The Steppas have been steadily building a growing fanbase in their hometown of Hilo, Hawaii as well as the mainland since their debut self entitled EP in 2012 hit retailers. 2015 saw them supporting the likes of Pepper, Fortunate Youth, Inna Vision, and most recently touring with Tribal Seeds and The Skints on the 2016 Winter Reggae Land Tour. We caught up with Star, lead vocalist for The Steppas to talk about the beginnings of the band, song writing process and how the path to his music career came to be.
So why don’t you tell me about how The Steppas came together. How long have you been playing music together?
We’ve been playing music for about five years I believe. And it was just a thing me and one other my other homies started, we just started looking for musicians with the same grind and the same mentality as us to take music out and make the sacrifice.
So you’ve gone through a bunch of different members?
Yeah a few, a few. Music life is definitely hard. Me and bassie Kekolu we’re like the OGs of the band and founded the band together.
So do you write most of the songs then, most of the lyrics?
On the last album I wrote pretty much everything I sang. But for now I’ve been writing all the lyrics and hopefully we can get the boys to bring out their insides to the light. I’m trying to make this a group thing more than just me.
So I mean as a writer would you say that you have an overall message or overarching theme? Or do you write just kind of what comes to your heart at the time?
I do write what comes to the heart most of the time or whatever comes, whatever time it is.
Does it tend to be towards a certain topic?
Whatever comes out I’ll try to write about, but most times I try to keep it more positive about life and just the outlook of things and just pretty much my message is that dreams really do come true — you can be anything you want. You don’t have to be a musician, but you can be anything if you put your mind to it. So that’s pretty much the message that I try to get out.
Yeah, I heard you say that a couple of times and I really do believe that. So, professionally as an artist, what took you to the next level? I mean this tour is a pretty good break for you.
It’s a good example. Was there another one that kind of, maybe a break that kind of broke you into the scene? Meeting somebody or a gig you played? Or was this you’re biggest one yet?
This is our biggest one yet, for sure. Yeah and it’s definitely mind blowing. We didn’t think we were going to be this far in such a short time that we’ve been playing. I think we started touring like two to three years ago you know? And to be here playing with Tribal Seeds is so crazy.
Yeah, I remember when you first started coming to the mainland. Even for a band to make it over to the mainland is big.
Yeah, and it’s kind of full circle because our first tour here we started off with Gonzo.
There’s always a person that will talk to you. You don’t have to feel lost.
So speaking of dreams coming true, did you ever think that you would be a musician growing up? Did you always wanted to be one?
Throughout intermediate high school I never took any music classes or anything and just one gig that I did just opened the light for me. And I think we were opening up for Natty Vibes and I was like still in high school. I was like, holy shit I want to do this for the rest of my life, you know? And that opened my eyes and I’m like, wow I really want to do this and I went home and I’m like, Mom, I want to become a musician for the rest of my life. She’s like “What?!? Are you serious?” But, yeah music just runs with all of us. That’s just what it’s all about.
Yeah, so do you have a favorite song of yours?
My personal favorite would be “Dada Say” for my son and then “Lost At Sea” only because “Lost At Sea” is way deeper than what people think the song is about. You know, people think it’s a love song, it’s definitely a love song, you can take it in that way, but it goes beyond that. It’s actually about people facing depression and suicide, you know. There’s always a person that will talk to you. You don’t have to feel lost. And we went through a bunch of things like losing friends to suicide and some of our family members and stuff like that. For me that song always hit’s the heart and that’s definitely one of my personal favorites.
Wow, that’s deep. Damn, let’s lighten it up a bit. Boxers or briefs?
Commando. Even in the cold over here. I’m from Hawaii.