Knowmads - Album Release


KnowMads have been a staple in the Seattle music scene for almost a decade. Following the conscious wave of “Seattle hip hop” created by the likes of Blue Scholars and Macklemore, KnowMads found their own local success in their teens and went on to tackle major Northwest festivals, Bumbershoot and Sasquatch, where they drew thousands of supporters. KnowMads are truly independent, without representation from a label, management or booking agency and yet they have still managed to amass over 75,000 monthly Spotify listeners and a diehard fan base that continues to grow with each successive release. Years of unflinching dedication to their art granted KnowMads the opportunity to tour over 25 cities last year, including 8 shows in Europe, bringing their live show to their now international fan base, from London to Berlin.

This Fall, KnowMads will be touring across the United States, showcasing their new album Complex Animals, which is slated to release on October 12th, 2018. Complex Animals, has a "West Coast Dilla vibe," as KnowMads' long-time producer, Jester, puts it and the project is laced with a sound balance of storytelling and punchlines, reminiscent of Blu and J. Cole. It's for the hip hop believer, who feeds off their headphones and listens to their favorite classic albums, regardless of the trends. In a generation looking at their phones for answers, KnowMads are on a mission to raise society’s self-awareness through their practical wisdom, humor and social critique.

Tom Pepe and Tom Wilson went to rival high schools in Seattle where their infamous rap battles during football games were often more of a spectacle than the game itself. Wilson had a makeshift studio in his attic where they recorded their first songs at age 15. “We used to take the metro bus around the city, traveling from place to place,” recalls Wilson. “We were nomadic in the sense that we were always on the go, yet felt at home wherever we were…as long as we were performing and creating music.”

They released their first album, self-titled KnowMads, as juniors in high school and followed up with their 2009 LP, SEATTLE, selling over 2000 copies and creating a global awareness that follows them to this day. Their third LP, 2012’s The Knewbook, landed at #7 on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts, solidifying their grassroots movement. Their significant online presence brought forth opportunities to open for Macklemore, Chance The Rapper and landed them slots at major music festivals such as Bumbershoot and Sasquatch! Their live performances have brought them up and down the West Coast, from Vancouver to Los Angeles, where they now reside.

Their current release, Knew School, represents their migration, not only to Los Angeles, but also into the mainstream music industry. Producer Peter Lee Johnson (Atlantic Records) was brought on board to lend his classically trained ear and experience to the project. The process began with Johnson sending the duo loops, which they would play endlessly, working together to determine themes based on the feeling of the tracks. Knew School was conceptualized around their formative high school days, but laced with broader themes and life lessons, which emerged in the succeeding years.

KnowMads have a synergy that can only come with a decade’s worth of writing and performing together. Their sound encompasses two unique personalities and tones, but the message of their music has one voice. “Our fans often tell us they feel like we put their thoughts into words," Pepe says. "It makes us realize how universal our message is. We've created a cultural outlet for those who don’t feel they have a culture to connect to.”

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