The Green Bio/Background:
The Green began in April 2009 as collaboration between old friends on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Blending roots music with traditional Hawaiian vibes, the band’s self-titled debut was released in February of 2010. Having already sold over 13,000 copies of their debut, the group is steadily establishing itself as an artist to watch for 2011.
Last weekend, The Pier caught up with band members Ikaika Antone and Zion Thompson after their set at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ to ask about the past and future of the band.
The Green Interview:
The Pier: Hey guys! Thanks for taking a moment to speak with me today. To start off, could you tell me a bit about how The Green got started?
The Green: (Ikaika): We had this material that we’d recorded. Zion had some tracks; I had some tracks, JP and Caleb, too. Zion was on tour with a band in the mainland so he was away from the islands for most of that year. We were doing this show, Zion wasn’t there with us yet, and we needed a name for the band. That first show opening for Katchafire was the first show of The Green.
(Zion): We had been playing together since high school. The other guys are like family. We always knew each other, so we all just compiled all this music, but we didn’t really do anything with it. That’s kind of why I left to the mainland and did some touring. Meanwhile, while I was gone, they got all this stuff together, and I was ready to break away from what I was doing with the band I was touring with.
The Pier: Which band was that?
The Green: (Zion): Mystic Roots band. We met them through Pato Banton because we backed up Pato when he came to Hawaii earlier that year. We met through that and that’s just how it started. I came back home and these guys had already done a couple of shows and like Ikaika said, we didn’t have a name for it and we were just kicking around names. We needed a name for the flyer, basically. So we were like, The Green!
It’s kind of ambiguous, but being from Hawaii it can mean The Land or whatever. Nowadays, it’s like Go Green! It works.
The Pier: Were the majority of the songs on the album written before The Green became a band?
The Green: (Zion): I think every song on the first album, pretty much. Maybe “Love I was kind of written while we were recording.
(Ikaika): We started at some point and we built up 12 to 15 songs, and then that’s what we used to choose songs for the album.
(Zion:) We had actually like 24 songs we had narrowed that down from. We had been recording at JP’s house, putting stuff down, but not really knowing what to do with it. We decided to just get it all together and make something of it.
The Pier: So would it be safe to say that this first album is a big collection of everyone’s individual songs?
The Green: (Zion): I’d say the album is because the band is. We all played in different musical groups in Hawaii, mostly reggae and reggae influenced music, but it’s a really small musical community in Hawaii. Everybody knows each other. We all knew of each other, and when we brought it together, it was just a natural thing. We’re young guys, but we’ve been together a long time doing it. Everything just meshed really well.
Ikaika writes his own music. I write my own music, as do JP and Caleb. Our drummer and bass player are also producers and they add a lot of stuff, crucial parts like bass lines, grooves, changes, harmonies, melody lines, guitar riffs, keyboard lines, horn lines, whatever. Everybody contributes because we’re all in the same kind of vibe.
(Ikaika): Even our other keyboardist writes his songs and sings his own songs, not in our band, but in his other band. Everybody in this band has something to bring to the table, songwriting, producing, all that. We’re definitely the four main songwriters, but we can get every person’s style and combine everything.
The Pier: And just to be clear, who are the four main songwriters?
The Green: (Ikaika): Myself, Ikaika. Zion. JP Kennedy, and Caleb.
The Pier: Cool. So do you guys have any plans for a second album?
The Green: (Zion): Oh yeah. The first album was narrowed down from 20 something songs. Some of them we were actually deciding should we put it on this album or should we save it? because we knew the second album really had to be good. The plan, of course, is to record and release. We have a few songs already, but not a whole album’s worth. We want to try and be as prolific as we can. Nowadays almost anyone can record an album at his or her house. We know that, and we know that’s what we’re messing around with. The other bands out there, they aren’t competitors, but they can do that, too, and that’s what we need to do.
The fact that we’re really driven is what brought us together. We all come from different groups, but we always ended up playing together because we’re always the ones that are game to travel, we’re down for whatever. Not a lot of bands from Hawaii get an opportunity to travel and come out here. We definitely consider ourselves lucky, but part of it is that we’re really driven and music is what we’ve been doing our whole lives. That’s why it is how it is.
The Green members:
Caleb Keolanui – Lead Vocals
Ikaika Antone – Keys, Lead Vocals
JP Kennedy – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Zion Thompson – Guitar, Lead Vocals
BW – Bass
Leslie Ludiazo – Drums
Lucas Hom – Keys