Interview with the Band King Bong

By Mick Michaels
COSMICK VIEW: Hello! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
King Bong: Thank you for your interest in our band!

CV: Do you feel that it's still possible for an unknown band today to be plucked out of obscurity and make it to stardom? Can a dedicated core of fans sharing their music make that possible or has the internet and social media changed the game?
KB: “Stardom” is a very specific aim, which seems to be less attainable because our times are very much fractured, both as musicians and as listeners. There’s a huge amount of music being produced: recording is easier and cheaper, and after all we’re twice as many humans as we were in the 70s. The internet has made it available to everybody, creating lots of small communities, sub-genres, “scenes”. This obviously has good and bad sides.

The music industry has changed radically and it’s very difficult to assess this change while it’s happening. A band like ours, with an output that is not really radio-friendly, probably has more recording opportunities than 30 years ago, but we’re also aware that we won’t make a living out of it…let alone reaching stardom!

CV: Do you feel that given the accessibility and social awareness of modern times that a music underground still even exists today as it once did?
KB: Yes, it has changed and it certainly is more accessible to fans, but it’s still there. There are thousands of emerging unsigned bands, which are trying to get noticed and to reach their audience.

Some of them will make it, some won’t, and some musicians will open a label and help promote other bands…so this underground is still pretty much alive.

On top of it, online sharing of underground music is now a fundamental way to engage listeners. Communities can thrive online and any band can find someone who resonates with their music.

CV: What do you see as the biggest difference in music and how it is perceived from back say 35 years ago compared to music today? Has both the music and the artist evolved from your point of view?
KB: It’s a bit difficult for us to speak about the music scene of 35 years ago, we were still toddlers! But even looking back at the 90s, things have changed enormously, just as they have in everyday life.

We often meet young musicians who have a vast music knowledge that was almost impossible for us at the same age: looking for a Captain Beefheart record took weeks or even months of record-store hunting…today we can listen to dozens of independent black metal bands on their BandCamp.

From a perception point of view, this has ruined the mystique a bit, it’s undeniable. But it’s also made knowledge more democratic. We’ll never be against music being made available to everyone, because we benefit from it…as musicians and fans!

It’s also amazing how younger musicians can develop much faster, thanks to this knowledge. It’s much more common to meet 18-20 year olds with a very precise and developed idea of their sound.

CV: Do you believe bands and artists who have the biggest impact on fans and other artists are aware that they are or is there more of a tunnel vision sort of process for them keeping them somewhat in the dark? Can influential artists see past their own work to be aware of the ripples they make?
KB: You should ask those musicians, we’re not really in the position to answer.

CV: Does music need to be influential to be considered worth listening to in your opinion? Or can music simply be just an enjoyable auditory experience devoid of substance?
KB: Humans are multifaceted beings, so we need variety. There are moments in life where one kind of music is needed, other moments will call for different music and sometimes silence is the right sound.

The likes of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones have largely demonstrated that even simple songs can be well-thought and intellectually engaging, so let’s say that King Bong enjoys both sides.

CV: The world has been rocked by the COVID pandemic.  The economy has been sent into a tailspin in its wake, unfortunately.  Bands worldwide have been restricted with performing live and some it seems, restricted from earning a living.  How has the pandemic affected your band? Are you hopeful that 2021 will see many of the restrictions lifted?
KB: Yes, we’ve been unable to play live. We’ve actually been unable to play at all during lockdowns. It’s taken a toll both economically and mentally, as music is usually our way to let some steam out.

We hope to at least get back in our rehearsal room as soon as possible. As far as live concerts are concerned, it’s unlikely we’ll see anything before autumn in Italy, apart from small open-air gigs during summer.

CV: What do you feel artists and bands can do right now to stay relevant, especially in an environment, such as the present, where performing in front of a live audience is being restricted? What immediate options do you see available?
KB: I think we need to change the way we interact with the audience, as they’re stuck at home just like us. We recently got a better setup to record live videos in our studio, for instance: this will allow us to give more content to our listeners.

As people are spending more time online, we’ll try to provide more content. Being a band based on improvisation, we have a bit of an advantage: we sit on hours of recordings from the last few years. Every session is different, so we’ll start publishing what we have: we think it’s a good way to be engaged with our audience, people are thirsty for new music as they cannot go out. Or at least we hope!

CV: As an artist, what have you learned from the events of 2020? Are those lessons learned different for you as a person than as an artist or are they one in the same in your opinion?
KB: We can’t really separate ourselves as persons from ourselves as artists, what we’ve learned involves both aspects of our lives. We’ve learned that we physically need to play music, we’ve learned that there’s an even bigger amount of stupid people than we thought…hopefully we’ll learn to reach our audience a little better.

CV: What's next? What can fans expect to see coming in 2021?
KB: We’re about to reissue our 2017 LP “Sand ≈ Return” through Mandrone Records. After that, we have a (literally) huge new surprise that will be announced shortly.

CV: Thank you again for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was such a pleasure. I wish you all the best.
KB: Thanks! Stay safe and follow the King!


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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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