You just recently released your 4th album - 'Aloha Spirit' - to great reviews. Tell us about the album. What were you trying to do differently than previous albums and was the process any different?
For this album I wanted to encompass a variety of styles while still revealing my basic musical ID. It was fun working with Demetri Marmash at Artemis Audio in Kailua, HI. We experimented a lot with old amps and microphones to try to get a vintage sound on some of the tracks. We recorded a lot of songs overdubbing all the tracks one by one. I listened to them for a while. I kept feeling like something wasn't quite right. I ended up rerecording a lot of them all over again just playing everything live with my guitar, a kick drum and a tambourine. I kept a lot of the live versions because I felt they had better energy. However overdubbing did have its place on the album. I had an idea for the intro to "Peaceful Place" to make it sound like the rain drops fell into a beat. So me and Steven "Lock" Lynch filled up my bathtub and put up a bunch of mics and spent a day recording water splashes and drops with a variety of different buckets and rags. We mixed that with real rain, coqui frogs, and owl samples. Came out killer. It was a lot of fun.
On this album, unlike your last, you feature a number of artists including Leon Mobley who plays percussion for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Chris Chorney who has recorded with Kanye and Jay Z, the great jazz trumpet player Mike Lewis, and others. What was it like to collaborate with this all-star group of musicians?
It's always such a pleasure to work with such talented accomplished musicians. Working with Leon Mobley is like a dream come true for me. I've been such a huge fan of his for so long and am just so blown away to be able to perform and record with him now. For "Sparrow" and "Believe" I got to work with Chris Chorney and Steven "Lock" Lynch at Analog Rock Machine Studios in Downtown Honolulu. We recorded to a big analog reel-to-reel tape machine they had. Chris Chorney did a wonderful job playing Cello on those two songs. For "Sparrow" we recorded the three piece live (me on guitar, Mark Lindberg on Drums, Chorney on Cello). After listening to that for a while my Manager Al Smith mentioned the track might sound great with a muted trumpet. I called up Mike Lewis and he came in and brought the song to life. We also had Ken Lykes come in and lay down piano. That really completed the song nicely. I was really happy with the way it came out. It also reminded me how fun it is to play with a band again. I was also super stoked to be featuring Garrett 'Ane' Pessin on harmonica on the upbeat anthem, 'Island Days.'
'Aloha Spirit' features both upbeat, catchy radio-friendly songs ('Aloha Spirit', 'Island Days', 'SMH') as well as more complex and challenging music ('Sparrow', 'Glass Castle'). How did this mix come about and were you writing both simultaneously?
I feel the album did end up having a good balance of those elements. However it wasn't premeditated or planned. I still just write what comes. Even the songs that seem to be geared for the masses are just songs that I happened upon. It's only after a song is finished that I realize its purpose. I usually finish songs one by one in one or two sittings. If a song is not finding its way after that I tend to let it go. I like to get the song written and start playing it live immediately. That's where I get all the bugs out. Playing the songs live is also the last test to see if it's something I want to keep playing. There are so many songs I've written, then played a bunch of times live, then just never played again because it didn't feel right or wasn't landing the way it was meant to. I think being able to try things out and let them go is a great way to sharpen your song writing skills.
On this album you play a number of different instruments including a lap steel, a banjo, a drum pedal kit, and more. Tell us about your rig.
On the album you will hear an Iseman Guitars Tavana Signature koa Weissenborn, a Pono GA 30 D.C. Acoustic Guitar, and a Pono ETC PC Ukelele. The banjo is a Gold Tone Irish Tenor. And for the percussion I play on a self built pedal board with 6 KT-10 Roland Drum Triggers hooked up to a TD-30 Roland Drum Module.
It sure is amazing watching you play guitar, sing, and play the drums with your feet all at the same time! What are your plans for the future, and where would you like to see your music go from here?
