For those who aren’t acquainted with Bong-Ra’s sound will be in for a pleasant surprise. As one of the pioneers of the Breakcore genre, Bong-Ra has managed to mix all his musical influences into a furiously energetic style. No remorse and no concession. Where other artists stick to their musical blueprint, Bong-Ra never stops the pursuit of musical development, hoping to catch his listeners off guard every single time.
Bong-Ra, Jason Köhnen’s electronic alter ego saw life in 1996. Hailing from The Netherlands, Bong-Ra initially started out as a DJ, but quickly focussed his priority on producing his own music in 1997. Djax Records signed Bong-Ra in 1998, proceeding to release the debut album ‘New Millennium Dreadz’ and the 12-inch series ‘Darkbreaks’ Volumes 1 and 2. Bong-Ra at that time was accompanied by MC Guzman on vocals.
In 2001 Clash Records (a hardcore jungle orientated 7-inch label) was set up. In that same year on the 12th of February John Peel invited Bong-Ra to do a ‘Peel Session’ which was released on UK label Deathsucker Records. Several vinyl releases followed in the period between 2001 and 2003. From 2001 to 2004 the ‘Breakcore a Go-Go!’ parties were run and organised by FFF and Bong-Ra becoming one of the first (bi) monthly regular Breakcore nights in Europe. ‘Bikini Bandits, Kill! Kill! Kill!’ the second full length album was released in 2003 on Supertracks Records. This album saw an audiovisual co-operation with US based film company Gyromart. The track ‘666MPH’ was used on the Bikini Bandits DVD and the videoclip to ‘666MPH’ aired on MTV. The Bikini Bandits audiovisual project became an exposition in the Museum of Modern Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands. That year Bong-Ra also appeared on some of Holland’s biggest Festivals : Lowlands, Metropolis and Eurosonic. Also a small UK tour with DJ Scud and Soundmurderer followed.
In 2004 Bong-Ra set up his second label Kriss Records, focussing on edgier breaks (mostly combining metal and breakbeats, releasing amongst others : Drumcorps, Scotch Egg and Venetian Snares). That same year the Center for Electronic Music (CEM) in Amsterdam asked Bong-Ra to produce a special 4 track EP solely using vintage equipment in the CEM studios, resulting in the ‘Colony of Electric Machines’ EP on the Vynalogica label. The ‘Monsters of Mash Up’ European Tour in 2005 with Shitmat (UK) and Enduser (USA) and a Japanese Tour with Parasite (UK) was followed by the third full length ‘I am the God of Hellfire’ released on Very Friendly and Ad Noiseam and the jungle/raggacore CD compilation ‘Warrior Sound’ on Supertracks (NL). In 2006 a special 4 track remix EP of Venetian Snares’ ‘Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett’ and the debut of Bong-Ra’s main side project The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble were released on Planet Mu (UK). The politically charged album ‘Soldaat van Oranje’ was released on Sublight Records (CAN). Bong-Ra returned for his second Lowlands Festival, becoming one of the highlights of the Festival (according to Dutch magazine OOR).
A second European tour and split 12-inch with Enduser ‘The Kill’ and a memorable muddy Glastonbury Festival highlighted 2007. In 2008 Bong-Ra released his 5th full album entitled ‘Full Metal Racket’ containing the 12” ‘Grindkrusher’ and ‘SickSickSick’ both released on Ad Noiseam, a 12” on Zhark Records followed entitled ‘Vitus Blister’. Bong-Ra continued his non-stop performances covering mostly all of Europe and establishing himself as one of the best performers in hardcore electronic territory. His tri-monthly events in Utrecht (Rebeltronics) and Arnhem (Megatronics) continue to flourish succesfully. A small production pause was taken during late 2008 and practically the whole of 2009 for his other important project ‘The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’. Focussing on the second full length album ‘Here Be Dragons’. Succesfully venturing into the darker side of jazz and electronica.
2010 saw a return of Bong-Ra 2.0. A new EP on Ad Noiseam entitled ‘Monster’, a 12” of the Peace Off dubstep sister label Ruff with two dubsmashers ; Megasaurus and Gargantuan! the adaptation of Hecq/Exilion’s Spheres of Fury. Also Clash Records saw light with Bong-Ra’s jungle alias Killahman Machine, releasing Clash 013.
2011 saw a 2nd US tour, this time with long time touring partner Enduser. A split 12″ was released on PRSPCT recording with The DJ Producer the first PRSPCT XTRM release, already a cult offshoot and a remix for Bristol junglists Run Tingz Crew .
Rotterdam based PRSPCT Recordings soon became Bong-Ra new homebase, releasing his 6th full length album ‘Monolith’, a grim dystopian concept album featuring rapper Sole (of Anticon fame) on vocals, it was followed by the ‘Monolith Remix’ EP with remixes by COOH, Enduser, Lowroller, Akira and DJ Skullvomit. Bong-Ra’s production flow followed with the breakcore smasher collab with Igorrr on 7″, a great music and art combo with artwork by Grindesign, who also did the artwotk for the ‘Monolith’ album.
A new project was started called ‘The Hard Way’, with Limewax and Thrasher. After a succesful tour, it was decided to jump in the studio to produce some collabs, resulting in 2 x 12″, some already classic tracks : ‘Devil Worshipping Motherfuckers’, and a soon to be released full length album in March 2014. The Hard Way tour provided a link up with Dutch hip-hoppers Dope DOD, who asked Bong-Ra to produce a track for them, resulting in ‘Deal With The Devil’ which appeared on their 2nd album ‘The Roach.
Labels (Released on):
Ad Noiseam, Bruchstellen, Cock Rock Disco, Deathsucker, DJAX, Fathme, Hydrophonic, Mashit, Planet Mu, PRSPCT, Sublight Recordings, Ruff, Russian Roulette, Soothsayer, Supertracks, Very Friendly, Violent Turd, Vynalogica, Zhark International.
Labels (Owner) :
Projects / Aliases :
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation
Deathstorm (w/ Maruosa)
The Goat of Mendes
Servants of the Apocalyptic Goat Rave (w/ Sickboy)
Wormskull (w/ Balazs Pandi and Deformer)
Giants of Husavik (w/ Maurits Westerik)
Artists played with (Selection):
Congo Natty, Knowledge & Wisdom, Shy FX, Skream, DJ Fresh, Limewax, Venetian Snares, Andy C, Goldie, Adam F, Tech Itch, Dylan, The Panacea, Aphrodite, Source Direct, Noisia, Otto von Schirach, Enduser, Shitmat, Mu-Ziq, Rotator, Tim Exile, Altern8, Squarepusher, Ceephax Acid Crew, Godflesh, Atari Teenage Riot, Mastodon, Sickboy, The Bug, King Cannibal, Broken Note, The DJ Producer, 65daysofstatic, Dalek, Hellfish, DJ Promo, Merzbow…
Glastonbury (UK), Lowlands (NL), Fusion (Germany), Bang Face Weekender (UK), Roadburn (NL), Thunderdome (NL), Mysteryland (NL), Boomtown Fair (UK), Icelandic Airwaves (Iceland), Dour (Belgium), Urban Explorers (NL), Glade (UK), Decibelio (Spain), Riddim Collision (France), Sonic Acts (NL), Resistance (Slovakia), Maschinenfest (Germany), Eurosonic/Noorderslag (NL), 5 Days Off (NL)
2003 – UK Tour w/ DJ Scud + Soundmurderer
2005 – European Tour w/ Enduser + Shitmat
2008 – Japan Tour w/ Parasite
2011 – US Tour w/ Enduser