For something started as a project between two brothers, Niko and Gino Puzio, Kougaran is a Detroit band that is on the verge of exploding into the US market. They have opened for many big national acts, thought out the years. For example, Kougaran has opened for Autograph, White Lion, Janet Gardner (Vixen fame) and Steven Adler (GNR fame). So you can see that this band has worked with some heavy hitters. With their new EP, coming out soon, this band is on that people will sit up and take notice…if they haven’t already.
Digital Beat had a chance to chat with Niko Puzio, the lead singer, and guitarist, of the band Kougaran. We were able to chat with him about the band, the name, and the new EP.
Digital Beat Magazine: Thank you for taking time, out of your busy schedule, to do this interview. I have to imagine, that your time is tied up with putting your new EP together. I would like to get some of the basic questions out of the way, if I may. I know that in the band’s bio, it mentions “…rock that sticks to its roots but has a modern twist, Kougaran has a unique Rock sound.” How would you describe the sound and/or the band to someone that is not familiar with Kougaran?
Niko Puzio: I would say it’s a true rock and roll sound. We are inspired by the golden ages of rock, but we wanted to update and modernize that sound for our generation and current times.
DBM: Can you tell our Digital Beat Reader on the origin of the name? Where did the name come from and who thought of using it as a band name?
NP: The name is a combination of things really. First off it’s based on the South African gold coin the Krugerrand which each coin is worth seven to ten thousand dollars per coin due to their rarity.
Why? well if you look in the Detroit lore, Coleman young had hundreds of them, and he tried to smuggle them over to Canada and got busted. Hence the Detroit origin, but deeper than that. A true, quality, rock and roll band is hard to find now days especially in our age group and we wanted to be the anomaly in today’s modern rock music. Golden Rock and Roll.
DBM: Who would you say are some of your biggest influences? This can be either musically or personal.
NP: Well we don’t like to define ourselves in such a specific way. I’d like to say we were inspired by the likes of Guns n Roses, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more. My personal inspirations are pretty guitar driven, from Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, Slash, Eric Johnson, Randy Rhoads, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, that list could go on too.
DBM: With the new EP coming out soon, I would like to say congratulation on that as well. Would you say, its been a long time coming? What would you say has been some challenges in either writing or recording it?
NP: I would say getting the sound right, We don’t want to sound like anyone else, but are inspired by many of the great rock bands, but being a rock and roll band in today’s climate it’s so easy to get nitpicked into a vein, especially in rock and roll. So that was the hard aspect. The writing was similar, but not as hard because we all write music and come from different points of view and hear things differently but with the same goals.
DBM: What is the process, either you or the band members, go through for writing/creating a song for an album? It is as simple as, I have an idea and let work on it or is there some other type of process involved?
NP: We go about it from many different angles. We all write so we all have songs in our arsenal. Sometimes we have partial ideas and we flesh them out together or we will jam to get the blood going and stumble upon something cool and run with it.
DBM: Are there any plans for the band to release anything soon for your fans? Or will just wait till the EP is done, before releasing anything?
NP: When the EP is done for sure, maybe some teasers on the drop of a hat to keep the audience on their toes, and singles according to what is going on in music. But nothing before the EP is ready, which is literally very soon.
DBM: Which one do you like doing the most, writing/recording process or playing live? Why?
NP: I love it all man. Music is just part of who I am and any time I get to write, record, play shows I guarantee I’m having a blast doing it. Even just doodling around on the guitar I’m loving it.
DBM: From the band’s bio, Kougaran has played in many locations, as well as playing with many national bands. For example, the band has been on the bill with Jack Russell, Lynch Mob, Autograph and Steven Adler. Do you or anyone in the band, have a favorite location or band?
NP: We love it all. We really don’t have a favorite location really, the fact that we are playing gets us going! As for bands, we love them all, but what really gets us is when other bands are awesome to us as well. For instance, our friends Autograph from the ’80s. They are great musicians and true, awesome friends.
DBM: Is there any plans for a tour this summer? Or even after the EP is released, will be something?
NP: June 28th we will be playing the Diesel Lounge with Wayland, July 27th the Wyandotte Woodstock, and we are waiting on more events while looking at a few venues we had contact with. Touring is tricky, we would love to it’ just a matter of who is willing to work with us and fans showing their support from all over the country.
DBM: If you don’t mind, I would like to change gear for a moment. I would like to ask you a few off the wall questions. The questions were originally asked by another interviewer, James Lipton of the actor studio. I am always curious about the responses to these questions. What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt?
NP: I would like maybe another art medium, painting, writing, photography, acting. Also, I love history so maybe archaeology digging around in ancient ruins. That would be cool.
DBM: What profession would you not like to do?
NP: Sit at a desk, pushing paperwork. That would really bore me to no end. I like to be hands-on with what I do, and dealing with bureaucracy or monotonous work on repeat would depress me.
DBM: What sound do you love?
NP: Nature, noncomputer based music, laughter. You know the good things in life. Hearing people express love, happiness.
DBM: What sound do you hate?
NP: Synthetic sounds, Loud construction noises. My ears are sensitive to that stuff. But I also don’t like unpleasant sounds like angry screaming fits, violence, etc.
DBM: What are your future plans?
NP: Onward and upward!! anything that can push the music in a forward direction either shows, interviews from radio or magazines, we are always writing. We like to keep things as a surprise.
DBM: Is there anything else you would say that I didn’t cover in this interview?
NP: Audiences if you wish to see us grow, come out to the shows. Support the music, share and follow our social media with your friends. The more support we have the more we can do!! We don’t like to be limited by numbers and algorithms so the bigger those get the more we can do and give back to you all tenfold with love.
DBM: Thank you for your time and for doing this interview. Good luck with the EP and your future plans.