A Quick Chat with Kongos
Life is Beautiful in Las Vegas brought some of the biggest names in rock, folk, hip-hop, and electronic music. If you’ve watched TV any time in the past few years, you’ve probably heard Kongos‘ song “Come With Me Now.” Whether it was from a movie, a TV show, or by watching prime time sports, the Kongos are impossible to ignore. We sat down with these 4 brothers to talk about Life is Beautiful, their recent tour, and their new album Egomaniac.
Sensible Reason: Can you guys go around and tell me your name and your specialty in the band?
Kongos: My name’s Dylan, and I don’t know if this is my specialty but I play bass and sing.
Danny, I play guitar and sing.
Johnny, keyboards, accordion.
I’m Jessie, I play drums and my specialty is cooking.
So what do you guys think of Life is Beautiful?
Dylan: It looks pretty good, we’ve been doing press for a couple hours so we’ve just seen the inside of these buildings, not much of the festival so far. It’s cool that they’ve closed down so much of the city.
So are you spending time at the festival at all? I know your tour starts pretty soon, are you just jumping right into it?
Dylan: Yeah we actually have a show tomorrow in Catalina, so we’re leaving as soon as we possibly can.
Upset you won’t be able to check things out?
Dylan: Yeah, there are a bunch of bands we’re missing tomorrow, too.
Did you guys grow up in a super musical family? Usually you only see two brothers in a band, what made you guys all come together?
Danny: It was a musical family, our dad was a musician and a songwriter and producer starting in South Africa and then the UK, so we grew up with instruments and stuff. The band thing came up when we were teenagers and we didn’t want to do other stuff.
What’s the age difference?
28 to 35
Do you struggle as a band, being both brothers and creative partners? Any sibling rivalry or is it pretty streamlined?
Dylan: We figured it out, we just write everything separately and that solves that right there. It’s hard enough as it is just to have an idea.
Are there any conceptual themes to Egomaniac?
Johnny: That’s it right there.
Danny: Self love
Where did that come from?
Johnny: From being egomaniacs ourselves. We are all egomaniacs and so is everyone else.
Dylan: It came about when we started playing each other’s songs for the new album and we realized there was a bit of a theme coming through so we settled on that term, egomaniac. We feel as though egomania and narcissism are reserved for the Trumps in the world, but everyone is an egomaniac. We don’t care about the people who own it, just the everyday.
When you guys got signed to Epic [Records] did you feel any pressure to be something or do something different from what you already had?
Dylan: No, they did nothing. [Laughs]
Does that surprise you?
Dylan: Yeah, it did surprise me to be honest, because we were very tentative signing with them – or anyone for that matter. But, we talked to L.A. Reid on the phone and that was a really good conversation and luckily “Come With Me Now” was really going so they were forced to re-release the last album just to keep up with momentum. They realized that they liked it and didn’t want to do anything different with it and they were really supportive.
Are you sick of “Come With Me Now” at this point?
Johnny: No, it’s still paying the bills.
When was it written? (It was released in 2012)
Johnny: 2008, so it’s been almost a decade.
What are you most excited for this upcoming tour?
Johnny: We’ve been working a lot on the production. Danny has been designing a lot of the video content, it feels like we’ve really improved on the last tour in terms of putting on a whole big show, so we’re excited to bring an arena style show to the theaters and clubs that we’re playing and put on a bigger show than the venues that we’re playing.