Episode 149 with Johnny Kongos

Kongos is one of the biggest independent bands in the world

Kongos — featuring brothers Johnny, Jesse, Dylan and Danny Kongos — have music in their blood. They’re continuing the musical legacy of their South African/British father, John Kongos, who landed hits on multiple charts in the Seventies.

Growing up in London and Johannesburg, the men ultimately settled in their mother’s hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, where the band was officially formed in 2003. Kongos began playing shows and recording, eventually releasing their self-titled debut album in 2007. Completely self-contained, they write, produce, engineer and mix their music as well as direct all their own music videos.

After years touring, emailing labels, agents, radio stations and management companies, the brothers got their first break in 2011 when “I’m Only Joking” became a radio smash in South Africa, followed by multiple top 40 hits from their second album Lunatic, including “Come With Me Now” which would go on to put Kongos on the map in the United States and worldwide in 2014. The group became unanimously recognized as one of rock’s most infectious and invigorating new voices as the track went RIAA 2x Platinum for sales in excess of two million. It occupied the No. 1 spot at alternative radio for five weeks, marking the quickest ascent to the top by a new band in history. They spent the following two years on tour all over the world.

We chat with Johnny who tells us about the band’s independent success and how they were influenced by their father.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com