Interview: Peter Rono of Kaonashi Talks ‘The 3 Faces of Beauty: A Violent Misinterpretation of Morgan Montgomery’

“It’s not like we’re in year one,” says vocalist Peter Rono of Philadelphia metalcore band Kaonashi. “That’s what makes this release so different. People are listening with experience and with expectations. They know what it is and it feels good for them to also embrace it.”

On their newest EP, The 3 Faces of Beauty: A Violent Misinterpretation of Morgan Montgomery, out now on Equal Vision Records, the band is taking a business as usual approach to the concept album.

‌“It’s a fictional high school that the characters go to. It’s really like a saga,” explains Rono. “Lemon House High is the school they go to. The main character is Jamie B. Moore, and we covered her in (2021 album) Senior Year. But this next release, we’re covering the antagonist, Morgan Montgomery, who is Jamie’s bully. So this EP takes place in junior year of the same timeline at the same school. We’re giving context to the debut LP.”

Inspired by real life, the lyrics had always been rooted in reality, but it was a big challenge in figuring out how to convey the right feeling and avoid it being taken too lightly. The concept for Lemon House High and the progression of characters and stories over the years originated between Rono and drummer Ryan “Pao” Paolilli realizing that they had a lot of similar views and experiences. They wanted to be able to make it something deeper, and the concept album was born.

‌“I said to Pao, ‘Why don’t we do it?’” shares Rono. “I don’t see why not, but I never thought that I’d be in a position to do such a thing. So it was a challenge back then, and now I’m so glad we took that deep dive and every year just kept adding to it because, at first, you’re at the bottom of a mountain, but now, years into it, these characters and moments and times, it’s so cool to look back on.”

‌Oh, what a decade to look back on indeed. Starting in 2012, the group—Rono, Paolilli, Alex Hallquist (guitar/vocals), Sidney Williams (guitar/vocals) and new addition Ryne Jones (bass)—quickly snagged the attention of everyone within their grasp. They signed to Equal Vision Records in 2019 while still focusing on writing songs so they can play them on stages as it’s meant to be heard live. On average, the group spends roughly five to six months on the road. That has not stopped them, however, from letting the creative juices flow freely, continuing to build their Kao-Verse. Trusted roots and foundations that were built from the beginning are now coming to fruition in big move after big move, with an impressive record of tours and concept art. It may have been a slow grind, but the effort was worth the payoff to Rono.

“Before, I thought, ‘Why isn’t it happening for me?’ but the older I’ve gotten and the longer I’ve been doing this, I realized, it’s not personal. This is a lot of people’s experience, and it takes a long time for those people.”

Building new worlds takes time, and Kaonashi are just getting warmed up.

You can listen to The 3 Faces of Beauty here. Follow Kaonashi on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Madison Walters.

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