For Peace Band has been working hard since their inception. “RJ” Pereira (guitar and vocals), Freddy Boradllo (drums and vocals), Jacob Iosia (keyboards and vocals), and Danton Cruz (bass) hail from Guam, although their sound is steeped in both roots reggae and progressive styles from Hawaii and SoCal. For the ninth annual California Roots Festival in Monterey, CA, For Peace Band took the stage alongside Cali natives Iya Terra for the Saturday night after party.
The following day, a steadily warming Pacific coast afternoon stretches over the Monterey Fairgrounds as I meet up with Chris Santos, the band’s tour manager, RJ, and Freddy. The three greet me graciously. They carry calmness, focus, and politeness as we sit to talk about the timing of their performance, just before the July 27th release of their album, Always Love, drops.
Did you play anywhere else here at Cali Roots, other than the after party?
RJ: Well, we did that acoustic jam session at the Rootfire tent. That was new for us. We don’t do acoustic too much.
Freddy: We try and do that at home, more acoustic.
Do you live near each other back home?
RJ: Oh yeah! We all live, like ten minutes from one another.
I love this festival, to hear about new people or finally see bands I’ve heard about, like you.
RJ: Like, “Who’s that guy? What’s his name again? Xiuhtezcatl?” [Laughs]
Freddy: I liked seeing Atmosphere and Chronixx.
So, you’ve been here all weekend?
RJ: Since Thursday.
Chris: This is right where we want to be.
Freddy: The biggest fest I ever went to. Like, wait: there’s all my favorite artists here, like- in one day? [Laughs]
Chris: It’s been a long time coming that a Guam band performed here. This is, like, a right of passage.
When does your new album come out?
Chris: July 27th.
RJ: We released “Rarest Flower”. What did you think of that track?
I liked it. It had a lot of space in it. It reminded me of-
RJ: Like, Roots Radics. Like, pop and smooth.
Oh, wow. Yeah! I was thinking the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars.
They play a lot of African and reggae style stuff. I can hear similarities.
RJ: We wanted to do it like Gregory Isaacs, like “Cool Ruler”, which is so pocket.
He understood sparsity.
RJ: Oh yeah. Like Arise Roots a little too.
Freddy: We’re doing a tour with them, too! [Laughs]
Your new record is being released by the Rootsfire Cooperative record label. How did you get hooked up with Rootfire?
RJ: Reid [Foster] was generous with the opportunity.
How did you meet Reid?
Freddy: Steve Donovan.
Chris: The way it all happened was, we met Donovan in Denver at a couple of shows, and while we were kicking back, he came to talk to us. The first conversation was just, like, “Yeah, you guys are good.” Then, the next tour with The Expanders, and we’re back in Denver. He shows up again. He said he saw us on an Instagram story. He wanted to see what we could do together. And then through them we met Rootfire and Reid Foster. We ended up having a killer conversation with [Reid], getting inspired.
Those connections are what this is all about.
Chris: When we come out here we’re able to link to cool and new people.
RJ: Bands we haven’t seen in a long time.
When did you start coming to the U.S. to start touring?
Chris: Our first tour in Hawaii.
RJ: Then we came up here with Josh [Heinrichs].
Freddy: There were two tours. The first one was with Fortunate Youth, not Josh.
[Laughs] A lot of touring, hunh?
Chris: It’s been three years and six tours. Really, a shout out to Fortunate Youth. They were the ones who really helped us out, believing in us.
RJ: Even touring in general, they showed us the ropes. We met a lot of people through them. We were ironically fans of each other. [Laughs]
Chris: I mean, for me, it’s like, when we were in New York and people were singing the lyrics.
Freddy: I stopped singing and they were there singing!
What’s the reggae scene like in Guam?
RJ: It’s rough, man. There is a lot of talent. The love for reggae music is there. But as for writing your own stuff, no. There’s more of a jam sesh, like backyard stuff.
Freddy: There’s a few bands out there.
Chris: There are a lot of musicians, but we’re the first ones to do it right for reggae. And that’s all because of R.J. and Freddy. Because of this, we’ve gotten to work with so many people who look out for us.
RJ: And they all believe in us! That’s the motivation, really! Like, “We just got here,” and they’re like, “Cool! Let’s go!” [Laughs]