Indie, alt-rock, amplifiers and…apples? Yes, it’s all there for Austin quintet KONZI, who began harnessing their creative juices in early 2020 as COVID-19 triggered a global lockdown. And like countless other songwriters, the overwhelming precariousness that came with COVID convinced KONZI to pursue positivity through rock at all costs. That endearing energy is plenty evident on their upcoming self-titled debut and has already helped in the healing process following the loss of revered KONZI co-producer Daniel Sahad.
On top of the immeasurable talent and love that Sahad brought, this compelling record also received treatments from Charles Godfrey (who’s worked with Portugal. the Man and Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and The Bubble’s Chris “Frenchie” Smith. The ten daring tracks touch down in August, and today the band shares KONZI‘s second single, whose title evokes one of The Matrix‘s most beloved Morpheus-isms as well as Funkadelic’s 1970 sophomore LP. For lack of better terms, “Free Your Mind” is heavy as hell and quick to kick away any cynicism, so take it with your coffee and liberate yourself as best you can as we enter May and another work week.
Indie-alternative rock band KONZI is releasing the music video for “In The Ether”, whose light-hearted humor only amplifies the band’s quality storytelling. The songwriting and performance, as well as the production and distribution of the music by KONZI only further reveal how comprehensive the story is that the band wants to tell, and how highlighting their personality is as important to the band as showing off their musical prowess.
Alchemical Records had the pleasure of introducing “In The Ether” by KONZI to the globe in last night’s World Premiere of the music video. Other fans and I were treated to a virtual meet & greet and Q&A with the band, many of whom I had the opportunity to speak with for the first time.
The Austin, Texas-based band has some big boots to fill. All the members of KONZI perform in other bands as well, but led by led by singer-songwriter Forrest Garner (vocals), KONZI came together during the pandemic with Shawn Byrwa (guitar), Garret Horlacher (bass) Carly Jo Jackson (vocals), and Ulises Chavez (drums) to work on this unique enterprise together.
The band made their debut in April 2022 with the release of “Bonnie and Clyde”, which, even without the music video already began to hint at the quality of the material listeners could expect. Once the video came out, it was clear that the classic story of some of the United States’ most illustrious criminals was completely incomplete without zombies. Yes, zombies. Immediately, my mind wanders to Foo Fighters and how important it has been for them to maintain the fun and lighthearted nature of their music videos over the years in spite of some of the more serious tones presented in their music.
“Free Your Mind” was the band’s follow-up single released on May 1 and continued to solidify KONZI’s sounds resonating with fans of artists such as The Decemberists of Everafter. Alchemical Records contributing writer Jaci Jedrych called the track ‘funky, different…edgy.’ The track premiered on KUTX 98.9 in Austin and has been in rotation there since. For me, the track tastes like there might be some Pearl Jam influences on the band; it reminds me a bit of “Even Flow” in spirit even though the two songs’ feel and delivery are very different indeed.
“In The Ether” is a positively uplifting and energetic song. Searing lead guitars and groovylicious drum and bass rhythms keep the song’s forward momentum vibes. You can feel the love; without contrived lyrics or using rehashed themes, “In The Ether” contains that raw something that may trigger a spiritual awakening in our hearts and in our concert halls. The music video features a young man in search of love who meets a fortune teller, and well, you know the rest, or do you? Maybe KONZI has room for more than one fortune teller in their metaverse.
All of this new music is leading KONZI toward the release of their debut, self-titled album, recorded during 2020 and 2021. The band has done wonders in such a short time, not only to solidify their sound, but also to build an impressive team of some of the industry’s top talent, including producer Daniel Sahad of Nane, who passed away recently at the age of 29; recording and mixing engineer Charles Godfrey of Scary American studios (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Third Eye Blind/Portugal the Man); and Bubbles Studios founder/producer/engineer, Chris “Frenchie” Smith (The Darkness/Jets/The Toadies).
The body of work beginning to reveal itself over the course of these releases is much more effective overall at emphasizing KONZI’s mission, undertaken during “arguably one of the darkest moments in the recent history of creativity,” according to the band website, “To never let the music die.” The band exudes the kind of presence, mindfulness, and thoughtfulness that you want the artists you love to have. Their sincerity shows in their interactions with fans and it shows in the scope of the music and media developed by the band within their ever-growing community.
Check out our Q&A and World Premiere of “In The Ether Below” exclusively on Alchemical Records for a limited time. The track will launch on all major platforms on Saturday, August 6, 2022.