Midnight Kahuna: A Tropical Journey To Musical Paradise

Midnight Kahuna is perhaps the best-kept secret in southern Florida, for now. Where Jimmy Buffet has his trusty Margaritaville revelers and the Grateful Dead still have their faithful Deadheads, they are both yesterday’s news compared to Midnight Kahuna. Called Kahunuts, the group continues to garner an immensely loyal following. That’s because the band is anything but a relic. In fact, the group has headlined Hollywood, Florida’s Hard Rock Café several times, as recently as last weekend. But the Midnight Kahuna story does not stop there.

Led by imaginative frontman and founder Lika Kanuke, the Hialeah-based group’s music has been called “New Wave Island Rock.” That moniker does suit the highly inviting sound of Kanuke and company. The Reggae-ish track “Alive” and the percussion-filled “These Dreams” are prime examples. Both songs, which can be heard on Reverbnation, have an engaging Caribbean vibe. But Kanuke and the Kahuna also can crank out some tasty radio-friendly, rock- flavored numbers, including “Brave New World” and “Running On The Rays Of The Sun.” Listen closely and you can hear a bit of Sting and The Police, or perhaps Joe Walsh on vocals. But just don’t try to put MK into a narrow category of music.

Move over parrotheads and patchouli burning Dead fanatics. A new popular following has emerged behind Midnight Kahuna. You’d better get onboard. Check out Midnight Kahuna’s videos on YouTube and music at cd baby, iTunes, Amazon and other web outlets.

Interview With Lika Kanuke

Musicinterviewmagazine.com caught up with Lika Kanuke, as the musician addresses the band’s name, its music, the sound of the trade winds and a whole lot more.

On Reverbnation, Midnight Kahuna indicates it has “harnessed the song of the tropical trade winds.” What do the trade winds sound like?       

The sound of the trade winds is the sound from around the world. It’s different rhythms and different styles all being blown around and landing in a perfect blend, filtered through the human ear. In other words, it’s the blending of different styles, borrowing from here and there and being eclectic. It’s easy to write in one style, whether rock, jazz, reggae, country, hip-hop, blues or bossa; the list goes on. You can create great tunes doing that. It’s more interesting to write in different styles and mesh it all together. It’s more creative that way and a lot more fun as a writer and performer to execute. Also, when you blend different styles together, your music becomes more transcendental and therefore reaches a wider audience. As a writer and musician, I would hate to be pigeon-holed into just one style or genre. There is no room for growth in that, past a certain point. I want to go above and beyond that. I want to experience excitement whenever I write and play and I want that to translate that to my audience as well. You have to love what you do before anybody else loves it. I love that my creativity knows no boundaries, just like the trade winds.

The songs “Alive” and “A Little Distance” have an inviting reggae-ish groove, while your latest single, “Brave New Word” has more of a rock vibe. How would you describe the sound of Midnight Kahuna?        

I would describe the sound as eclectic for the same reasons I mentioned in the previous question.

We have to ask, how did you arrive at the name, Midnight Kahuna?

So the name Midnight Kahuna, yes that is an interesting story. In 2002 my band was being considered by a subsidiary of Sony Music Group® for a record deal. We were all very excited that we may actually have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When that deal didn’t go through, the band was very disillusioned and in a nut shell, I decided to walk away from the music biz all together. The thing is, and any musician will tell you this, you can never walk away from your passion for too long. Music is an addiction, a good one at that, but still an addiction. When you get that itch, it must be scratched sooner or later. So, as some years passed and band members tried other projects and I started a family, it seemed that music for me would just be a pastime that I stumbled upon whenever I found some extra time and got too close to the piano or my guitar.

Then out of the blue, in early 2009, my bass player and good friend, Chris, came by the house. After a few drinks and some reminiscing, he presented me with an idea. He suggested we go to a club he had been checking out down here in Miami, to feel the vibe. Well, in my experience, get two good musicians together who have chemistry and put them in a place surrounded by music, there is a good chance they may think they can do better than what they are seeing and hearing. Hence, the idea of a comeback was hatched that night. But we wanted to do it differently. We wanted to be loungeier and more eclectic than what we were before, which was mostly rock- and ska- influenced music. We wanted to have a cool loungey and mysterious name that would evoke feelings of WTF! Kahuna was a nickname that was thrown at me from time to time, based on my last name, the beach boy surfer look I had and the people I knew. I thought what a perfect name for a lounge act. Put Midnight in front of it and now we have mystery and intrigue, which is what we had at the moment, as well as an original name. Well, we didn’t stay loungey for long. After our first show, we knew we were rocking. But with the addition of keyboards and conga drums, we were now rocking with an exotic sound and people really started digging us. Our following grew with each and every show. The Canute Band was reborn as Midnight Kahuna and everything changed for the better.

Who are the members in the band?

Rick Canut – songwriter, lead vocals, piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar; Chris Castellanos – bass, back-up vocals; Johnny Hutt – sax, flute, back-up vocals; Carlos Fernandez – lead guitar and back-up vocals; Alvaro Marmolejo – lead guitar and trombone; David Castro – drums and percussion.

The band just finished headlining the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, Fla. What are Midnight Kahuna’s plans for the future?

We are working on our fourth album now and concentrating on making videos for both our new songs and some of the back catalog of our most popular tunes. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The videos are a lot of fun, where we use our fans, which we lovingly call the Kahunuts, to help us out. We have the best fan base in the world and we are forever grateful for all their help and support. I was on AMI Radio in Bradenton, Florida, last week promoting our latest single, “Alive.” We plan to perform live at our next CD release party sometime next year. But that can always change to sooner if the stars align themselves correctly and all the numbers in the equations add up nicely. In the meantime, we are releasing singles and videos to accompany them every two months as we try and grow our fan base on YouTube and with stations across the country that are picking up our music. It is truly one of the most interesting and exciting times in the life of Midnight Kahuna thus far.

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