Kaleo perform in The Current studio

Kaleo perform "Way Down We Go" live in the studio of 89.3 The Current. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
Kaleo perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
| 23:50
  • Kaleo perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 23:50
  • Kaleo - All The Pretty Girls (live on 89.3 The Current) 05:06
  • Kaleo - I Can't Go On Without You (live on 89.3 The Current) 07:04
  • Kaleo - Way Down We Go (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:27

Kaleo are a glorious mashup: their name is Hawaiian, the band members are Icelandic, they recorded their EP in London and their home is now Austin, Texas. Not that Kaleo (the name means "the sound" in Hawaii) have spent too much time in Austin yet. "We've seen less of Austin than we'd like," says front man JJ Julius Son. "We've been doing a lot of touring."

It is touring that has brought the Icelandic foursome to the Twin Cities; set to play a show at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, Kaleo — comprising JJ on guitar and vocals, Rubin Pollock on lead guitar, David Antonsson on drums and Danny Kristjánsson on bass — visited The Current's studio for a session hosted by Mark Wheat.

"It was a logical decision to move to the U.S.," JJ says. "That made sense. Our management is based in Austin, too, so that played a part."

Kaleo have discovered quite an audience in the U.S., which also precipitated the band's move. "We've sold everything out," JJ says about the band's tour. "It's quite a surprise, but a pleasant one."

Although Iceland and the Hawaiian archipelago are both volcanic islands, the band members tell Mark the name "Kaleo" was selected purely because of its sound and its meaning. That said, they also describe how their video for the song "Way Down We Go" was shot over 24 hours inside an actual Icelandic volcano. "A lot of friends helped out," JJ says. "And it sounds really good in there."

Listen to the complete interview and the song performances by clicking the audio player above.

Songs Performed

"All the Pretty Girls"
"I Can't Go On Without You"
"Way Down We Go"

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Images by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

Related Stories

  • The Current's Guitar Collection: Kaleo's JJ Julius Son, 1935 National Guitar Kaleo frontman JJ Julius Son has long been inspired by the sound of vintage blues music, so ever since the band relocated to the U.S. from its native Iceland, JJ has been on the lookout for vintage resonator guitars. When he spied a 1935 National Guitar at a vintage shop in Nashville, JJ couldn't resist. Read more about the first resonator guitar to become part of The Current's Guitar Collection.

10 Photos

  • Kaleo 2
    Kaleo front man JJ Julius Son performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 4
    Kaleo lead guitarist Rubin Pollock performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 5
    Kaleo front man JJ Julius Son (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 6
    Kaleo bassist Danny Kristjansson (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 7
    Kaleo lead guitarist Rubin Pollock (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 9
    Kaleo drummer David Antonsson (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 11
    Kaleo's Rubin Pollock and bassist Danny Kristjansson. Drummer David Antonsson is at far right. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 3
    Kaleo's JJ Julius Son plays guitar in The Current's studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 10
    Kaleo lead guitarist Rubin Pollock (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Kaleo 8
    Members of Kaleo and their manager pose with The Current's staff members after the session. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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