by Katie Christy
On New Year’s Eve in 2015, Vintana Wine & Dine in Escondido had a problem—its main act was unable to appear. Jon Campos, a usual performer at the venue, slipped into the open spot. At the last minute, Jon pieced together a band to perform with him, with James Raub on drums and Drew Gino Zollo on bass. Thus, Jon Campos and The Incurables was born.
Recording at Studio West
At the time, Jon was working on a solo acoustic project at Studio West. After New Year’s Eve with the band’s spontaneous formation, however, Jon and the band stuck together to take his acoustic work one step further and finish off the EP, Tragic Tales and Lullabies. They recorded with Studio West engineers Henrique Landim and Daniel Bourget, and with multi-Grammy award nominee Marc Desisto, from Capitol Records, as producer.
“The rooms at Studio West are amazing,” Jon says. “If I could live in a studio, I would. I love being around that gear and seeing all the things it can do. It just helps with creativity, being in that environment and being able to focus on the performance aspect of it.”
The Current Line Up
Currently the band’s line up features Jon on guitar and Rene Almaraz on drums; the duo is actively seeking a bass player. Even though the members may change the main goal of Jon’s music stays the same.
“I tell stories about life, the struggle that we go through as people—the human condition,” Jon says. “Sometimes I write about social issues too, considering what’s been going on in the world right now, especially in the United States.”
In the past, Jon didn’t write love songs, but that changed in March, 2014, when Jon met his wife, Kim, through mutual friend (and Jon’s former band member) Jef Poremba. “I went to see Jef play, “recounts Kim, “and there was a guy at the bar looking at me. I walked over and introduced myself, and we chatted somewhat uncomfortably. Then Jef came over and said, ‘I see you’ve met my singer, Jon,’” Kim says, laughing. Jon and Kim had their first date a week later, and they never looked back.
Kim’s influence can be heard on Tragic Tales and Lullabies. “There are a couple love songs on there, and I don’t normally write those, but I did because I met an amazing person, ” Jon says. “Kim gives me a lot of inspiration.”
High School Choir Teacher
Another inspirational figure in Campos’s life is his high school choir teacher, Chester Imhausen. In the ninth grade, Mr. Imhausen bribed him to join choir by promising Campos a solo in the spring show if he made the choir. Accepting the challenge, Campos joined his school choir and ever since has been close with and mentored by his former teacher.
Chester is surely proud that Jon has come a long way since high school. Jon’s band recently won three medals at the Global Music Awards, and their music video for Tragic Tales and Lullabies was nominated for Best Music Video for the San Diego Film Awards. Some critics have even compared Campos’s voice to the likes of Chris Cornell and Ronnie James Dio.
Travel and Opportunities
Despite his awards and nominations, Jon believes his greatest achievement so far in his career is the opportunity music has given him to travel the United States and the world. “The greatest achievement is being able to tour and see other places and cultures. For me, it’s meeting other people and different cultures.”
Jon’s already working on his next EP. “I have some songs that are groove oriented but I don’t know if it’s going to go that direction or not,” he says. “I have to be true to myself as an artist.”