Story by Ellice Flores. Published 2/5/2010 12:00:00 AM
Disaster Kit formed in 2008 by five UH-Manoa students (four of them are music majors): Gabe Reyes-Gomez, Alan Evans, Tijay Syn-Rodrigues, Kendal Ledesma, and Chris Mathakul. They started jamming at the UH dorms and played at different places across campus before hitting live venues around the island. Disaster Kit’s members bring together a wide-variety of musical knowledge and experience to form a unique sound that not many bands can acquire (band member Kendal plays a variety of instruments during performances including keyboards, French horn, harmonica, and trumpet). The band’s upcoming performances include the Reel Big Fish Showcase (where bands compete to be the opening act) on February 5 at Anna Banana’s and the Fifteen 07 Music Studio’s Battle of the Band’s at the Loft on February 19. If you haven’t already seen Disaster Kit live, you are missing out!
How did Disaster Kit form?
Disaster Kit randomly formed one day at the UH dorms when Chris and Gabe were hanging out with Kendal and Alan while playing the Beirut song "Postcards from Italy" on ukulele. Being music majors, we happened to have a bass, trumpet, and keyboard lying around and we spent about 5 hours that day learning the song just for fun and also recording it onto an iPod. Tijay, who had gone to high school with Chris and Gabe had been talking about wanting to either buy the game rock band or form a band with Chris and naturally, as we had used the keyboard as our drum machine that first day, we asked Tijay to drum for our band and from then we immediately started writing songs. Tijay never did end up getting rock band.
Is Disaster Kit planning to record an album?
At this point we have about 15 songs, not all of which could be considered coherent enough as a group to form an album together. We have done a bunch of recordings on our own by breaking into the UH band room and using our own (cheap) personal equipment for recording and editing. Right now, we are in the last stages of putting out a high quality demo of three songs, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jason Smith (of Stillborn Skies) at Vibe Asylum.
How would you describe the band’s style of music?
Disaster Kit would most likely be filed in the indie section at a record store. However, our set has a lot of variance because of the different instruments and skills we have at our disposal. We have some ska songs because we have horn players in our band, we have a bluesy song because Kendal can play harmonica, and we have a harder rock song because Gabe has some screaming chops. Ironically, as the game rock band was a factor in the formation of Disaster Kit, one of our shows may play out like a rock band set list or an iPod on random. Basically, if you come to a Disaster Kit performance or listen to a Disaster Kit recording, you will hear some of the different, sometimes wildly different, things that we think sound good and make for good music.
Who are some of your musical influences?
As Alan, Gabe, Kendal, and Chris were all music majors at UH, knowledge of classical theory, music history, and years of lessons on our respective instruments (Alan on Tuba, Gabe on Trumpet, Kendal on Horn, and Chris on Clarinet) play a big role in who we are as a band. About a year ago, we all made mix CDs of artists that we wanted the other members to listen to and some of the artists from those CDs include Bright Eyes, Imogen Heap, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Who, the Avett Brothers, Motion City Soundtrack, Chopin, Elton John, and Sergio Mendes.
If you could share the stage with any band who would it be?
Luckily, we have already shared the stage with Stillborn Skies. We have great respect for those three as musicians and showmen and wish them the best of luck on the mainland. We definitely look forward to sharing the stage with them again after they've taken the mainland by storm. As for bands that have already made it big, we all love Weezer and would jump at the opportunity to play with them.