The Kobolds
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The Kobolds

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Flashing their Riffs"

Young residents of Queens are starved for a music scene to call their own. They search the streets of Astoria and LIC while some even cross over to that other borough, Brooklyn, for their audio fix.

But the times, we hope, might actually be changing. While a few singer-songwriters have made the rounds up and down the coffee shops and watering holes of Queens West, very few bands have formed in, and toured around, this borough.

At least one band might be on the verge of altering that trend. The Kobolds, a quartet consisting of three former Texans and one New Yorker, released their first EP earlier this year and are now taking their brand of music to the people.

“Our music scene here in Queens seems to crossover a lot with Manhattan,” said Alex Grau, bassist for The Kobolds. “We want to go everywhere.”

The Kobolds formed when Nicholas DiMichele, Spencer Synwolt and Grau left their native Texas for the city, where they found drummer Andrew Benson working at a local music store.

“We started playing together regularly and we were really digging what we were creating,” said Benson. “Once Spencer arrived, the band became complete and we began to develop our sound and discover our direction.”

Their sound seems to recall many different genres of music and is hard to pigeonhole into one category. It’s a spacey, funky, alternative rock with thoughtful lyrics and a landscape of sound that delivers unexpected turns and very few clichés.

On “Waiting,” from their self-titled debut EP, the band slow burns a groove, until the chorus hits with a rock hook ensuring that “this city has an iron jaw/it protects us all.” While on “Quest,” the band displays a guitar-driven swagger that one believes would sound many times raunchier when played live.

The band themselves have a difficult time trying to label their music, tending instead to either avoid doing so or making up genres completely.

“Someone asked me that same thing the other day and I was stumbling, like I didn’t know exactly what I should say,” said vocalist and guitarist DiMichele. “I kind of wound up saying that it’s just like ‘quirky rock’ or just ‘Quirk-Rock,’ as I just decided right now.”

DiMichele, and the rest of the band, believes that this ambiguity allows them to pull from many different influences and also attracts the attention of music fans who tend to stray beyond the usual avenues.

“We’re not really a cookie-cutter rock band. I’d like to think fans of any genre can get stuff out of our music,” he said. “That ambiguity really allows us to bring ourselves to the music and pull from a large pool of musical heritage.”

Guitarist Synwolt said that he’s proud of the band having its own sound, much in the way some of the more successful acts in the history of music also have a sound to call their own.

While ignoring genres for the most part, the band focuses its attention on expanding the music scene of LIC and the surrounding areas. They recently hosted a soon-to-be monthly rock showcase event called KOBO-KON!: A Night of Awesome Music in the city’s Ace of Clubs. What made this gig unique was that it featured an all-Queens West lineup; The Kobolds closed the show with bands The Astor Kings and Hypodive opening.

“It was a huge success,” said Benson. “Our friends, The Astor Kings and Hypodive, came out with us and just blew the doors off the club.”

Along with that monthly event, The Kobolds will kick off a monthly gig at LIC’s Wunderbar with a free show on October 9. Other shows are in the works; check out for details on all their upcoming shows, as well as music clips, videos, blogs and merchandise. The Kobolds can also be found on Facebook at - Queens Courier


The Kobolds EP (2010)
5 Tracks, Streaming at Available on iTunes.

The Kobolds EP II (To be released December, 2010)
5 Tracks; Coming Soon. Recording Now at Rough Magic Studios, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.



The Kobolds are a New York, NY rock band with a home-base in Astoria, Queens.

Influences include Gorillaz, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, the Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Nicholas DiMichele and Alex Grau started playing together at the age of 16 in College Station, TX as Mercury Falls. Several years later, Spencer Synwolt joined their musical ventures rounded by a steady rotation of ragtag drummers to form The Flying Trees. Nick and Alex moved to New York to attend NYU, searching for a solid drummer for almost a year before stumbling upon Andrew Benson at Guitar Center. Soon after, Spencer moved North to join the team, and The Kobolds were born in 2009.