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K.O.G and The Zongo Brigade

Over the past year, the enigmatically named K.O.G and The Zongo Brigade have brought their unique, frenetic fusion to an array of pubs, clubs and warehouses across the city. With an EP about to drop, we caught up with the band as they begin preparations for a Tuesday Club headline slot and a summer packed with international festival bookings. Why is your first release a live EP? [Tom] It was a time saver, and we know we sound alright live, so it was about getting that same energy and feel. It’s also promotion for the tour, enabling us to do everything we’re doing this summer. We’ve been recording a couple of things in terms of videos and that’s been going well, but it’s just something that really proves our versatility with the different tracks that we do. Are there any particular highlights on the EP? [Tom] ‘Let Me Love You’ is always a nice one. [Henry] ‘Heroes’. [Franz] Yeah, ‘Heroes’, definitely. Why? [Kweku] The others are crap! [laughter] [Henry] It’s the dynamics of it. Just the structure and the way it builds. We do a segue or medley into ‘Let Me Love You’ and the two just work really nice, balancing. Really chill then the madness comes straight after. It’s not exactly mainstream music, but you always attract a lot of people to your gigs. [Tom] Well, you know you’re always going to get a performance out of Kweku, and not only that but this is the first time you’ve started doing…. [Kweku] ...My own kind of roots, African home-grown music, like a fusion of African music and whatever else it out there. [Tom] From a bunch of white guys! [laughter] [Kweku] It shows the power we believe in - that music is a universal language. You don’t need to be of a certain colour or of a certain race to play. All you have to do is enjoy the music and play it. How did you all meet? [Kweku] It’s a secret society! The whole project is to have a place where we can play this kind of music. It’s alternative and it has a different kind of feel to it. We’ve all played in various bands and known each other’s work. As much as it’s K.O.G and The Zongo Brigade, it’s everybody’s work. Me and Franz just carry it out. We linked up with those who we know have that feel and who can carry it forward. Not just doing it, but carrying it forward. Where do the ideas for your lyrics come from? [Kweku] What I sing is what I see happening and we try to fit that into the music. ‘Let Me Love You’ is different to your average slow love tune. ‘Heroes’ is a way of saying where I’m from and what has happened with a different kind of African rhythm. It’s all telling stories and Franz complements it with his version of what happens in his life with rap, which is essential to what we do. There’s a really interesting contrast between your vocals. [Tom] I’ve never played with an MC before, but now we intentionally write bars for Franz. It was challenging, but now it’s standard. [Franz] I’ve never played with a band before. We’re all learning at the same time. It’s gelling together nicely. There’s the ‘Franz Von Song’. Check out the EP! [Kweku] The EP represents most of the things we play, but then on the other side, the whole idea we want to break is we can actually play soft stuff. We’re not always just hyper. We can also play lounge stuff and that’s the versatility we want to bring. We don’t want to put ourselves in a box. We can make you party. But we’re not a party band... Absolutely we will make you party! It’s a big compliment, but we don’t just want to be known as a party band. We will play for everybody. We will play in Afghanistan, Mexico, Ghana, Acapulco... [Ed] And Nottingham next week! [laughter] Photo by NyeSpy Photography )

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