The theme of the album Hōʻale, I’m Coming Home is centered around the surging seas that travel across the deep Pacific ocean and meet the coastlines of this pae ʻāina. The title is a story about our spirit surging across the vast open ocean to come back home. The music is meant to be grounding. To take you back to your roots. To remind you of where you started.
The inspiration came in a dream. I’ve never had this happen to me before. I’ve read of artists having a vision in their dream that leads to a creative piece of work, but this was a first. One night I woke up out of my sleep and had a very clear vision. The word “hōʻale” appeared and the colors of a deep grayish-blue and a copperish yellow-gold. I had no idea what the word “hōʻale” meant, but I made sure I wrote it down as a note in my phone to refer to later. Upon waking up I pulled out my Pukui dictionary and looked up “ale”. It read “wave, crest of a wave, billow; to ripple, from waves, stir.” I felt inspired by the imagery and decided to sit with it for a little while.
The story that emerged was that of my spirit surging back here to Hawaii after I had left. From there I imagined a wave surging further back in time to my youth spent in South Kona. The imagery is about any of your own surging that you may experience. Life is made up of ebbs and flows. We come, we go. We leave, we return. For this project I needed to return even further back. To the place of my early youth spent in the mauka regions of Kealakekua.
The recording of this album was primarily done in a home studio I set up in my house at the beginning of the summer of 2021. One exception is the song “Honaunau Rodeo” which I recorded with Brad Bordessa at his Behind a Mattress studio. For recordings at my home I used an Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina mic. The acoustic rhythm guitar playing was on my Harmony H1260 guitar, refurbished by Jake Wildwood In Vermont. Vocals recorded at my house were on an Ear Trumpet Labs Chantelle mic.
The recording process started with a scratch track of my vocals and guitar. Then I overdubbed acoustic guitar, removed the scratch track, then recorded my vocals over the rhythm guitar. Using these base tracks other musicians added layering on top of those. There is acoustic slide guitar by Colin John captured using the Edwina mic. Additional instrumentation by Brad Bordessa includes bass, lap steel, and ʻukulele.
My goal for this project was to keep it simple, keep it within my budget, and get a quality sound. I feel I achieved this goal. Studio time is expensive and the fact is I had almost zero budget for this project. The COVID pandemic hit my music income hard so I had to bootstrap this project. I’m not a professional, but I have the equipment to capture basic recordings using GarageBand.
Once tracking was done Brad Bordessa at his Behind a Mattress Studios did the mixing. In mixing the album he was able to shape the sounds to capture the vibe I was going for–a relaxed backyard kanikapila feel. I wanted the songs to sound like they were being played on the porch at your favorite pa’ina. Joel Ginsberg at Gecko Studio in Kona handled the mastering. By adding a warm roundness to the songs the kanikapila vibes were imprinted onto the music, making them ready for release. Lots of hands went into this project and I am deeply thankful to all of them. They did so with aloha to help bring these songs to life, mahalo nui loa!
Listen to the Album
Songs are free to download, but donations are accepted
Goin’ Up Mauka
Hōʻale, I’m Coming Home
Me Ke Aloha South Kona