Hawai
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Hawai

Dana Point, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Dana Point, CA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Indie

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"Hawai share enthralling debut EP Working All Night"

Intoxicating indie band Hawai are newcomers that deliver a familiar vibe and lively energy. The California based outfit stimulates nostalgic feels with laid-back instrumentals while vocalist Jake Pappas’ full-force vocals swap singer-songwriter moments for more vivacious build-ups.

The band’s debut EP Working All Night, which will arrive June 17th from Antler Records, sets the stage for their impending breakthrough — which seems undeniable upon first listen. Hawai’s lushly layered tracks and relatable lyrics that relay timeless trivialities such as wanting it, “all my way,” as Pappas sings on “Fault” or wondering, “where’s my heart at” as he does on lead single “In My Head”, make the EP repeat worthy.

“The EP was made from a collection of about 10 working songs,” Pappas tells Consequence of Sound. “Songs that were almost there but still needed some love.”

To help the songs move into phases of final production, the band called upon Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Deap Vally) to produce their EP. Pappas said they all immediately got along with Stalfors’ way of working.

“He understood the band’s vision and really inspired us during the writing process,” Pappas tells CoS. “It was in many ways effortless. We never knew songwriting could be simplified, and always thought you had to slave over lyrics and cry a little bit out of frustration when you can’t think of a melody. But Lars really opened our eyes to the simplification of writing. That’s not to say we didn’t slave over the EP, but it was definitely a smoother process then we’ve experienced in the past.”

While the writing and recording process was somewhat smooth sailing, the song’s lyrical content expose a more turbulent time, and were inspired by a particular period in Pappas’ life.

“I quit my job to move to L.A., my wife had just found out she was pregnant, we couldn’t find work right away… lots of change and transition all at once. But we love L.A., so we were happy to go through the momentary struggle together. It was really hard some days. But there was also a lot of joy during that period too.”

The ups and downs of riding that rollercoaster come through on Hawai’s EP, and are portrayed though the sonic highs and lows of each song. But listening to just one song off Working All Night is like reaching the rollercoaster’s highest point and getting off before the descent down — any ride, much like the band’s EP, is best when experienced in full, from start to finish. - Consequence of Sound


"SoCal based alt-rockers HAWAI talk forthcoming EP ‘Working All Night’"

Featuring beachy gusts of guitars, complimented by iridescent hooks, Los Angeles based band Hawai are gearing up for the release of their forthcoming EP ‘Working All Night.’ The upcoming project is set to drop June 17th and is full of energetic beats and atmospheric vocals. Lyrically, ‘Working All Night,’ documents the musicians’ tireless commitment to their own art.

GroundSounds recently caught up with the guys to talk about their latest EP, musical inspirations and more check out the exclusive interview below.

For those just discovering HAWAI, can you tell us a little bit about the bands formation and how you guys started making music?

Three of us (Jared, Jesse, and Me) have been playing music with each other since middle school. Over 15 years. We started as an instrumental band that played a couple 40 year old birthday parties. As we got older we took it a tad bit more seriously. But everyone at one point went their separate ways. I went to Nashville to pursue a solo thing, and eventually came back and reconnected with Jared (bass) and Jesse (drums). We added Matt (keyboards) to the team and began a project called J. Thoven. A few years went by and we grew up a little more, added Jack Rose (guitar) to the band and formed HAWAI.

What do you guys enjoy most about Los Angeles and the Cali coast?

It’s nice to live by the ocean. Sometimes you forget how close you are to it even when you get to see it everyday. I lived in Nashville for two years and that was one of the things I missed most. When you’re land locked, it becomes very apparent how much the ocean affects you.

How did you guys decide on the name HAWAI?

HAWAI checked off on a big list of wants for a band name. It was tough because every name you can possibly think of is taken, some by two or three bands. So we obviously wanted a name that we can call our own. We were looking for a name that evoked an emotion when you heard it. Something that would give you an idea of our sound before you heard the music. Also something that was memorable and familiar. HAWAI seemed to be the best fit.

Can you tell us about working on and bringing your debut EP ‘Working All Night’ to fruition?

It was a really eye-opening experience for us to make this EP. At the time of writing the songs for the record, my wife was expecting our first son. So a lot of hours went into making this thing, knowing our lives were going to change in nine months. I knew we had to be all in on this one. We found a great producer who we worked really well with, picked four songs out of a batch of ten, and went to work in the studio. We’re really happy with the outcome. It all feels like it makes a lot of sense and that our sound was discovered during the whole process.

