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Byline: Allie Adams
If you haven’t heard about Florida five-piece Kash’d Out, there’s a good chance you’re living under a rock. This young rock-reggae consortium, signed to Law Records at the beginning of 2017, has made a name for themselves through heavy grassroots promotion at festivals, unrelenting social media interaction with fans and their vibey debut full-length album The Hookup (literally one of their songs is called “Always Vibin'”). If you were at Cali Roots or Dry Diggings you probably saw them walking around selling CD’s and holding a giant sign that said, “Ask Me About Kash’d Out” and it’s more than likely they gave you a sticker and flashed a smile. I talked to founding members Greg Shields and Jackson Hauserman and asked them how they achieved their success thus far.
AA: So where are you from and how did you form Kash’d Out?
GS: We are from Orlando, FL. I was at studio there and worked on a few albums in the genre, mainly Ballyhoo!’s Daydreams. I met Jackson in a writing session and I heard these riffs he was playing. I got really excited about the sound and I wanted to write some words to it. We immediately started writing what came to be our first EP and we have not stopped writing, recording or playing shows since then. And that was three years ago.
AA: When did you decide you were going to take this seriously?
JH: Right off the bat pretty much
GS: Yeah we kinda had a conversation like, “Hey, if you’re serious about this, I’m serious about this and it’s going to take a lot of work, but if you’re willing so am I”. At this time we didn’t even really know each other that well, it was just an idea, but we were both really eager to get it going. That drive is what keeps us moving at all times. Especially when we see progress or we’ve played an awesome show or at a festival like Cali Roots; when we feel accepted and people are like, “Yeah! We’re about this!” … that makes us want to do more and gives us motivation.
AA: At what point did you add the other band members? You guys seem really close.
GS: Yeah we are. We had Joey immediately. I think we actually called him before we even had a song. Him and Jackson grew up together and would jam in high school. He lived in Maryland at the time and I remember the phone call very well, it was short and he was dedicated. He just said, “Yeah, I’ll move down”.
AA: Done. Boom. So basically from day one you guys knew this was what you wanted to do and never looked back, never thought twice about it.
JH: One hundred percent. Then I told him, “I got the guy for bass”
GS: And I said, “Well I got the guy for drums”. We went through a few drummers to find Marshall, but he fits like a glove.
AA: So we’ve seen quite a bit of Kash’d Out this past year, which I’m assuming was the culmination of a couple years of heavy social media and grassroots promotion. Did you guys consciously sit down and formulate a marketing plan for achieving your success or was it more organic than that?
JH: We’re figuring it out as we go. We learned a lot about social media marketing through research and a lot of the grassroots stuff came from Greg. I really didn’t know that much about being in a serious band, but he was involved with Warped Tour and understood that we needed to carry around signs, sell CDs face to face, hand out stickers.
GS: Yeah, I think it was a series of small goals that we achieved one by one. Ballyhoo! brought me on Warped Tour a couple times to hustle CD’s and the second time Pepper was on the tour. Warped Tour isn’t reggae oriented so I knew that there would be some camaraderie there. I told the guys [from Kash’d Out], “Hey, I gotta leave for a couple months, but my goal is to show our record that we’ve been working so hard on to Pepper and see what happens”. They ended up loving it and came through with all kinds of marketing ideas and all we had to do was execute and put our own spin on it. They are very calculated in their process, so that was a real game changer.
AA: You guys were literally everywhere at Cali Roots this year. You weren’t afraid to do everything in your power to connect with fans, sell CD’s and make your name known. From an outsider’s point of view, you seem really confident in your music and so sure about yourselves and your abilities as artists. And aside from that, it’s apparent you’re genuinely stoked on what you do and want everyone else to be stoked too, which they are, because you’re out there in the crowd mingling. You guys come off super approachable and your fans feel like they know you. I can’t really explain it, but there’s just this magic you guys have and it’s very magnetic and inviting.
JH: I couldn’t agree with you more. You really hit it on the head, and it goes deeper than just marketing. That’s how we function as a band. It’s natural for us to want to promote and hang out with fans.
GS: I’ve put probably fifteen different bands together and I’ve never found one like Kash’d Out and that’s why it works. The general stoke. We’re sharing stages with bands that influenced us and we all fit so well together… Nick is our newest recruitment on keys and I couldn’t imagine a better fit for us. He’s funny, hungry and he’s really good at making tunes. He’s contributing a lot to our next record.
JH: We’re working on a couple new songs right now and we’re really stoked on them!.
AA: What’s the timeline looking like for that? What are your next moves?
GS: So The Hookup took about a year a half to write and put together, and I can’t imagine us not doing the same thing for this one. At the same time we don’t like to stay stagnant so we’re going to drop things here and there. We will probably release a song by early next year, possibly sooner. We just finalized a music video.
AA: Where can we see you play next?
GS: The plan is to play Rootfire at the Park in Cocoa. We want to play anywhere and everywhere and if you don’t see us on the bill at a festival it’s still likely we will be there selling our stuff. Because we know that’s where we know our people are and if we’re not there they won’t know about us.
AA: I feel like that’s a big deal within our genre because it’s so small, it’s important to be a fan and show up to festivals and shows because people recognize you and you become friends and they naturally want to support you because of that.
GS: The support from the whole reggae-rock community is so worth taking in, I’ve never gone to an event and left feeling unfulfilled.
JH: Also through touring we’ve met so many people across the US that have us over to hang out or whatever and we’ve made some really close friends because of it.
AA: Music bringing people together, it’s a beautiful thing.
GS: The love and the community is really addicting and attractive and it’s also approachable, much like we are. We aren’t that attractive [all laugh hysterically], but the vibes are there. This was our first Cali Roots, and it was in the air. And not just the weed smoke. You can feel it.
AA: I always say Cali Roots is vibey, everyone’s at this higher frequency and on the same page and it’s so comforting and inclusive. Well, thank you guys so much for talking with me, this is going to be really good.
JH & GS: Thank you!