Tribal Theory

By: SD Liz
Tribal Theory consists of Aberay (AJ), Seuko, Dominic, Rich, Paul, Nico, and Peter. They are a 7-piece band playing…well, I’m not sure exactly. In a recent interview, they told NUG they have yet to define their music, but overall, it is a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and island-style Reggae. Their greatest inspiration drew from playing ukuleles and performing Polynesian dances. Together, Tribal Theory has a passion for music and visual arts. Read on to find out what the winners of the Vans Warped Tour’s Battle of The Bands, San Diego edition, did to make it to Warped Tour, how they’ve grown since 2005, and where they plan to go in 2012. This is one band looking into the future!

All of the guys are from San Diego, California with the exception of the band’s new bass player, Peter Cruz, who recently came from Guam. According to the band, members share Polynesian roots, but most of them came together through a dance group they created called P.I.A. (meaning the Pacific Islander Alliance), which grew into a band originally deemed Last Minute that later turned into Tribal Theory by the addition of more players. Also, according to members, the ukulele brought the band together because each of them started playing the instrument first, and this instrumental play influenced the members to produce music.

The band has accomplished a great crowd through their “reggae party” sound, especially playing with such names as Steel Pulse, The Wailers, J Boog, and SOJA. They draw influence from such bands as Groundation, Damian Marley, and even local names, like Stranger and Diego Roots. Much of their music focuses on having a good time and displaying good vibes.

NUG Magazine got a chance to speak with the boys in Old Town about their music.

How would you classify your music?
We don’t like being confined to one genre [because] of our different interests and influences in music. If I had to choose only one, I would call us “Reggae +” (Reggae plus R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock, etc.). We started as Island Rhythm, but as we grew, the music changed. Nico gave us more options, AJ has the R&B voice, Seuko with the Rasta voice, and Dominic – well, we’re not sure what that is. (Laughs)

So, how did the current Tribal Theory form?
Some of us went to high school together, but the dance group is what formed us. The original members are AJ, Rich, and Dominic. Seuko was in and out. We started with a different drummer, bass player, singers, and no keys. We broke up shortly after that. A few months later we reformed with new members.

What do you think of your audience response?
Some people come for the music, and some people come for the atmosphere, and some just come to go out. With our music, I can tell people get excited, and those we capture are those who want to have fun. They have fun with our music. Our music is fun, upbeat, and relatable. If you’re drinking, we’re drinking; if you’re having fun, we’re having fun. We have some songs for the chillax people, but right now, we’re riding kind of the wave that is the big wave, and that’s the fun wave. On top of that, we’re some sexy-ass dudes! There are some chicks out there who just want to check out some sexy-ass dudes on stage.

What are some of your favorite San Diego bands?
HI Roots, Stranger, Through The Roots, Diego Roots, Kahi Lofa, Quino; there’s a lot of talent in SD.

How was Warped Tour in San Diego?
Playing at the Warped Tour this year was an eye-opener. Winning the preliminaries and getting to play at this big event felt so rewarding. Seeing what goes into a huge event like that humbles you and smacks you in the face, saying, “This is the real deal.” The response was awesome, even if we were out of our genre. The SD crowd showed us love, and hopefully we returned that love. We were definitely stoked! It was an awesome experience all around and even more so knowing that we earned our spot in the showcase.

Tell us some of your most memorable stops outside of SD.
Hawaii was memorable and felt like home. Las Vegas was…horrible for one of us…but, we were there twice; once with Ooklah The Moc and then with Iration, Tribal Seeds, and Anuhea.

What is the message of your music?
(Sings) It’s A Party, It’s A Party, It’s A Party…. Also, hey, here we are! We’re different, but we know you can all vibe and relate to us. We’re an island family who loves to share positive vibes with everyone.

Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
Traveling and seeing the world…doing an interview with Oprah! Nah, definitely collaborating with other bands.

You have a song about 2012. Tell me about it.
We wrote it because one of my cousins passed away, and I have a verse that talks about it; and why would you do that when it’s selfish? I worked on it with alcohol. Seuko’s verse is about situating yourself and figuring out what you’re doing. It’s not necessarily about if we believe in the 2012 prophecy. We named it that because AJ sang a verse and we were like, ‘2012.’ So appreciate your life, accept it for what it is, and things are going to happen, ya know? It’s an anthem for those people facing devastating personal struggle. The message to those individuals is to be strong and persevere. There is always a reason to be happy and there is always a reason to go on living.

Hmm, well, what do you think about the 2012 prophecy?
We tend not to think too far ahead because something is always going to happen. If things were going to end, then ‘seize the day’ now! Why worry about it? Let it come. The best thing to do is live life with no regrets. Be happy. Don’t let your mind be occupied with negatives.

So, Peter is a brand-new member. How did you guys find him?
Peter: I was watching them play one night and I met AJ and Frank (their manager). We were talking, and a few weeks later I gotta call from Frank; so I jumped on and learned all their songs. The bass player is taking a break with school.

Frank: We’re both from Guam and I knew his dad and told him about Tribal Theory. His dad mentioned he played and the next day Peter texted me ‘Nice meeting you.’ Well, the bass player wasn’t available, so then I called him, asked if he played bass, and told him to come to practice.

Can some of you tell me your favorite strains of cannabis?
God’s Gift and Michael Phelps.

What about a favorite dispensary in SD?
Sons of Beaches!

Tribal Theory is currently working on another EP and they hope to release a song titled “DeJaVu” this month. They will also be hitting up San Francisco again this month and plan on playing in Hawaii too, as well as Guam next year. They would like to give Big Ups to Selah Int’l, Zhen Music, and Alpinestars. For more information on the band, visit or look for them on popular social networks.

bringing you that fire!

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