Passafire

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Artist Bio:

Passafire was formed in 2003 by students attending Savannah College of Art and Design. Throughout the years, they have become a perpetually touring band playing hundreds of shows a year with bands like 311, Rebelution, Pepper, Matisyahu, Michael Franti, The Wailers and many more. Bowne doesn’t mind the grueling schedule and adds, “Touring is the best way to keep the buzz about the band going. What keeps it fun and exciting is the people we meet and places we get to see. We are in a new city every day so there's always something to go see or do. If we didn't tour constantly, we wouldn't be doing as well as we are. That's a fact.”

Members:
Ted Bowne – Guitar/Lead Vox
Will Kubley – Bass/Vox
Mike DeGuzman – Keys
Nick Kubley – Drums 

Artist Review:

 Introduction:
I first discovered Passafire back in 2010 and I fell in love with their music almost instantly. They are the only reggae band I know of that can mix genres as well as 311 does. That's part of what makes this band so special, because throughout their entire catalogue of 5 albums and 1 EP you will never hear the same sound twice. While some bands try to stick in their comfort zone and repeat the success of a previous release, Passafire is always exploring different sounds while somehow managing to improve with every release. 

Live Performance:
I've attended every Passafire concert in Houston since I first saw them on the 2014 WinterBrewHaHa tour with Ballyhoo! and Pacific Dub and each one has been an incredible experience. They always put on a high energy performance that gets the crowd going and they aren't afraid of requests. Every member of the band is truly passionate about the music and it can be seen from the time they open their set to well after they've left the stage because they come out and thank the fans after every show. The best part about it all is that they sound just as good live as they do on their records so if you enjoy their music than you are guaranteed to spend the entire time dancing around or nodding your head and at the end they throw in a cover of some classic song you'd never expect from a reggae band.
(If you're curious there is a video below of them covering "All That She Wants" by Ace of Bass)    
Song Quality:When it comes to quality I think about whether or not a song would still sound good when it's preformed stripped(Acoustic). That's how I determine if a song is good when i'm reviewing it because that means it has good structure and solid lyrics. After that I start to take a lot of things into consideration like lyrical content, instrument variety, production effects, etc because those are the things that make a song great. So when I say Passafire's songs are great I'm not generalizing, I literally enjoy every song they've released so far and in my opinion they are all great because they all coexist on a different part of music spectrum. Their first album started with a real roots reggae vibe and they've explored a different part of the spectrum with every release since. From the amazing use of a horn section in "Everyone On Everynight" to the distinct sound of a banjo in some of the tracks on "Start from Scratch" there is always something new and exciting to listen to when a Passafire song comes on.
My Recommendations 
Personally I think you can't go wrong with this band, Look up Passafire and play the first thing that pops up! If you need a song title to look up their most popular songs are "Start From Scratch", "Dimming Sky", and "Ghost Man". My personal favorites are "The King", "Go", "Preelectricity", and "Shapes and Colors"

Overall Opinion
Passafire is one of the best bands to ever play music. My opinion is extremely biased and didn't write this review from a neutral point of view but it is my honest opinion that everyone should check out Passafire for themselves. I've only met a few people who didn't like them and that was simply because they don't stick strictly to the reggae genre. The bottom line is they are a great band with a unique sound that is ever changing! 

Ted Bowne Interview

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Ted Bowne Longshot Interview

 

1. First things first, what can you tell us about the new album?

TB: The new album is finished!  We have completed the recording/mixing/mastering part.  Now we are finishing up the art work and copy stuff to get it ready for manufacture.  We recorded a lot of material in 10 days!  Out of those songs we chose 12 for the album.  The process was a lot more live and natural than past approaches as we set up "in the round" and tracked as much as we could live before going into overdub mode.  I think it turned out well because of this approach.

2. Are there any plans to drop a single in the near future?

TB: We have talked about a single.  It's all up to the label (Easy Star) now and how they want to roll out the release.  I think there will most likely be a single released with the pre-order package somehow.  

3. Every Passafire album has always had its own unique sound, how would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

TB: The new album is an updated culmination of our experiences in music both individually and as a group.  The overall theme is a message of hope for continual growth as artists and as people in general.  As always we touch upon both the highs and lows of the human experience in as relatable a way as we can to reach a broad spectrum of music lovers.  Musically,  we are exploring all of the avenues we've previously gone down while maintaining a good amount of reggae elements that keep it as true to the genre as it can be.  We have a huge love for reggae, but can't deny the power of all types of music and love to allow those things to be absorbed into our sound as well.

4. How did y’all come up with the name Passafire?

TB: In 1973, Bob Marley &a The Wailers released the iconic album "Catch a Fire" which was released by Island Records and quickly spread worldwide bringing reggae from Jamaica to the far reaches of the globe.  30 years later, myself and the other original members of Passafire decided that we had caught that fire and it was time to "pass it on" as they say in one of the songs on that record.  Playing music in a live setting is a cycle of energy being passed back and forth from band to crowd and back.  We feel that the meaning of the name reflects our desire to share that energy with everyone who hears our music.  

5. If you could collaborate with any current reggae artist who would it be?

TB: There are a few on my list personally.  We are all big fans of John Brown's Body and would love to have Elliot Martin sing on a track some day.  I am currently a big fan of Chronixx and would be SO stoked to collaborate with him in any way.  We got to meet him when we opened for him at a festival in Vienna, Austria this past summer.  He's a very nice guy and super talented live performer.

6. Y’all do some amazing covers during y'all live sets, whats your favorite song to cover and why?

TB: We covered "Give It Away" by RHCP on our fall tour 2 years ago which was a dream come true.  They have been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid.  That song was fun to learn and difficult to play and sing at the same time so it was a challenge that I embraced every night.  I think the best performance of it was in LA (appropriately).

