Kaleo, a four-piece band from Iceland, has a lot to celebrate. Moving from Iceland to the United States in 2015, the band has continued to ride a steady wave of success since releasing their debut album, A/B, last summer. In support of A/B, Kaleo has been on the road for the past year, visiting nearly every state in the process. This weekend they’re on the bill at Coachella and have an itinerary full of festivals and club shows in the coming months. We’re also celebrating having Kaleo appear in Rock Band VR and Rock Band 4. We got to talk with JJ Julius Son about the band, their influences, their touring, and more.
How was Kaleo formed?
Danny, David and myself grew up together in a small town outside of Reykjavik and starting playing together when we were teenagers and in 2012 Rubin joined the band.
Where does the name “Kaleo” come from?
Kaleo is a Hawaiian word meaning “the sound”. We really liked the name and the meaning.
Who are some of your musical influences both when forming the band and now?
I have a lot of influences. I’ve loved listening to all types of music and I started writing songs when I was about 12 or 13. Growing up I listened to music from the '50s '60s and '70s. As time went on I dug deeper and really got into blues and became a fan of old recordings and blues musicians reaching back to the 1930s.
A little over two years ago you moved from Iceland to Austin, TX. What was that experience like? How did the move help shape the sound of your album A/B?
We were lucky to have such wonderful success at home in Iceland, but it was always a goal of mine to record and tour in the US. Being here has been an adventure from day one. We have toured and visited almost every state in America. After our upcoming trip to Hawaii, Alaska will be the only state we have left to visit.
I wrote most of the songs from the album prior to moving to the states so while it didn’t shape the songwriting portion of the album we did record a majority of the album in studios across the country where I was able to experiment and shape the sound of the record.
What’s it like being on the lineup for Coachella? Have you attended the festival before?
We are very excited to be a part of Coachella this year. We have never attended the festival before but are looking forward to enjoying some beautiful California weather.
Where else are you headed on your tour?
After Coachella, we will head to Hawaii for a show and then we have a number of festivals lined up in Europe over the summer before heading out on a fall tour that will be announcing soon.
What do you do in between shows, when you’re on the road?
When there is time, it is great being able to explore the cities where we visit. Seeing the Grand Canyon last year was an incredible experience. Recently I have been spending days in between shows working on new music in studios all over the country.
Where can folks find you online?
www.officialkaleo.com and officialkaleo on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Kaleo's latest album, A/B, is available now and can be found on iTunes.