BFS - Let’s start things off with one of my favorite questions to ask: What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal is a wolf.
BFS - Is there any story behind that?
Ya know, for as long as I can remember I just had this special connection with wolves just through seeing pictures of them.
BFS - What was your favorite childhood memory?
Gosh, there’s so many. There’s one I was thinking about recently because my dad just had his 70th birthday. I remember back to this memory that has kind of changed over time, but when we were kids he took me and my sister on this long family trip that we did across the whole country where we went to a bunch of different states. He took me and my sister to this water park and then right when we got in there, there was this thing that had multiple levels of like, rubber bands. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this but you bounce on it and fall through the holes and stuff. That was the first thing we went on and right away, he just ripped his swim shorts all the way, in the back from the top to the bottom, right in the middle! It’s a thing where most parents would be like, “You know what guys, we gotta go, we can’t stay.” But he walked around the whole day like that, holding his shorts together in the back and still did everything with us. At the time me and my sister thought it was hilarious, but now when I look back on it, that’s a memory that formed how I am as a parent. I think that most parents wouldn’t do that for their kids and just kind of soldier on, and like “it sucks but I’m not going to ruin my kids’ time” because of that. That’s a really special memory for me in a funny way.
That’s a great story, even just to get things flowin’ and get a smile on your face, that’s what we wanted to do. So now we can get a little more into your music career. What was the beginning of it, what was it like? Where did you start out?
Well, in music for me it’s always been like a slow, organic growth. I played music my whole life, and I started playing gigs with a band in high school slowly like that and then I started playing more acoustic music and doing coffee shops and stuff and doing a lot of cover songs from bands that I liked. As I wrote more original music it slowly found its way from playing one or two original songs to more original songs to now all original music. And it just grew organically; it’s still growing organically. I started playing, like doing what I do now, the solo thing… I played with bands my whole life until about 6 or 7 years ago when my wife suggested that I do a solo gig just because I needed more work and playing with bands is not always easy to schedule everybody and get everybody together. So I started doing a solo thing and then it developed into what I do now organically out of doing that, and a lot of my solo act revolves around the looping thing and I loop beat box and vocals and guitar and basslines and stuff and kind of build a whole band behind what I do by myself. That just came from doing this solo gig where I started just on Monday nights playing like four hours, and it sometimes gets boring with just a dude playing his guitar and singing for four hours. So I started doing that and then I just built it, I kinda got good at it and people started noticing me so I started getting more bookings doing just that, and it became my main thing.
That’s very interesting, it sounds like it’s been a great journey for you.
Oh yeah, it’s still a great journey. Definitely. And now I’m getting booked on bigger festivals and do bigger tours.
You’re from Hawaii, correct? Which island? And has that had any influence on how you’ve come into your musicality?
Yes, I’m from Oahu. It’s definitely had a huge impact on me and my life. I was even laughing about it last night about how I think if I grew up here I would have not written so many lyrics into my songs because when I come here and sing, I sing a lot and my kind of style of writing music and singing, there’s not a lot of breaks to take breaths. So when I come up here and I get done with the song I’m panting! So I was thinkin’ like, if I grew up here I probably wouldn’t realistically have written the same kind of music. Growing up on the islands, my natural connection with nature there… I mean there when you grow up the fun things to do are go to the beach or go hike. So we grew up super connected with the ocean, the mountains, the land. There’s just so much beauty there, you can’t ignore it. Growing up that’s all we did, we’d go run up behind the house and run around in the mountains and just be real imaginative and it was always the way it was. We’d always go to the beach, body surf and body board and it’s just how we grew up, we were at the beach all the time. So I think that a lot of my music is really about nature’s connection and reconnecting with that. A lot of the places I go they’ve lost that connection because they grew up being surrounded by concrete their whole life and just never even felt that, you know? There are a lot of places like that and I think the majority of places that people live are like that, the metropolises. So when you bring this kind of music that’s about the place where I grew up and has that connection and that energy, it’s like… A lot of people I hear say, “Your music makes me feel like I found something that I was missing.”
Wow that’s a great compliment!
Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around, but with the music, for me, I realized a long time ago that it’s not for my ego to hold onto because the music is just something that flows through me and it’s a gift that I’m given so I feel compelled. I feel like it’s my duty and my honor to bring it to people and share it with people because the more it grows, the more I hear from people how its helped them and encouraged them to become vegan or make these huge changes in their life. When I hear that it gives me chills and makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing and I need to do it more.
That’s how I feel about journalism, I love to communicate with people and I like to touch people with my words. Thank you for that answer that was awesome. So, what’s next for you? New tour, new album…?
I have an album that’s coming out September 1st, so in a few weeks and I’ve just been working really hard on it and it’s been a really huge undertaking and I have a tour that’s surrounding that album also in September I’ll be touring in mostly the southwestern U.S.
Great! So wrapping things up here, who are you excited to see here at ARISE?
I’m excited to see Rising Appalachia, they’re really cool we did a show with them in Hawai’i, they’ve got a really cool movement going. I’m also really excited to see the Earth Guardians again, they’re performing in a little while, and they’re just amazing. I don’t know if you know about them but you should check them out. They’re a couple of Utes and they’re twelve and fifteen years old. They do hip-hop and it’s like mind-blowing the stuff they’re doing. Check out theearthguardians.org, it’s a whole movement. They’re connected with over a million kids worldwide and they’re doing all sorts of cool stuff. I think they’re involved in a bunch of different legal suits in many different states but they’re from here in Colorado and they’re involved in suing the state for allowing a lot of the chemicals and a lot of the bad stuff that’s going on like the fracking and for allowing that stuff to go on and endangering the youth. They’re amazing, their message is incredible. They’re awesome performers and they just blow my mind. I said it before; I’ve never been to a hip hop show that had me in tears, just really, really touching. If you’re going to see anybody at this whole festival, see them.
I will make note of it! Thank you so much for your time, this was so much fun for me.