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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Hip Hop Reggae




"Gisto says good bye to Nelson"

By Megan Cole - Nelson Star
Published: February 03, 2012 11:00 AM
Updated: February 03, 2012 11:36 AM

It’s been 11 years since Gisto arrived in Nelson from London, Ontario.

He made the pilgrimage with Kangaroo (his band at the time) and since joined Wassabi Collective. But now Gisto has embraced a new chapter in his career, which has taken him to Jamaica and now to Vancouver.

“I can’t believe how time flies,” he told [Vurb] this week. “I always heard rumours of BC. It was this oasis you hear about somewhere beyond the mountains. I decided OK I’m going to go to BC.”

Even though Gisto has fallen into the world of reggae both as part of Wassabi Collective and in his own solo music, it wasn’t a genre he had always been involved in.

“It just sort of happened where I always loved reggae from when I listened to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh,” he said. “When I was playing with these different bands I was always learning these reggae songs.”

While on stage with Wassabi, Gisto was also performing on his own. He was playing with friends at what used to be The Wild Nectar (which is now Busaba).

“We would play there every Thursday and we were doing our own jazz thing,” he said. “We were jazz nerds so we were trying out all our new jam band style stuff, until one day when finally the reggae music was starting to seep into me more and more I said ‘why don’t we try a couple reggae songs next week?’”

The group had a decent following where the crowd would sit and listen, but when the group started to play reggae songs the dance floor would fill up.

“That was sort of the deciding moment when I was like maybe this is something I should focus on a little more,” said Gisto.

After The Wild Nectar closed the group became a strictly reggae band and began taking the stage at the former Reservoir.

“That was packed every week. It was an awesome night, but it became a bit over saturated to the point where instead of waking up where I was like ‘Yah! We’re playing music tonight!’ I was like ‘Oh no, we’re playing music tonight!” said Gisto.

The group was playing so often that they were lacking the time to put together new material, and they decided to take some time off, which paralleled the closure of the Reservoir.

Even though Gisto had taken the stage around town after the closure of Reservoir, he gained a lot of popularity for his annual Bob Marley birthday bash, which takes place tomorrow night at Spiritbar.

After the release of his first album, Gisto found himself travelling to Jamaica to further his reggae education.

“I had lots of Jamaican friends of mine and a mentor of mine John Godard – who died recently. He was a tall rasta man, he played drums for us as well. He was a huge influence on me to continue doing what I’m doing,” said Gisto.

Godard – who was also known as Biggie – was a tough critic because he had come from Jamaica and had been saturated in reggae music.

“He always said ‘you should go to Jamaica, Gisto,’” he said.

Since he first got on a plane to the birth place of reggae, Gisto has made some vital connections in the industry and had recorded new tracks including some that will soon be on a new album to be released in the spring.

But with 11 years in Nelson behind him, he’s decided to challenge himself and take on the music world of Vancouver.

“It’s time to bust out and for me to spread my wings,” said Gisto.

Wassabi Collective will still be touring together in March when they will be playing local high schools and middle schools.

Gisto said it is simply a new season for both him and the band. - Nelson Star

"'Gisto' is Invincible"

BRENT 'Gisto' Hongisto is the lead singer/guitarist of the Canadian quintet Wassabi Collective. However, he could not ignore the lure of reggae music.

This led him to record his first reggae album in 2009 called Just The Beginning.

"I was simply fascinated with the music, but I knew I wouldn't get the full understanding of what it is all about until I visited the land of its origin. I knew I had to visit as being in Jamaica would give me a taste of a new reality," he said.

Last year, Gisto arrived in the island with the aim of producing music. He and Montego Bay-based producer and singjay Oakley 'Dre Zee' Malcolm have combined their talents in the single Invincible.

"My aim is really to bring back roots-reggae to Jamaica as I do believe that type of music is slowly dying despite it widely being accepted in the United States and other countries. Some Jamaicans aren't really appreciative of the treasure (reggae music) they have," Gisto said.

In 2008, the five-member band Wassabi received Album of the Year at the BC Interior Music Awards (BCIMA) in Canada for Stories Not Forgotten. Two years later, their single Get It won the Urban/Dance Recording of the Year. - Jamaica Observer – Simone Morgan


'This Is It' (2012)

Various Singles (2011)

'Get It' (2010)
*Won Urban/Dance Recording of the Year at the 2010 BCIMA's*

'Just the Beginning'(2009)

'Stories Not Forgotten' (2007)
*Voted Album of the Year at the 2008 BCIMA's.*

'Cato' (2005)



In 2011 Gisto made his first journey to the Fatherland of Reggae music Jamaica. He arrived with no hotel, no contacts and no idea what he would find there, just a desire to connect with the music and culture that influenced his life. Within about two weeks on the island Gisto went from a stranger to a recognized musical personality on Jamaican television.
Upon arrival his first step was to catch a taxi. He played his album "Just The Beginning" for the taxi man named Pretty, Pretty instantly recognized Gisto's talent as a singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He introduced him to the Jamaican born artist DreZee in hopes Gisto could find his musical footing on another wise difficult island to navigate. After a half hour of showcasing his beats and music in Dre's studio, Gisto was invited to stay. Within a week the artists had done a number of collaborations and shot videos, Dre then introduced Gisto to the rest of jamaica thru the debut of their video for "Invicible" on HypeTv. From that point Gisto's fate was sealed, he was now recognized on the same level as the artists that have influenced his music for years.
Gisto however is more than a reggae artist/producer he changing the sound of music one song at a time. By combining the sounds of Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Dubstep and Hip Hop along with his smooth one of a kind vocal stylings he has created a sound which is uniquely his own. One fan said that its easy to fall in love with his relate-able songs that speak on personal and worldly matters. Many fans have claimed once a Gisto CD is played it stays in rotation until its skips or its stolen.
After years on the the road as the musical director for his successful underground band Wassabi collective, Gisto has honed his skills and is moving in his own direction. He is currently in the prime of his writing/producing career having done recent collaborations with Lutan Fyah, Marky Lyrical. His band has been featured on the PBS series Roadtrip Nation, they were the #1 'On the Verge' Band in Relix Magazine, have been awarded a People's Choice Award at the Independent Music Awards and won 4 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Provincial Awards. Their second full-length studio record, "Get It" in 2010, was awarded the BCIMA for Urban/Dance Recording of the Year and their Stories Not Forgotten, won Album of the Year in 2008. His band has shared the stage with Bedouin Soundclash, Ka' Naan, Micheal Franti & Spearhead, K-OS, Femi Kuti, Hot Hot Heat, Randy Bachman, Bassnectar and Adham Shaikh.

Band Members