Houston, Texas Th3rd Coast Roots are creating waves across the scene right now. Their debut album, Not Afraid, was released last year and made me a huge fan with the first listen. The album has such a strong sound and amazing vocals to compliment. This only is showcased further with their live shows. This band is like a thousand suns in a glass jar, their shine is bright. Just a few months ago the band released the single "Lovers Rock" and today the band unleashes another track titled "Jah Music" featuring Nick Sefakis of Iya Terra. I was fortunate enough to get some time with Th3rd Coast Roots singer/guitarist Jayton Lening to talk about the past, present, and future.
I am a major fan of Th3rd Coast Roots and a lot is due in part to the vocal duo of Jayton and Marisa. I don’t think there are enough female and male combinations like that in the scene and I value it so much. When the band first formed was this always the identity to have a male and female vocal duo?
We are stoked to hear you like that about us. With that said we have always wanted to have this male and female dynamic.
Take us behind the curtain a bit and tell us how the band formed?
The band formed back in the fall of 2017. Technically it happened like this though. I, Jayton was playing some occasional acoustic restaurant and bar gigs that consisted of all cover music. I then wanted to add another instrument/musician to make the sound fuller, so I reached out to Liam our bass player, because I knew he played reggae in a local reggae band and was overall well versed in reggae music as a bass player. So, we played these gigs through the summer of 2017 and then we wanted another musician, so I called up Hunter our drummer. I had known him for several years and played music for fun on and off in some garage style jam sessions with him and he was a big reggae fan as well as a drummer who was well versed in reggae. Hunter did say yes but he said he did not know how much he would be available…. that changed shortly lol. He then introduced us to Marisa because they were hanging out and he said she could sing, so we had her hop in two of our acoustic style cover gigs and turned out she was great at singing and was very naturally talented. This was some what of a dream come true because I had always wanted to 1. play reggae and 2. have a male female vocal dynamic. We finally also looked for a keyboard player and ended up finding one who is no longer with us. With all this said I, Jayton had several original songs that I had and then this made us realize we could play our own music. Then we had our first show together about two weeks after we all linked up. Marisa was literally trying to memorize lyrics the day of our first concert as Th3rd Coast Roots and so was I lol. After multiple keyboard players and shows we then decided to back track all of our keyboards since that position seemed to be our curse position, but something was missing and that was a lead guitarist. This was something I didn’t really expect to happen any time soon, but around late spring 2018 Liam introduced us to Mikey our now lead guitarist. Mikey was that one missing link. Mikey has many years in all different styles of genres as a drummer, vocalist, and guitarist and lots of behind the seen tech and sound engineer background for bands such as Rise Against, and Trivium to name a few. He was a massive help is taking our music to the next level with providing a studio to practice in, musicianship, recording, and all around helping the band get to the next level of professionalism as fast as we could with his knowledge.
Not Afraid is the debut album for Th3rd Coast Roots and was recorded with E.N Young at his studio Imperial Sounds Studio. I am very curious how the connection was made and who approached who for the recording and production of the album?
So although we had only band like two months lol we knew we need music to be out there and it also needed to compete as much as possible quality wise with the other amazing bands in the reggae scene. So I reached out to E.N via email praying he would basically say yes and in true E.N Young fashion he was more than willing to help us out. So we solidified a date and flew out to San Diego and recorded for four straight days making our first album. E.N Young was so helpful in giving us direction when we had no idea what we were doing lol. He was also so patient… I truly can not say enough good things about him.
There is so much talent in this band and it shines on every level. Hunter Wilson, Liam Haney, and Mike Ferrara really take this band to another level. Talk about their importance and how much it means to have such a strong foundation as a band with musicians like that?
This has been huge for us because Marisa and myself are really the only two members who aren’t trained musicians, so having all of these other guys who have a lot of education, training and knowledge about music and music theory has really helped develop our sound and translate things that me or Marisa would not be normally able to explain or do. This has helped us all grow as a group as musicians and has made us realize how much more potential we have in playing and writing new music. We are continuing to strive for better and will never stop being students of music.
