Local reggae band Kore Ionz will launch its new EP, Feels Good, on April 1, with the simultaneous release of a new music video directed by Jeff Santos. The band’s new album, which focuses on digital studio production, marks a stylistic departure for the eight-man ensemble known for its live performances. The EP will be released and distributed by the band’s own independent record label Fire Spider.
Kore Ionz engaged Seattle-based director Jeff Santos in filming the musical video for “Feels Good.” Santos, who is currently at work on a documentary of the Seattle hip hop scene called The Otherside, runs an independent production company and first collaborated with Kore Ionz in making the video of the band’s 2013 single “First Avenue.”
Penned as an ode to singer Daniel Pak’s Hawaiian motherland, Santos said the visual concept for “Feels Good” evolved through conversations with the singer about his “thoughts and dreams of missing his homeland, which became the narrative.”
Pak said he returned home late one night from a gig and found himself missing Hawai‘i.
“It must have been four in the morning,” Pak said. “It was freezing cold and raining. I remember sitting in my van on the driveway. I opened up a note on my iPhone and started writing.”
When the artist woke up the next morning, Pak reached for his guitar and quickly came up with a series of simple chords to accompany his lyrics.
Feels Good brings together four new tracks, along with a remix of the band’s hit single “Love You Better,” which first debuted in a live in-studio performance on Seattle’s KEXP 90.3 FM.
“We wanted to revisit a popular song from our previous releases to apply these new production techniques, bringing new life to the song,” Pak said.
The album was recorded with support from Greg Fields at Chrystal Haze and Mell Dettmer at Studio Soli, with Pak and drummer Teo Shantz producing.
Developments in social media and access to music aggregators like CDBaby and TuneCore, which provide content for sites like Spotify, have made it possible for more musicians than ever before to distribute their work to larger audiences.
“Statistics show that in 2013, the top 1 percent of musical works accounted for 77 percent of total artist revenues,” Pak said. “What that tells us is that the old guard still fortifies and protects the castle, although anyone can pitch camp outside the moat.”
With a new focus on digital distribution and viral video marketing, the band has opted to postpone their tour for Feels Good.
“We decided to concentrate on putting out music videos as a form of ‘touring,’” Pak said.
With two young sons at home, Pak is reluctant to take the band on the road.
“I am not excited about the idea of jumping in a van and touring non-stop and submitting the band and crew to a less-than-minimum-wage investment strategy on the music,” Pak said. “We’re excited to bring the music on the road, but for now, we’re really concentrating our efforts on a new video project that will help make more economic sense out of touring.”
Demand for Kore Ionz has been high in California, particularly in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, where the region is experiencing a reggae renaissance with several area festivals devoted to the roots reggae genre. Kore Ionz hopes to focus its efforts on bringing its show down the coast in the near future.
An album release party for Feels Good is planned for April 5 at The Crocodile at 2200 2nd Ave. in Belltown. Joining Kore Ionz will be musical guests Two Story Zori, Soul One, DK Band, and others. Tickets are $10 pre-sale, and $15 at the door. For more info on Kore Ionz, visit www.koreionz.com.