Izik preps for international tour with 'Obsidian' release
When Isaac Moreno started looking for music producers to help craft his solo debut album, the last place he thought he’d end up was in the studio of someone best known for his work with Hawaii-based island contemporary and reggae artists.
“I love all of that music, but I didn’t grow up listening to it, so I felt I would have been doing a disservice to that genre of music if I conformed to do that,” he said Tuesday before a small group of invited guests at The Study inside the Modern Honolulu. “It was really hard to find a studio that would let me do what I wanted to do.”
Moreno, who was born in Utah and raised on Oahu and Molokai, performs as Izik and said he got started with music as a means to get out of his service industry job waiting tables at a local restaurant. He got his first professional gig in 2012 and a year later won first place in the annual Mai Tai Rumble music competition at the Mai Tai Bar Ala Moana. By late 2014 he had started working on “Obsidian,” which was officially released on iTunes and other digital platforms this week.
But the album wouldn’t have been made without Zeo Music’s Imua Garza, the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning recording artist and producer who decided he wanted to be involved in the project after meeting with Moreno and his manager, Jenn “J-Roq” Wright, despite his track record of working with Jawaiian artists to create the type of sound they were trying to avoid.
“We visited Imua one day ... and right when we were getting up to leave, he said there was one other option and that I could sign to his record label and he would pretty much cover everything,” Moreno said. “I’m super, super, super, super grateful. This guy is super talented. I knew he was capable of doing other types of music, but I wasn’t really aware of how big his talent is.
“I came into the studio with these basic songs. Imua did everything but touch the lyrics, which means everything to me.”
For Garza, the opportunity to work with a talented voice like Moreno’s and create music he doesn’t normally get to work on was an intriguing proposition.
“I felt like these songs could go in a totally different direction and I said, ‘Let’s just do this because it’s your passion,’” he said. “Musically, I wanted to try something a little outside of the box. I wanted to try something more R&B, soul, pop.
“I’m glad to be on this musical journey and excited to see how this album does.”
“Obsidian” features 11 original tracks written by Moreno; Garza arranged all the tracks and plays all the instruments heard on the album. During Tuesday’s listening party, Moreno shared insights into some of the tracks off the album. He talked about making the most out of situation on “Faraway Home,” and how “Midnight” turned a depressing subject into an “upbeat, uptempo pop kind of song.”
Moreno will only be in Honolulu for a few more days before heading to Australia and New Zealand for tour dates through the end of May. He’ll play from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. today and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Monkeypod Kitchen Ko Olina, and 7 to 10 p.m. tomorrow with Ekona at the Modern Honolulu.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at email@example.com.