Th3rd Coast Roots is taking off pretty fast as an up and coming band. What are some of the obstacles you find as a band making a name for yourselves?
The obstacles I am sure are not synonymous to us, but something regarding this would be, staying up with consistent and good content to keep our fans eyes on us and making them want to help spread the word about us. Today everyone has such a short attention span so if you are not providing consistent social media outreach, shows, and or music than you are going to head nowhere. The other obstacles are generic things that every band probably struggles with, so I won’t carry on about that stuff lol. The main thing we know is you can not let your foot off the gas. Continue to push harder and harder. Don’t look for handouts and don’t have excuses.
Marisa was in a car accident over a year ago, hit by an intoxicated driver. What kind of an emotional toll did it take on you and the band when that happened? I saw the pictures of the car and something as scary and terrifying as that can really frightened people to move forward but clearly and thankfully for her it didn’t.
Marisa struggled with that because it was such a nonsensical situation and it was a long process of physical rehabilitation and three surgeries because there were some complications in the surgeries. She figured out how to dig deeper than I think she thought she even could and has continued to prove she can and is overcoming the injuries and mental trauma it created. Also this was definitely something that scared us as a band because we didn’t really know what this all meant at first, but once she was already trying to prepare for shows and stuff while in the hospital we knew with some love and encouragement we could get her back up on the saddle and we would be a complete band again.
The new single Jah Music featuring Nick Sefakis of Iya Terra is due out Today. Talk about the relationship with this band and how this song came about?
So this song was something I had started years before we were ever a band. It was my way of writing a song that was more traditional roots reggae to some extent and allowed me to express how reggae music is like a medicine to me and I think many other people would agree with that. I knew the song wasn’t finished and with that theme in mind Marisa wrote her verse a couple months back. Then we knew we needed some icing on the cake and that extra style and that is where Nick came in. We have known Iya Terra since early 2018 after we opened a show for them in Houston. They have been so kind to us and gracious enough to give us advice that has really helped us think and make pretty good decisions at such an early stage. Their manger Ben Brinkley has also been one of those people who has been so helpful. So with this all said and with us having some what of a relationship with Iya Terra we reached out to Nick and he said he would love to get on the track. We can not thank him enough for his contribution to this track and again all the brothas in Iya Terra for their graciousness and love.
With the latest singles “Lovers Rock” and “Jah Music” is this setting up for a potential follow up to a second full length?
These singles are allowing us to keep crowd interaction by giving our fans some music that we hope shows that we are continuing to develop, while we keep cultivating our sound and the second album that we hope to have done spring/summer 2020. Keep an eye because we are going to come out swinging with this next one lol.
If I am correct, Jayton, you are heavy in to metal. Who are some of your go to artists in the genre?
HAHAHA yes I am. I grew up on a heavy diet of any metal genre you could think of. Now days I definitely listen to way more reggae than I do anything else. Somethings you may see on my phone would include, Stick Figure, Pepper, Steel Pulse, Iya Terra, Slightly Stoopid, Dub Inc, John Brown Body, 10 Ft Ganja Plant, Jack Johnson, The Movement, Rebelution, The Elovaters, The Expanders, Tribal Seeds, The Green. On the metal side of things you would see Suicide Silence, Animals As Leaders, Iwrestledabearonce, Black Tongue, Infant Annihilator, Thy Art Is Murder, I Declare War, Rings of Saturn, A Night in Texas, Rose Funeral, and many many more lol.
Any plans to add more heavy metal riffs to Th3rd Coast Roots? Kind of like The Expendables do on occasion.
I am sure this will some how happen lol. Our song Guardian Angel kind of has that in it already, but I am sure this will find its place into either a song or a transition during a live set.
Anything you would like to add before wrapping up?
I just want to thank MusicBailout, our fans, our family, my band members, the whole Iya Terra crew, E.N Young, and all of the bands in the scene we see killin it, these bands just make us want to strive for more.