What was the inspiration for the EP title ‘Working All Night’?

At the time, I was going through a big transitional period in my life…my wife and I had just found we were pregnant a week after we moved to Los Angeles. We moved to LA without any jobs in place, rent was more expensive then before, it all seemed a bit overwhelming. So there was a huge part of me that was writing to get us out of that phase. Lyrically you’ll definitely hear that slight frustration. But there was also a lot of inspiration taken from the excitement of being in a brand new city, getting out of my hometown, and meeting new people too.

Can you tell us about the writing and creative process involved with your first single “In My Head?”

The writing process was a tad bit scattered actually. We had the music mapped out but didn’t have much going on vocally. We knew the song wanted to go somewhere large, so we worked with a couple producers to help navigate the direction of the song vocally to make it go where it wanted to go. That song had such a schizophrenic feel to it from the start that I knew the lyrics needed to play with that. So the song lyrically is this concept of artificial love that someone has in their head. But really it’s to be interpreted however the listener feels.

When you guys are jamming out on stage what typically goes through your minds?

I hope my hair doesn’t look stupid!

Can you tell us about the inspiration for “On My Own?”

Ya, that one was inspired by Little Dragon. I knew I wanted a song that was super electronic feeling with a live band. They do that really well! I was really trying to get this ‘driving late at night through a big city’ vibe from the verses. And something really easy to sing along to in the chorus. So I kinda had this layout of a structure of what I was wanting before I had any parts to the song. And then just filled in the blanks as I went.

What bands/musicians are you guys currently listening to?

Andy Shauf, America, Szymon, David Bazan, and Nashville Skyline by Bob Dylan

After the EP release, what’s next for Hawai? What can fans look forward to?

Touring, Touring, and more Touring! And more songs. And more everything. See everybody soon! - Groundsounds


"HAWAI DELIVER MOODY SUMMER ANTHEMS WITH WORKING ALL NIGHT"

Southern California band, HAWAI, released their first ever EP, Working All Night, this past Friday. Their story, which begins as a handful of friends jamming out in a garage, now follows a band rich with talent, which is part of what makes HAWAI and their new EP so charming. Self-described as “a band, not a state”, this humorous bunch is making waves by bringing a fresh perspective, and the first track off their EP, a guitar heavy number entitled “In My Head,” continues to be one of this year’s prospective summer anthems. With a catchy chorus and upbeat rhythms, it contrasts the usual characteristics of a sunny favorite with tones of moodiness and darkness, creating a beautiful bundle of contradictions. Give Working All Night a listen, and be sure to check out HAWAI on their tour this summer! - The Wild Honey Pie


"Ears Wide Open: Hawai"

To associate Orange County quintet Hawai with the state of Hawaii (or the band My Hawaii, for that matter) would be mighty misleading. They don’t wear leis, and as far as we can tell there’s not a ukulele to be heard in their uber-modern rock. It would be literally true, however, to call them a garage band — the longtime pals practice in Jake Pappas’ garage in Dana Point. And the stadium-sized atmospherics recall another band with roots in southern Orange County, Delta Spirit. The latest single from the band — singer-guitarist Pappas, guitarist Casey Lagos, bassist Jared Slaybaugh, keyboardist Matt Gillen and drummer Jesse Dorman — is “In My Head,” which is vaguely about playing out scenarios in one’s imagination but is more about FM radio-ready production. For that, the band worked with Lars Stalfors, who has production credits for the likes of Cold War Kids, HEALTH, Funeral Party, Chelsea Wolfe and Deap Vally. The song, along with the first single “Fault,” will appear on an EP that Hawai hopes to release by the end of the year. - Buzzbands LA


"Hawai Finally Found Their Sound With Help From Cold War Kids Producer"

Considering the majority of indie outfit Hawai started jamming together in middle school, it’s a relief that the south county-based twenty somethings are finally releasing an EP that truly captures their sound.
Their debut effort, Working All Night, is comprised of four tracks filled with rich vocals and gleaming guitar lines. With the help of producer Lars Stalfors (whose extensive credits include Cold War Kids, Deap Vally and The Mars Volta) and airplay on KROQ, their new EP is shaping up to be the catalyst they needed to cultivate their sound and head for greater shores. Working All Night is set to be released June 17 on Antler Records. The five-piece will swing through tonight at the Wayfarer with Charlie Hilton and Clean Spill.

