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Kaleo Wassman –Vocals/Guitar
Bret Bollinger –Vocals/Bass
Yesod Williams –Drums
“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done as a band to makethis record,” says guitarist/vocalist Kaleo Wassman of Pepper, in speaking onthe recording process of their new self-titled album. “It speaks loudly andwidely to a broader audience while maintaining everything good about the band,which, first of all, is our positive attitude.” After releasing five albums,Pepper has opened a new chapter in their storied career. Drummer Yesod Williamsadds, “This record feels very cohesive in a way our past releases maybe didn’t.I think it’s an album that can appeal to everyone, as well. We’ve been pigeonholed in the past so this isan opportunity to transcend all that and spread our wings even wider.”
The trio, who formed in 1997 and moved to the mainland from theirhometown of Kailua Kona, Hawaii in 1999, pressed pause after the release oftheir fifth album, Pink Crustaceans andGood Vibrations, in 2008. There was a sense of fatigue and disunity amongstthe three musicians, who took some time off from music both apart and togetherbefore rejoining to create an EP, Stiches,in late 2010. The songs on that release re-energizedthe group, revealing an urgent desire to make a new album that reflected wherethey are in their lives and career now. After some tour dates in support of theEP, Pepper sat down and focused on their sixth album, a self-titled releasedthat swings open the door on this new chapter.
The musicians went into the studio with Matt Wallace, aproducer known for his work with Maroon 5, O.A.R. and Faith No More, in early2012. Matt helped focus the group’s vision and expand their musical knowledgebase, an experience the band members compare to being in their own version ofcollege. The album was recorded in various studios over the course of a year,honing in on Pepper’s re-defined self-identity and how that focus was reflectedin the songs.
“We learned so much,” Yesod says. “Matt help us really focuson the art of songwriting. He sat in the room with the three of us with a fine-toothcomb and went over every word, every melody, every sound. He showed us thatit’s important what you do play as well as what you don’t play, creating both spacesin the songs. We learned how powerful simplicity can be. Plus, we had such agood time recording this album and I think that shows.”
The resulting album, self-titled to accentuate where theband feels they are presently, broadens Pepper’s style,veering into new sonic territory while still retaining all the funelements that make the band so beloved by their fans. Theever-present sense of life surges through the tracks,bolstering the sense of optimism throughout. The party anthems, the beach hangmelodies, and the boisterous rhythms are all there, each song carefully craftedto best express these sunny moments by the ocean.
“This album is basically 12 snapshots of where we are,” vocalist/bassistBret Bollinger says. “There are songs that will remind you of your favoritePepper songs, but by the end you’ll hear some unexpected things. You’ll realizethat the songwriting is so much more refined. And there’s laughter in thebackground of the songs. That’s how good the vibe is on the record.”
Pepper has toured extensively with groups like 311, SlightlyStoopid, Flogging Molly and Sublime With Rome, and spent several summers onWarped Tour – and this live sensibility shows. You can almost feel the sand inyour toes and the sun on your back as the album progresses,the musician’s amiable personalities palpable beneath the island rhythms andmellow tones. The band’s music – both live and on their releases – is reallyabout enjoying life and being grateful for each experience, a sensibilitythat’s very familiar to the three musicians currently in their career. Fromtheir 1999 debut Give’n It to their 2006 standout album No Shame, which was recorded with 311’s Nick Hexum, No Doubt’s TonyKanal and Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary, Pepper has embodied not only a style ofmusic but a lifestyle, one that’s most easily found on beaches acrossthe world, but also one that’s relatable to anyone anywhere.
Released via their own label LAW Records, their universalappeal has led their music being placed in various movies and TV shows,including Forgetting Sarah Marshalland Good Luck Chuck, as well asseveral video game soundtracks. The band’s story to date hasbeen a prolific one. But as Pepper turns the page into a freshchapter with this new album, it’s clear that the band’s passion for music andlife will continue on for years to come.
“We’re so blessed to be in this position,” Kaleo says. “Wewant to do the best we can with it. We had humble beginnings in our small townin Hawaii and we’re still that same humble band. We don’t take any of thislightly. Every day I wake up and think about how I have the best job in theworld. The level of gratitude and happiness I have that we’re able to do thisis incredible and I hope people can hear that when they listen to our newsongs.”
THE DIRTY HEADS BIO
The Dirty Heads are a 5-piece reggae, rock, punk and hip hop group based in Huntington Beach, CA. Although the release of their first album Any Port In A Storm was launched at the end of 2008, the band really broke in the beginning of 2010, when they added single "Lay Me Down” to their album. “Lay Me Down” went on to reach #1 at alternative rock radio for a record 11 weeks (longest reign at #1 for an indie label in the history of the Billboard ALT chart) and selling over 577k singles to date. In May of 2010, the band was named one the best new bands of 2010 by Rolling Stone.
Sales of Any Port In A Storm are currently over 200K and singles sales are just over 900K (note “Lay Me Down” is 577K of those single sales). In 2012, Any Port In A Storm continues to average over 1K album sales per week (and over 3K in single sales) after originally being released in 2008. The band has toured extensively the last couple years with the Sublime w. Rome, 311, Pepper, and O.A.R, Gym Class Heroes, and recently with The Expendables and Big B. The Cabin By The Sea album has scanned over 70k and nearly 200k tracks. The singles “Cabin By The Sea” and “Spread Too Thin” have scanned over a combined 107k tracks (CBTS – 75,792 / STT 32,137).
The band is constantly growing and achieving success while developing a rabid and loyal fan-base. Their upcoming acoustic album, titled “Home - Phantoms of Summer” is the ideal companion piece to Cabin By The Sea, presenting an opportunity to not only excite current fans, but also build the fan-base by targeting fans of acoustic artists like Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Ben Harper.
Pepper / the dirty heads