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DIRTY HEADS & SOJA
The Green, RDGLDGRN
Sun, July 23, 2017
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmThe Bomb Factory
This event is all ageshttp://www.thebombfactory.com/event/1440787/
"It's the most core Dirty Heads album we've done," explains Watson, who formed the collective with Bushnell in 1996. "One of the most important things about this album is the reason we self-titled it. This album has all of the elements that we've tried to play around with. We had to go through those other albums to really find out exactly who we are, where it was natural. Now, I just think our sound is better and more confident."
Recorded in Los Angeles over a period of four months, 'Dirty Heads' marks a stylistic heel-turn for the Huntington Beach, Calif. natives, who enlisted a diverse team of hit-makers including: Da Internz (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj), Drew Pearson (Katy Perry, Zac Brown Band), David Kahne (Lana Del Rey, The Strokes), Jimmy Harry (Madonna, Diplo), Jonas Jeberg (Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony), and a handful of others. The record spans lively tracks like reggae-bounced "Oxygen" to the instantly catchy sing-along "Too Cruel" and horn-blasted lead single "That's All I Need," the latter of which captures the nostalgia of carefree adolescence.
Produced by Justin Gray (Mariah Carey, Joss Stone), 'That's All I Need' "just has a good feel to it, kind of hanging out with your friends in the neighborhood on a Sunday in the summer back when you were growing up," says Duddy. "Everyone's got that good memory, so that's where we started aiming for. Let's make this feel-good summer song that people can put on in the backyard with their friends and family."
'Dirty Heads' comes in the wake of their most successful release to date, 2014's 'Sound of Change,' which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Alternative Albums chart. This album is marked differently than its predecessors -- 2008's 'Any Port in a Storm,' 2012's 'Cabin by the Sea' and 2013's acoustic offering 'Home - Phantoms of Summer,' the former of which spawned the smash single "Lay Me Down" featuring Rome of Sublime with Rome that topped the Alternative Songs chart for 11 weeks.
The band's prior releases set the groundwork for their latest, proving a clear indication of their artistic growth, and an ambitious one at that. For the LP, they decided to toy with sequencing, splitting the album into two parts -- Day and Night -- guiding listeners through their day from start to finish. Duddy explains that it was done in response to the listening public's reliance on playlists, and artistically executed by color-coding each 'Day' song (red, orange, yellow) and 'Night' song (purple, green, black) to reflect the vibes of feeling positive, exuberant versus chilled out and low key.
"Nowadays, it's so easy to just listen to one song," he says. "Have a song on your iTunes playlist, you probably don't even know who the artist is because it doesn't matter, you just like that track. So we were trying to provide the order we think you should listen to these in and get people in front of what we think." Watson adds, "When you do that and you're doing it in our original way, I feel like it makes it timeless."
With a solid fan-base already in place, Dirty Heads are focusing their sights on something they've been edging towards for years: breaking the mainstream. "We want our fans to love it, because we love what we do and we want to keep doing it," says Watson. "But this album for me, I cannot poke a hole in any of it. From front to back, it's really so phenomenal. I'm so confident in it that I want it to take Dirty Heads from the band that we are in America, worldwide."
This is the philosophy behind SOJA's music, a simple statement that has driven the D.C. area band, who blend reggae, go-go, D.C. hardcore, Latin, rock and hip-hop. Originally formed by a group of friends while still in middle school and has built a massive, dedicated fanbase around the world since. In the years following, SOJA has sold more than 200,000 albums, headlined shows in over 20 countries around the world, generated nearly 4 million Facebook fans, and over 90 million YouTube views. The band has toured with Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, 311 and appeared at major festivals including Bonnaroo where they attract an almost Grateful Dead-like international fan base along the way, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. After the release of their 2012 album Strength To Survive, the musicians started writing material for what would become their fifth full-length album, "Amid the Noise and Haste."
For Hemphill, who pens the lyrics, chords and melody, each song starts with an experience: meeting someone, reading something, experiencing something that seems pertinent to the human condition. On this album, the songwriter is suggesting that "all of life's problems, and all of life's answers are within us. We've been conditioned to accumulate, compete and break others down around ourselves — not inherent to the human condition, but rather taught. Those things can be untaught. The real us is in there, somewhere." All of this is translated into short, sweet packages of music.
The writing and recording process for Amid the Noise and Haste stretched out over a year and a half, mostly because the musicians kept finding new collaborators and new ideas along the way. The aim was to engage as many guest artists as possible, with each working on a song that had a legitimate connection to them. The album was produced by Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend) and recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami and Lion & Fox Studios in Washington D.C. throughout 2013. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley appears on "Your Song," a buoyant, hopeful number that asks fans to remind the band why they got into music by singing along, while "I Believe" brings Michael Franti and Nahko together to offer thoughts on how to control your own destiny. Collie Buddz, J Boog and Anuhea are also featured on various tracks. "We wanted to bring together people who would help demonstrate each song," Jacob says. "We wanted people who could either relate to or convey the message. The whole album is about the human race relating to itself and connecting with itself."
For SOJA, whose live show is an explosion of energy and positivity, music is a means of helping people relate in a more affirmative way. It also asks people to look inside themselves and really ask what it is they want to do with their life and how they can be happy. SOJA's music is about finding that happiness and peace we all deserve and helping others do the same, something Amid the Noise and Haste aptly conveys in its songs.
