If you thought Jamaican reggae was laidback, Wayne Enos is here to tell you that Hawaiian reggae is even more chill. Enos, guitarist and vocalist with Hawaiian reggae band Natural Vibrations, or Natty Vibes, says: “Hawaiian reggae is definitely inspired by Jamaican reggae. We kept the idea of a melodic bass line but the subject matter is different most times. Hawaii people don’t necessarily have the same life experiences as Jamaicans in Jamaica, so we try to write about what we know.” A lot of that subject matter seems to be pot-smoking as opposed to some of the political themes of Jamaican reggae, but who can hold that against them?
I spoke to Enos briefly as the band’s tour van climbed into the mountains on their way to Big Bear, California, before losing our connection and finishing up via email. Natty Vibes is based in Kahalu’u, Oahu, but the band has toured the mainland five times in the past year and a half.
“Being on the West Coast made us realize how much space we need to cover to spread our music as far as possible,” Enos says. “Hawaii and the people are beautiful, but our home represents such a small piece of the national and worldwide population.”
Rumor circulated not long ago that Natty Vibes was thinking of leaving Hawaii. Not so, says Enos. “Hawaii is our home and we feel like we’re more creative and productive at home,” he says. “So for now we’re writing and recording and rehearsing at home to prep for tours.”
The current tour has them traveling throughout California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho on the “Puff Puff Pass Tour” with Junior Reid’s band, One Blood Family. They’ll land in Eugene just in time for Bob Marley’s birthday.
One Blood Family, Natty Vibes and Karlos Paez from the B-Side Players play a Bob Marley Birthday Celebration show 9 pm Friday, Feb. 6, at WOW Hall; $13 adv., $15 door. All ages.