Kaleo (band)

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OriginMosfellsbær, Iceland
Years active2012 (2012)–present
MembersJJ Julius Son
David Antonsson
Daniel Kristjansson
Rubin Pollock
Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson

Kaleo (stylized as 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 one million albums worldwide. One of the singles from A/B, "Way Down We Go", was certified platinum in the US[1] and reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart on 20 August 2016.[2] Kaleo received a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Rock Performance for the song "No Good".[3]

JJ Julius Son is currently working on the follow-up to A/B, due out in 2020.[4]


2012–2013: Early years and self-titled album[edit]

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.[4] KALEO gained fame after covering the song "Vor í Vaglaskógi" which received heavy rotation on Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV's radio station Rás 2 and was featured on the station's top 10 list.[5] 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 main record label. Their self-titled debut went gold in their home country, spawning five number one hits and inspiring their first European tour.[6]

2013–present: Major label record deal, departure to America, A/B and touring[edit]

In 2014, the band gained further attention with their single "All the Pretty Girls", which garnered over 87 million streams on Spotify.[7] In early 2015, they signed with Atlantic Records[8] and subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas.[9] Throughout 2015, KALEO received 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"[10] 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.[11]

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 was certified gold in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa and Germany, Platinum in Russia, Australia and the United States, and triple platinum in Canada. The single "No Good" was released shortly after and was featured in the promo for HBO's Vinyl.[12] The fourth single, "I Can't Go On Without You", was released on February 18, 2016.[13] The album was released worldwide later that year on June 10, 2016.[14]

The album peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200,[15] and the band embarked on a tour, the Handprint Tour,[16] in order to promote it. The tour began on September 11, 2016 and concluded on November 30, 2016. The band embarked on a second tour, the fall Express Tour,[17] which started on August 25, 2017 in Anaheim, California and ended on November 25 in Moscow, Russia.

Musical style[edit]

KALEO's music is influenced by folk and blues. Their blues influences are mainly drawn from delta blues, which was the target for some of the heavier songs in their album A/B. Their music prominently features a distinctive resonator sound.

Television appearances[edit]

The group has made multiple appearances on late night television shows including Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Late Night with Seth Meyers.[citation needed] Their songs have been heard on many other television shows including Orange Is the New Black, Blindspot, Suits, Vinyl, Grey's Anatomy, Riverdale, Empire, The Leftovers, Frequency, Supergirl, Lucifer, Longmire, The Vampire Diaries, Frontier, The Blacklist and The Good Fight. "Way Down We Go" was featured in a no7 Skincare ad in the UK[18] and in the second trailer for the film Logan.

Video game appearances[edit]

Two of the group's songs, "Hot Blood" and "No Good", were featured in the 2018 video game Far Cry 5.[19]


The band is made up of:[20]

  • JJ Julius Son – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
  • Rubin Pollock – lead guitar
  • Daníel Ægir Kristjánsson – bass, keyboard[21][22]
  • Davíð Antonsson – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson – harmonica, bongos, keyboard[23]



Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
  • Released: November 15, 2013
  • Label: Sena
  • Released: June 10, 2016
  • Label: Elektra
9 16
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


Rock Air.


"Vor í Vaglaskógi" 2013 KALEO
"Rock n' Roller"
"Glass House"
"Broken Bones"
"I Walk On Water" 2014
"All the Pretty Girls" [A] 17 31 24 A/B
"No Good" 2015 7 23
"Way Down We Go" 2016 30 8 60 8 4 6 54 1 1 5
"I Can't Go On Without You"

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"Vor í Vaglaskógi" 2013 Baldvin Vernharðsson, Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[41]
"Rock n' Roller"" Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[42]
"All The Pretty Girls" 2014 Baldvin Vernharðson, Davíð Antonsson Crivello, Pétur Már Pétursson[43]
"Way Down We Go" 2016 Shaun Silva[44]
"No Good" Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[45]