I have some short term goals and some long term goals. In the short term I would like to get to play abroad a lot more. I am aiming at getting to festivals on the east and west coast of the Mainland. I will be touring in the Summer of 2018 with the Wanderlust Festival in 5 cities in Canada and the U.S.. We will be booking shows between those dates and around those cities. It will be the first official Tavana Tour. We are also in the process of trying to book shows in Japan for that summer as well. More in the long term I would like to help revamp the local music scene in Honolulu. I can see Honolulu being a top tier live music destination in the near future. We have so many talented people here and I envision an explosion of creativity and innovation. I want to do what I can to make that a reality. My show at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's has been a great place to begin that effort. Every week I showcase artists from Honolulu and elsewhere. It's been a place for talented people from any and every genre to come and collaborate and feel free to try out new things. It's really been bringing a lot of people together that would not normally have done so otherwise.
Where can people come to see you live and are there any upcoming shows that you are currently super stoked about?
I'll be featuring the super-talented Aiden James on Tuesday, October 17th at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's, opening for Sam Hunt at the Blaisdell Center Arena on Wednesday, October 18th, featuring Jon Yamasato on Tuesday, November 7th at Crossroads, and opening for Valerie June at The Republik on Monday, November 20th. And you can always check my website for upcoming show dates at www.tavana808.com.
Check out songs from 'Aloha Spirit' below. You can pick up a copy of the CD here. The album is also available for download at iTunes and Spotify. Mahalo!
Tavana is super excited to be featuring Jabari Prevost on Tuesday, October 10th at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's at 9 p.m.
Jabari is originally from Toronto, Canada but has since moved to Honolulu and is a professional saxophonist/bassist/keyboardist and producer. His earned his music degree from Bemidji State University with an emphasis on saxophone and jazz. He has played alongside Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band), Wycliffe Gordon (Lincoln Jazz Center, Wynton Marsalis), Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z), Kiku Collins (Gloria Gaynor, Beyonce), Steve Smith (Journey, Buddy Rich Band), and many others.
Also on the stage on Tuesday will be Ane Pessin who performed Harmonica on 'Island Days' on Tavana's just released 4th Album 'Aloha Spirit!'
Tavana is super stoked to be featuring Lopaka Colon on Tuesday, October 3rd at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's!
Lopaka is a wicked good multi-instrument percussionist from Oahu who was the founder of Hoku Award winning group 'Pure Heart', performed on Henry Kapono's award winning album 'Wild Hawaiian', and frequently performs with various acts in and around Waikiki. When these two play together it is pure liquid fire!!!
Check out Lopaka's insanely syncopated percussion work as he performs Santana's 'Black Magic Woman' alongside Henry Kapono!
Tavana is stoked to be featuring 'Da Camarillo Braddahz' on Tuesday, September 26th at 9 pm at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's!
'Da Camarillo Braddahz' - made up of Kamaka Camarillo and Kala'e Camarillo - were born and raised on Maui and are the sons of renowned 'ukelele musician, Rama Camarillo, and
grandsons of George Camarillo who started the first 'ukelele band in Hawai'i public schools. Their great uncle is 'ukelele virtuoso, Jesse Kailma, and their aunt Lehua Kalima is a member of the multiple award-winning trio, Na Leo Pilimehana.
The brothers also played for 'Simply Sedd' which was a band they formed at University of Hawaii with Christian Taum and Olu Campbell. The band was one of the five finalists in the 2014 Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search.
Come on down and check these up-and-comer braddahz on Tuesday night! Aloha!
Tavana is super excited to be performing at Nashville Waikiki on Wednesday,
September 27th at 8 p.m.!
Nashville Waikiki was established in 1994 and is a genuine Country Western Saloon located in the Aloha Tower Marketplace.
The bar features a large dance floor, Free Black Jack, Pool, Darts, Corn Hole, and Beer Pong.
This will be the first time that Tavana has played at this awesome venue, so drop on down, show your support, and have a rockin' 'hump day'!
Tavana is super excited to be featuring Olivia Thai on Tuesday, September 12 @ 9 pm at
Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's!
Olivia is an Award-Winning Singer with 21,000,000+ YouTube views, was a contestant on American Idol, won Thai Idol, and her original "Why I Stayed" was ranked #1 on
ReverbNation's R&B charts!
Check our her absolutely amazing talent below!!!
