JJ Julius Son |
Kaleo is an Icelandic blues/rock band that formed at Mosfellsbær in 2012. It consists of lead vocalist and guitarist JJ Julius Son (Jökull Júlíusson), drummer David Antonsson, bassist Daniel Kristjansson, and lead guitarist Rubin Pollock. They have released two studio albums, Kaleo (2013) and A/B (2016), as well as an EP, Glasshouse (2013). A/B has sold over 910,000 albums worldwide. One of the singles from A/B, "Way Down We Go", has been certified platinum in the US and reached #1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart on 20 August 2016. Kaleo received a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Rock Performance for the song "No Good."
2012-2013: Early years and self titled album Kaleo
Best friends since attending elementary school outside of Reykjavik, bandleader JJ Julius Son, drummer David Antonsson, and bassist Daniel Kristjansson began playing together at the age of 17 before adding guitarist Rubin Pollock to the mix in 2012. They named the band Kaleo, which means “the sound” in Hawaiian, and started their career with a handful of well-received shows at the 2012 Iceland Airwaves music festival, which was the band's first major public appearance. They gained fame after their cover of the song "Vor í Vaglaskógi" got heavy rotation on Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV's radio station Rás 2 and was featured on the station's top 10 list. This song is also featured in the first episode of the TV series Trapped. By year's end, Kaleo had signed with Sena, the country's largest record label. Their self-titled debut went gold in their home country, spawning five number one hits and inspiring their first European tour.
2013-present: Major label record deal, departure to America, A/B and touring
In 2014, the band gained further attention with their single "All the Pretty Girls", which garnered over 87 million streams on Spotify. In early 2015, they signed with Atlantic Records and subsequently relocated to Austin, TX. Throughout 2015, Kaleo got increasing attention in the United States. The band's South by Southwest (SXSW) debut in 2015 garnered press from Esquire's "40 Bands You Need to Hear" as well as NPR's "The Austin 100: SXSW 2015 Feature and All Songs Considered SXSW 2015 Music Preview". "All the Pretty Girls" peaked at number 9 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart.Another three singles were released to promote their upcoming major label debut album A/B: "Way Down We Go", "No Good", and "I can't go on without you". The single "Way Down We Go", was released on August 2015 and gained critical acclaim. The single is certified Gold in United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa and Germany, Platinum in Russia, Australia and the United States, and Double Platinum in Canada. The single "No Good" was released shortly after and was featured in the promo for HBO’s Vinyl. The fourth single, "I Can't Go on Without You," was released on February 18, 2016. The album was released worldwide later that year on June 10, 2016.The album peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200, and the band embarked on a tour, the Handprint Tour, in order to promote it. The tour began on september 11, 2016 and concluded on November 30, 2016. A year later the band embarked on a second tour, the fall express tour, which started on August 25, 2017 in Anaheim, California and ended on November 25 in Moscow, Russia.
Kaleo have make many attempts to represent Iceland in the Europa Song Contest. On June 2018 they tried to represent Iceland in the seventh edition with the song "Vor í Vaglaskógi" but unfortunately they didn't qualified from the semi final 1 and finished in the 6th place with an amount of 432,315 votes. On August 2018 they tried to represent Iceland for a second time in the eighth edition with the song "Broken Bones". On Early September 2018 the Icelandic Broadcaster choose them internally to represent Iceland in the ninth edition of the Europa Song Contest. The song that Kaleo perform was chosen from the Icelandic National Selection.