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A brief chat with Kongos


South African “jungle rock” band Kongos plays Riot Fest, so we spoke to Johnny Kongos.S

Yellow Scene: When did the band form and what was the mission?

Johnny Kongos: We’re all brothers so we’ve always played together, but it was around 2006 or 2007 when we started working on our first album and we got really serious about the band. The mission – to make music that we enjoy listening to, and hopefully other people do as well. I always call it jungle rock. A DJ here in South Africa said that’s what it sounds like. It’s rock, but it’s influenced by West and Central African rhythms. It’s a weird blend of that.

YS: Is there a follow-up to Lunatic on the way?

JK: Yeah, we’re actually in the studio right now recording the new album, and then just doing a couple of gigs like Riot Fest in-between. We wanted to get off the road a little bit, because last year was non-stop. We took some time to get in the studio, so that’s what we’re doing now. It’s going well. We hope to have something finished towards the end of this year.

YS: Are you looking forward to Riot Fest?

JK: Yeah. We played Riot Fest two years ago before anything started to happen for us. It was around that time that Denver started playing “Come With Me Now” on the radio. That was the beginning of everything for us, so it’s nice to go back there now.

YS: What can we expect from your set?

JK: By Riot Fest time, we should be playing a bunch of the new songs. We’ve already been playing two of them at our last few shows. It’s good to test it out on the road while we’re in the process of recording to see how it clicks with people.

YS: When Riot Fest is over, what’s next?

JK: Riot Fest is one of the last gigs we have booked. After that, we’ll take a little bit of an extended time in the studio, with no distractions, then we’ll start re-approaching the entire process. That will take up a good portion of the rest of this year, and then another cycle next year.

Kongos plays Denver Riot Fest; August 28-30; riotfest.org/denver.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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