The influence of tribal African sounds comes through in KONGOS' music, so it makes sense the local band pays homage to South Africa in their latest video. The band took footage from a string of five performances there from the past year for a dynamite video called "Hey I Don't Know," off their album, Lunatic, which drummer/vocalist Jesse Kongos explains more below. They're about to get big in Europe, too, when they head overseas to tour with Dispatch and AWOLNATION next month. Check out the video and interview after the jump. For more information on KONGOS, head here.
Up on the Sun: Why'd you decide to do a performance video?
Jesse Kongos: This was to be our fifth music video, and having done a few narrative and concept videos, we thought it'd be good to do a live performance video. Having seen how versatile the GoPro cameras are, we thought we could do something cool with them -- we had some big shows coming up, and the song was doing well on the radio (in South Africa), so it was the perfect opportunity.
What was shooting it like?
It was a lot of fun. We compiled the footage from several of our performances in South Africa in front of really great crowds. It was a bit hectic trying to organize it, as our main focus was making sure the actual performance went smoothly, but after the first show, we got a good idea of what worked and what didn't. The cameras don't zoom and have a very wide focal length, so it came down to finding good placement -- attaching them to the instruments turned out to give us really weird but awesome perspectives.
What was memorable about your recent South African trips?
Everything was memorable! We went there five times in the last year, and each time the shows got bigger. The last trip was to open for Linkin Park at their two stadium shows. That was insane -- the Johannesburg show alone was 65,000 people, and just stepping into those stadiums (built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup) is an experience itself. Hearing a crowd like that, and listening to your music swirl around the venue, is unforgettable.
What inspired "Hey I Don't Know"?
The song came together over quite a long period of time. I had a few ideas and melodies from unfinished or abandoned songs that were able to come together when I got the main guitar riff. As usual with us, we like to marry elements of African music and Western rock.
What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming European tour?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
We'll be supporting two really great bands, Dispatch and AWOLNATION, so we're looking forward to meeting them and seeing their shows. Also, we've never been to many of the countries we're going to, so it'll be amazing to see so much of Europe. We're not, however, looking forward to freezing our balls off in the middle of winter!