Raised in the Metro Detroit area, Kong Barker is an original Rock and Roll act pulling influence from funk, soul, folk, blues, and hip hop. They’ve spent four years living and performing in Barcelona, as well as other parts of Spain, coming back briefly to the US to play some shows. Backed by Sean Alvey on bass/vocals, Sant Agustin on lead guitar, and Dan Leininger on drums, Kong Barker and his band tell stories and explore American culture using its roots (and some whiskey) as a musical foundation. You can find some of their music here. I got to sit with Eric from Kong Barker before he flew back to Barcelona.
L: So bearing struggles in mind, why is what you do worth it? What’s the payoff?
E: That’s just how life is. I’d rather struggle through what I love to do. I think I can offer something through what I do. I remember being a 14-year-old kid and playing maybe, I don’t know, a Beatles song or something, and just thinking like, I just wanna get musicians together and do the same thing, play music. Then you write a song, and you’re thinking, it’d be so cool to hear this with like a full band. And then you get to hear it. And then I wanna play in front of people and have them enjoy it.
L: Do you feel like writing music helps you deal with day-to-day better?
E: For me it’s more of a routine. You know, how you open the fridge and there’s nothing in there and you just keep doing it? I’ll just pick up a guitar, or I’ll wake up singing. Music an art form, we’re all trying to express ourselves somehow. I just like to let things flow out, I don’t really worry about what the meaning is. I kind of maybe try to figure out what it was supposed to mean later. It’s very therapeutic to just get on a guitar and sing and let whatever comes out come out.
L: Do you think when you were first starting out, you had a certain vision in mind of where you were gonna go? Has it changed?
E: No, I think I’m just trying to be realistic. I’d just be happy if I played a really good show. I want music that makes people move. A packed house with an energetic crowd, a good band. That’s all I really want.
L: Are there moments where you have to fight off discouragement?
E: I guess you just hope you’re always getting better. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Everything is hard work, just try to understand that. Nobody can offer what only you can. Only I can offer my point of view, or my songs. I remind myself of that. Every single person has something nobody else has.
*Edited for clarity