KAABOO Del Mar
Del Mar Racetrack
Friday, September 19th
By Harriet Kaplan
With roots in pop, rock and reggae, Hawaii’s Natural Vibrations aka Natty Vibes, has been entertaining audiences since 1996 and has released six albums to date. The popular and acclaimed band brings a party and dance energy to any show they perform and gets concertgoers on their feet with a good time and positive “vibe” with optimism, hope and inspiration. NV has shared the stage with Prince, 311, Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, UB40, Jack Johnson, Pepper and SOJA. In its long history, the group has also earned the respect of other reggae biggest artists and won Best Reggae Album and People’s Choice awards at the Hawaii Music Awards, as well as, Hawaii’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. In a recent interview with NV founder/guitarist/vocalist Wayne Enos and only original member, spoke with the www.thearofla.com at the KAABOO Del Mar, where NV played on September 19. The soft-spoken, thoughtful and spiritual inclined Enos retraced the history of the band and how they formed, discussed lineup changes over the years and new dimension in the sound. The passionate and outgoing guitarist and vocalist Jamin Wong aka Chief Ragga, who officially joined the band in November, spoke of his love and admiration of NV, his role in the band as a musician and songwriter, longtime friendship with Wayne and how the band needs to deal with the challenges of the changing musical landscape due to advent of internet technology.
“Natty Vibes was always in existence,” Wayne said. “We were just the vehicles that brought it together. The band started off with 18 musicians in one garage. Slowly but surely the band formed like a bonsai tree. Clippings were made. The shape of it became close to its perfection. This was back in 1992. In 1996, we put out our first album. The six out of the original 18 eventually formed the band. A year to brought it to six. We had our own label. There were a long list of producers involved. We have put out six albums. The original six we got down to has changed as well. It’s just me from the original six that is left from the first lineup. I founded the band with the original drummer. The current drummer is new. The other drummer retired. We had two other drummers that applied for the job but the drummer we have now is the right one for the band.”
“That’s where I came into the band when the new drummer started,” Chief explained. Me and Wayne go way back. I was playing in another band at the time. This was back in 1989. Natural Vibrations came out a few years later. My bands had a long run and then they split up. I was doing a solo career for 10 years. I was traveling doing music and recording. I kept running into Wayne and the band. I would come up on stage at shows. The friendship had been going on for 20 years. Last November was My first tour with the Natty Vibes. I was in London touring and recording and Wayne emailed me and said what was going on with the band and asked if I wanted to jump aboard. I bring an exciting element and I like the people and the excitement in the band. I bring a fire element.”
“Chief brings in a writing element,” Wayne said. “The songs we did at KAABOO today Chief and I co-wrote. We’re working on a new Natty Vibes album coming out soon. We’re hoping to get the new music out by April 2016. The other thing I wanted in this band was a horn section. I always wished and prayed to God – please send us the right guys and God did.”
“It’s a new era,” Chief said. “We want the songs to be catchy, hooky and have memorable lines. We are trying to write anthems where people sing along. One is about the ocean, flame and fire. We are writing more universal songs and less specific and personal ones. We want banging beats and heavy bass lines with wicked guitar and great melodies.
“We are writing songs about our spirits,” Wayne said. “We think we are so big but we are like small packages but the energy we put out there is big as the earth. We are all touching each other. Songwriting keeps getting stronger strong as a band and we have endured and so the songs will endure after we are gone.
“We are not selling albums anymore,” Chief said. ” In Hawaii, in the past, we would sell a lot of albums in our own market. We made a living and not even reach the world. We had our own industry. With internet coming in – boom – that took away those sales. Now it’s about downloads. It’s the same thing, though, in just reaching people and getting them to like your music. It’s the same blueprint but we need to go about it in a different way. We have to evolve with the times or get left behind. We want to the set the bar high and keep going. We have to keep up with the next generation of bands. They are amazing. We have to make sure we are on that track, too.”