Just when you thought all the cool band names were taken along comes Kong Kong. The band name so cool they used it twice! Kong Kong is the creation of Cody Iwasiuk and Katlin Mathison. The two have been friends and band mates since high school. They formerly created music together in Brandon band Effect and Cause. Once their scholastic endeavours took over their lives, their band took a necessary break but their drive and desire to create music never took a back seat. As they’ve maintained their musical pursuits, the two former Brandonites chose to stay as busy as possible with their chosen profession. In fact as Iwasiuk puts it, that’s one of the reasons why Kong Kong was formed, “We formed the band Last winter when Katlin and I were looking for some extra work to fill out our calendars. It also gave us a great excuse to play together again as it had been awhile since the two of us shared in music making. I ended up getting us a house gig which had us playing every Thursday at a club name Le Garage in St. Boniface in Winnipeg.”
Winnipeg has been their home base for nearly three years. Soon after graduating from the B.U. School of Music Cody moved there to teach and play as much as is humanly possible. As for Katlin, after graduating from Grant MacEwan University (Diploma in Popular Music – Composition) in 2012, he travelled across the pond to attend the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where he graduated with an Honours Degree in Music – Production & Songwriting in 2014. He would eventually move in with Cody shortly after returning to Canada. The two have now happily achieved at least one goal and it may be the most important goal for any working musician according to Mathison it’s become a full time occupation, “I'm very fortunate in that music pays my bills. When I'm not touring out of town, I usually perform 5-6 nights per week, as well as writing, recording, and producing with other artists.” Iwasiuk is happy to report that his schedule is quite similar to Mathison’s, “I am lucky enough make music my full-time job. I play with a number of bands in Winnipeg which keeps me busy. I also do some mixing, recording, and mastering for people in the city.”
Aside from their workload with Kong Kong the two master music makers have had varying levels of success with other projects. Their resumes continue to grow at remarkable rates and both are quite thankful to be doing what they love. Iwasiuk’s involvement in music has been seemingly nonstop as he’s kept at it through a variety of projects, “I have played with many incredible musicians over the past 3 years since moving from Brandon. Notably I have played with and or am currently playing with: The Bros. Landreth, Jess Moskaluke, Paul Brandt, Sierra Noble, JRDN, Kardinal Offishall, The Dirty Catfish Brass Band. There are many, many other incredible artists that are not listed here as well!” Aside from writing and performing Iwasiuk has maintained his love of mixing, recording and tracking as well, “I am currently mixing an EP for The Dirty Catfish Brass Band, and I recently tracked drums on an album for up and coming country singer Elsie Morden. I also played drums on indie band FINN's upcoming EP a few months back.” While Iwasiuk’s current calendar could be considered the more arduous of tasks to fulfill Mathison is just as dedicated with the many musical involvements he’s immersed himself in, “Right now I have a solo project called Okay Mann and also bass with Micah Visser and lead guitar in FINN. I recently released two songs with Okay Mann, and both Micah Visser and FINN have EP in the works. Through these projects I've been able to write and perform with a wide range of veteran performers from: Paul McCartney to Royal Canoe. ” Prior to moving back to Canada Mathison’s strong songwriting abilities earned him a taste of commercial success, “I'm lucky to have worked with artists across UK, Europe, and Canada. This has led to being a part of writing teams and bands in multiple countries, extensive touring, and radio play across Europe, and earning a certified Gold record in Norway.”
Mathison (left) and Iwasiuk (right) rocking out back in the day with their old group Effect and Cause at Ridgefest 8 in the summer of 2011. (Photo submitted)
The beat goes on for these extraordinary music makers and it’s like they haven’t missed a beat as they’ve come from Effect and Cause to Kong Kong. The new band is comprised of: Cody Iwasiuk (drums), Brennan Wall (guitar), and Karl Shewchuk (bass), Katlin Mathison (lead vocals as well as guitar and keyboards) and as Katlin puts it, the group was created as a response of sorts to the Winnipeg music scene, “There is a never ending list of cool bands in Winnipeg, but we found that the cover scene was a little saturated with the same old tunes. Kong Kong was created for an audience of our peers – those who are looking for a more contemporary repertoire.” So what’s with the name of their new side project? Cody chooses to differ to Katlin for that one, “We were kind of playing around with the words King Kong. Katlin somehow came to the realization that Kong also means king in a different language. Not sure which language exactly. So it was Katlin's idea to name the band Kong Kong.” Unconventional band names aside, Katlin says it’s mostly about their love for the music and having their performances creating a cool vibe, “It's just really fun. It's the type of band I would like to go see if I just wanted to dance and have a good time with my friends.” Without giving too much away in regards to their repertoire Cody sums up the band’s sound, “Kong Kong is a mix of songs that are near and dear to mine and Katlin's heart. We play a good blend of indie rock, pop, and great songs you didn't know you loved!”
Experience the KONG KONG dance craze before it sweeps the nation! They’ll be packing em’ in at the Decker this Friday and Saturday night! Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 10pm both nights. Come early to get a good spot or just cut out your part on the dance floor and boogie the night away!