The effective blending of two genres is never an easy task, especially when it comes to the smooth stylings of reggae and the rough intensity of rock. Arguably, the only major band to really have a lot of success blending these specific genres of music was Sublime. Enter: Passafire. Since their formation in 2003, the band has maintained the balance between the two wildly different elements in order to create a truly explosive live act that has dazzled many. With their latest album Start From Scratch, which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts, Passafire has taken leaps and bounds towards proclaiming a new leader in the musical style that Sublime helped to popularize in the ’90s. Drummer Nick Kubley stopped by to give us some backstory behind the creation process of Start From Scratch and the magic behind their live shows.
OS: You started your own label FlameGuy Records when recording Start From Scratch. Was this due to a desire for more creative control? Or did you just feel like it was time to strike out on your own?
NK: It was more to strike out on our own. We’ve always had complete creative control. We just wanted to do our own thing and be in charge of every aspect of putting out arecord.
OS: What does your new keyboardist Mike DeGuzman bring to the band?
NK: Mike brings the possibility of doing more. His level of skill as a pianist and multi instrumentalist has opened a lot of doors for Passafire musically. Now that we have Mike, we feel like we can really push our sound.
OS: What was it like working with Paul Leary? Did his past experience with bands like Butthole Surfers and Sublime have a large effect on the final result of the album?
NK: Working with Paul was awesome. His past experiences with those bands definitely helped, but to me it was more about his studio experience and vast knowledge of recording. Paul has been making recordings since he was a teenager and knows everything about mics, software, hardware, etc. The final result is the best sounding record Passafire has ever put out.
OS: What was your favorite aspect of recording at Sonic Ranch?
NK: The vibe and energy out there is the best part. The ranch is set up so that the minute you get there, the only thing you have to worry about is being creative and recording. Not to mention they have some of the best gear in the world.
OS: What is your best experience playing together as a band?
NK: There’s so many it’s hard to name a specific time…a recent one that comes to mind was the Denver Warped Tour stop. The crowd was massive and their energy was off the charts. I feel that as a band we have the best experiences playing when the crowd is really into it and excited. When that happens I feel like the band “gets in the zone”.
OS: Passafire has built up quite a reputation centered around your live act. What do you think is the most important element of a good live show?
NK: I think it’s stage presence and just letting it all go. The musicians need to give 100% no matter what. I feel like it’s also important to get the crowd involved and interact with them, and not take yourselves too seriously.
OS: Your band logo is based on the Buddhist act of self-immolation. How do you feel this spiritual act ties into your music?
NK: It’s loosely based on that. I don’t necessarily feel like the spirituality of it ties into the music. To me the logo has always been about radiating positive energy and putting it towards something good.