First why the name change and more importantly why the choice to change it to My Peoples?
Mike Dayao: The main reason for the name change was due to people having a hard time saying it and if people couldn’t say it then they couldn’t share it with others. Another reason was to get away from being known as a Hawaiian band when only one of us is from Hawaii. The choice to change our name to My Peoples was easy because when we thought of it, the name was a tagline that could be used for everything and anything; like My Peoples Rocks or My Peoples likes to Party or Come follow My Peoples. In essence the name of My Peoples is more marketable in so many more ways than our previous name.
Chris Jones: As much as we liked the name Kapakahi, after 5 years we found that new fans, and even some who’ve known us from the beginning had a hard time pronouncing it. People trying to find us online couldn’t remember how to spell it and we lost out on a lot of potential fans that way. My Peoples is way easier for folks who aren’t from the islands to pronounce and remember, and the new name still holds true to what we’re all about both inside and outside of the band.
Steve Salta: "We figured the new EP, Back2Roots, would be used as a kind of teaser to get people interested to our mellow tunes and to the new band name."The name change was something that we’ve been talking about for a while. Although we’ve done some great stuff as Kapakahi and have met a bunch of awesome fans, as we focus down on our sound and our song writing, we feel like we wanted a name that better suits us as a band as well as individuals. Also, with our full-band music, we have a grittier edge than Kapakahi’s stuff had. As we go back into the studio, we wanted a name that can represent this “reggae-rock” sound that’s coming out of San Francisco…so we though that My Peoples was a better fit for the music. Kapakahi, the name, really represents Hawaii. Although we love Hawaii and look forward to getting back there to play some shows, we think My Peoples is a better representation of us.
Did the cause for concern go away quickly about changing the name cause you are able to get it out over the internet through all the social networks?
Mike Dayao:When we put up the info about changing our name on social networks like Facebook, we got a dozen comments or so from our long-time loyal fans saying that it was a bad idea or that we shouldn’t change it. We then commented back and told them specifically why and then they sort of agreed with us in the end.
Chris Jones: Most everyone we know has a Twitter or Facebook account nowadays, so it was pretty easy to spread the word to our friends, who passed it on to their friends and so on. We definitely got a few, “We love Kapakahi, don’t change your name!” type posts, but once we explained the reasoning behind the name change, those people eventually came around and got excited about it.
What were some of the other choices for the new name that got kicked around?
Mike Dayao: Hustlin’ Fools, Raging Roosters, Roots Under, Shitty Beetles, Vape Killas, & Rally Boys.
Steve Salta: It’s funny, we actually talked about calling the band My Peoples before we settled on Kapakahi. It came back around because we started gigging as an acoustic trio (hence the Back2Roots EP). We toyed with a name change contest, but we knew that My Peoples was the name that we wanted to go with. It really offers so many different marketing and partnering opportunities that we didn’t have with Kapakahi or other names.
Was there a rush to put new music out the same time you made the name change?
Mike Dayao: After our 2010 New Year’s show at Slim’s, we tried out a few new tunes and got a lot of positive feedback. We realized then that we needed to get back into the recording studio. We were already playing with the idea of the name change and figured with our new sound we could transition to a new name followed with releasing new music.
Chris Jones: No doubt! We figured a name change needed to have something to coincide with it to get people excited about the whole deal. And what better way to get people psyched up for MyPeoples than by giving them some new music for their listening pleasure? It’s the perfect way for us to let people know, the name may be different now, but we’re still the same, kick-ass band we were and have got great new stuff in store for them in the future.
Steve Salta: Yes. The only way a name change would work for us is with the release of new music, photo’s, online presence and art. We were planning on hitting the studio anyway, so it worked out perfectly. We are releasing our acoustic EP, Back2Roots this month and will follow it up with a full-band EP titled, My Peoples EP, that we will release in the summer. It will be 6 new songs…we’ve added keys and a full horn section. There might even be a remix in there…
We are doing a month of free singles prior to the Back2Roots EP Release (1 free single a week on www.mypeoplesmusic.com). We’ll do the same with the full-band EP…stay tuned!
Your new E.P. is titled Back 2 Roots. Did you feel as though you were getting away from what you guys are all about or was there another reason for the title?
Mike Dayao: Since last summer, Chris, Steve, and I have been doing small gigs acoustically or what we call restaurant style or backyard style. Within this trio the songs that we composed under Kapakahi were much more difficult so we realized that for smaller gigs we didn’t need to rock as hard. We just needed to keep it sweet and simple and easy for people to listen to and still groove to in their seats. So I thought Back2Roots is like the the term Back2School but for us it was about keeping the music honest within the core of the group. From the EP you get that feeling as if you walked into a ragin party and find us playing the tunes right outside in front of a bonfire enjoying beers and good company.
Chris Jones: We’re not getting away from what we’re all about, we’re just taking everything we did musically as Kapakahi and focusing it into a more cohesive sound. This EP is acoustic and more stripped down and was recorded by me, Mike and Steve, the original members of the band, so we’re taking the music “Back2Roots” so to speak.
Steve Salta: We never felt like we were getting away from our groove, but we are focusing on our song writing, arrangement and structure more these days….as the music changes we find that we’re not all over the place style and genre wise, but we have found our own sound.
One of the great things about My Peoples is the Sax sounds of Josh Hoover. Why the decision to leave it off the new release?