Olivia's Full Bio:
"Her fans and news sources around the the world have been calling her, "the one-woman symphony" because of how she is able to incorporate beat-boxing, piano, guitar, violin, ukulele, and singing skills through a looping machine. She creates an orchestra weekly on her YouTube channel and daily on several live streaming platforms.
In her first two months of becoming a songwriter in late 2014, she had written over 200 original songs - most of them with the intent of having other artists sing them. She quickly discovered that it would be wise to present several of these works to her own loyal following of over 200,000 fans across all of her social media platforms.
With truth and creativity being her priorities in music composition, it is no surprise that her original, “Why I Stayed” leads her to be ranked #1 on ReverbNation’s R&B charts. “Why I Stayed” continues to be a testament to her songwriting abilities as she proceeds to accept the Independent Music Award at the 2015 Hollywood Music in Media Awards as well as the Akademia Award for Best R&B Ballad in 2015.
Although Olivia was a former American Idol contestant and winner of Taiwan Idol, it is her extensive background in comedy that has led her to connect with her fan base in a down-to-earth and humorous manner. Her authentically imperfect videos and live broadcasts showcase her ability to have deep connections with her audience while being lighthearted and uplifting. Olivia has a rare combination of multi-cultural comedic improvisation, heartfelt original compositions, and unique interpretations of popular cover songs, which allows her to captivate large audiences online, on television, and in live performances."
...And one more because its just soooo good!
Tavana is super excited to be featuring Sistah Roz at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's on Tuesday, September 5th at 9 p.m.!
Sistah Roz was a part of multiple Hawaiian, Hip-Hop, Jazz , and Reggae projects with various artists, traveled as a backing vocalist on four World Tours to Europe & Africa with Boston- based artist - Iyeoka - in 2014.
She then realized her passion for Traditional Jamaican Rocksteady and Ska was deep. Shortly after, her 10 piece band -The Sound Revolutionaries - decided to move forward and she began to make plans to manifest a fresh project, hand selecting each individual who would create her new dream band, The Treasure Tones.
Sistah Roz has been apart of/worked with artists such as, local bands: The Sound Revolutionaries (Hawaii), Iyeoka (Boston) & the Rock by Funk Tribe (Boston/LA), The Quadraphonix (Hawaii), The Ionz (Hawaii), Youthstrong (Hawaii), Mana Maoli Collective (Hawaii), Irie Love (Hawaii), Natural Vibrations (Hawaii), Joel Spiral (Family Dinner), Lady Paisley (Tempo Valley), Seph I (Tempo Valley), Amen Raw & Jason "Bison" Friedman (Go Jimmy Go),l Alex Marley (Jamaica), etc.... Her music can be heard on the Mana Maoli Collective Compilation CD, Joel Spiral's album "Magnetis," and Alex Marley's album "Meditation."
Check her out below!
Tavana is excited to be celebrating his birthday with a performance at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's on Tuesday, August 29th at 9 p.m.!
He will be featuring the Oahu All-Star Crew including Dave Edery, Zack Gray, Ryan Branvold, Keith Batlin, Garrett Pessin, Lopaka Colon, Guy James, and special guest Leon Mobley!!!
Come on down and help make this one of the very best shows yet!!!
Tavana is thrilled to be featuring Clay Campania on Tuesday, August 15th at 9 p.m. at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's.
Originally born in Honolulu, Campania is an absolutely unbelievable blues and rock guitar player who as a member of the band Friends of Adam opened for AEROSMITH, Sheryl Crow, and Pablo Cruise on the way to a top 10 national ranking of Hard Rock Cafe's Battle of the Bands in 2010!
John Heckathorn, editor of Honolulu Magazine wrote: "When Campania picks up his guitar, he channels Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn."
As those who got to hear Clay at last week's Tavana Tuesday (where he dropped in for a face-rippingly good two-song guest-spot) will attest, this is going to be an absolutely unforgettable, not-to-miss show!!!
Check out Campania below!
Tavana will be performing at the Grand Opening Party of Lucky Strike Social at the Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu on Friday, August 4th from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.!
Lucky Strike Social features Premium Bowling Lanes, Gastropub Cuisine (including sushi!), 130 Arcade Games, Specialty Cocktails, Craft Beers, and Live Music.
Come on down and check it out!!!