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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", has been certified platinum in the US[1] and reached #1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart on 20 August 2016.[2] KALEO received a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Rock Performance for the song "No Good."[3]

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

Led by frontman / songwriter JJ Julius Son - KALEO has quickly risen to the upper ranks of contemporary alternative rock with the global success of their 2016 breakthrough album, A/B. Recorded in Nashville alongside acclaimed producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, James Bay), with additional contributions from Mike Crossey, Arnar Guðjónsson and the band, A/B went on to be certified Gold in the U.S. with its trio of hit singles - the chart-topping, Platinum-certified “Way Down We Go,” Gold-certified follow-up “All The Pretty Girls”, and Grammy-nominated “No Good” - garnering both commercial success and critical acclaim. Known for their electrifying live performances, KALEO completely sold out their first U.S. headline tour and was a standout at high profile music festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. Amassing over 820 million global streams, 27 international certifications, and countless sold out headline shows spanning London to Moscow, KALEO has proven to be a worldwide phenomenon. With the band recently wrapping up their nearly non-stop touring schedule in support of A/B over the past 2+ years, Julius Son has returned to the studio and is currently working on the much anticipated follow-up, due out in 2019.[4]



2012–2013: Early years and self-titled album KALEOEdit

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.[5] 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.[6] 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 largest record label. Their self-titled debut went gold in their home country, spawning five number one hits and inspiring their first European tour.[7]

2013–present: Major label record deal, departure to America, A/B and touringEdit

In 2014, the band gained further attention with their single "All the Pretty Girls", which garnered over 87 million streams on Spotify.[8] In early 2015, they signed with Atlantic Records[9] and subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas.[10] 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"[11] 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.[12]

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 is 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.[13] The fourth single, "I Can't Go On Without You," was released on February 18, 2016.[14] The album was released worldwide later that year on June 10, 2016.[15]

The album peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200,[16] and the band embarked on a tour, the Handprint Tour,[17] 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,[18] which started on August 25, 2017 in Anaheim, California and ended on November 25 in Moscow, Russia.

Musical styleEdit

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 appearancesEdit

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[19] and in the second trailer for the film Logan.

Video game appearancesEdit

Two of the group's songs, "Hot Blood" and "No Good", were featured in the 2018 video game Far Cry 5.[20]


The band is made up of:[21]

  • JJ Julius Son – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
  • Rubin Pollock – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Daníel Ægir Kristjánsson – bass, keyboard[22][23]
  • Davíð Antonsson – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson – harmonica, bongos, keyboard[24]



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 videosEdit

Title Year Director(s)
"Vor í Vaglaskógi" 2013 Baldvin Vernharðsson, Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[42]
"Rock n' Roller"" Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[43]
"All The Pretty Girls" 2014 Baldvin Vernharðson, Davíð Antonsson Crivello, Pétur Már Pétursson[44]
"Way Down We Go" 2016 Shaun Silva[45]
"No Good" Hörður Freyr Brynjarsson[46]


  • No Good
- Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance


  • Opened for Vance Joy in Autumn 2015.[47]
  • SXSW 2015 – Debut included performances at Pandora’s Discovery Den, KGSR, Neiman Marcus Make Some Noise, and more.[48]
  • 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.[28]


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