Kongos Perform at JBTV Music Television Studios in Chicago, IL – Source: Kongos Official Facebook Page
The Kongos’ label, Just Music, presented us with a plaque for Lunatic going Gold! (South Africa)
The youngest of the four Kongo brothers, Danny was born in South Africa. The other three brothers were born in London and moved to South Africa when they were more or less one to two years old. They grew up surrounded by music as their father was John Kongos, a South-African musician who enjoyed two Top 5 UK pop hits in the early seventies.Over time he gravitated more towards the production side of the industry, he enjoyed the studio more than he did touring. His father built his own studio and he worked together with producer Mutt Lange on Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”.
The family moved from South Africa to Paradise Valley in 1996 and this is where the boys had a chance to hone their craft in the basement studio and cut their latest album. All four brothers attended Chaparral High School, only Johnny and Jesse tried college, but both of them never finished. The brothers wanted to earn their living through music and Jesse and Johnny were playing in jazz groups. Danny and Dylan didn’t finish High School and never had the desire to have a career in anything but music, school was viewed as an obstacle by the brothers more than as a means to an end.
The Kongos played their first show at a coffee shop in Mesa in 2003, the place was packed. The Kongos’ friends and family came out to support the band and thereafter the number of audience members dwindled, but that first show gave the band a taste of what it felt like to play to a larger audience. The brothers always had their parents’ support, their dad was in the music business which meant they had access to an amazing facility and mentor.
The band went on to hone their craft releasing their debut album “Kongos” in 2007. The album did not spawn any major breakthroughs. Fast forward to 2010 and the band had a lot of expenses recording and touring, but they weren’t generating a lot of income. They had already recorded a large part of their sophomore album “Lunatic” and were performing the songs live. They were sending songs to record labels and radio DJs, to no avail. The band was starting to doubt the longevity of their music career when they got a break at a radio station in Phoenix and started generating interest. Soon another radio station started playing their songs which reflected in the size of the audiences they were performing for in Phoenix.
The band sent e-mails to various radio stations across the world among them South Africa ,the program director for 5FM (national radio station) responded, because he loved the song and decided to play it to more or less 2 million listeners.
The station played “I’m Only Joking” and The Kongos blew up overnight. The proof of the country’s reaction was evident with the influx of people who “Liked” the band’s official Facebook page and interacted with posts. After an extensive tour in South Africa the band went back to the United States and it took another year for the band to have a breakthrough. In the meantime the band wasn’t being idle and they worked on what would eventually become “Egomaniac”.
Initially their record label Tokoloshe Records decided to push the single“I’m Only Joking” based on its performance on KWSS and 5FM. A DJ called Nerf heard something special in the song “Come With Me Now” and started playing it in it in Denver on KTCL-FM. The single received the biggest reaction for his station than ever seen before. “Come With Me Now” started the fastest climb up the Billboard Alternative Songs chart by an unknown artist since Evanescence did the same with “Bring Me To Life”. They had to set aside the new material they were working on in order to concentrate their efforts and capitalize on their platinum breakthrough. A lot of the material had already been written or was in the demo-ing process, due to the lag of success between South Africa and the United States.
The downside of the success of “Come With Me Now” is the high expectations for the band to deliver a smashing follow-up single. The life of the first single was extended due to the success that it experienced.
The brothers’ goal with their latest album was to turn fans of their hit single “Come With Me Now” into fans of the band as a whole. “Take It From Me” is the first single from the “Egomaniac” and it’s well on its way to become the band’s second hit single.
The Kongos care a lot about their sound production and they have invested a lot of money to upgrade their equipment instead of the studio. The band was determined to retain their stamp on their music, while still creating something new, unique and fresh.
The Kongos are currently on tour and they performed in Cape Town last night and they are performing at the Oppikoppi Festival tomorrow.
The Kongos are a unique band with a “flavour” of their own that sets them apart from the competition. If you want to explore your taste in music then this is the place to start.
Follow the band on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KONGOS
Follow Jesse Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseKONGOS
Follow Dylan Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DylanKONGOS
Follow Danny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannyKONGOS
Follow Johnny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnnyKongos