THE SCREAMiNG JETS
|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS KALEO FUTURiSTO
iNTO THE FUTUREI never asked if FUTURISTO was the guyís real last name but the root of it seems to ring true. The multi-ethnic, multi-genre recording artist and producer KALEO FUTURISTO is all about looking to the future. I am not the first, nor will I be the last to point out the parallels between FUTURISTOís positive vibe and the vibe surrounding the countryís change in leadership, however there is more to KALEOís debut album than the social consciousness evidenced in the OBAMA tribute AIR OF THE NIGHT (featuring a sample of the PHIL COLLINS classic IN THE AIR TONIGHT), SUSIE-Q (A tale of teen pregnancy and abortion) and YOUNG ONES. Aside from moments of serious reflection, FUTURISTO knows how o get the party started with equal measure and keeps things interesting by switching from alternative rock to reggae to hip-hop in a moments notice without bewildering the listener. For FUTURISTO, such diversity comes naturally. ďI come from a Hawaiian, Spanish, Puerto Rican background on my dadís side and on my momís side, it is Eastern European and Austrian.Ē Says FUTURISTO. ď Iím all mixed up and I came from Pasadena and I went to school with mostly African-Americans. It was a seventy-percent African American school and about twenty percent Latin. Pasadena itself is an extremely multi-cultural city. The diversity of my on music comes form my own background as well as the culture that I was exposed to in my hometown of Pasadena.Ē
KALEO FUTURiSTO TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT HiS DEBUT CD iNTO THE FUTURE
BEiNG iNSPECiFiC TO GENRE
AND MiXiNG SOCiAL CONSCiOUSNESS WiTH PLEASURE
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with KALEO FUTURISTO over the phone. Here is how it went.
Your CD is called THE FUTURE IS NOW. Itís quite an optimistic title.
Absolutely! Iím an optimistic kind of guy.
And now that the CD is out there for people to hear, whatís all going through your head?
Obviously Iíve got very optimistic ideas about what we can get done with the world as well as with this album. You see the album has been created in order to influence people and inspire people and to make them dance and to make them contemplate and to make them laugh and to make them cry. Getting the music out to as many people as possible is paramount. Now weíre really starting to push things and get radio interviews and getting stuff done with television and things like that. Itís an exciting time.
In all that I have read about you up to this point, publicity tends to want to draw the OBAMA parallel with you. Do you think this album couldíve been released anytime earlier than now?
It couldíve been released earlier but now is the time as the title kind of suggests. I feel that even though OBAMA just got into office and his one hundred days have passed, heís still in the news and still pertinent Ė OBAMA is one parallel that gets drawn but the entire album is about what is going on economically, globally and emotionally. I think the timing for this CD is perfect.
This album is a very socially conscious listen. Do you think that hip-hop is going in that direction?
I should make a clarification first. Although I do hip-hop music I donít consider myself only a hip-hop artist. Weíve got songs that are straight ahead rock songs and songs that are straight ahead alternative songs and stuff that has a reggae sound. There has always been hip-hop that you can find that is positive hip-hop. I donít know if its moving more in that direction but if you want to find it, you can find it. People have always been able to find it. What I do, Iím a musician and Iím an artist and what I put out is conscious music but at the same time I like put stuff out that makes people laugh and bounce and have fun as well. There is a little bit of something for everybody.
What do you attribute the albumís diversity to. Where do you think that comes from within yourself?
It probably stems from how diverse I am. I come from a Hawaiian, Spanish, Puerto Rican background on my dadís side and on my momís side, it is Eastern European and Austrian. Iím all mixed up and I came from Pasadena and I went to school with mostly African-Americans. It was a seventy-percent African American school and about twenty percent Latin. Pasadena itself is an extremely multi-cultural city. The diversity of my on music comes form my own background as well as the culture that I was exposed to in my hometown of Pasadena.
Growing up in Pasadena, what music spoke to you in the beginning?
Iím a fan of all types of music but BOB MARLEY has always been one of my idols. He has always been someone who really spoke to me but growing up in Pasadena, Hip-Hop music was always a part of what we were listening to and what was going on. That music really spoke to me and BOB MARLEYís music really spoke to me. JAMES BROWN also spoke to me. It was mostly African-American artists that inspired me.
At what point did the listener become the artist? How did songwriting begin?
It all started in high school when I started playing around on the keyboards and from there I was hooked. I just threw myself into it and started writing a lot and started producing a lot. Now I play guitar and I play keyboards and hand drums and I produce music, sing, write songs, and rap. I like to express myself in all of those different modalities. High school was when I first caught the bug and Iíve been with it ever since.
At what point did you decide to put this CD together?
This project started about three years ago. I have an artist that I work with named NYALLE IAMEH who did a lot of production with me as well as MARVIN DAVIS. Weíve also had some people out from France. N-JAY is a producer from out there. We knew that we wanted to make something that was fun and commercial but also had something to say. The album has all of those elements and itís something that you can laugh to and cry to and dance to. Weíre very happy with the way that everything turned out.
Explain if you can how songwriting works for you.
Songwriting for me is very organic. It is itís own living breathing thing. Here are no two ways that are similar for myself. Sometimes, Iíll start with a drumbeat and sometimes Iíll start with simply playing guitar. Sometimes I will get inspired by something that I see on the streets that will move me to write lyrics. There are no two ways that are alike and that is the way we like it. I like to go in there with a clear head whenever I get inspired to write it all. I just throw my whole self into it and see what the spirit comes up with.
And from this album specifically, what tracks sort of stand out for you at the moment and why?
AIR OF THE NIGHT is the OBAMA dedication. That was the song where we used PHIL COLLINS sample. PHIL COLLINS actually heard our version of it, loved it and signed off on it. That in itself should tell you what kin of a song it is. We had to get his clearance in order to do it. Another song that I really love is called SUSIE-Q. It is a really fun bouncy song but itís really got a powerful message about abortion. Unless people really listen to the lyrics they wouldnít get it. The song raises the question: What would you do in the same case as SUSIE-Q? LOVE SLAVE is a really fun summer song. LIVE IT UP is another song that I really dig on this album. YOUNG ONES is a song about a kid in a foster home and what happens to him.
So far, the album has been released in the U.K.
Yes. The song AIR OF THE NIGHT is an exclusive international release. Itíll be released here very soon. Weíve got it out there and rockiní and rolliní and weíre have a good time with it. Itís being released over there by a great company called REDSKIN RECORDS and it is soon to be released over here in itís entirety but at the moment, itís on iTUNES. For the U.S., the album will be distributed thorough UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP and we should soon be worldwide. The people that we are in board with really believe in the project. We really believe in the project. We know that weíve got something that is different. The look is different, the sound is different, what weíre talking about is different and the energy is different. Iím proud of the project and the people that we have on board see the same thing. Weíre excited.
What would you like someone to come away with after theyíve heard this CD?
I just want them to be energized. I want them to find a positive spirit in the music. I want people to feel like they can put it on and lose themselves in the music and the possibilities and the excitement. I want people to walk away and feel something powerful and feel that they are powerful and if that happens, then I know that Iím doing my job.