At the close of 2012, DENGUE FEVER (www.denguefevermusic.com), a band widely recognized for its trademark blend of 60’s Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock, proudly announced the launch of its homegrown label, TUK TUK Records. The band’s newly established independence marks yet another chapter in the continual evolution of a group unlike many in the Los Angeles music scene. Read More...
At the close of 2012, DENGUE FEVER (www.denguefevermusic.com), a band widely recognized for its trademark blend of 60’s Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock, proudly announced the launch of its homegrown label, TUK TUK Records. The band’s newly established independence marks yet another chapter in the continual evolution of a group unlike many in the Los Angeles music scene.
Currently in the studio recording tracks for their next release, DENGUE FEVER launched TUK TUK to release their back catalog, potential solo music from its band members, and previously released but long out-of-print music related to each band member. Their first two releases included their long out-of-print eponymous debut (2003) and its critically acclaimed sophomore follow-up, Escape from Dragon House (2005). Amazon.com named Dragon House the #1 int’l release for 2005, and Mojo magazine named it in their Top 10 World Music releases of 2006. Each album has been expanded into digital deluxe editions with rare and unreleased bonus tracks from the band’s archives.
Eminent musicians from around the world took notice of the band’s rise over their first half-decade. In 2008, Real World Records Founder and musician, Peter Gabriel, licensed their third release, Venus on Earth, for the world and noted, “They’re California-based but have taken ‘60’s Cambodian pop as their main source of inspiration and it’s done with style. Its spirited, impassioned.” More kudos came from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett who handpicked the band’s song “One Thousand Tears of A Tarantula” from Dragon House for his Rolling Stone magazine ‘Best Music Of The Decade’ ballot – as the second best song of the entire decade. International touring transpired quickly after the release of Venus including an inspired two-song set on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland show (2009) followed by on-air praise from Ray Davies of the Kinks. Davies likened them to “….a cross between Led Zeppelin and Blondie. And I should know, I toured with both of them.”
DENGUE FEVER’s latest release, Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group), was released in April 2011. Their latest record moved the needle yet again with the band performing live for the first time ever, in France, Mexico and Brazil. Today, only two continents (Africa and Antarctica) have yet to host a DENGUE FEVER performance.
But it wasn’t always this easy for DENGUE FEVER. The roots of the band began in the late 1990’s with a 6-month trek through Southeast Asia by Keyboardist Ethan Holtzman. Returning to Los Angeles with a suitcase crammed full of Cambodian cassette tapes, Holtzman and his brother Zac, who had discovered the same music while living in San Francisco, reunited. The brothers soon bonded over their love of vintage Cambodian rock and in 2002 founded the band with saxophonist, David Ralicke; drummer, Paul Dreux Smith; and bassist, Senon Williams. Shortly thereafter the members were on hot pursuit for the ideal Cambodian chanteuse to complete their outfit.
“We saw Chhom Nimol at The Dragon House in Long Beach, Ca.,” Zac recalled. “She was already a star in Cambodia and made a living singing traditional music at Cambodian weddings and parties.” Nimol came from a lineage of popular singers for Cambodia’s royal court. As soon as she reached adulthood, she immigrated to the States looking for work, where she was quickly embraced by the Cambodian-American enclave in Long Beach, California. After a short period of musical courtship, Nimol joined the band when she realized the band shared a genuine passion for the music and culture of her homeland.
It’s that cross pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock and the British Invasion sound that has pushed the band to heights they could only dream of in 2002. Live the band performed in front of thousands of fans at such noted music festivals as WOMAD (UK, AUS, NZ), WOMEX (Spain), Melbourne Festival (AUS), Glastonbury (UK), Bumerbshoot, (USA), Transmusicales (France), Roskilde (Denmark), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Peace and Love (Sweden), Treasure Island (USA) among many others.
Mass media exposure arrived in many forms for DENGUE FEVER and not just on the world stage. Tracks from their catalog have appeared in films such as City of Ghosts, Jim Jarmusch’s, Broken Flowers and The Hangover 2. Television series’ such as Showtime’s, Weeds, HBO’s hit series True Blood (who named an entire episode after one of their songs) and featured the band’s music and CBS’ series CSI: Las Vegas combined with numerous independent documentaries to feature the bands music.
Always press darlings, band profiles in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Mojo, Uncut, Magnet, Wired, Spin, NPR’s “Fresh Air” Radio Australia, KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and World Café Live all profiled the band’s unique sound. In 2013, with new music being recorded, a back catalog that is beefed up with bonus tracks and tour dates being confirmed, the time is truly ripe for at least another 10 years of breaking down more musical barriers.
- Dengue Fever's "Escape From Dragon House" featured on True Blood and inspires episode's title
- Dengue Fever featured in music interview with NPR
- Dengue Fever's third Southeast Asian tour announced on OC Weekly
- Dengue Fever's “1000 Tears of a Tarantula” featured in The Hangover II
- Dengue Fever performs on Later with Jools Holland
- Dengue Fever featured on Womad
- Dengue Fever's Cannibal Courtship reviewed by The Examiner
- Dengue Fever profiled by MTV Iggy
- Dengue Fever Lincoln Center performance featured in New Yorker