There’s a lot to be said about the sound and style of TreeHouse! whose energy exudes the familiar, feel-good vibes of the reggae genre. Performing together for eight years, the band of four takes reggae and rock to create music that celebrates gratitude, unity and overcoming adversity. Singer/guitarist Jeremy Anderson, drummer Trey Moody, keyboardist Joe Harley and bassist Chris Hat make up the group that love being on the road. The band’s latest music video for the song “Natural High (ft. Dan Kelly)” has the mellow rhythms we all look to find for a perfect summer day and features a variety of beautiful scenes during the California sunset with a little cannabis consumption thrown in the mix. Lead singer, Jeremy Anderson, kindly took the time to discuss with CULTURE the making of the band’s new music video and provided a commentary on the status of cannabis in his home state.
Could you tell us a little bit about your backstory and how the band formed?
TreeHouse! began much like the Big Bang, a unified force expanding into space and becoming a representation of the universe. The band’s story is like this: Jeremy Anderson always loved music. He was on one instrument or another, in one band or another since the age of 13, only pausing to pursue an education in Philosophy. After attending college in the bustling cultural center of Charleston, South Carolina, he returned to his hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His mind was enlightened with new ideas, and all he wanted to do was apply them to his musical aspirations, firmly holding the belief that his music was the best platform for expressing his thoughts and hopefully affecting positive change. Jeremy started slowly, performing solo acoustic cover gigs locally. In the tourist town of Myrtle Beach, he was able to rack up six shows a week and soon was able to invite friends to jam with him. Together, this band of friends jamming would slowly form the original act coined after Jeremy’s nickname, “TreeHouse!” The roots thereafter would grow organically.
Which artists would you say the band looks to for inspiration?
I would say the band collectively has varying influences. We try to stay updated on new releases from our peers in the genre, lately listening to Iya Terra, Jesse Royal, Stick Figure, Chronnix, Fortunate Youth, Rebelution, and The Movement. Our brother bands – Roots of a Rebellion, Tropidelic, Of Good Nature, and The Elovaters, to name a few, are always keeping us on our toes musically. My personal influences have ranged across Slightly Stoopid, Sizzla, John Brown’s Body, Stephen Marley, Passafire, Tribal Seeds, Mike Love, Keller Williams, and Wookiefoot, with dashes of The Doors, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and System of a Down. Our keyboardist, Joe, takes influence from Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, classical music, Atlanta hip-hop and who knows what else! Our drummer, Trey, and our bassist, Chris, both listen to a myriad of music and bring it into a uniquely blended style.
“I love consuming cannabis in every way, from flower, dabs, edibles, tinctures, topicals and more!”
How was shooting the video for “Natural High”? The video has an overall relaxed atmosphere, where everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves. Did filming the video have that same kind of energy?
Filming “Natural High” was indeed a casual flow. Dan Kelly is an awesome, easy-going, and kind individual, so he was great to work with. That day consisted mostly of chilling and cruising the different Cali beaches’ boardwalks. Dan was down to chill and cruise! I’m very grateful that he was willing to take time out of his life and his busy schedule to do this video with us. After the shoot, Dan even treated us all to tacos! I’m from the East Coast, born and raised, so flying to California and soaking in the chill vibes was an inspiring experience, and I think that vibe was definitely captured in the video.
Tell us about the decision to collaborate with Dan Kelly and featuring his vocals in “Natural High.”
When I listen to an artist for long enough, I naturally tend to pick up their style and influence. There are certain moments when I look back at a song I just wrote and feel like it was written with the specific vibe of another person or band. We already knew we wanted to collaborate with Dan and Fortunate Youth. When I looked back at “Natural High,” I knew it was the perfect sound for Dan to do his thing! Dan created that verse in the studio right before he laid it down, and the essence of his vocal tones brought the song to life. He gave it exactly what it needed!
Your home state is South Carolina, which has restrictive laws on cannabis. Do you see that changing anytime soon?
I am avidly hoping for this change and should admittedly work more towards this movement. South Carolina has finally legalized CBD, but has no restrictions on the quality or source of CBD, so that’s causing a few issues already with head shops selling bad product. I believe right now, medical cannabis applications in South Carolina are limited to Marinol and only to extreme, virtually terminal cases. The Bible Belt’s cultural stigma, along with years of anti-cannabis propaganda doesn’t help SC’s movement either. I would’ve thought the “good old boys” at the very least would go for legalization for the mere $$$ in increased revenue. Florida is more on the forefront, and I’ve heard that Georgia and North Carolina are submitting bills for some type of legalization efforts, so hopefully that will spur South Carolina to follow suit.
