Gym Class Heroes:
While the band was getting ready for the show, we were fortunate enough to talk to Disashi Lumumba–Kasongo which does lead guitar and vocals for Gym Class Heroes.
Me: Welcome to Houston
Diashi: Thanks, I was born here
Me: Oh really, what part are you from?
Disashi: I don’t remember (since) I was only here for about a year.
Me: Well that still counts
Disashi: Yeah, (chuckle) I’ll take it.
Me: When did you join the band?
Disashi: I joined the band actually before “The Papercut Chronicles,” was released. The day I joined the band we actually wrote “Cupid’s Chokehold,” so it was kind of crazy.
Me: Well that makes me think you are the mastermind behind the song then.
Disashi: (Chuckles) Yeah well… No Comment.
Me: Well the new album which came out last year is the second part to (The Papercut Chronicles). What is different about this one from the first album?
Disashi: The big differences are that we have just grown as individuals and have had a lot of different experiences you know between the time that the album was written and now. Our band has grown in so many ways just in terms of our, I guess popularity. People know about us a lot more. We have all had different family experiences. I am married now and a couple of us have kids you know. Just life has happened. We’ve gotten a lot of new musical inspirations along the way and all of that has made its way into influencing the sound of the new record.
Me: Since you have been with the band in the beginning you saw the rise compared to some bands out there, it was quick. How did that feel?
Disashi: Well even though it was quick in a sense it always felt pretty gradual because we started out in a fifteen passenger van just touring around the country for two or three years straight without any specific mainstream success. Just playing clubs, opening up for whoever we could open up for, punk bands, and hip-hop bands, whoever you know would listen. By the time that “Cupid’s Chokehold,” finally got recognized by MTV and radio stations and stuff like that we’ve been doing it for what felt like a chunk of time for us. The once that happened things really escalated at a quick rate like you were saying. I remember, I think it was December, we were off tour. It was rare for us to be on tour at that time but I think we had a couple of weeks off or something and I remember I wasn’t responding back to any phone calls or anything you know. One day I checked my messages and it would be like, “Oh my god! I saw you guys on MTV and you are on number twenty on the TRL countdown.” Then the next time it would be like a different friend, “Oh my god! I just saw you on MTV, you guys are like number fifteen on the countdown.” I wasn’t even watching TV at the time so I was just like holy crap; I think our band is getting big.
Me: That is a great surprise.
Disashi: Yeah it was pretty cool. It was definitely a whirlwind at the time because it was such a new experience and then there were so many experiences at the same time, and it was tough to take it all in. Now I think my perspective has changed a lot so even though we are going a lot through the same experiences, we are fortunate enough that people still care about our band. It’s not as much of a whirlwind, and I am able to take each day as it comes. After six or seven years of a whirlwind to stop and all of a sudden, at least for me I was like holy crap, there is a just emotion that I have never even dealt with six years ago, and so many experience we have gone through that haven’t even sunk in.
Me: For the album, “The Quilt,” you guys collaborated with a lot of people and now Adam Levine how was that?
Disashi: It was awesome. I wasn’t there when he recorded the song its self but the first day that we were rehearsing for, “Stereo Heart,” we hadn’t played a show in a good chunk of time so we rented out a rehearsing studio in California. We were like, “Alright, lets practice the song, we have to practice since it’s the first single.” We started playing the song for the first time and unbeknownst to us or Adam Levine apparently we were both in the same rehearsal space. He was filming for “The Voice,” his show. So we start playing the song and then all of sudden, I guess Adam and his people were there and they were like, “Is that ‘Stereo Hearts,’ playing right now?” So we were playing the song and we get to the chorus Adam Levine just bursts through the door and just picks up the mic and starts wailing the chorus.
Me: Was the sun beaming behind him with his long hair blowing?
Disashi: He had a cape on in my recollection. That’s how I remember it.
Me: Was the original chorus that he sang the one that is in the song or was there some re-writing from that time?
Disashi: No, we kept it. Originally there was a reference of vocals to I think here was a reference ng one that ugh to l in. of the were off gettingBenny Blanco’s friends or his associates and Adam just went in there and sang pretty much the same thing and just added his flare to it.
Me: Milo left the band and made Ra Ra Riot, have you guys ever played with them?
Disashi: No, I don’t believe we have. I don’t think so.
Me: That would be cool.
Disashi: Yeah it would. Actually, I remember when I was joining the band, Milo was really cool, he wrote out all of the tabs for stuff that he had written and was just like, “Hey man here is the stuff. If you have any questions let me know.” He was really cool about it. It was a really amicable kind of thing because there was no before anything weird.
Me: Yeah, well that is the awkwardness that some bands have the whole break up and then the comeback. Like the Hiatus that you guys had, there were so many rumors going around.
Disashi: Well Travis was doing his stuff and I think that it spawned a lot of talk about Gym Class Heroes being broken up, which we weren’t. The rest of us were always working on music for,” The Papercut Chronicles II,” while all of that was going on and then eventually after that we got the lyrics in tune so we have been working on that album for a long time. We do these things where we would be in a studio and we would be on a webcam and talking with kids on the internet live saying, “We are in the studio. Bla Bla Bla,” and then like I’d go on twitter and see, “Gym Class Heroes is still broken up.” (Chuckles) We were just in the studio, we are here right now.
Me: We all heard those rumors. I mean when a band leave on bad terms it everywhere. They wouldn’t call it a hiatus; they would call it a break up. You have done about a million Warped Tours.
Disashi: Almost a million.
Me: Well are guys going to be doing a million and one?
Disashi: You never know. Right now we don’t have any specific plans of doing Warped Tour but it’s one of those things were the possibly is never completely gone.
Me: Well in 2008 you guys played with Paramore, who would you like to play with, not just at a Warped Tour but in a general tour.
Disashi: I would actually like to do a tour with Paramore in general. I love them and their music. I would love to tour with Radiohead. (Chuckles)
Me: Is that what is on your playlist right now? Radiohead?
Disashi: Right now I went back and started listening to, “The Dreams,” first record. It’s really good.
Me: I have been stuck on New Order.
Disashi: We are playing with New Order in Australia. One of the festivals over there.
Me: I know all of you guys bring different genres to your music. What do you think your genre is?
Disashi: I would go with Classic rock. That vibe, just guitar and rock and roll.
Me: Well what kind of guitar, crazy shredder?
Disashi: There are all kind of shredders like metal.
Me: Well you guys have all the genres in your albums.
Disashi: I think that is just a part of what it means to be in our band. We are lucky enough that our band is not limited to one kind of thing because I think as an artist that could get boring.
Me: That adds to your mass appeal also. Where are you guys going to play next?
Disashi: We are going to be at the NBA all-star game.
Me: So watch that got it.
Disashi: I don’t know if our performance is going to be televised or not but we are going to be performing for it. Then we are going to be doing a lot of college tour dates in march. That’s the month we are going to be in right?
Me: Yeah. Sure.
Disashi: 2012 right?
Me: Yeah. No other dates then?
Disashi: Aside from the one in Australia there is nothing specific but you know the door is always open,
Me: And you guys are Gym Class Heroes, you can book whenever you want. (Chuckle)
Disashi: Yeah, we do whatever we want. (Laugh)
Me: Thanks so much for your time
Disashi: Yeah. Thanks. Weles or tours then?
for it. Then we are goin g text?
ats eagerly anticipating the band. enter. mber from