"I put words in my songs that I believe to be true," Jacob says. "The point of the album is reconnecting people to the power inside themselves, getting them to fall back in love with life again. Look around, take a deep breath. All the answers are there."
Afterwards, the band jumped on a plane to the mainland and started a heavy touring cycle. On the strength of their debut album, The Green struck a record deal with ground-breaking independent reggae label Easy Star Records to record their sophomore album, Ways & Means. Ways & Means hit #1 on the iTunes and Billboard Reggae charts and the band embarked on more intense touring; supporting acts like Rebelution, Iration, SOJA and Damian Marley. They also played at acclaimed festivals including Vans Warped Tour, Wakarusa, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and California Roots Festival.
Despite all the time spent away from home, Hawai‘i never left the band’s day-to-day life on the road. In almost every state, the band met Hawaiian ex-pats, driven away from their home state for reasons both economic and social. The Green’s concerts became a place where Hawaiian natives could gather and for one night, share a bit of Aloha spirit from the Pacific islands they call home.
“Hawaiians living on the mainland will come to our shows and say ‘I haven’t been home in years! You remind me so much of home,’” says multi-instrumentalist-songwriter Brad “BW” Watanabe. “I feel like that’s our service in some way.”
In early 2013, The Green retreated to Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa, CA, to record their third album with Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Beck, Jack Johnson), the band’s first outside producer/engineer, at the helm. In addition, the group brought in Joe Tomino, drummer from Dub Trio (who also double as Matisyahu’s backing band), to handle the drums for the sessions.
“We were worried about it because we always recorded everything ourselves,” Kennedy admits. “But when we added Danny Kalb to the mix, and Joe on the drums, they just brought so much to the sound of the songs.”
The addition of an outside ear helped sharpen the band’s direction, and the 13 tracks on Hawai‘i ’13 sound focused and pointed, despite the group’s many different songwriters. “All of us contribute to the creation of a song,” says guitarist-vocalist Zion Thompson, “whether it’s lyrics or music, it’s always collaborative.”
“Everyone respects each other’s opinions,” Thompson continues. “Everyone has their place and everyone makes room for it to work.”
The album’s songs span soulful lover’s rock (“Striking Up A Love,” “Take Me On”), heavy roots workouts (“Good One,” “Forgive Me”), smooth R&B ballads (“Chocolates & Roses”), roots reggae-pop hybrids (“Power in the Words,” “Good Vibe Killah”), and herb anthems (“Hold Me Tight”).
The Green hit all the right notes with their first two albums, but the band members are still coming to grips with the personal toll of success. Bands from the mainland may be used to touring from state to state, but that’s no small step for a group from a small island in the South Pacific. “While I face a dozen spotlights, you’re crying at home,” goes “Something About It,” one of the lead singles from Hawai‘i ’13. “Sit by the phone. You think I’m alone, wishing I could be there. But the music’s got me traveling on.”
The Green struck the reggae community hard with their debut in 2010. Their sophomore LP Ways & Means solidified their status as a force in reggae music. With Hawai‘i ’13, the band aims higher. The album collects 13 stellar tracks by a group with an insatiable urge to push their music onto the global stage. Some songs punch and some songs sway, but ultimately they all blend to form a new shade of Green.
Comprised of three members who identify as Red, Gold, and Green, RDGLDGRN began making music in their basement studio, drawing from a vast and almost ironically diverse pool of influences like Chuck Brown, Vampire Weekend, Outkast, The Neptunes, and Bad Brains.
What many might consider a wildly ambitious, even impossible task to pull off, RDGLDGRN managed to effortlessly combine genres of music to create something new, something all their own, and something that has the music industry buzzing with excitement.
The band gained widespread recognition when they self-released a song called "I Love Lamp" on YouTube- a way for friends and local fans to listen to their music. They had no idea that within just a few weeks, the video would have over 100,000 views and the attention of many notable figures both in the industry as well as on the blogosphere.
Producer Kevin Augunas (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Cold War Kids) quickly took notice of the band, and in addition to producing RDGLDGRN's debut, also signed them to his label, Fairfax Recordings (Gotye, Tribes) in a joint venture with Universal Republic Records.
Upon entering the legendary Sound City Studio in Van Nuys, CA, a studio where Fleetwood Mac recorded 'Rumours' and Nirvana recorded 'Nevermind', RDGLDGRN were fortunate enough to have captured the attention of Nirvana alum, Foo Fighters front man, and hometown hero, Dave Grohl who recorded drums on the entire album.
It wasn't just rock royalty that took notice of RDGLDGRN, the hip-hop community was also taken by the band's unique sound. Genre-bending artist, producer, and designer, Pharrell Williams (N.E.R.D., The Neptunes), co-wrote and co-produced the standout track "Doing the Most", lending his distinct style to one of the most unique tracks on the album that showcases Green's undeniable talent for rapping and singing infused with Pharrell's style of unusual beats and musical wit.
The result is a debut that truly demonstrates the group's ability to straddle genre lines, to combine musical polarities and unite both artists and fans over music that's multifaceted.
However, it's not the musical intricacies, or the obscure combination of influences, that make RDGLDGRN who they are. It's their ability to create something entirely fresh and new, something that's often overlooked in this state of the industry where musicians try to stay afloat by following trends. If you ask RDGLDGRN who their biggest influences are, they'd tell you the Beatles and Bob Marley. And while RDGLDGRN don't exactly sound like those legendary artists, they do share in common something less tangible- they all have made it a point tocarve their own path by creating something entirely unique.
The Bomb Factory
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