Multi-instrumental artist, KBong is a veritable ray of sunshine who manages to weave warmth and enthusiasm into his musical tapestry, which combines reggae, ska and catchy guitar riffs with sparkling summer vibes. His first studio album Hopes and Dreams was released in 2014 taking the number 4 spot on the iTunes Reggae charts.
He’s had the iD22 USB audio interface in his kit bag for a while now, so Audient caught up with him to find out about his writing process, some of his more unorthodox recording techniques – and if anybody can really be that positive all of the time. (Spoiler: they can.)
Tell us about yourself and your background in music.
My artist name is KBong which is a shortened version of my full name Kevin Bong. I’ve been playing music now for over 15 years. It all began in high school growing up in Hawaii. My first instrument was the ukulele. Since then I’ve learned to play the guitar, bass and keyboards. I write and produce music under the name KBong. I also contribute to songwriting for the band Stick Figure and tour with them worldwide.
“I truly love the iD22 for its crispness.”
What do you love most about the iD22? Do you have any favourite features?
I truly love the iD22 for its crispness. I was very impressed with the high quality output, especially when working with vocals.
KBong and his USB audio interface, iD22
How do you go about recording new song ideas for KBong/Stick Figure?
I most always lay down a demo before anything. The iD22 is great for that. It’s easy to setup and start working with quickly.
Does writing/recording music for KBong differ from writing/recording for Stick Figure?
We have similar writing processes, we most often start with a guitar and some lyric ideas. However our recording techniques are a bit different. Stick Figure primarily uses digital sounds and Reason software. I do a lot of tracking mobile and carry my iD22 with me.
“It’s easy to setup and start working with quickly.”
Do you have a permanent recording setup at the moment or are you recording a lot on the road?
A lot on the road.
Was Reggae music your first love?
It wasn’t. The music that first inspired me was Punk Rock. Which led into Hip-Hop and eventually Reggae. These genres all spoke to me in my teenage years. A lot of the themes related to my life at the time.
Which track from ‘Hopes And Dreams’ best describes your music as a whole?
Livin Easy and Hold On are two of my favourites from “Hopes and Dreams”. Both are feel good tracks in major chord progressions. I’m generally a very enthusiastic and happy person. These songs capture that personality.
How involved were you in the recording/mixing/mastering of ‘Hopes and Dreams’?
I recorded the majority of this record at home. I even did the classic fill up my closet with pillows and blankets to track vocals in there! The majority of the mixing was done by Mike Kaplan at Lion Fox studios in Washington DC.
Would you say recording music is one of your passions/hobbies?
Without a doubt! I love seeing a song come into fruition from the very start to finish.
“I was very impressed with the high quality output, especially when working with vocals.”
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Positivity, enthusiasm and hopefully a smile!
What’s your favourite memory on tour with Stick Figure/KBong?
Our first Europe tour was a blast. It really brought the crew together as most of us had never been there before.
What’s the coolest place you’ve ever played?
Tahiti, I want to go back so bad! Of course, Red Rocks* is always an epic time.
*Wow – what an amazing venue ~ Audient
What’s in the works for KBong? New music on the way??
Yes! A brand new album coming summer 2017. Been producing it while on tour.
Audient looks forward to that. Thanks for the chat and good luck!