In early November 2018, The Green supported their old friend Bruno Mars for two shows at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The members of the Green were blown away when the sold out stadium sang along to their hits. But it was a little seen video of the band warming up backstage for those shows that really demonstrates the direction The Green is headed with their latest release, Black & White, out now via longtime label partner Easy Star Records.
That video showed the band doing their normal pre-show routine in the stadium’s locker room, which involves the singers in the band harmonizing and perfecting their vocal blend. That moment is what The Green has been about since coming together ten years ago -- even as they’ve risen to the heights of the reggae genre, becoming the first Hawaiian reggae act to gain enormous popularity on the U.S. mainland, scoring numerous major Hawaiian radio hits and awards en route, while selling out venues throughout the country – the heart of this band still beats with the blending of the individual voices into a powerful whole, and the joining of five different songwriters into a formidable unit.
As the group was beginning to work on the songs for their next full-length studio album, they took some time to look back and celebrate their decade as a groundbreaking band. Black & White gave The Green the chance to revisit some of the most popular songs in their extensive catalog and see them with new eyes, recording new, soulful acoustic arrangements that echo the intimacy you’d find hanging with the band in the green room before a show. This love letter of an album to their fans gave them a chance to look back, before turning to working on their upcoming studio album, which is sure to push the boundaries of reggae and pop as this band has always done.
As for why they called the album Black & White, it comes from the simplicity of their approach. Guitarist/singer JP Kennedy says, “We really liked the idea of taking a previously recorded song and stripping it down to a few key elements. Less is more.” Black and White was self produced by The Green (with a little help from Leslie Ludiazo, the bands original drummer, and Lapana Ieriko, one of Hawaii's best producers). The album was mixed and mastered by Danny Kalb, who also co-produced and mixed their third album, Hawai’i '13 (2013).
Most of the tracks were recorded in Costa Mesa, CA at the Hurley International Headquarters, the same studio that Hawai'i 13 was recorded at 5 years ago. The band really enjoys working with Hurley, and ultimately chose to record at their studio because “they let us work 12 hour sessions and their surf shorts are insanely comfy.”
Standout tracks on the album include “Foolish Love,” an honest breakup song written with raw emotion about loving someone who doesn’t feel the same anymore. “Decisions” expresses the hard choice it is to make before you let someone go. With a breathtakingly warm three-part harmony-infused acapella intro, “Good Vibration” permeates the importance of strength of spirit through turbulent times.
The band’s last album, Marching Orders, impressively debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart and reached another charting milestone as the album hit #15 on Billboard’s Independent Release and #62 on Billboard’s Top 200 Sales Chart.
There may come a time when The Green is headlining Aloha Stadium without Bruno Mars, and if that ever happens, there can be no doubt that what makes The Green so special will not change even then, and will most likely still be represented before that show with old friends strumming an acoustic guitar and singing together backstage. Letting fans in to see this intimate side of the band, and to hear the resulting music that comes from it, is what makes Black & White such a special release by this trendsetting band. You can check out The Greens latest acoustic video releases here!