Pacifica: The Process of Illumination


Published in the 808 Scene Zine. After relocating their band to Orange County, CA, Hawaii natives, Pacifica returned to the islands last month for two epic nights filled with friends, family and fans (most of them could be called all 3) for a rare musical event. I sat down with frontman, Kika Diama, guitarist Jay Donato and bass player Ikaika Trujillo to discuss their music, the big move and their new audience overseas.

With their brand spankin new EP, Transient Colors under their belt, Pacifica are poised and ready to take on the world with their own particular brand of post-hardcore, atmospheric rock. I sat down with frontman, Kika Diama, guitarist Jay Donato and bass player Ikaika Trujillo to discuss their music, the big move and their new audience overseas.

What is Pacifica to you? Jay: Family. My musical family. Kika: It's like another limb for us, if I had a third arm, that would be Pacifica our musical third arm, nothing too serious. Its what we're about, its what we're pursuing. 5 guys doing what we like to do, play music.

So you recently released an EP called Transient Colors, How would you describe it to someone across an ocean who has never heard it? Kika: When people tell us to classify our music into genres, I really don't know what to tell them, We're pretty much a rock band, melodic rock, not so chord chugging, more melodic, like riffing, and Jay: I don't like to use the word experimental, but I always say that, we're not really experimental, definitely not radio rock. People say "rock like incubus?" Uh... Kika: That's the easiest band for people to relate us to. We ask "do you listen to Incubus, we're kinda like that, not the stoney rock though. We're like a mix of genre's our whole EP, it's like start to finish, not really the same thing, it goes through phases, we got the instrumental, Transient colors, its groovin, its still rock but its not "rock", rock. We have heavier songs, lighter, more upbeat songs, its kinda like start to finish, its a journey.

I've seen the transition of your band's music from a heavier crunch to a more atmospheric sound? Was it a natural progression? Kika: It was pretty natural, listening to different kind of music, its what we all flow into, maturing our music. Ikaika: Yeah, different tastes, Kika: Definately, everyone listens to different music,, People mature with their tastes of music and what people like to play. Jay: Our chemistry is a lot better now Kika: Living in a house together, our chemistry has gotten a lot better. We're starting to play a lot tighter. it wasn't out of nowhere, it grew into that kind of music, like a coccon into a butterflly. Our music is our baby, thats what its grown into. We're pretty set where we're at, we don't plan to be changing too drastically. We're pretty musically sound where we are, Its a pretty good representation of what we like to play.

Something I notice, you seem to get a lil' peeved when people request the old stuff, how do you feel about that, that people are still attached and relate to your older songs and style. Kika: Its still pretty cool, that they relate to the old stuff, but for the most part Ikaika: Its still us Kika: For the most part its mostly just our friends messing around with us, Ikaika: We're still there but we like to bust out the old music and the new.

There are people who really do love your old music. Jay: Playin it live, we really don't like to play it that much because... Kika: We just grew into a different kind of maturity I guess, a different style, I wouldn't say we're over it, but I would say we've moved on. Ikaika: Ever-evolving.


Do you have a favorite off your EP? Which one do you want the world to hear? Kika: Hands down, my favorite would be "Flight of the Rabbit" its a pretty diverse song, its grooving, a lot of people relate to it even though its not as heavy as the other songs, but it is my favorite to play live. Jay: For a general idea of our sound, I guess "flight of the rabbit"

There seems to be a many layered elements to your music, do you all write separately and combine forces or... Kika: We kinda do write separate,but no one's singled out, one of us will come in with a part, but than someone else will come in with some other feedback, everyone putting in their part, but we're all putting in our own input, its sorta separate, but at the same we bring it together at practice. We share each others ideas, we never say, "we don't like that". Jay: Some songs we collaborate, but sometimes someone will bring in the backbone of a song. Kika: Yeah, like a skeleton, and we'll add the meat to it.

How important are the lyrics to the overall meaning of your music? Kika: I'm not that good at writing lyrics, but I write what I know, just life experiences, influences from different people, not too philosophical, not big words a lot of people might not know, I just like to write stuff that people can relate to and understand, you don't need to be that high on an intellectual level to feel what I'm singing.

