The Green

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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.

What do you have to say about the new record?

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. How many songs are going to be on it?

How many songs are going to be on it?

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.

Care to say anything about the Take Me On Tour?

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.

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What’s the songwriting process been like for the new CD?

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.

Who did the album art for the new CD?

Kamea Hadar, same guy. He does the art now. 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.

Where are some of your favorite places to play?

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.

How did you guys all get started?

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.

Are you guys really close with Easy Star?

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.

What do you think technology’s influence on the music industry as far as it affects you guys?

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.

How was performing at the California Roots Festival?

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.

Do you have any favorite tracks from the new album?

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:

Top Shelf
Moving Along
Think Ruler
Something Wrong
Get Ready
Uptown Set
Race is Run
Right Time
Sensi Addict
Evilous Number
Turtle Racing

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 o

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