Inna Vision was one of the first groups I’ve ever had the privilege of covering at last year’s Reggae on the River and since then they have stayed at the top of my most-shot (and most-enjoyed) list. These guys from Maui are so chill and nice, and they put on a performance you can’t help but get excited about. Forward momentum is strong in 2016 with their Billboard-charted album “Lifted”, a Hawaiian island plus mainland tour AND a guest appearance at the official Cali Roots after-party alongside Josh Heinrichs, Skillinjah and more.This past Friday I chatted briefly with their drummer, Calvin Canha, the day after they played a packed house in Kona with Katchafire and The Steppas …
AA: Hey thanks for talking with me. How was last night?
CC: Last night was raging
AA: Yeah I think everyone on big island was at KB [Kona Bowl] last night. Wish I could have made it … [more mindless off-the-record chatter] … So, I want to know a little bit about your musical background and how you got involved with Inna Vision.
CC: Um, I started playing music in middle school; I think it was seventh grade concert band actually. So I had to play pretty much every concert instrument: saxophone, long trumpet, all the brass instruments. We had to rotate, you would play a certain instrument for a week and then you’d go to the next. I always liked percussion, I did really well and had a natural talent for it, so I stuck with it. I had played in some bands in high school; some rock bands, I used to play in a metal band. That was my first love, metal. Then I started playing with some friends from school in a reggae band. After high school I started playing in Inna Vision. Koa, the lead singer, asked me if I wanted to join the group, because I’m not the original drummer, they had an drummer for a couple years before me. So he asked was stoked on me and we started pushing hard with Inna Vision. We’ve just been going nonstop pretty much ever since…
AA: That’s awesome. I’m super pumped on the new album. What were some influences or inspirations? Because it’s definitely a different, newer sound
CC: I pretty much produced the whole album with the help of the boys, but I came up with all the music and then turned it over to Koa to write to it. As for my influences, I wanted that modern reggae sound. I have a lot of influences from a lot of different genres and I like to incorporate them all. I just like the real reggae, not so much island, or not so much pop reggae, but I wanted to get an authentic reggae sound; rootsy with a little bit of modern flair. I think we definitely accomplished that and I’m super stoked it’s being received well by people and people are liking it. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback.
AA: It is amazing, I was blown away … Are you guys going to keep going with this newer sound? Where do you see the band going in the next few years, as far as sound and location?
CC: We just make music that we want to hear, what we think sounds good and what feels good to us. So we’re going to stay true to our roots reggae background, but we want to start doing a little bit of everything. A little bit of dancehall, a little bit of rap, electronic; we are going to combine them all and make it our own sound. As far as touring, we definitely want to tour as much as we can. We love touring and every chance we get we’re all for it. We want to tour with all the big bands, Iration, The Green, Tribal Seeds, and some our brothers, New Kingston, The Steppas. We learn so much … Touring is what we want to keep pushing, we’ve been on the road a lot and we’re not slowing down anytime soon
AA: What’s cool about touring is you get to know people so much better than if you were just hanging out randomly here and there
CC: Exactly and being from Hawai’i, once you get to know someone they become family. We love making new friends on the road and all the bands we’ve toured with we consider family
AA: That’s what I love about reggae
CC: Yeah It’s like one big, happy family … You’ll always be playing and meeting up and it’s like a reunion when you see each other
AA: Speaking of reunions, I’m stoked to see you guys on the bill for the Cali Roots after party Sunday night!
CC: We’re so stoked that we can even be a part of Cali Roots any way we can. We did Dry Diggings last year … So any chance we get to play and be affiliated with the Cali Roots name, because it’s such a big organization, is awesome and it’s great to be a part of. We’re definitely going to check everyone out and we’re going to make our presence known. It’s going to be a fun Cali Roots this year.
CC: I feel Cali Roots is like a family environment, such good vibes and such great bands. And from an artist standpoint, when it’s Cali Roots time, you know you’re going to see all your friends and all your family. Bands, promoters, photographers, everybody … We’re all just camping and listening to reggae 24/7 and it’s pretty awesome.
AA: How do you feel Cali Roots has influenced reggae music?
CC: I think it’s helped a lot of people see different artists in one festival. It’s definitely breaking down barriers and expanding people’s music catalogs from what they normally listen to. Because I’ve gone to Cali Roots and never heard of some bands and heard them, fell in love with their music, and built relationships with them. So I think it’s a breeding ground for great relationships and great music and it’s definitely escalated the whole modern reggae scene. It’s pretty amazing what Dan and everybody puts together each year and it’s only getting bigger. Its like, how can he top the last show? And he goes out and tops it.
AA: Yeah and now all the off-shoot festivals like Dry Diggings and the Carolina Sessions, it’s really amazing
CC: That’s what it’s all about, exposing people and bands, opening relationships and helping everybody progress
AA: Okay this is my last question for you: Any artist, any genre, alive or dead that you could see at Cali Roots, who do you choose?
CC: I mean of course, my first answer would have to be Bob Marley
AA: Ok, I should rephrase the question, besides Bob?
CC: Besides Bob, get Bob out of the way … Right now at the moment, I would want to see Justin Bieber live. I heard his live show is pretty badass and he’s a super talented dude. I’m loving his latest album and would love to see that live. I would also like to see Rihanna live. And I would love to see Allen Stone play Cali Roots. His performance is pretty amazing.
AA: Dude, thank you for taking time out of your day I really appreciate it
CC: No worries, thanks for having me. Aloha