You have a wide array of emotions flowing through your music, where does that scream come from emotionally? For some guys its anger, some guys, its channeling the demons, where does it come from? Kika: Initially, it was the "not-so-good" emotions, more negative, but not hatred, Jay: A release. Kika: More so now, when I do screaming parts, its more in your face, kinda like "Listen to what I'm saying!" It is emotional, not so negative, its an emphasis.

You seem to have a hometown hero vibe at your shows here, (I've seen alot of them) how have been able to keep your audiences so close after the move? Ikaika: We kept in touch. Kika: The relationships we build when were playing music, thats the key thing, once you meet people the relationship you build with them, anyone, your fans, fellow musicians, most shows other people are like "We just play music, and we don't care to talk with people about the shows" or interact the people who enjoy the show, a lot of times bands will just dig out. We stay and watch other bands and give them feedback, on their music so they feel more, susceptible to give us feedback, and it builds a better relationships with us and our fans, it tends to keep them around. That good vibe.

Like Me and Rob. Jay: Yeah, you guys were at our very first performance. Jay: We're nice guys. Kika: We're approachable, We try to be as friendly as we can, thats what we're about. Jay: We don't want to be THAT band, where people know who you are but they just look the other way and don't want to talk to you. Kika: We try to be as personable as possible, We're out there for people to like our music, but not just that, we want them to like us as a band. Jay: Create that bond. Kika: Yeah, you want to create that good vibe. You don't want to have that bad aura around your band or your music, when you have that positive vibe, people want to be around you and your music.

I see you've been playing quite a bit of shows in CA these last few months, how has the response from your mainland audience been compared to here? Kika: They seem to be pretty receptive to our music a lot of times its hard, We'll play shows with bands, I guess you can say Screamo bands or hardcore bands, we're not as hardcore as the hardcore bands, and we're not as screamo as the screamo bands, so most people get a different vibe from us. They seem to be enjoying our music, they seem to be liking the sound, its different for them, People will tell us its refreshing to hear something different for once. Jay: It was really surprising too. I thought there would be more bands like us up there. Kika: Yeah, but most of the bands we see are all the same, cookie cutter type of bands, at least the scene we've been diving into. A lot of the younger bands are just straight out of the mold. "It's hot, so we're playin it". Jay: They are actually good, tight bands, but their sound is unoriginal. Kika: They got their sound locked down, but what they have locked down 20 other bands at the same show are doing, its cool, but it seems like a lot of kids don't venture out much. They just follow the formula. Jay: The kids at our shows, they seem confused at first, Kika: But once they get into the groove of it, they dig what they hear. We started playing shows at Chain (Reaction) a lot of times the other bands will play and their friends, high school friends, will just show up, but I notice when we play sometimes it won't be that big of a crowd and I'll notice that once we start playin, throughout our set we'll start to attract more people from the outside, and they'll come up to us and tell us "We really enjoyed your set." Its cool to hear that kids in California like our music, not just our friends back home.

OK, This is your dream show, where is it? Who would be playing with you? Kika: We all have our dream show, I would say, like short term, the dream would be to come back here and play a big show at pipeline cafe or a bigger venue here in Hawaii that we're headlining and have kids stoked on it. Maybe a sold out show at Pipeline or like playin Waikiki Shell. thats my dream show, playin a bigger venue here at home, with not just our friends, but kids in general, stoked to see us back for what we do. Jay: Pretty epic venue would probably be Red Rocks in Colorado.

The one from the Dave Matthews Band DVD? Jay: Yeah, that one! That place is pretty, "status". That would be like us playing Diamond Head Crater. Ikaika: In California, it would probably be like the Hollywood bowl, Anaheim grove would be pretty huge.

Last statements, since you guys aren't here anymore, there are a lot of people trying to take up the flag, any messages for the local scene? Kika: Progress, always be on your game, don't settle for something that other bands are doing, what's easy, Always be trying to step up your game, music is like education, you can always learn something new. I just want to see Hawaii grow. Hawaii seems pretty limited right now, the genre's that are going on at the shows, My biggest advice would be to do something bigger and better. Grow, Grow as a musician, grow as a band, don't settle on what's cake to you, thats a waste of talent, Don't ever settle for what's easy.