Already much-buzzed about in their native Maui, the Freeradicals Projekt are (now) a septet who seamlessly blend funk, soul, reggae, and hip-hop into a potent blend of ass-shaking, feel-good musical gooeyness. A huge reason the group’s fusion actually works is the inter-playing swagger of its co-vocalists, MC Francisco Perez and charismatic soul singer Shea Derrick – whose pipes and charisma alone could buoy the band’s shows. As their tour hits the mainland (they play Mill Valley’s Sweetwater this Friday, followed by shows in SF and Santa Cruz), we caught up with guitarist/band leader Ramas Cavarrubias to learn the benefits of making music in an idyllic bubble.
How do you guys write your songs?
In the last six months as far as creating process goes, we come up with ideas and grooves and work on them together. Lyrics come from either Frankie or Shea. I usually come up with chord progressions and ways to twist the song structure, so it’s dynamic and doesn’t follow a typical verse-chorus-bridge progression. Then each one of us brings a different way of framing the song structure. Maybe Mike [Lawton, percussion] has a way of seeing the song or Ami [Schorr, saxophone] has different take on it. We try all the different possibilities until we all find the one we like best.
Does being from Hawaii influence your music?
Being in Hawaii gives us a really good space for creation and peace of mind. Being isolated from trends gives us creative freedom, too, because we don’t really know what’s going on in the “scene” and we make music without restraints. As far as vibe goes, the goodness of the land rubs in on everything. I feel coming from Hawaii affects us in a really positive way. We can’t help the Aloha filtering into all the aspects of our lives.
Do you feel you’re bringing something musically that’s missing from today?
Everyone in the band comes from completely different backgrounds and even different countries, so the way we mix genres and make them our music has a freshness to it. Our live performance is another story. We really get energetic . We really like to bring it. I don’t know if all this is missing from today’s scene because we don’t really know the “scene”. I hope than in some way we are bringing something new, but it’s hard for me to be the judge of that. The audience has to say that. We hope to see a lot of people at the up coming shows so we can share what we have.