All you need is Love

Mike Love brings good vibes to Dayton

By Tim Anderl

Photo: Mike Love will perform on Nov. 7 at Canal Public House; photo: Sean M. Hower

Hawaii native Mike Love delivers roots and reggae music inspired by his family, surroundings and an overall sense of optimism – as well as, well, love. Fans of like-minded artists, such as Jack Johnson and the band Pepper, also from Love’s stomping grounds, are likely to be turned on by his peaceful troubadour approach.

His debut album landed in the top 20 of the iTunes reggae charts, amid records by SOJA and Matisyahu. No stranger to the mainland United States, Love has also performed at several festivals, including Austin, Texas’ South by Southwest Music Festival.

The Dayton City Paper recently caught up with Love to discuss all of his loves – family, friends and music.

Having been raised in Hawaii, I imagine the culture has also been a predominant influence for you. How has that inspired your work?

The culture here is amazing. There’s been a great resurgence of it lately, which is amazing to behold. I think, growing up here, you take all the beaches and waterfalls for granted. Then when you go somewhere else, you realize how good you had it. That definitely has been a big influence on me: my appreciation for my beautiful home. – Mike Love

You wrote a song, “Heartbeat,” about your parents for your album Jah Will Never Leave I Alone. Have they been supportive of your musical pursuits?

That’s a really important song to me. I have really incredible parents that have been supportive of me making music from the moment I was born. I knew I had to write a song to thank them and I guess it was just the right time. Something about the energy and the vibe of that tune is just magical to me, and I love connecting it with others that feel the same way. My mom and dad are still huge supporters and advocates of my music. I could never put into words how much they mean to me, but that song comes as close as I’m gonna get. – ML

Has fatherhood shaped the trajectory of your career at all? Do you find it challenging to balance responsibilities that come with fatherhood with the travel necessary to build a fan base?

If I didn’t have kids, I would be touring all the time. But it’s just not something I can do. I try to make the limited times I do leave my family as meaningful and worthwhile as possible. It’s hard to be away from them, but they support me as well. I have a wonderful, strong wife who takes care of the family while I’m gone. – ML

Jah Will Never Leave I Alone was a collaborative effort with Jah Gumby of Father Psalms Studios. What did he do to change the face or direction of the album?

Well, when collaborating with anyone, it’s going to bring out different aspects of your own creativity. Gumby has a lot of different influences than I do, and I think we leaned in a jazzier direction than either of us had before. We were experimenting with chords and progressions that were a little bit foreign to me. He’s such a talented multi-instrumentalist, and it was great to get to learn from him. – ML

The title of the record seems to indicate a religious undertone. What are your views on religion and how do they leach into your music?

I tend to think of myself as spiritual more than religious. Organized religion is not for me and I think it’s not really healthy for most either. There tends to be an agenda behind most, if not all, organized religion. I think sometimes in life we try to use words to describe things that can’t be put into words, and then confusion ensues. Music conveys an energy and emotion along with the word, which is why it does a more accurate job. As far as the title, as well as the music, it’s meant to be what you interpret it as. I’m not advocating any particular spirituality for anyone. I’ve lived long enough to know that everyone has to find their own way, even if the outcome is to be the same. – ML

Are there other predominant themes that shine through in the album?

Like any music that comes through me, the themes are positive change, unconditional love and revolution. – ML

You recently completed some west coast tour and festival dates. How was your new material received during that outing?

The tour was amazing! New material was well received, for sure. Crowd reaction is everything in a live setting. How the energy of the crowd is moving affects the songs I play and how I play them. In terms of criticism, I’ve learned to take it graciously, I hope, especially from those I respect. – ML

You’ve already begun work on your next album Love Will Find A Way. What lessons learned will you be applying to make this a dynamic, step forward?

Every album should be a step forward. I am not rushing this one out. When it’s finished, I’m going to give it some time to put a good campaign together behind it. I believe it’s the best work I’ve done and I want to give it the best chance it can have to be heard all over the globe. – ML

Mike Love will perform on Friday, Nov. 7 at Canal Public House, 308 East First St. in Dayton. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show. The show is for patrons 18 and older with valid ID. For more information on the show, please visit Mike Love’s Facebook page at For more information on Mike Love, please visit

Tim Anderl is the web editor and a contributing writer at Ghettoblaster Magazine and maintains his own music blog at Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at

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