The versatile KB Jones & The Kontraband spent the past summer in the studio and is getting ready to release a whole set of new music. The Astoria, Queens based band creates music inspired by the people they know and meet for a fresh sound with mixes of pop, rock and hip-hop that speaks to each band member’s background. Pulse Insider recently caught up with Daniel “KB Jones” Munoz (vocals and production), Steve Gorni (guitar), Andrew “Smooth Action” DeMatteo (base guitar) and Mike DeConzo (drums and percussion).
Pulse Insider: How did you guys get your start in music? Was there a point at which you knew you wanted to be professional musicians?
It was around 1999 when my mother bought me a four-track cassette recorder that I recorded my first songs. I used my favorite industry beats and wrote original, yet terrible songs over them. When I became bored with that, I got my hands on a version of “fruity loops” which is production software. That’s when I really got into song writing, sampling, and making my own instrumentals. This gave me a chance to display my true self through music, rather than biting someone else’s style over someone else’s beat. I would say from the time I made a completely original song that felt true to me; that is when I knew I wanted to pursue this as a career. The act of creating something from scratch and turning it into something beautiful was so rewarding to me.
My father bought me a Danelectro Hollowbody for my 12th birthday. Shortly after he played me “Good Times, Bad Times” from Zeppelin I. That pretty much sealed the deal.
Pulse Insider: How would you describe your music to someone you just met?
As far as genre, our sound is very eclectic, so there’s something in it for everyone. Above everything else though, I would describe it as real. Our music tells a story and forces the listener to feel.
Steve Gornic: Happy, that’ll kick your ass.
Smooth Action: Pop-Rock-Hip-Hop, feel good music.
Mike DeConzo:A stewing pot of hip hop, rock and pop. HOT SOUP!
Pulse Insider: Who are your greatest musical influences?
Smooth Action: Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Led Zeppelin.
Mike DeConzo: Miles Davis, Wu Tang Clan, Guns N’ Roses.
Pulse Insider: What do you enjoy about performing live?
What’s not to enjoy? Performing live is my real passion. There’s something about getting on stage that’s like a drug for me. I love to see people in the crowd with a smile on their face; that makes all the hard work worth it. We take pride in how much our live show continues to grow.
Steve Gornic: : Everything: love to entertain, love to be on stage, love the feeling of euphoria that comes with it.
Smooth Action: : It’s an overwhelming rush of adrenaline and excitement that translates into an experience unlike any other.
Mike DeConzo: : Giving the audience the opportunity to be a part of music I love and putting a smile on their faces.
Pulse Insider: What’s next for KB Jones & The KontraBand? Where are you playing in the next few months?
We are in the midst of setting up a show for November called “Hot Soup NYC” which showcases New York artists and collaborates with various non-profits that give back to the neighborhood. This will be the third “Hot Soup NYC” that we have put together. We have an arsenal of new music that will be released for the end of the year, as well as 2015. We have been at work in the studio this past summer, and are happy to say that we are close to having some finished product your for ears.
Pulse Insider: What non-musical activity most inspires and energizes you?
KB Jones: Our music is about people. It’s about real people with real joy as well as pain. My surroundings and the people who visit my life definitely keep me inspired.
Steve Gornic: Watching the Steelers win and Bukowski.
Smooth Action: : For me, there’s nothing like a good camping trip in the fresh air, with some good friends, and good times.
Mike DeConzo: : Cooking, fishing, Rangers/Giants/Mets, and drinking.