Real Talk w/ Aloha Got Soul

Aloha Got Soul at Hungry Ear Kailua-2

Are a believer that the type of music people grow up on tends to be what style you listen to as an adult?

Not at all. Growing up I listened to punk, emo and indie, which turned into jazz, then hip hop. From there everything opened up. I believe it depends on who you are as a person and what kinds of experiences you’re willing to have in life. Age is only one of many factors that influence what style of music you’re into.

Talk about how the mixtape came about and the responses?

Fitted reached out to me about two years back to do a mixtape and tee collab. It was the first full mix I ever made for Aloha Got Soul. I’ve been bumping it since 2011. Now that the mix is out, Hawaiian rare groove has reached a global audience, the mix is turning heads. Locally, I’d like to see a local resurgence in this type of sound, or at least a heavy interest in it. When Wax Poetics picked it up, for me that sealed the deal. Getting press from WaxPo was a dream of mine since day one. (link:

What is the story behind “Aloha Got Soul”?

While living in Portland in 2010, I heard DJ Muro’s Hawaiian Breaks mix and instantly recognized “A Million Stars” by Mackey Feary Band. I played that track nonstop in 2004 but hadn’t realized it was local—but now that I knew, I needed to find more. The internet was my biggest source of information at that time, but almost everything I found online was in Japanese. For the sake of preserving this unique part of Hawaii’s musical past, I launched Aloha Got Soul in 2010 to document and share my findings. Moving back home to Oahu in 2011 has given me the chance to dig deeper and meet the artists who made this music—and take Aloha Got Soul to new levels.


Talk about the inspirations you gain from 1. playing music 2. listening to music 3. DJing.

Playing music is about seeing where the moment takes you and having a good time with friends. I take a lot of inspiration from life experiences in conjunction with what I’m listening to. Honestly, if the sun is out and the tradewinds breeze by as I listening with my headphones, I’m happy. Overall, listening to music helps me connect with the essence of life, that feeling of existing and enjoying what this world can offer. As for DJing, I’m inspired when people feel good hearing what I’m spinning.

There are music lovers who barely ever scratch the surface of their favorite genre let along explore unfamiliar territory. You seem to be a student of the game who enjoys the exploring aspects. How did you develop such a passion?

There are three types of music lovers: those who simply enjoy what they hear, those who enjoy collecting what they hear, and those who enjoy sharing what they hear. I’m a journalism graduate, so it’s in my nature to dig deeper to find and tell stories. But discovering such an obscure genre like Hawaiian black music helped push my passion further—no one else was really documenting this stuff, so I knew I had to give these artists their due, even if it’s 35 years late.

Talk about the best experiences as a DJ?

Best experiences as a DJ? Whenever people groove to the music.


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