What would you like to see happen in South Carolina regarding cannabis legislation?
I have mixed feelings about this, as I’ve seen “legalization” play out in several different ways in different states. I don’t want to see it legalized just to be monopolized, like where there are limited grower permits allotted and they’re already claimed before the law even passes. That’s not the kind of “Free the Weed” I want to see. There’s also the argument that legalizing recreational cannabis is just taking business away from my friends and giving it all to the government and subjecting it to government (and ultimately corporate) regulation. I think that could play out in many ways, as well. I personally love being able to walk into a store and choose from a selection, but I do ideally just want the freedom to grow my own cannabis for personal use without being harassed.
Whatever kind of legislation may pass, I want to see its benefits go toward my fellow South Carolinians, and I don’t want it to be motivated by ulterior motives or corporate interests. I want SC to figure it out before the rest of the country’s cannabis industry is fully established and all the big dogs move in from other states and take up all that potential new business opportunity from locals and natives before we can even establish our own area in the industry.
Do you guys consume cannabis recreationally? If so, what are your favorite strains?
I love consuming cannabis in every way, from flower, dabs, edibles, tinctures, topicals and more! My favorite strain of cannabis is Dutch Treat Haze. I found it while touring Colorado, and I’ve been seeking it out ever since! It’s a more rare find, bearing a complex pungent aroma, beautiful multi-color buds and a great smoke aesthetic. Joe’s favorite strain is Bubbleberry. Trey’s favorite is Golden Goat. The best cannabis to us are the buds that are gifted from friends and fans!
TreeHouse! is currently on a nationwide tour, what are your favorite parts about being on the road to perform?
The sense of adventure is what always calls me back. Thanks to TreeHouse!, my band of brothers, I’ve been granted the ability to explore hundreds of cities and all the wilderness in between. I’ve had the opportunity to meet anyone in the world or come across one random experience that could potentially change my life in a myriad of ways. I like winging it to the other side of the country for the first time, and there’s a stranger who already knows us, waiting there to invite us into their lives as if we were old friends. Every region, every city, every vibe is uniquely different yet the same. It feels good to feel familiar with the unknown.
Do you guys have any upcoming projects or newly released projects you’d like to share with us?
TreeHouse! just released two singles and music videos over the last few months, “Prayer for the Day” & “Natural High (ft. Dan Kelly).” Both of these singles are part of our upcoming studio album, Full Immersion, due out in 2019. We’re also currently working on remixes and acoustic recordings. We have a good wave of new content set for 2019, and we’re excited!
Band name: TreeHouse!
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Latest albums: Lifted (2015), Growth (2013)
Upcoming album: Full Immersion (2019)
In the cannabis industry, there are all kinds of movers and shakers. Many musicians who get into the industry do so to promote their own name, with a lack of integrity. Not Marlon Asher. Everything the Trinidadian reggae singer does, he does out of his genuine love for the plant, including the music he records and the products that he releases. His seed company, currently under rebranding, is all about creation and cultivation, and his music is all about harmony. Between touring with countless reggae acts and even Boyz II Men, Asher’s fingerprint in the music world is as evident as ever. CULTURE caught up with Asher to discuss his contribution to the Caribbean reggae music scene, including his recent hit “Ganja Farmer” and his love for the leafy green.
Is there anything exciting you’re working on right now that you want to announce?
Right now I’m on tour, and I’ve also been working on my newest album.
What has the recording process been like for this album?
Right now, we’re actually in the planning stages of the new music. This time, we’re really trying to put everything together so there will be a flow, and we won’t have to guess what we want to happen. We want it to be special.
How do you think this is going to stand out from your other work?
What is really going to stand out is the fact that people are going to recognize the growth and the changes we’ve been through over the years.
“I would like to see an end to prohibition and see [cannabis] decriminalized. So far, I don’t really see a benefit from legalization, as the people who have been in the industry so long aren’t seeing a benefit from it; it’s the corporations who are benefiting.”
How did you first get into making music?
I first got into music at my grandfather’s church by being a part of the choir, and I fell in love with reggae music in my teenage years. I started performing around my village, and then I got recognized by some producers and started to make music my career.
When did cannabis first become a part of your life, and why was it important to you?
Cannabis is important to me, because it’s a medicine. You can really see the effects of it and how it helps people. One of my big hits, “Ganja Farmer,” was about the people who are dedicated to cannabis, to highlight some of the things that were going on in my country with cannabis and the people growing it. The song became really popular, and I think it has a really good message.
How has cannabis impacted you personally?
Personally, it kind of puts me in that meditative state that I like to be in when I want to get closer to God. It’s definitely positive when it comes to meditation and mental expansion.