7. What's your favorite memory you've made while touring with the band?

TB: Oh... so many it's hard to choose just one.  Any time I've had the chance to perform in front of thousands of people and many of them are singing along to our music is a moment that makes all the struggle worth it. Meeting people who have our logo or lyrics tattooed on their bodies is also very surreal.  

8. A lot of artist in the genre look up to y’all and what y’all do, what advice would you give an upcoming reggae artist based off your own experiences?

TB: Tour hard!  Just go for it and don't look back.  We were given a chance to do a national tour only after 4-5 years of relentless touring up and down the east coast.  Humble yourself and be prepared to face uncomfortable situations in the name of making a name for yourself as an artist.  Sacrifices are made every day.  Be open to uncertainty and make music that people can enjoy.  That's my advice.

9. A lot of y'alls music has been recorded at Sonic Ranch studios here in Texas including some of the new album, what brought y'all out to Texas to record and how has recording here influenced your music?

TB: We actually recorded the entire new record at Sonic Ranch.  It was our 5th time recording out there.  We have a great relationship with the ranch and love to go there to be creative.  It's the world's largest residential recording studio which means you can stay there at the ranch and record on your own schedule.  Creativity doesn't always hit at the same time every day.  We love the flexibility we are given out there and the ability to use a plethora of amazing gear. The hospitality is top notch and the food is authentic Mexican cuisine that will fuel your creative energies.  The staff has a strong grasp on the equipment and can make things sound exactly how you want them to quickly and efficiently.  

10. What is your opinion on the current state of Reggae music? Do you think the culture is negatively affected by the stereotypes associated with Reggae music?

TB: Every now and then I meet someone who says "reggae is too repetitive" or something like "all they sing about is weed."  These opinions are usually held by people who have only heard a few reggae songs and have decided to generalize the entire culture.  I have listened to reggae from all over the world.  It is a genre like Jazz, Blues, or Rock that has been adopted by different cultures everywhere and transcends race or religion.  I believe as we start to educate ourselves on the benefits of cannabis and open up the world to opportunities to explore it as a path to wellness and reason, we can expect to see less of a negative connotation associated with Reggae.  People are starting to recognize it as something that is not just background music for your island vacation and more of a way to spread the message of love and positivity in these troubled times we are facing today.  I have faith that the genre will grow more and more in the coming years.

11. Do you think that those stereotypes make it more difficult for bands trying to expand the genre to tour/find an audience?

TB: I think those "stereotypes" are actually what is drawing people to the genre in the first place.  People who are laid back and enjoy to be around other laid back people flock to reggae shows.  We see our fans meeting one another and traveling to see us in remote places far from their homes.  They came together because they like those things that are associated with Reggae and the feeling they get when they are gathered together to enjoy a show.  There will always be people who aren't into it... and so it's not for them.  To each his own.  Live and let live.

12. Did y'all experience any difficulties trying to get traction when y'all first started in the reggae scene?

TB: Starting out in Georgia?  Absolutely!  We quickly found that Florida was a much better market for our style of music and luckily it was close by.  Not to say that we don't do well in GA, but we had to branch out to the places where the scene is blossoming to gain traction.  Colorado, California, and Texas have been great places for our style of music and we try to frequent those spots as much as we can.  Now we are trying to gain traction in Europe and it is very similar to the early days here.

13. One of my favorite things about Passafire is that y'alls sound is always evolving, has that resulted in a more fluid fanbase for the band or would you say the majority of fans have become dedicated because of y'alls reluctance to settle on a specific part sound spectrum?

TB: I think we have a sound that allows for people from all kinds of backgrounds to gravitate to it.  The ones who don't like the "repetitive" nature of reggae are given relief when we break into a metal riff or funk breakdown here and there.  The fact the we change it up often adds dynamics to our show and albums.  Music, in my opinion, should reflect the many aspects of life.  Love, sadness, joy, thoughtfulness, philosophy, abstraction... these are all things that can be expressed through music.  We strive to continually explore all of these things.

14. Do you think the band will release a documentary/DVD of y'all playing an entire live show and maybe gives fans an inside look what life is like on tour with the band?

TB: We have so much footage from the 14 years we've been a band.  Someday I hope to do a more in depth style doc about the band that includes live footage, studio footage, interviews, and behind the scenes stuff.  I would love to tell our story thus far with film.

15. What's left on the bucket list for Passafire?

TB: Red Rocks, South America, Australia/NZ, Asia,  Africa, the world!  We have several ideas for alternative tour formats such as an all brewery tour where we can team up with small craft breweries nationwide.  Beside that, we're looking forward to continuing to build our relationships and fanbase over in Europe in the coming years.

16. How would you describe Passafire to our fans who are just now being introduced to the band?

TB: We bring a lot of energy to the stage.  Our albums are enjoyable and very diverse musically, but the live show is where we shine.  We thrive off of crowd interaction and overall good vibes.  Our music is reggae infused progressive/alternative rock but we jump around to many different points of the spectrum.

17. If you had to choose one Passafire song to be broadcasted into the depths of outer space  which one would you choose?

TB: Start from Scratch, of course!  ("Like black holes in space")

18. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Houston?

TB: "Houston, we have liftoff!"

19. If you were to choose a lineup for the Houston Reggae Festival who would you want to see on the bill?

TB: Chronixx, John Brown's Body, The Expanders, Jesse Royal, Raging Fiya, or Steel Pulse

20. For the final question I want to give our fans something to look forward to, when can we expect to see Passafire in Houston again?  

TB: Possibly spring, maybe summer.