Kono (Hard Rock) - California

Kono is based in Santa Barbara, California and is bringing hard rock music to the world. The brainchild of frontman Logan Kono, we promise an assault on sonic complacency.

-Interview- (12/9/23)
1. What's new with Kono?

Very exciting developments! I am recording a follow-up to the 2020 debut as we speak. I'm doing all the final drums in the next week, and will record the bass, guitars, and vocals after that - just like the first album. However, Dakota and Angel are writing a third Kono album with me while I am in the studio making the second! We wanna have a third album's worth of songs ready to go by the time I'm done with this second record. Writing and singing with them is truly a blessing, it is a very natural and positive process between us three. I'm still amazed that we can write so efficiently together as this is my first time really writing with other musicians.

2. What's the word on new music?

For album #2, I have tighter drum parts and more technical guitar parts when I can apply them. I'm no virtuoso on any instrument, but I feel like I have a gift for songwriting and arranging. I also want my dad to play some piano on it, and possibly have a guest musician do a guitar solo. As for the next batch of material I have with Dakota and Angel, it's getting funky! Those guys have a musical foundation in R&B, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. I am a traditional hard rocker to the core with punk and metal influences. This makes our live sound very fun to listen to, and gives me a very solid foundation and groove for me as a frontman.

3. What do you wish to accomplish in 2024?

The main focus is to get this second album out, promote it, and then make arrangements to try and start our third album. We certainly have been encouraged to play live more, so I'm always on the lookout and talking to venues. Honestly, this sudden burst of creativity and songwriting between the three of us came about very recently. I told the other guys I wanted everyone in on Kono credits and intellectual property, and a few rehearsals later we were writing a new song every time. I was amazed! Those two are my best friends and creative fuel at this stage in my life.

4. What's some music you're currently listening to besides your own?

I believe that music is ageless, so with that bias I'm still listening to older stuff all the time. I mentioned the 1970's in our last interview, and that's still where most of my influences are. After Dakota and Angel joined, I got more into Funk and the origins of that musical form, but I'm still always an "old personal favorites" guy. Some days I even listen to 1950's Rock all day. In terms of music though, I am fascinated by all these incredible Psychedelic Rock and Punk Rock bands coming out of Australia right now. They are incredible to see live, and their work ethic is admirable.

5. Do you have any pre-show rituals? If so, what are they?

We pray together, in like a power-trio huddle. Kind of like how you see a lot of sports teams do, or even other bands. It's not like a religious ritual, and we have our own banter between each other. To me, it's about putting trust in two other people so that all three band members can deliver an incredible performance for everyone.

6. What's one thing you wish you could change about your local music scene?

So far, we've been treated really well in Santa Barbara. Honestly, I guess I would say I just wish there was more. There are places to play, and I don't drone on about Santa Barbara being a "small town", I loved growing up here and found things to do. But like anyone who loves the arts and sees the positive effects of having venues to support them, I'd like to see more places open or more existing businesses open their doors to rock bands. Also, I wish every place would allow bands to be as loud as they need to be, there's a lot of places that only book acoustic or mellow acts.

7. Your music videos are always unique, what's the planning process like for your shoots?

It is all DIY. I even wrote, directed, and filmed the last one, the ballad "Green Carnival". I try to make them as campy as possible within my comfort level. There's so many music videos from the early 1980's that are so unintentionally funny, or just don't take themselves too seriously. And they still get talked about! Videos that are even less technical than mine. I see that as a lot of encouragement. Anything can be entertaining, you just have to really go for it and try to give it genuine energy.

8. In one sentence, why should people take a chance and listen to Kono?

Everyone should listen to Kono because we study everything that has worked with Rock throughout history, add our personalities, and deliver our version with maximum intensity without anyone needing to ask how or why we're doing it.

9. Any shoutouts?

We made some more friends along the way. But again, other rock bands we are friends with locally. "The Pit" and "Ratburger" are two of them. We want to thank our families who encourage and support what we do, of course.

-Interview- (11/6/22)
1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Kono" and is there any meaning behind it?

I started playing music very early because my dad has always been a children's music teacher, session pianist, and live musician in Santa Barbara, California since he moved here. I began to play drums at age 7, and then picked up guitar, vocals, and bass, in that order. I started writing songs when I was a teenager, when I started to meet some of my best friends that are part of the Kono project - in terms of media and live players. I had a college band after that, which included people that now film and edit our videos! Over the course of doing all that, and being obsessed with everything under the Hard Rock umbrella, I developed the Kono sound which is very reminiscent of my strongest influences in Classic Rock from the early 1970's to Punk, Metal, and really anything heavy that takes a lot of energy and conviction to perform. My name is Logan Kono, and I figured Kono would be a cool band name - my father is Japanese American so there is a slight cultural angle to it.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

I want everyone, kids and adults, boys and girls, to be energized and inspired to work hard at what they love in life. I've adopted Rock ' N Roll as a craft and a high art form, because I believe it is one the most versatile and variable art forms that we as humans have created. It's what inspires me to work hard in every facet of my life and create art from nothing.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

1970's influenced Hard Rock with Punk and jumpy Fuzz-Laden overtones. Familiar but not retro.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Unrealistically (for right now!), all of my influences. Realistically some of the great bands in Santa Barbara and around the area we are friends with. "Stood Up!", "ROMPER", "The Pit"

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

In the beginning it shifted our focus to the studio. I wrote and recorded all the parts for the debut, and the live band learned it after. We ended up developing a neat business model actually. The live show, the records, and the music videos/media aren't super co-dependent on each other since I record everything. Having said that, I really see Kono as an art collective because I couldn't play live or make any of the media without my wonderful team.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Hard Rock?

I think we are in a new DIY age that is rejecting television and big labels. It's hard to make money but it's very exciting because people aren't waiting for others to do things for them - a true artist must make music against obstacles.

7. What's the current music scene like there in California?

Santa Barbara is a very nice city, and the music life is usually pretty mild but encouraging. Kono is going to wake everyone up and hopefully meet a lot of great heavy bands and inspire others in the process.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

I'm just glad I own my very small catalogue. I understand we don't make much, but it is up to the artist to understand copyright law and cover their own intellectual property.

9. What’s next for Kono?

More music videos by the end of the year! A heavy assault on the Santa Barbara live circuit in 2023. Recording another album in 2023. A lot of Rock and a lot of art.

10. Any shoutouts?

Everyone who loves Rock music! My parents, Konrad and Charlotte for supporting all of my artistic endeavors. My musical partner and the bassist in Kono, Dakota Middleton. Everyone who has helped us, they know who they are and we talk to them every week!