What do you think the world of cannabis is going to be like in the future? How would you like to see it work in five years?
I would like to see an end to prohibition and see it decriminalized. So far, I don’t really see a benefit from legalization, as the people who have been in the industry so long aren’t seeing a benefit from it; it’s the corporations who are benefiting. I hope in the near future, cannabis won’t be criminalized, and no one will be chastised for using it.
What do you hope people take away the most from your music? How do you hope it influences people?
The main message I hope people take away is the oneness of people, the fact that music was made to bring people together and heal people. I really want that to be what I bring to the table.
Is there anything else you want to highlight?
I’m on tour now, and I’m about to start my seed business in the Caribbean. I also just want to tell people to take care of each other and love each other. That’s mainly what I want people to understand.
With your seed company, is there anything you want to announce or highlight?
Well we are currently rebranding, coming up with a new name and a new concept behind the business. We’re planning to launch everything soon.
For some, lettuce is simply the quintessential ingredient to any salad or a basic burger topping. But for others, it’s the name of one of the most revered bands in the American jam and funk music scene. This ensemble has been making music since the early 1990s, and if its name doesn’t give you the munchies, the band’s crunchy, smooth sound certainly will. CULTURE caught up with guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff to talk about Lettuce’s new record, Elevate, and current tour. So grab yourself a snack and check out the latest goings on with Lettuce.
What is the band working on right now?
We’re about to continue our Elevate Tour for our latest record, and I believe we have a bunch of stops on the East Coast like Asheville, Wilmington, and in addition to the North Carolina stops, New York, like upstate New York City and New Jersey. I’m super stoked for this tour, because I get to see some of my family.
Tell me a little bit about the latest album. What do you think makes it stand out from other releases, and how has the reception been so far this summer?
I don’t think there’s any real need to make comparisons to other stuff that we’ve done. I think it stands on its own. You know, I like to think about recordings as a piece of history, a piece of life, because you’re just capturing time while you’re in the studio. So, to me, it’s a piece of history of where the band is right now and what our sound is currently. I think that’s really what this album represents. It’s about who we are as people right at this moment in time.
What do you like most about Elevate?
The whole recording process was just really, really fun for me, especially because we recorded it in Denver, Colorado where I live. It’s been a really long recording process. It started when my wife was pregnant, and now my child is 21 months. Being at home and able to be with my family during that process was great for me, personally. And I think it enabled me to really give some heartfelt, good performances on the record, because my heart was in the right place.
How has living in a city with legal cannabis impacted your career and music?
It feels like there’s a weight off of my shoulders, that I’m not hiding something or doing anything illegal. It really enables you to accept that in reality this is medicine, and once I started to think that way, it has changed my life in such a positive way. It’s helped me manage and get through so many things, and it’s also helped me so much with my creativity. Cannabis has been a great thing in my life, and definitely something we bonded over in Lettuce.
“Cannabis has been a great thing in my life, and definitely something we bonded over in Lettuce.”
How do you feel that cannabis has impacted the bond between you all?
Before legality, I think there were moments of paranoia and things like that that sprung from the illegality of it. But, even without the aspect of cannabis, this band is brothers, and there’s a special bond between us.
Is there anything else you want to highlight?
We recorded some other songs during the Elevate sessions that should be coming out in the near future. We’re going to continue putting out tracks that we made at that time, so there’s more music to come. Also on this tour, we’re going to get out there, and we’re going to play some new stuff that we’ve never played before, which is always really exciting. That’s why I love playing with these guys; there’s always something to look forward to. And, in general, you know, we’re just grateful to still be out here. We’re grateful to be doing what we’re doing. I can’t wait to see all the faces in the crowd that come to our shows. It makes us really happy; we love our people, and we’re psyched to get out in front of them again.
Riding the Reef: DENM explains his creative self-discovery through music and cannabis
Photo credit: Dave Katrina
Producer, DJ and artist DENM has created music using a vibrant palette infused with just about everything—garage-pop, house, indie, reggae and trap. On Spotify, over 225,000 listeners tune into DENM’s channel monthly. While his 2016 EP Dreamhouse was more grounded in deep house with spacey songs like “Under Pressure” and “Lit,” and his EP Is Whatever expanded into new territory, his latest material exudes warmth and relaxation that reeks of beach foam and suntan lotion. DENM is about to raise the bar with his new release including “Life’s Too Short” and “My Wave,” supported by his background as a sixth-generation Californian. DENM’s first solo show was Aug. 10 at Moonrise Festival in Baltimore, Maryland. His new single “Blow It Up” dropped Aug. 23 and his latest EP Endless Summer dropped on Sept. 6, managed by Roc Nation and produced by Rock Mafia. CULTURE connected with DENM to learn more about genre-jumping, his musical inspirations and cannabis.
