Childhood friends Angelo Mammone and Christian Steenken shared a lot of common ground from the start. Born and bred in Brake, a small German town with wide fields and long beaches on the coast of the North Sea, their taste in music was very similar as well. One particular band that left their mark on them was an import from Seattle. Angelo has a vivid memory of standing on the dance floor at a school party, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ ripping through the speakers, everyone around him moshing to it. “It blew my mind. I get goosebumps even now.”
If that party couldn’t inspire budding teenage rockstars to put their first band together, then nothing would. For Angelo and Christian, it was an alternative rock outfit called Promises!Promises! that was subsequently signed by Rodeostar/Edel Music, a Hamburg indie label. What’s interesting about their impassioned album ‘Re-Offender’ is that behind its recognisable high-octane pop-punk associated with the post-grunge era, the band also points at the same emotional truth that would later become JONAH’s stylistic trademark.
After being commissioned to write the soundtrack and the title song ‘Deep Deep Blue’ for the German feature film ‘Nirgendwo’, Angelo and Christian were signed by Embassy of Music. By the time ‘All We Are’ off their much lauded debut album ‘Wicked Fever’ was placed on a Vodafone advert, it was obvious their transition from pop-punk to melodic, dream pop and no-frills guitar and vocal arrangement had opened up a whole lot of creative possibilities. ‘‘Limitations also have great chances. You can go in different directions,” Angelo points out. Their 2021 single ‘Fallin’ was released together with a music video, a collaborative project between Angelo, Christian, and the L.A. based choreographer Mike Tyus.
Since then, they have also discovered their own style of working in the studio; extended jamming sessions that steer well clear of established song structures – topline, chorus, verse – and focus on playing together for hours, recording everything, and then listening, until a little gem of an idea floats to the surface. “Picking up 10 seconds that touches us and feels special,” Christian describes. “It’s all about that special moment.”
What’s more, their free flowing collaboration isn’t limited to the studio. Taking an active role in the entire creative process from the graphic design of the artwork to the art direction of their music videos, Angelo and Christian are keeping the DIY spirit alive. Whatever the future holds for Angelo and Christian, one constant element will stay at the centre. “Being creative. Making music you love to put out,” Christian says without missing a beat. “The importance is that you are happy with what you do.”
“Through gorgeous instrumentation and their own mesmerizing, lush vocal work, JONAH weave a world of wonder.” (Atwood Magazine)
“A perfectly mixed cocktail of soft guitar strings and warm synth pads.” (Wonderland Magazine)