“Sheffield is always a good vibe” – Children of Zeus on upcoming Peddler Warehouse show
Exposed’s Dale Maplethorpe speaks to Konny Kon, one half of neo-soul duo Children of Zeus, who will be bringing the group’s Balance Tour to Peddler Warehouse on 8th October.
Can you imagine how it feels to be a musician right now? To have gotten all the way through the trials and tribulations of lockdowns 1 – 1,000,000, to have pushed passed that initial period of uncertainty throughout July and August and finally be prepping for your first tour in two years like Children of Zeus currently are. I sat down with Konny from the innovative duo to try and gauge the overwhelming excitement that they must be feeling right now, but get a somewhat underwhelming response. “I’ve actually got to isolate because we all got pinged by track and trace,” he tells me.
Children of Zeus have been preparing for their tour by getting out and about during festival season, and following a stint at Outlook Festival in Croatia were told they needed to self-isolate. However, Konny doesn’t sound too phased and after an initial vent about how he has tested negative three times but still needs to isolate, takes some solace in the fact that he’s entering his final day of personal lockdown.
It must all be worth it to get back on the gigging scene though? “To be fair, even when stuff was closed last year in November and December we did a few seated gigs,” says Konny, “I can’t quite remember what the rules were, but we did two in Leeds, four in London, one in Liverpool and one in Manchester.”
It’s good that the wheels never stopped turning completely during lockdown and Konny even concedes that their music, with its trademark soulful and chilled out style, can be listened to sat down; however, nothing compares to the gigs they’ve been doing recently. “It wasn’t such a shock to do it, but it was a million times better than the seated gigs,” he recalls. “The seated gigs were a bit dystopian, man. Like, no one really knew what the rules were. People stood up to dance and security ran over, went ballistic, stopped the music, and obviously somebody has just told the security they need to do that but none of us really knew why. People were crying at the gigs because it was the first one back so it was pretty emotional, but it didn’t beat the real gigs of people being stood up in a crowd. Seated gigs are cool, but it isn’t quite there for me.”
Of course, the seated gigs came with some benefits too: it allowed the artists to use the different atmosphere to experiment with new styles of music, like a comedian testing out fresh material. “We could try some slower stuff that doesn’t really work when you’re having to entertain people that are stood up.” It begs the question as to whether or not there is a future for this method of touring in music, having acts practice unreleased music to see how crowds react to it. “It’s a risk to do the songs that don’t have the energy, but we tried them out to try them out,” says Konny. “They’ll work better on the tour because people will have heard them but it’s like you say: just like a comedian, sometimes you’ve just gotta take the risk and test those things out.”
Children of Zeus will be heading out on their ‘Balance’ tour at the beginning of October, it comes to Peddler Warehouse in Sheffield on Friday 8th October and they’re looking forward to their return to the Steel City. “It’s always a good vibe there,” says Konny with more than a hint of excitement. “I’ve been coming to Sheffield for gigs for a long time man, and it’s a really good place for it.”
The neo-soul inspired duo will be playing of mix of old tracks with some new stuff from their 2021 LP Balance, a smooth blend of soul and hip-hop that has the same effect on your hips as a rodeo bull on the lowest setting. The outcome of the album is fantastic, but Konny doesn’t hold back on saying the process of making it wasn’t as fun as their first project. “The album before that we pretty much made together. We made the beats together, the music together, we wrote it together, recorded it together. This album was very different because last year everyone was scared of leaving the house so having a studio was out of the question,” he muses. “A lot of ideas were just half started where Tyler might have started something and say, ‘I’ve written this do you want to add to it?’ so I’d add to it and do my bit. There was a lot of it that was made without us together, which I didn’t really enjoy to be honest.”
Despite this, their sophomore album takes what makes Children of Zeus so unique and emphasises it, as their contrasting yet complementary vocal tones mix over smooth-running basslines and hip-hop drums making for a relaxed and moving listen. It’s an incredibly accessible version of rap music that people everywhere will enjoy, and Konny believes that resonates in the performances they have given recently.
I’ve been coming to Sheffield for gigs for a long time man, and it’s a really good place for it
“I had a conversation last night,” he says, “and someone said we had loads of good reviews from We Out Here festival. The thing is, We Out Here festival isn’t one for people that just wanna get wasted and listen to something; it’s for people who are really into their music so a lot of it is world music, jazz, a lot of 15-minute drum solos and some quite intense stuff, but I think what people enjoyed was at the end you had our music – it’s nothing too intense and pretty down the middle. Even when we do like drum ‘n’ bass gigs, or gigs with a lot of drill and trap, people still seem to really enjoy what we do.”
To get a taste of the latest music from Children of Zeus, catch their live show at Peddler Warehouse this month. As one final plug, Konny had this to say: “It’s up for anyone else than me to explain whether it’s enjoyable or not.” You’ve gotta love the modesty.
Children of Zeus play Peddler Warehouse in Sheffield on Friday 8th October. Tickets are available here and priced at £15(+bf) or £12(+bf) for students. Their latest album ‘Balance’ is out now on First World Records