Tell us why you like to experiment with vastly different tempos.
Man so what’s crazy is back in 2016, I was touring with my indie band, FMLYBND, and would just make random beats on the road. I would make these quick beats and sing a little falsetto hook over it. That music was never something I actually intended to make as an artist, and so when I put it out and people started talking about DENM, I was like, I wanna make music I really believe in and that feels super honest to me. If I’m gonna be a solo artist, then I wanna be proud when I step on a stage. Hence this entire three-year journey of self-discovery and finding my real voice as an artist. I grew up in SoCal so I wanted to make music that represented the culture, which is barbeque vibes, party music and beach music, so that’s what I’m making now.
Photo credit: Dave Katrina
Your fans love your acoustic songs. What do you love about acoustic guitar?
If it’s played right, it’s such a rad instrument. I remember when I was really deep into electric guitar stuff, and was buying so much gear for tones and what not and sort of thought people who still played acoustic were just bozos. But I was a kid and dead wrong. If the acoustic is played tastefully, it is one of my all-time favorite sounds. It can fill a stadium show or be played gently at a bonfire. There’s really nothing like it. That’s why it’s all over a ton of my new stuff—beach vibes with reggae and trap aesthetic.
What were you feeling when you recorded Is Whatever?
Honestly, I was trying to move away from the house music I put out before. It sucked, because I wasn’t able to put any music out for a long time, because I kept being told I had to make more house records. It felt like I was really at the end of my road, so I called the EP Is Whatever. “DENM is whatever.” It was the old punk rock in me coming out saying “screw you, here’s the music—like it or don’t.” That’s when I met Rock Mafia, and they started diving into production with me on a new vibe, and that’s really when DENM came to life.
“Badfish” is a great summer classic. Were you influenced by bands like Sublime?
Straight up—Sublime is one of my all time favorite bands. I was raised by their music. I was just a little kid when Bradley passed away, R.I.P., but his lyrics and voice were always with me. Eric’s basslines and Bud’s pocket were so raw, and they didn’t play by the rules. I was always getting into trouble and kicked out of houses and schools when I was a kid, so I always felt connected to them. When we were thinking about doing a cover, I was like “man let’s do ‘Badfish.’” I knew for a fact I could knock it out of the park. I’ve been singing it since I was 14 when I learned to play guitar. Brad helped me learn to sing as a kid, so I knew it was the move. The video is inspired by the Sublime video.
Photo credit: Dave Katrina
“Life’s Too Short” is perfect for the end of summer. What is this song really about?
The song is really about internal pain and how you carry it in life—like I better learn to love myself. Leave regret and all that behind, because I only get one chance at this thing called life. Even though it can sound happy, it’s really an anthem for people who struggle with real depression and anxiety and just feel broken. It’s like a “let’s rise up and live a good life”-type thing. I wrote it in a really dark, depressed state, so it’s a special song to me for sure. Just trying to make myself feel better by singing it out. “Life’s too short to stress out!” It’s a mantra.
Your songs still hold up by melody alone, even when they are unplugged and without the beat. Is that important to you?
Yeah, absolutely. My goal is to be able to play every song I’m writing on just an acoustic and still have it feel amazing. I can’t wait to do an acoustic set and just have it be a massive sing along. That’s the best feeling. No hiding behind production. A song is a song if you can play it with one instrument and have everyone sing along to it still. I love that.
Your collaborations with artists like Tommy Trash and Gnash are incredible. Who do you plan on working with next?
Those are both some good dudes right there. Much love to those guys for believing in me and wanting to work with me. But who knows! There may or may not be some legendary people involved, but it’s still very much in the works.
“[Cannabis] eases my body pain and anxiety big time. Without all that I can focus on creativity and having fun. Music should be fun. . .”
Photo credit: Dave Katrina
Do you consume cannabis, and if so, does it help during the creative process in the studio?
[Cannabis] eases my body pain and anxiety big time. Without all that I can focus on creativity and having fun. Music should be fun man; it’s the greatest job for me. I just get to create something new every time, and my producer Mr. Rock Mafia himself is always hitting his Dosist.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
Man I love it. Major shout out to Rock Mafia, because we’re in there making some special tunes every day. Shout out to Roc Nation and my management Nima and Justin. Y’all been grinding with me for a long time. Shout out to my publisher Ben Groff; he’s been with me since day one too. Much love to him for hustling the music to get it on TV and in films. I’m just so thankful for the journey thus far. It’s been the hardest and worst, but the most gratifying and best thing in the world. It’s all a part of the story.
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