Mahjongg combine the edgy timber of electronics, the ironic wit and melodic sense of indie rock, and the rhythmic abandon of funk and Afro-beat and fuse them into a smart, dance-friendly sound that's made them one of the more talked-about acts on the bustling Chicago music scene.
Mahjongg were formed in Columbia, MO, in 2001 by singer and guitarist Jeff Carrillo and percussionist, keyboard man, and vocalist Hunter Husar. The group wasted no time earning a local reputation, but as Husar told a reporter, "When you're in your early twenties, you want to take on the world and take over a city." With that in mind, Mahjongg relocated to Chicago in 2004, and later that year released their debut EP, Machinegong, issued by Cold Crush Records, an indie label run by Derek Fudesco of Pretty Girls Make Graves and Steve Akoi of Dim Mak Records.
A full-length album, Raydoncong 2005, appeared the following year, and Mahjongg toured extensively in support. Thanks to solid reviews and a growing fan base, Mahjongg signed with the venerable independent label K Records, and released their third disc in early 2008, entitled Kontpab. To promote the album, Mahjongg issued a press release that stated "Kontpab" was the name of a deity worshiped by the members of the group and that the songs document their spiritual journey past "the Grid" to "the Sphere," though Carrillo told journalist Andy Hermann that "Kontpab" was actually an invented word drawn from two German phrases -- "kontra-punkte," meaning "counterpoint," and "pab," which roughly translates as "spam."