  • No Good
- Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance


  • Opened for Vance Joy in Autumn 2015.[46]
  • SXSW 2015 – Debut included performances at Pandora’s Discovery Den, KGSR, Neiman Marcus Make Some Noise, and more.[47]
  • 2016 – Byron Bay Bluesfest
  • 2016 – "Way Down We Go" Tour ft. "Dizzy" Daniel Moorehead
  • 2016–2017 – KALEO Handprint Tour
  • 2017 – Opened for The Lumineers Cleopatra Tour
  • 2017.09.09 – Opened for The Rolling Stones (in Hamburg)
  • 2017 – KALEO Express Tour


  1. ^ "All the Pretty Girls" did not enter the Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 30 on the Flemish Ultratip chart.[27]


  1. ^ a b c "Gold & Platinum: KALEO - RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  2. ^ "Kaleo Earns First Alternative Songs No. 1 with 'Way Down We Go'". Billboard. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Kaleo". GRAMMY.com. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b "ABOUT KALEO". officialkaleo.com. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  5. ^ Review, Iceland (10 July 2013). "Top 10 in Iceland".
  6. ^ "KALEO - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  7. ^ "All The Pretty Girls". 20 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Atlantic Records KALEO". Atlantic Records Official Website.
  9. ^ Band Puts Down American Roots in Austin[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Esquire: 40 Bands You Need to Hear[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Alternative Music: Top Alternative Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Single Review: 'No Good' by Kaleo". The Music Enthusiast - Dallas Music Blog. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  13. ^ "WORLD PREMIERE: Kaleo "I Can't Go On Without You"". Retrieved 2 June 2019 – via teamcoco.com.
  14. ^ "Announcing our debut album A/B - KALEO Official Blog". KALEO Official Website. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Kaleo Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Kaleo Schedules Show At Fonda Theatre". The Scenestar. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  17. ^ "KALEO Express Fall 2017 Tour Announcement - KALEO Official Blog". KALEO Official Website. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Boots No7 Commercial Song by KALEO". tvadvertsongs.com. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  19. ^ "Radio Song and Soundtrack List for Far Cry 5". Shacknews. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  20. ^ IcelandMusic: KALEO biography Archived 2014-05-20 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ reveamourpaix (29 April 2017). "Kaleo - Glass House // Rock 'n' Roller; JJ: "Danny's getting married in Maui 2 days"" – via YouTube.
  22. ^ Kaleo. "#Kaleo #ExpressTourpic.twitter.com/9doWQLyQWw".
  23. ^ KALEO - Last Call with Carson Daly - Best Audio - November 6, 2017 - YouTube
  24. ^ "Chart History: Germany Albums". www.billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Chart History: Billboard 200". www.billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  26. ^ "DJ Khaled Debuts at No. 1". ARIA Charts. 6 May 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  27. ^ a b "Discografie Kaleo". ultratop.be (in Dutch). Switzerland. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "Kaleo – Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  29. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 12, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  30. ^ "Chart History: Germany Songs". www.billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Kaleo – Chart history (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  32. ^ "Kaleo – Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  33. ^ "Chart History: Rock Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Chart History: Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  35. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #434". auspOp. August 19, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  36. ^ "Gold & Platinum".
  37. ^ "Music Canada: Gold/Platinum". www.musiccanada.com. Music Canada. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  39. ^ "granted in 2017".
  40. ^ "Kaleo: Way Down We Go". www.bpi.co.uk. BPI. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  41. ^ "KALEO - Vor í Vaglaskógi (official video)". www.youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  42. ^ "KALEO - Rock 'n' Roller (Official Video)". www.youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  43. ^ "KALEO - All The Pretty Girls (Official Video)". www.youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  44. ^ "KALEO WAY DOWN WE GO". www.tackleboxfilms.com. Tacklebox Films. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  45. ^ "KALEO - No Good (Official Video)". www.youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  46. ^ Tour History from 2014 – 2015 – KALEO Past Tour Dates/June 29, 2015/Bandsintown.com/Bandsintown Archived June 16, 2016, at Archive.today
  47. ^ "Atlantic Records Recent Articles". Atlantic Records Official Website.