If you’ve ever been to a Stick Figure show, one of the main things that stands out (other than the dog onstage) is their energetic, always-smiling keyboard player. KBong’s stage presence truly makes Stick Figure shows come to life. He can usually be seen doing some kind of cool kick from the keys, jumping up and down hyping up the crowd or even crowd surfing! But, KBong isn’t just a talented performer, he also creates music of his own when he’s not busy touring with Stick Figure. He released his first solo album in 2014 and KBong’s second full-length album, Easy To Love You, was just released on August 24th.
We got the chance to ask KBong a few questions about the album. He explains, “This album was fun to make, because we didn’t give ourselves any limitations. We recorded the majority while on tour with Stick Figure over the span of our nationwide tour in 2016. We set up in hotel rooms, conference rooms, tour buses, green rooms etc. I remember in Spokane, we had the green room couch standing upright against the wall to make a temporary vocal booth! Lots of fun making this album. I feel the album captures the layers and textures of each place we recorded at.”
The entire 12-track album radiates good vibes right from the beginning.
The entire 12-track album radiates good vibes right from the beginning. It’s packed with special guest features, making each track memorable and even more exciting to listen to. Easy To Love You was produced by Johnny Cosmic of Stick Figure, giving the whole album a polished sound and he is even featured on the song “One More Song”. The title track and first song off the album “Easy To Love You” features Joshua Swain and Gary Dread of The Movement and will put a smile on your face right away.
We asked KBong about the songwriting process with the other artists featured on the album and he explained: “Usually I’ll present a theme and chord progression to the artist. From there, we’ll brainstorm how we can expand on the song and relate to the theme together. The fun part is seeing how each person writes from their perspective and experiences. It’s always rewarding seeing the final product and I think the fans enjoy it too! Especially when it’s two of their favorite artists.”
Another feature on the album is Scott Woodruff on the song “Middle of the Ocean”. This is one of my favorites off the album. It’s about feeling free and playing music with your friends without worry. The sounds of birds chirping and waves crashing in the background really make you feel like you’re in the middle of the ocean. KBong says he got the inspiration to write this song from his first trip to Tahiti.
What makes this album (and KBong’s music in general) so special is the relatable and inspiring messages, as well as its ability to make you instantly feel a lightheartedness. KBong’s laidback vocals, mixed with the island sound of his music, are the perfect combination. “Open My Eyes”, a previously released single off the album, is another one of my favorites. It’s one of those songs that’s perfect for rolling down the windows and cruising in your car. Even if you’re stuck in traffic, this track will make you feel like you’re driving down the coast. There are so many amazing and memorable parts of this album. From the trumpet solo in “Need a Ride” to the surfy guitar riffs at the beginning of “Heavy As Gold” and, of course, I can’t forget the beautiful last song of the record “Awake”, which features Raging Fyah. The vocals of these musicians on the same track will send chills down your spine.
“My intention with music is to make people feel good…”
The last question we asked KBong was what do you hope listeners take away from your music? He responded with, “My intention with music is to make people feel good. I’ve been told that my approach to music is so easygoing that it has inspired people to play guitar. I think that’s great. Music is an expression of ourselves; it’s an art form. Whether you play for 1 person or a 1000, music soothes your soul. I encourage people to play music, no matter what the age! It’s never too late.” Not only is KBong a talented, humble musician, but he is also one of the nicest guys and always takes the time to chat with his fans. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Easy To Love You now and let the good vibes take over!
Purchase or stream Easy To Love You album:
- Easy To Love You (feat. The Movement)
- Good Lovin
- Middle Of The Ocean (feat. Stick Figure)
- Heavy As Gold
- Music and the Message
- Long Distance Lover
- Need A Ride
- Travelin On
- Open My Eyes
- One More Song (feat. Johnny Cosmic)
- Awake (feat. Raging Fyah)
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.