The band has been through a progression of names, transitioning from their youthful Greystone to J. Thoven and finally to their current moniker, Hawai. Front man Jake Pappas says that this is the name that’s going to stick, because it represents both their sound and state of mind. The singer/guitarist also shares that producer Stalfors was a factor in the new name, but more importantly, in polishing and focusing their sound. The first time the band met with Stalfors, he churned out one of their tracks in less than an hour. Pappas jokingly recalls how taken aback the group was with his speed.

“He pieced everything together and we had this whole song that was only missing lyrics and a few added parts. He did it in forty-five minutes,” Pappas says. “We were all joking around at the time, telling him, ‘What the heck? Aren’t you supposed to slave over this and have it be a little more emotional?’ He really taught us that you can sit down and write a song and feel good about it without agonizing over it.”

They recorded at the Cold War Kids’ studio in San Pedro, where the band continued to gel with the seasoned producer. Stalfors introduced Hawai to Cold War Kids bassist Matt Maust, who created the album art for Working All Night. Maust was given free reign over the project, with the band sharing a few images for inspiration and simply requesting that the visuals align with their sound. Maust ran with the request and began the multi-layered process of creating the album art, which was filmed and used as the music video for the song “Fault.”

“It’s a good representation of the EP as a whole,” Pappas said. “Working All Night was strongly represented in how Matt and the director Sean Flynn created the video. They shot over ten hours of non-stop art. Matt said he’s never sweat more in his life that when doing that shoot.”

The constant, yet beautiful motion of the video is evocative of the group’s EP. The lead track, “In My Head,” is edgy yet ethereal, layered with light harmonies and glistening synths. “All Night” was inspired by Pappas’ then unborn child and is an emotional take on pursuing a dream, and eventually grew into the band’s anthem. All of Pappas lyrics are relatable, though he shares some are based on his immediate life while others are fictional narratives. Either way, he views making music and songwriting as a cathartic way to connect. With a sharpened sound and new identity, Hawai are finding their footing and headed in the right direction.

“We’re really happy with the EP, we’ve got a cohesive sound and Lars really helped us with that,” Pappas says. “I feel like with music and poetry, there’s something about keeping it to yourself and not sharing it with anyone. To take these songs and put them out there for everyone to hear can be pretty gnarly. But I try to tap into that and use it. I want people to be able to connect, with our sound and our lyrics.” - OC Weekly


"Hawai - In My Head"

Why do we like this?
Hawai popped up in my SubmitHub feed yesterday, and it didn't take me long to take a fancy.

The official presser describes the song as "cinematic and casual," and I couldn't agree more. It simultaneously plays it safe while keeping things interesting, a formula that'll be sure to keep a few eardrums happy.

For more, give them a follow on SoundCloud. - Indie Shuffle


"An Interview With Southern California-Based Beachy Alternative Band, HAWAI!"

Underneath beachy gusts of guitars and keys, shimmering soul and iridescent hooks is Southern California’s Hawai. The band quickly garnered national attention when their first single “In My Head” reached #4 on the Hype Machine charts, and has since received early radio support from the likes of KROQ, KCRW, Alt 98.7 and more.

Hawai released their debut EP Working All Night, produced by Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Deap Vally), on June 17 via Antler Records.

Full of energetic beats, atmospheric vocals, and lush guitars, Working All Night is a collection that is liable to stay stuck in your head for long after one listen. Following the cinematic single “In My Head,” the energetic “On My Own” pulses along with a driving refrain to Jake Pappas’ expansive vocals on “Fault,” and ending with the melancholy “All Night.”

Hawai EP cover hi-resLyrically, Working All Night documents the musicians’ tireless commitment to their own art. Jake Pappas expands, “When I moved to LA, my wife and I were expecting our first child. It was really written for my unborn son, saying: ‘I will work as much as I can to provide for you.’ On a larger level, it’s reflective of the band’s commitment to music. We’re willing to work as hard as we can for it.”

Beginning on May 18th, the band started playing a handful of dates across Southern California, including a newly announced EP release show at Dirty Laundry in Los Angeles on June 16th.

Hawai is Jake Pappas, Jesse Dorman, Jared Slaybaugh, Matt Gillen and Jack Rose.

Learn more about Hawai in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time! How’s 2016 been treating you all? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band and your music?