Mike Dayao: We figured the new EP, Back2Roots, would be used as a kind of teaser to get people interested to our mellow tunes and to the new band name. But Josh is like the secret weapon for our full band EP cause when you hear it with everything else you’ll definitely hear a fuller and edgier sound.
Chris Jones: Josh will definitely be all over the full band EP, coming out this summer, along with a couple other horn players and some keys.
Steve Salta: We started gigging as an acoustic trio to pick up some extra cash and play some smaller spots that we wouldn’t play as a full band. Josh is also really busy with his video production company and is finishing up a movie called “The Daily Grind”. We also wanted the acoustic sound to be really simple…guitars, vocals, bass and drums….we felt like it would give us a different dynamic to play with and expands what we can do in our recordings and on our live shows. Something different for people to grab on to.
Mike, what are some of the biggest differences from living in Hawaii to living on the Mainland?
Mike Dayao: One of the biggest differences is having access to so much more; from music, to art, and the outdoors. I’m an outdoors type of guy and I love going to the beach one weekend and being able to go snowboarding the next day. A huge difference too is that I have more access to all the great music that comes through San Francisco and around the Bay. People are a bit different, but I realize people are different everywhere and that if you treat them with kindness and respect it does come back.
I would say a lot of your sound has Hawaiian influence. What are some artists from the Hawaii that influence you guys?
Mike Dayao: I grew up listening to a lot of Hawaii local radio stations. Some of my main influences include: Kalapana, Cecilio & Kapono, Mana’o Company, Kapena, Ekolu, Izrael Kamakawiwa’ole, Marty Dread, Natural Vibrations, Kohomua, Fiji, Ka’au Crater Boys, & Colon.
Chris Jones: We all have our own influences that we bring into the fold. I’m originally from a small town outside of Philadelphia, so I bring a heavy, funk/soul influence into the band. Stanley Clarke, Bootsy Collins, Jimi Hendrix and Larry Graham are only a few of the multitudes of people that have been an inspiration to me in my musical journey. I’ve been in a bunch of different bands that covered most of the major genres of music and I like to pull a bit from here and there into my style of bass playing.
Steve Salta: Well…our singer and main songwriter is from Hawaii…so there you go! I actually never really got into any Hawaiian type music. I’ve always loved reggae, but played mostly in funk, rock, jazz and latin bands. I think our acoustic stuff and the Kapakahi stuff sounds very Hawaiian. I also think that you’ll find the full-band EP to sound like Reggae-Rock-Hip Hop from SF. There will always be a sunny, beach vibe to the music because that’s our jam.
My favorite city in the world, besides Austin, is San Francisco. I try to visit it once a year. What SF spots do you recommend hanging out at?
Mike Dayao: Definitely Slim’s, Great American Music Hall, the Independent, Elbo Room, Café Du Nord, the Fillmore and all the other great music spots here. I usually hang out at home if I’m not playing or not catching a live music show.
Chris Jones: I like hanging out in the Mission, lots of great places to hang out and grab a drink.
Steve Salta: Oh man…We’ll take you out for a night on the town! It depends what you want…some great eats and killer bars/clubs all over the town. The Mission is hip with restaurants, bars and music…lots of skinny jeans on dudes, but an awesome place to hang out. North Beach has a lot of great spots to grub and cruise around too. If you want something a little grittier, SOMA has a ton of new spots popping up all the time. Of course, on a nice day, nothing beats surfing, beers and bbq at the dunes at Ocean Beach
How is the Reggae Rock scene out in San Fran?
Mike Dayao: The Reggae Rock scene is all right here in SF. When we get good touring bands that are big in the scene I always wonder where all these people came from. If you were to ask a random person on the streets of SF about the Reggae Rock, they’d probably not know anything about it. But when we perform with another good act or see another touring Reggae Rock act come through, people do come and party hard. Then again it’s not like San Diego or any of those other spots near the beach down southern California where the scene is really popular and part of the culture.
Chris Jones: The reggae/rock scene is way more popular down in SoCal, but we definitely have a decent following up here in the Bay, and especially in San Francisco.
Steve Salta: Honestly, there’s not much of an actual Reggae-Rock scene here. There are maybe 2 or 3 bands, us being one of them. SF sees a lot of world-class music from all kinds of genres, but we definitely have our fans and crowd here. I think the Reggae-Rock scene is much stronger in So Cal, which is why we love to travel and play down there. SF is our home town and we love it though.
Any final words?
Mike Dayao: Look out for our full band EP this summer. If you enjoy bands like Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, or Iration, you’re going to want to add our EP to your collection.
Chris Jones: I’m really excited about our new name MyPeoples and can’t wait for everybody to check out the new music that we’re putting out. People who knew us as Kapakahi will definitely dig what we got going on and the hope is that we’ll extend our reach and introduce bunches of new fans to the our music and message.
Steve Salta: Yeah…we’re stoked on the new name and the new music that we’re writing. We’ve been writing new songs consistently and can’t wait to record them. We feel like they are much more focused and that we’ve found a sound with our full-band that has been eluding us throughout the last 2 Kapakahi recordings. Back2Roots was really meant to build buzz around the name change and help lead up to the release of the full-band EP. We’re stoked on the music (both acoustic and full-band) and hope that the fans and those out there feel the same way. Also…if you want to come see us live, we love tequila shots! So let’s rage because My Peoples likes to Party!