Globetrotting Texan trio KHRUANGBIN is formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums; Khruangbin’s sounds are rooted in the deepest waters of world music infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia.
Their 2015 debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ was heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearsal in the Texan countryside. Their most recent album, ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ takes inspiration not just from South East Asia but similarly underdiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran. ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ is in part dedicated to Laura Lee’s Mexican-American grandfather, a formative influence on the bassist. She says, “My grandpa would always ask me ‘Cómo me quieres?’ (how much do you love me?) And he’d only ever accept one response: ‘Con todo el mundo’ (with all the world)”.
The trio’s diverse backgrounds aligned with a shared worldview and passion are at the heart of what makes Khruangbin tick. Their desire in representing international culture is notable given the climate and agenda in certain areas of the US. Throughout ‘Con Todo El Mundo’, Laura Lee’s melodic low-end theory, Mark’s lyrical, free-role guitar lines, and DJ’s ever-steady, ever-ready backbeat form something greater than their parts. A statement that crosses languages, ages, cultures and borders.
Since the release of The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin have spent the past two years playing non-stop worldwide. The band’s live history ranges from a European tour with Father John Misty to supporting Tycho on a US tour, a string of festival dates including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, ACL, Outside Lands, Desert Dazed, SXSW as well as extended headline excursions. In a nod to their travels, Laura and Mark have been presenting a weekly “AirKhruang” DJ set live each Friday on their Facebook page, where the pair play a selection of music by artists from a particular city. They also hold a monthly NTS radio show called “Cabin Pressure”.
A vibe-synchronous soul-unit travelling the planet, honing their craft, absorbing the sights, sounds and feels from cultures across the globe, processing them through the Khruangbin filter and gifting the result back…with all the world.