Hailing from beautiful Hawaii, the guys of HI Roots are bringing a new vibe and a new kind of Reggae to the mainland. Consisting of eight members (Kevin Bong, Bucky Springmeier, Andrei Galvez, Andy Bleiler, Paul Milbury, Andrew Ackerly, James Mortensen, and Francisco “Cizflow” Oldmen Kam), HI Roots’ sound is as diverse and textured as the mix of personalities in the group. “It’s definitely a party on the stage,” the band’s bass player, Kevin says. Though their roots are in Hawaii, it wasn’t until they all found themselves in Southern California that the band was born.
Music may be what brought them together, but it’s their genuine friendship that makes this band unique. Their chemistry is apparent in both their live performances and in their songs, and it’s this chemistry that sets the band apart from other bands within the Reggae community. “We’re trying to put a positive vibe out there that makes us stand out,” says the band’s “verbal assasin,” Cizflow. The band cares just as much about their relationship with their fans as they do with each other. Bucky, who plays keyboards, says, “I love making music and seeing how the audience reacts.” He laughs,
With their eclectic Rock/Hip-Hop/Roots sound, HI Roots is a musical fusion of Island spirit and California style. Their rich, layered sound stems from their variety of personal styles and musical backgrounds. “I used to love 90’s punk,” says Paul, the band’s rhythm guitarist. He adds, “I blame my parents. They let me go to a ‘Green Day’ concert in the 5th grade, and from then on I was like, ‘I have to be in a band.’” Andy, the drummer, says he has the least Roots style. “I like being able to switch the beat and take it from a real heavy Roots Reggae sound to a more Rock mentality.” Each member of the band plays a role in the songwriting process as well. “We’re all just in the moment feeling the vibe… It’s kind of magical how it all happens,” says James, who plays percussion. This organic collaboration is due in part to their Island roots. “When you go to a Hawaii party there’s always instruments and everyone just sings and has fun,” says the lead vocalist, Andrei.
Their single “Our Sound” has already started creating buzz for the band. Not only is it a fan favorite, but it was also their first song to be played on the radio on a station in Hawaii. Kevin remembers the day their friends called them screaming that they had just heard them on the radio. “We were all hugging and jumping up and down and celebrating. It was amazing.” Though “Our Sound” succeeds in scratching the surface of the many facets of HI Roots, Andy says it’s too difficult to put their sound in a box. “I like the idea of us being ‘social music,’” he says, “but whether it’s a love song or we’re just trying to get you to party, each song has a lot of feeling.”
With their anticipated debut album set to drop this spring, just in time to set the soundtrack for barbeques, bonfires, and those late San Diego summer nights, it’s obvious that 2012 is going to give the guys of HI Roots plenty more to celebrate. For those like me who can’t wait that long, the band is also releasing an EPK on January 7th to tide us over until the full album release. The EPK will showcase what the band calls their “three sides—Reggae, Rock, and Hip-Hop.”
What the money is for
The money that is donated will go to all the cost that comes with recording, mixing, and mastering. Since forming in 2008, this album has been a goal of ours to share Our Sound with the world. These past few years we’ve grown a lot, seen some cool places and have had the opportunity to share the stage with some amazingly talented musicians. While juggling jobs, schedules, and life we have found time to get in the studio and record. Soon, we will be heading to 17th Street studios in Newport Beach to complete the album, which will be mixed and mastered by the talented and professional Lewis Richards. If we exceed our goal of $6000, we will be hitting the road to spread the vibes of our debut album Our Sound. We will be coming to a town near you loaded with brand new merchandise, music and more.
We have been together for over four years and have been blessed with the fans that we have drawn. Now its time for us to give back to all the supporting fans over the years. We would like nothing more than to give our fans a little piece of us that they can take home and listen to. The money generated from Kickstarter campaign will be used to mass-produce our album Our Sound. A portion of the money generated will go to our physical Cd’s, Merchandise, and a photo shoot. If there is anything left over it will go to our mini tour from San Diego to Austin Texas hoping to make stops in Arizona, Colorado, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Houston.
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