Posted On 30 Sep 2015
Tag: ACL, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Atlantic Records, Austin, Austin City Limits, Hawaii, Iceland, Iceland Airwaves, Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, Icelandic, In Utero, Interview, Jungle, Las Vegas, Life Is Beautiful Fest, Lion King, Maine, Music, music interview, Nirvana, Patrick Watson, Portland, South Carolina, Texas, Thrihnjukagigur, Vegas, Way Down We Go
Firmly a phenomenon in their home country of Iceland, the four-piece band KALEO is set to descend upon foreign shores in 2015, bringing their gorgeous blend of folk, blues, country, and rock to a wider mainstream audience in America. Their isolated heritage inspires a unique take on familiar sonic elements, resulting in diversity and freedom on each and every breathtaking track.
Best friends since attending elementary school in the small town of Mosfellsbaer outside of Reykjavik, bandleader JJ Juliusson, drummer David Antonsson Crivello, and bassist Danny Jones began playing together at the age of 17. Honing their skills, they played countless shows around the nation’s capital for a few years before adding guitarist Rubin Pollock to the mix in 2012.
They recorded their first pair of original songs in early 2013, the fiery “Rock N Roller” and laid-back, bluesy “Pour Sugar On Me,” which earned Kaleo some radio airplay and press in Iceland. Then, that spring, their cover of the traditional Icelandic ballad “Vor í vaglaskógi” during a live radio show was videotaped and posted to YouTube, where it quickly went viral. The band recorded a studio version of the song in June, which went straight to Number One in virtually every radio station in the country.
The band signed to Iceland’s largest record label, Sena, in the fall of 2013 and recorded their full-length debut, Kaleo, in just six short weeks. Five singles would reach Number One and the album would go Gold, receiving high praise and sending the band to shows and festivals in Europe over the next year, including an appearance on the biggest stage in their home country, Culture Night, where they played to 100,000 people and reached 90 percent of Iceland’s population in broadcast. Then, in the spring of 2014, Kaleo recorded the lush, introspective song “All the Pretty Girls” and in one night their destiny to outgrow their small, island nation was cemented.
Drawn to Kaleo’s multi-layered dynamics, their ability to play different genres with equal skill, the vocals and mood reminiscent of everything from Bon Iver and Iron & Wine to Coldplay and David Gray, and wise-beyond-their-years songwriting, the world came calling.
Now, signed to Atlantic Records in the US, Kaleo has moved to Austin, Texas, and will begin recording new material with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg) in London for an EP due this year. Get ready for the sound.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa recently got to catch up with the band between gigs. Read more in their interview below!
Hi there JJ, Davio, Daniel and/or Rubin! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
JJ – We’re great. We are driving from South Carolina to Portland, Maine so we have a long way ahead of us.
For those that are not familiar with you and your music, take me back when you were just a kid growing up in Iceland. Who or what was the catalyst (inspiration) for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
JJ- Many bands/artists. I always looked up to many of the bands from back in the 60’s and 70’s and it was always a dream to be touring and making music.
Where does the band’s name come from? What is its significance?
David – It is Hawaiian and means the sound. It got stuck really quickly and we like although we don’t really have a connection to Hawaii except it being a volcanic islands like Iceland.
Iceland is one of my top five places that I want to visit someday and I also have the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival on my list as well. What would you suggest as the top “not to miss” highlights for one visiting Iceland?
JJ- We’ve played at Iceland Airwaves two times and it’s always a lot of fun. We recently recorded a live performance inside Thrihnjukagigur, which is a volcano and it was amazing. We recommend people going down there and checking it out!
After signing to Atlantic Records in early 2015, I understand you moved to Austin, TX, is that right? What have been the highlights for you since moving to Austin?
JJ- Yes. We really like Austin but to tell you the truth we haven’t spent a lot of time there. We’re constantly traveling and touring so you could say that our home is really the bus, at least for the time being. We do hope to spend some more time in Austin in the near future though, it’s a great music city with some great BBQ.
You guys just released the video to your latest single, “Way Down We Go”. Did you help come up with the treatment (idea) for the video? What was the inspiration for the song?
JJ- Yes. We released a live performance video of the song which we recorded inside the volcano. We thought it would be a great location to do a live performance video and the sound was incredibly good down there. The song is very much inspired by early blues music.
What was the first album you bought for yourself?
Rubin – In Utero by Nirvana when I was 11 years old
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
David – I remember loving the music from the Lion King when I was young.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Danny – I have been listening to Jungle lately and Patrick Watson.
What’s on tap next for you guys? What are you most excited about for this year?
Danny – We have some festivals coming up like ‘Life Is Beautiful’ in Vegas and Austin City Limits in Austin. We’re really looking forward to that!
To learn more about KALEO , visit them HERE .