“The thing about the Common Kings is that we all come from different musical backgrounds,” says bassist Ivan “Uncle Lui” Kirimaua. “For the most part, we have collaborated, putting our musical influences into the bucket to see what we come out with, but we are being more eclectic with our sound, with our inspiration, and working to bring it all together. We’re like that crazy artist that just throws paint on the canvas and then steps back see that the results look amazing.”
Not familiar with the Common Kings?
Check out “Wade in Your Water,” from the band’s “Lost in Paradise” album, produced by Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, known for his work with Justin Beiber, the Audible, and others. The song is a love-struck homage to a surfer girl (“Really wanna rock her boat . . .”) that is filled with references to Billabong, bikini tops, board shorts and bonfires.
It’s a Polynesian musical fantasy that’s easy on the ears.
“Our fans have coined us as a feel-good band,” says Common Kings lead singer Sasualei “Jr King” Maliga, during a conference call with Kirimaua.
“And that has stuck with us.”
The members of the Common Kings were born in the South Pacific Islands, but grew up in the vibrant Polynesian communities of Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The band has had a fairly rapid rise, thanks to some high-profile encounters. The Common Kings have toured with Justin Timberlake and in 2001 collaborated with singer, songwriter and producer Meghan Trainor, best known for the 2013 hit “All About the Bass.”
Those experiences proved crucial in helping the band to grow.
“Meghan is just one of those people who is talented beyond their years,” Kirimaua says. “At the time, she was 18 and just coming out of Nantucket. It blew our minds that people like her actually exist. She’s an incredible human being, a super talented songwriter and producer. I mean, she can just do it all and at a very high level.”
The band’s latest recording, the seven-song EP “One Day,” is composed of material the Common Kings shelved after meeting Poo Bear in Hawaii. The EP includes “Lock Me Up,” a collaboration with Jamaican reggae star Stephen Marley.
“Those are songs we were working on shortly before releasing ‘Lost in Paradise,’” Kirimaua says. “We felt really strongly about those songs, especially our collaborations with Stephen Marley and others, and we wanted to get those out there.”
The band is currently working on a follow-up to “Lost in Paradise.”
“What we have so far feels really good. I like the direction we’re going in,” Maliga says. “It will be an eclectic sound, but still very much like the Common Kings, though we’re in a new phase right now. It’s gonna be dope.”
“We’re experimenting with a few different genres that we all collectively like,” he says. “It’s like a big crash test. We’re looking to see what’s sticking to the wall and so far we’re really liking what we’re doing.”
In the studio, both musicians say, the band’s island roots allow those influences to gel.
“What brings us together is our personalities and the fact that we’re all family,” Kirimaua adds. “When we get into the studio there’s a cohesive coming together of our differences. It’s not like those bands where one person does all the work and everyone else cow-tows to whatever that person wants. The Common Kings is a real collective effort. Everyone has a chance to throw something in the basket and everyone’s influences are respected. Like with JR, there’s no one quite like JR. He has a great voice and he has a passion for R&B and some of the greats, so we make sure that the songs we do feature those influences. And then we have influences in the Foo Fighters and that alternative feel. So we put all of that into the creative process.
PLANNING TO GO?
What: The Common Kings with Nattali Rize
When: Fri., March 1, at 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)
Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 N. Petaluma Blvd.
Tickets: Call (707) 775-6048 or visit MysticTheatre.com.