THEWHATITDO continues to showcase hot bands from the Hawaiian Islands this week. Today we present to you, The Green. After becoming a band in 2009 and releasing their self-titled debut album last year, The Green catapulted to mainstream popularity especially with their hit single “Love I”. They were named iTunes’ Best Reggae Album of 2010, made Billboard’s Top 10 Reggae Albums of 2010, and were just awarded Best Reggae Album at the 2011 Hawaiian Music Awards. The Green wasted no time by kicking off a two month tour with more than forty shows across the United States and even in Canada! They were just in British Columbia this past weekend and have made their way to California to perform every day ‘til Friday. The Green is on fire! THEWHATITDO team was able to catch up with The Green’s guitarist and vocalist JP Kennedy to discuss the band’s history and success.
TWID: How did you come up with the name ‘The Green’?
JPK: We wanted a name that held no stances, yet could relate to every person in the world. We thought a color was just that, so we went with our favorite color – Green.
TWID: Who were your favorite artists growing up? Which music artists influenced your band’s sound? How would you describe The Green’s sound?
JPK: Being that we grew up in Hawaii, artists like: C&K, Kalapana, Fiji, Ka’au Crater Boys, [and] The Mana’o Company were a part of our lives on a daily basis. We are also very inspired by artists like James Taylor, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, The Police, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, [and] Michael Jackson. We are [also] motivated and inspired by Damian Marley, Nas, Mayor Hawthorne, Nicki Minaj, Jack Johnson, Pepper, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. Inspiration is a never ending process as long as you are focused on the dreams at hand.
TWID: Describe the process of creating your self-titled debut album and its success.
JPK: We were recording tracks together years before The Green was created. We have all played in different bands, backed different solo artists, produced and engineered projects for other Hawaii artists. Let me introduce to you the crew that has been at the forefront of the The Green machine…
- Caleb Keolanui: youngest member; he is a polished vocalist and songwriter Caleb handles all vocal arrangements for The Green.
- Ikaika Antone: keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter for The Green; Ikaika keeps the business balanced when it comes to the financial forecast of The Green.
- Brad “BW” Watanabe: bassist and expert in the studio; BW has produced, engineered and played on almost every Green track ever produced. BW also plays drums, keyboards and guitar.
- Leslie Ludiazo: the Pulse of The Green. Leslie, like BW has produced, engineered and played on almost every Green track recorded to date. He is a world-class drummer and musician. He was born in Africa and moved to Hawaii when he was 14. [He] also plays bass, guitar and keyboards.
- Zion Thompson: lead vocalist, songwriter and ‘mentally instituted’ guitar player, in other words, his style is CRAZY. Zion brings touring experience and leadership to The Green. He once drove 14 hours straight.
- [Then there’s me], JP Kennedy. I play guitar and write songs for The Green. I have a studio in Hawaii. Every track on the first album started in my studio. We finished with Wendell Ching at Studio One in Halawa on Oahu.
We teamed up with a friend named Ikaika Sheehan [of] SHD Records. We put him on a crash course of releasing music out of Hawaii. It’s been an interesting journey so far.
TWID: What makes The Green so unique and different from other up-and-coming local bands from Hawaii?
JPK: We know exactly what we want, and we feel we know how to get it. So we work hard every day and push ourselves to make music that people love, and play that music as much as possible. We love to play live shows!
TWID: THE TOUR – How has the two month U.S. tour been so far? Which show has to be the most memorable for you? Any pre-show rituals before performing?
JPK: The tour has been great! It’s been almost a month so far, and we are taking it one day at a time. So far the March 5th House Of Blues Boston show, with Rebelution and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad was out of control! 2,500 people strong. Such an incredible venue and show. Pre-Show rituals? We like to laugh and cry at the same time before every show. It just brings out the soul.
TWID: For a band that was just formed in 2009 with a debut album that came out just last year, I’m so impressed that you guys have been touring across the U.S. with over 40+ shows planned already! I know this full-out campaign is because of your management – they are on top of it! Who is your management and how did you guys team up with them?
JPK: The Green’s manager is Seth Herman; he runs Rootfire Management, which is based in Charlottesville, VA. We have been with Seth since September 2010. At that time he brought aboard Business Manager, Pete Frostic, and Publicist, Curtis Bergesen. We also have a booking agent who handles our scheduling and tour details; his name is Dave Poe and he eats meat (TWID: What the random? Lol.) These guys have definitely helped us to reach our potential in the music industry today. Definitely.
TWID: What are your immediate goals for this year? Can we expect a second album soon? If so, what are your goals for that album (sound-wise, collaborations, etc.)?
JPK: We are looking to expand and to tour Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. New album [is] coming Fall of 2011! We are looking to step up the production of this new album.
TWID: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned thus far as a band? What advice would you give to Polynesians trying to make it into the music industry?
JPK: We have learned that hard work pays off. We have learned that friendship is more important than anything else. Some advice would be to follow your dreams and act on them as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and be willing to take criticism. You must always be learning and progressing.
TWID: Any last words or anything you’d like to add that we did not cover in the previous questions?
JPK: Shout out to THEWHATITDO for the positive vibes and for helping Polynesians in the arts! We also would like to send love to all of our families. Being away from loved ones is the hardest part of touring. Check out tour dates and more at TheGreen808.com and communicate with us on Facebook! [Also, follow them on Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube.]
To all you Californians, The Green will be performing at the following locations this week: TONIGHT (3/22) in Santa Cruz at Catalyst; Wednesday (3/23) in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall; Thursday and Friday (3/24-25) in San Diego at Winston’s.
Article written by: Pesi Kava
***Press Photo by Shaun Goodwin.
***Live Photo by John Shore.
***Photo of Pesi Kava courtesy of Mapuana Photography.
***Videos courtesy of thegreenhawaii.