Q&A with Legendary Hawaiian Big Wave Surfer MAKUA ROTHMAN, Who Has Entered The World of Music With His Debut Album, Soundwave.
Posted On 12 Jan 2015
Tag: 2 Pac, 2Pac, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Biggie, Biggie Smalls, Billabong, Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge, Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge Award, Bob Marley, Braddah, Braddah IZ, Desperation Blues, Goldfinger, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Hawaiian culture, IZ, Iz Kamakawiwo'ole, John "Feldy" Feldmann, John Feldman, John Feldmann, Kapena, Laird Hamilton, Ledward Kaapana, Makanale Road, Makua Rothman, Maui, Monster Energy Drink, Mountain Apple, Mountain Apple Company, North Shore, O'Neill World Cup, O'Neill World Cup 2007, Oahu, Oakley, professional surfer, Rob Garcia, RVCA, Sound Wave, Surfer, uke, ukelele
Legendary big-wave surfer, Makua Rothman has entered the wonderful world of music with his debut album, SOUND WAVE. Makua is most known for being active in surf competitions around the world earning him a world champion title. He made his mark in surfing when he was 17 years old when he conquered a 66 foot wave at the surf break known as Jaws on the North Shore of Maui, winning the Billabong XXL Big Wave Award.
Teaming up with the Mountain Apple Company and legendary artist, composer, producer (and of course, surfer) John “Feldy” Feldmann, Makua has in turn created a beautiful keystone for his musical career. SOUND WAVE embraces an island pop and romantic rock vibe that emanates from his world travels and homegrown background. His ability to transform waves of sound into messages of aloha reveals his genuine passion for life. Get caught up with SOUND WAVE as it takes you on a new and exciting adventure, where music makers meet wave riders in this collision of creative collaboration.
An award-winning professional surfer and spokesperson for brands like RVCA, Oakley, and Monster Energy Drink, Makua Rothman launched his music career in 2012. Born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, Rothman overcame challenges like childhood asthma and a body frame supposedly “too big” for surfing, and eventually went on to win the Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge Award in 2002, as well as the O’Neill World Cup in 2007. All the while, he learned to play the ukulele, studying the instrument with greats like Iz Kamakawiwo’ole and Ledward Kaapana.
While training with family friend and professional boxing coach Rob Garcia, Rothman floated the idea of a new career in photography, but Garcia was too big a fan of the surfer’s reggae-pop songs to not suggest giving music a try. Inspired, Rothman released Makanale Road in 2012, an EP that caught the attention of the Hawaiian label Mountain Apple, who signed him a year later. His debut album, Sound Wave, appeared on the label in 2013 and was released in February 2014.
“It has been said that big wave riders are born, not made. The same has been said of musicians. Makua was born to do both. His songs are fun and entertaining, delivered in a fusion of local and contemporary style. Makua’s love for Hawaiian culture is only matched with his passion to live life fully, and both are felt in his music.”
— LAIRD HAMILTON
Aloha Makua! How are you doing today? What’s on your agenda today besides our interview?
I’m fine, just been focusing on the big wave world tour. I am currently #1 in the world right now, so its all surf, family and training!
Makua, you released Makanale Road in 2012, an EP which caught the attention of Hawaiian label, Mountain Apple Company, who signed you a year later. You released your debut album, Sound Wavein 2013. Was there an overall vibe that you wanted to capture on this album?
I just wanted to give the listeners a cool beach happy vibe!
You have shared time (and top billing I might add) on the Reggae Album charts with Snoop Lion, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Matisyahu, Iration and others. How wild is that? Did you ever think you would be doing such a thing?
Yah, that was cool, but I really have a ways to go before I can say I’m in their league!
No, I never really thought I’d be in the same sentence with those greats, but its a really humbling experience.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music as well as surfing? Who or what was the catalyst or inspiration to make you want to pursue music?
I have loved playing music forever, so it just comes to me like surfing.
A man by the name of Rob Garcia is really why I am where I am today, in my music career!
You’ve toured with notable musicians like Matisyahu. What has been your most memorable show so far?
They have all been fun and memorable in their own ways! I’m just thankful of the opportunity that I have to go on tour with such talented artists.
I’m a big fan of your song, “Underneath the Halo.” It holds a special meaning to me since I live in Malibu, near County Line which you sing about in the line, “Take off need to get away, Spend time with familiar faces, I’m sick of ordinary nights, Head west into the sun, Bee line down the 101 and drive until we cross the county line.” What was the inspiration? Do you have a favorite song of yours that is most dear to you?
Halo was actually John Feldmans idea! He is such a genius! “Desperation Blues” is my favorite because it talks of how I grew up.
What is your song writing process like? How do you capture inspiration when it comes to you?
Like I had said before, I just wanted to give people good fun music to listen to and I could not have done this album with out Feldy. He is the inspiration for this album.
Who have been your biggest musical influences growing up?
Braddah, IZ, Bob Marley, 2Pac, Biggie, and Kapena
What bands and musicians are in your current playlist?
I love all music because it makes my world go round!!!!
Is there anyone that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
One day when I get on that level this could happen. Until then, I’m just gonna work hard and maybe I’ll get the call!
What is on tap next for you, Makua? What are you most excited about in 2015?
Have my family be happy and healthy first then, I want to win my first world surfing title, and go on tour with more great artists!
To stay up with the latest in MAKUA ROTHMAN‘s world, visit his website here .