Best known for their ability to transform current dance, hip-hop, oldies, and even jazz hits with a sound totally their own, the guys of StellarMojo have been drawing massive crowds to the county’s preferred hotspots since their very first days back in January of 2008.
Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, John King, was instrumental in forming the band and traces his music roots all the way back to “the shower”. King, better known as “Kinger” by friends and fans of the band, jokes that he, like so many others, absolutely loved singing in the shower. His dream to translate this love into a formal career became a reality when he and percussionist Mike Dempsey decided to join forces. Dempsey has been honing his drumming skills since his high school days, and his bold percussions serve as the backbone to the band’s varied repertoire.
Jon Katity, a modern jazz enthusiast, serves as StellarMojo’s second vocalist and guitarist. He is responsible for the band’s incorporation of jazz infused sounds and songs into their rock and pop-heavy setlist. His unique and soulful vocals add a great deal of range to the songs which StellarMojo can perform, but his voice also harmonizes amazingly well with that of lead vocalist King.
Joe Blong rounds out StellarMojo’s sound on the bass. Blong is a seasoned and well-respected bassist with over 25 years of experience. He has even played behind the likes of internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist and Cape May County favorite Frank Bey. The band’s fifth and final member is Donald Rowell who plays keys and assists on vocals from time to time throughout StellarMojo’s performances. StellarMojo’s sound engineer, Allen Rodgers, is “one of our biggest success pieces,” states King. Rodgers has “an incredible ear” and “somehow makes our unique sound make sense,” he explains. An added bonus, Rodgers can also “shred on the drums”. King states that StellarMojo’s current members just happened to “gravitate” toward one another as active members of the local music scene. Cape May County is surely happy that they did so.
Every time this band performs, “we throw a party,” explains King. It is difficult for the band to describe their “sound” in a few words, as they are constantly changing up their set list and giving new genres a try. Over their history, “we’ve probably tried about 1000 songs,” he explains. “We like to wait and see whether we feel the vibe or not and how the crowd reacts to new things we’re trying out.”
One of StellarMojo’s most memorable career performances was their opening set for the Dave Matthews Band at the Wells Fargo Center about three years ago. Not only was the band able to meet Matthews and get the full behind-the-scenes treatment, but they were also able to view DMB’s full performance from just a few feet away back stage. King, who “grew up listening to Dave”, cites the band as one of his all-time favorites. Though the band’s Cape May County connections remain strong, StellarMojo has performed throughout the U.S., and has particularly great memories of this past New Year’s Eve show at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West, Florida. When we caught up with them, they were gearing up for a gig in Boston at The Harp.
While the guys have rocked their fair share of large crowds at major venues, King says that he actually tends to get “more nervous” about the band’s smaller shows. The smaller the crowd, the easier it is to read their reactions and the more pressure there is to bring the party. Ultimately, “we get excited about all of our gigs,” he finishes. The best part about performing for our local Cape May County crowds for StellarMojo is absolutely the support and the hometown love that the band members feel.
For a taste of just how StellarMojo always manages to get local crowds “hyped up”, catch one of their performances at a variety of venues including Westy’s Irish Pub, The Crab House at Two Mile Landing, The Wharf and more. For more information, show times and a schedule of all upcoming performances, check out StellarMojo’s website at http://www.stellarmojo.com.