Individually, Bret Keoni Bollinger, Kaleo’okalani Wassman, Remy Ryan De Rochment and Yesod Anton Williams are four guys who grew up in Kona on the sleepy Big Island. But, collectively, they are Pepper. And despite their island origins, Pepper is far from the traditional Hawaiian ukulele and slack keyed guitar sound. In fact, their music more closely resembles the So Cal dub-punk of Sublime.
Now, after being in California thousands of times and having lived there from time to time, the guys from Pepper were still in awe at how relaxing So Cal is in the summer. With the current “Vog” (volcanic gas smog) situation on the island, the boys from Kona on the Big Island enjoyed the weather and sights (girls) of So Cal before a long journey across America. They stopped by SURFING’s backyard before they kicked off their 2008 Tailgate Tour with Slightly Stoopid. Be sure to check their new album “Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations” in its entirerty on the SURFING Music Player now.
SURFING MAGAZINE: WHY DID YOU GUYS DECIDE TO START PEPPER?
Kaleo’okalani Wassman: Girls. That’s all. [laughs]
HOW WAS IT PLAYING GIGS ON THE ISLAND WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?
Its great that we were at home, but it’s the same circuit and there’s only a certain amount of bars. It ended up being the same bars all the time.
SO WHAT WAS NEXT FOR YOU GUYS?
We moved to Encinitias, CA
HOW DOES BEING ON TOUR AFFECT YOUR LIFE?
It’s almost impossible to surf while we are on tour. And we are always parting, and rushing to go somewhere else to do it again.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR NEW CD?
When we did the recording and finished I still hadn’t heard it all the way through. I played the full CD in my car the other day though and realized it was my favorite album we’ve done for sure.
Volcanic gases and ashes making smog and blowing all over the Big Island. It kills plants and is driving the housing market down. People are surprised to see it when the come there, People say it comes from the Pele, the Volcano Goddess. (When sulfur dioxide and other volcanic pollutants mix with oxygen and water vapor in the presence of sunlight, the result is a volcanic smog known as VOG.)
SO HOW DOES SURFING INFLUENCE YOUR MUSIC?
In a nutshell, that’s what you do growing up in Hawaii. It’s the vibe of being at the beach, it’s about having stress being taken off your life, and having a good time.’ We’ve been able to bring out our culture and what we do in our music, it’s heaven-sent and we’re pumped.