So far so good! Lots of exciting stuff has already happened this year, which is crazy that we’re halfway through the year already. But ya we’ve had some really fun shows this year and have a ton to look forward to. 2015 was a really great year for us. We signed to Antler Records, went on a successful run up the west coast supporting Zella Day, did a bunch of one-offs in LA, Orange County, and San Diego…all big highlights for us.

How did this group first come to be? Where did you all meet? How did you come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?

We’re all Orange County natives, and the majority of us had played in past bands together. So the roots of the band go way back to middle school to Jesse (drums), Jared (bass), and my first band called Greystone. We were an instrumental band that played at a few 40th birthday parties. We covered songs like “The Girl from Ipanema.”

HAWAI is a culmination of everything we wanted the band name to represent. We had our list of possible names, but really wanted the name to be one word, we wanted it to evoke a positive and memorable emotion, and also wanted it to be representative of our sound. Oh and of course a name that wasn’t already taken. That was the hardest hurdle. EVERYTHING is taken. HAWAI seemed to be the most fit for what we were looking for. Other names we considered…hmmmm…SPORTS, PORTS, SHORTS. We actually never considered SHORTS, but we should have. You’re welcome new band that needs a name.

Why do you think you all work so well together?

Let’s be honest, we don’t always work so well together. But we try our best with being on the same page, always! We’ve noticed in the past when even one person resists the direction we are going in, it’s like driving a car with three wheels instead of four. Your momentum comes to a screeching halt when you can’t agree on things. So over time, we’ve learned it’s always best to find that line where you can have your opinion but still agree with someone else’s. And not to mention, we are genuinely friends and brothers. So that plays a huge role in how we work together.

How would you describe your sound to someone that hasn’t heard it yet?

I would say we are California Indie Rock…Sunshine and Synths!

Next week, you will release your debut EP, “Working All Night” via Antler Records. What does that feel like? How long have you been working on it?

It feels really good actually! Putting out music is always scary too. So there’s mixed emotions of excitement and terror…but more excitement then anything. We just are stoked to let people hear it. I started writing a whole bunch towards the end of 2014, and the four songs that appear on the EP are from a collection of tunes I wrote right before I had my son Van in August of 2014. From there we began recording in late 2015, and now we are finally at the moment we’ve all been anticipating. So ya, EXCITING stuff!

Where do you get the inspiration for your music? Is that constantly changing?

It’s constantly changing for sure. I can’t help but always observe things. My wife hates when I drive cuz I can never keep my eyes on the road. I’m always looking at the bird that just flew over our car, or the trees on the side of the road, or the guy in the car next to us that has a funny haircut. But ya I’m always looking at things with a sense of awe. I think everything is worth writing about. I mostly take it day-by-day and let whatever inspires me then to be the subject of our next song.

What was it like working with Matt Maust from Cold War Kids?

Matt’s awesome! He’s super original, creative, and cranks out art in no time. It’s mind blowing to us how much he created during the making of our “Fault” music video. It was 10 hours of non-stop art making. He said he’s never sweat more in his life.

How’s your summer tour been going? Any favorite venues or crowds yet? Do you hope to venture outside CA soon with the tour?

We’ve kept it local for the most part, but have had some great shows so far this year. We have big plans for the rest of the year with tours all over the US. So keep an eye out, we’ll be in your city soon!

Who are some of your favorite artists? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music?

Some of our faves: Radiohead, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, The War on Drugs, to name a few. Bob Dylan’s poetry always gets me. Rufus Wainwright’s voice too!

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?

I hope that people hear authenticity in our music. The structure of the lyrics and mood of each song was in some ways direct and obvious…but I also like leaving room for everyone to have their own interpretation of what each song means. - All Access Music


Discography

Working All Night EP

Photos

Bio

HAWAI is five long time friends and brothers. They grew up in Orange County, and from a very young age began writing music together. They have been in and out of bands, crossed genres from hard-core to folk, lived in different cities, different states, and as of a few years ago, they’ve all reconnected and are now playing what feels most natural to them. They’ve entered a fresh start to their music venture, one of which there is confidence and excitement.
The band currently practices in Dana Point, CA in Jake’s garage and still chooses Coors Light over fancy beer. The sounds of HAWAI are fitting to their environment. You hear the calming ocean and the chaos of the traffic. In June 2016 they released their debut EP "Working All Night" produced by Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Deap Vally).  Until then, catch them live at a show. Maybe one day when one hears the word HAWAI, a thought will enter their mind not of palm trees, not of luaus, but of a band from California.

Band Members