Written by: Shawn Hallman
Arriving just a few minutes before doors opened to allow people downstairs for The Green, I noticed a longer than expected line full of Green merchandise being sported by almost every other fan. I went to the street near The Green’s tour bus and was given the opportunity to talk to the incredibly open and upbeat JP Kennedy about the bands Take Me On Tour as well as their upcoming studio album.
We’re super stocked about it. The difference between this record and the other two are that we released them on our own. On this one we got the help of Danny Kalb, the dude that used to do Ben Harper albums. He kinda took our sound to another level as far as quality.
There’s 13 on it. We’re calling it Hawaii 13. I don’t know if we’re gonna go with that as a title, it’s just kind of an underlying name.
We have 20-something dates. Doing city club shows during the week and then festival shows on the weekends. It’s a change up from the normal venue every night tour.
There’s a bunch of songs that were kind of held off the last couple records. We always like more than enough songs and we start breaking them done as we get closer. A few of these are ones that weren’t on the previous album so it’s kind of cool to come back and revisit them, make them sound a little better. Writing process is the same, we write together or write by ourselves, there’s a lot of different ways.
Kamea Hadar, same guy. He does the art now. Kamaehadar.com. He’s actually been a good friend of mine since we were 5 years old. When we came out with The Green he started really coming out with more of his art pieces. The band and his career really grew together.
Here in Austin. The food and the scene is just on, you know? We have a lot of fans up and down the West Coast. We like New York, Florida. All over. Japan is nuts.
We all went to high school on the same island. We got to know each other. In Hawaii there are a lot of random parties and a lot of places where people just set up shows. Kind of like Austin, but there’s not actual venues. You just set up in people’s backyard or houses or graduation parties or whatever the excuse may be to set up. There’s a little scene that happens out there with the high school dudes. There are a lot of radio stations out there that support local music. We had two separate bands that would play around town. We’d run into each other around the island. We’ve played together since 2002. We formed The Green in 2009, but we’ve been playing together for about 10 years now.
We have been really close to them. Ways and Means was our first album with them. We’ve been with them for a few years. It’s been super sick to actually work with a functioning label. We’ve done everything ourselves so it’s nice to do it the right way. We toured with Easy Star All Stars for a month or two. They take care of us for sure.
We love it. We’re like electronic music freaks. We love the sounds of synths and the way of taking it to the whole next level in terms of editing and all kinds of digital style, but you can’t really beat the analog feel the way that it is when we’re putting music together. We try to keep that for The Green. We released a song, Liar, we stepped into that area with some friends. It was kind of a collaboration with some DJ friends, but it was more of us just getting outside of the norm. On the new album, we didn’t really do a lot of the electronic stuff. We’ll press limits here and there, but reggae genre is simple and fun and we’ll try to keep it like that.
It was good. Pretty much every band in the touring seen was there. SOJA and J Boog are the only bands we could think of that weren’t there.
We all like “Something About It”. We like “Take Me On” it’s really simple. There’s a song called “Power in the Words” that we’re really stocked about. Zion sings it. It’s kind of a “What Will Be” kind of message. There’s a lot of good vibes and the quality of the recording is really good.
We wrapped up the interview talking about The Constellations, an Atlanta-based band JP really liked during the 2012 Warped Tour. Following the interview we were treated to a good 45 minute set from The Expanders. Their setlist for the night went like this:
Race is Run
The Green was then able to get the then sardine-tight packed crowd moving all night with a full-length setlist representing the bands full dynamic range and giving each of the 4 singers their chance in the spotlight. While the constantly dancing class started tiring out during the end, The Green did a good job of picking the energy back up for the last few songs. Their set proved their ability to mix up dub, electronic, reggae, and rock elements all within the same show. Their set list for the night went like this:
What Will Be
Love is Strong
Something About It
Trod the Hard Road
Take Me On
She Was the Best
Ways and Means
Love and Affection
Written by Shawn Hallman