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When I first heard this Guamanian quartet live last week in Riverside my jaw literally fell to the floor. Between their soulful, danceable, bubbly roots vibe and Freddy playing drums and belting out harmonies at the SAME TIME, I was surprised beyond words these guys weren’t on my radar and in my regular music rotation. So here I am, to tell the world how amazingly talented and addicting this group’s sound is. I got a chance to interview Freddy and Jacob this weekend at the Music Box in San Diego to get the scoop on their backstory, influences and future plans.
AA: So how did For Peace Band get started? You both have been here from the beginning.
JI: I moved from Hawai’i to Guam because I met a Chamorro girl. My wife’s best friend is Freddy’s sister; so when I first moved there we met up and started playing music. He was with his other band at the time.
FB: I was playing in a rock band and teaching full time at a private school. I never thought I’d be playing reggae music and JC inspired me.
AA: [to Jacob] So you had been playing reggae in Hawai’i?
JI: Yeah, for a long time. At least seven years prior to moving to Guam… with Rootikal Riddim.
AA: The Expanders were just talking about RR and how amazing the songwriting was.
JI: It’s old school. They’re all older than me and I learned a lot from the guys. They were my influences.
AA: Who does the band as a whole derive inspiration from? What is the foundation music of For Peace Band?
FB: I’d like to think our musical foundation is Aswad, JC got me into them; Ooklah the Moc, Jah Davis…
JI: Greensleeves, Roots Radics, Sly & Robbie
FB: Especially the drummer/singer model like Drummie Zeb [breaks into spontaneous harmony]
AA: I think that’s one of the biggest things that impressed me about you guys… Freddie singing AND playing the baddest beats. Strongest lungs in the business? How long have you been playing?
FB: I was raised musically by my dad and uncle. There was a drum set at my dad’s office and I would play for hours as a kid. I’d also skip class a lot of times to go play the school drum set [laughs] In high school I played pit band for musicals and I played jazz band in college.
AA: So you have a lot of theory and technique behind your drumming?
FB: Yeah, but even more than that it was always most important to me to be playing with group and creating music.
AA: What are you guys creating now? Are you working on new music?
FB: We’ve had songwriting material since we released Feel This in 2015. So from that point up to today we have about eleven songs we were working on here and there. After this tour we’re heading to the studio to record.
AA: So these were one-offs you guys were working on while you worked on other things?
JI: Yeah we’ve been touring heavily since 2015; our first mainland tour was with The Expanders and Arise Roots.
FB: Then in 2016 we linked up with Ooklah the Moc, Josh Heinrichs, Skillinjah and Cas Haley. Earlier this year we were with Fortunate Youth, and now we’re here finishing up the Roots Train Tour with The Expanders and Iya Terra.
AA: It’s been a fun tour?
JI: It’s been a great experience and now we finally get to work on getting our music done.
AA: Are you guys going home to Guam to record?
JI: We’re going to stop in Hawai’i and link up with our friends at C Major 7 Studios to record everything.
AA: Nice! Before you leave you have all-Guam show, right?
FB00: Yeah! At Sol Venue in Carson, CA on November 1st. We’re playing with 56 Hope, they’re veterans in the Guam music scene; Jason J, he’s been based out of LA for awhile now; and Chris Boomer, who has actually been a huge influence on me and inspired me to branch our and keep going with my music…to pursue reggae music.
AA: I feel like it’s really important as an artist to have to have someone pushing your creativity. That’s so cool you had that. I seriously can’t wait to see you guys play again tonight! Thank you so much for talking with me.