Roots-reggae artist Cas Haley will be releasing his new album More Music More Family on Mailboat Records on November 6th, 2015. The new album celebrates Cas’ return to music after an injury-induced hiatus and explores the importance of family and positivity. Co-produced by Tubby Love and recorded in Kauai, Hawaii, More Music More Family is an entwinement of roots-reggae, soul, pop-rhythms, and a generous helping of Hawaiian tranquility.
The Texas-based artist Cas Haley was successfully recording, touring and building a fanbase when he was sidelined by an accident that hampered his ability to sing. The idea for his new album More Music More Family came about during treatment, as Haley reflected on how to pursue his career in a way that included his family and better represented his lifestyle. Crowdfunded through a Pledge Music campaign and recorded over a month at Steelgrass Farm in Kauai, Hawaii, More Music, More Family was co-produced and co-written by Andrew Terrett, aka Tubby Love.
Glide is premiering the video for “Before It’s Too Late,” (below) a composition off More Music More Family that retains Haley’s knack for charming melodies alongside his well honed mix of soul, reggae, pop and blues. Haley’s sunny side music, like that of Bob Marley and Michael Franti, radiates with pure positiveness that avoids downer cliches, but maintains a cerebral interest. Glide also had the chance to speak with Haley about the album, recovering his singing voice and his desert island albums.
Your new album More Music More Family is going to be released on Jimmy Buffet’s Mailboat Records. How did you get approached by that label and did they offer any creative contributions to the record?
I met the president of Mailboat Records, Harold Sulman, at a festival in Hermosa Beach about four years ago. He was aware of who I was and actually said that he had previously tried to sign me – which I unfortunately had no knowledge of because of various incompetent ‘gatekeepers’ that I had previously been working with (ah, the music industry!). When I met Harold, I had a record out on Easy Star Records, and at the time, I was very happy where I was and that was that. Fast forward to early 2015… I had just finished recording More Music More Family and I didn’t have any solid plans on releasing it with a label. I reached out to Harold and the rest is history. As far as creative contributions, Mailboat has allowed me to make the record that I wanted to make – I’m thankful they allowed me full creative control.
When did you write these songs and would you say they came together easily or was it rather a difficult process? Did you have any other albums in mind that you wanted to kind of mirror creatively or career wise?
These songs were all written in 2014 right in the middle of going through a difficult time. I had suffered from a skiing accident that damaged my voice and left me unable to sing. While going through months of physical therapy, I had time to reflect on my career and my family. These songs came together pretty easily and the majority of them were co-written with my good friend Tubby Love. That was the first time that I had ever collaborated to that degree and really enjoyed the process. Writing these songs ended up being a therapy/medicine for what I was going through physically and spiritually, and I’m super excited about the results.
Your music is more often than not categorized as “reggae” but I feel it has more crossover appeal that bands like 311 or Slightly Stoopid hold. What are your thoughts on being considered a “reggae” artist and how you most like to be defined?
I really don’t like to be put in a box. I know it’s somewhat necessary, but it never really fits. I’m attracted to and inspired by so many different styles of music and lifestyles… If I had to pick one description for my music, maybe Singer/Songwriter? Maybe Soul? Maybe ‘Island Inspired Southern Soul/Singer Songwriter’? LOL! I don’t know!
You lost your voice for a brief period after a skiing accident last year, now that I has come back do you feel you approach your vocals any differently and do you hear a different sound in your voice?
Things are very different now with the way I approach singing – it used to be BALLS TO THE WALL! Sing as hard as I could 100% of the time. Now, it’s a little more dynamic and not just one speed. I can still go 100%, but I try to build up to that. Basically, I had to learn to sing again in a different way. My voice definitely sounds and feels a bit different, but I’m liking where I’m at now. It feels more sustainable.
Your interpretation of “Easy” and “Walking on the Moon” are standouts and really encouraging ways to get people who might not be familiar with your art to take a listen. Do you enjoy doing your own spin on already familiar music and what songs do you most want to reinterpret in the near future?
It’s fun to recreate songs that I grew up loving and to put a different spin on them. Right now, I don’t have any plans to cover any new tunes, but I have so many good memories tied to songs that I grew up with… you never know.
What have been some of the career highlights for you since releasing your debut that have made all the van miles and hard work worth it?
I just feel so blessed to be able to pay my bills and feed my family while playing music and doing what I love. That feeling is priceless.
What are you five desert island albums?
Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder
You’re the One – Paul Simon
Live at the Roxy – Bob Marley
Ten – Pearl Jam
Soup – Blind Melon