focus of their musical lives, as When I Was Younger makes clear. "We labored on the album for a long time," Caleb notes. "We began recording it in September 2012 and finished it in July 2013. We had our dear friends
Joe Causey and Ben Shive co-produce it, which made it a very special experience.

They knew that this was our first full-length project, and I think that they felt the responsibility to help us tell our story the right way.

"Creating this record had such a strong set of contrasting emotions: joy, hope, frustration, sorrow, uncertainty, confidence," he continues.

"These songs are questions that I have been wrestling with for months, sometimes years," Caleb asserts. "They're stories I had been trying to write in the dim light of my 100-square-foot room long before they were ever brought to life in a studio. We created
the album conceptually, trying to keep in mind the rules of telling a story. There must be a dramatic arc, a beginning, a middle and an end. So in that way, every song is a piece of the equation. The front half of the album is a bit more lighthearted and fun, and then the back half gets a bit heavier. And the last third, starting with 'Won't Give Up,' is very important to us."

Perhaps the most startling aspect of When I Was Younger is the band's forthrightness in addressing some deeply personal, emotionally raw issues, most notably the accidental death of Caleb and Will's 5-year-old adoptive sister Maria Sue in 2008. That tragedy is addressed on several of the album's songs, including "Keep On Keeping On" and "Won't Give Up," underlining the songs' recurring themes of faith and family.
"It has been a difficult thing to do, sharing your family tragedy when telling your story or singing your songs," Caleb states. "But I think that it's important to tell. Everyone has a story of pain, of heartbreak, of a letdown or failure, and that is a thread that ties us all together—the ones on stage and the ones in the crowd. We were dealt a painful hand, but it's what has bound us together so tightly. We want to create honest art, and this is
the most important thing that has happened in our lives, so it would be a hard thing to leave out of our story."

That heart-on-sleeve honesty is just one of the qualities that make Colony House a special band, and make When I Was Younger such a remarkable musical statement.

"We believe that we have a story to tell—a story of hope and perseverance—and that's what we want to leave people with," Caleb concludes. "We are not in the business of writing tragedies. We have experienced tragedy, but we've also seen hope triumph. Our faith is woven throughout everything we do musically, just as it's woven into the foundation of our lives."