Summer is the best time for So-Cal reggae rock to accompany your sunny days on the beach. Savanah-based reggae rock band Unifya are here to bring the good vibes with several upcoming shows and a new EP.
Unifya was founded in 2020 by Grammy-nominated producer Chris Steinmetz of Stonecutter Records as a collaborative roots studio, reggae outfit led by Antiguan singer Kemwa Z. Although the group released a few well-produced singles, the line- up didn’t last very long.
With sole founding member Jonathan Cabrera remaining, Unifya rebuilt themselves with vocalist Trey Lindsay, later evolving their music from roots reggae to a more alternative reggae rock sound.
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“Jonathan’s influences are more roots reggae, but he also listens to Sublime and punk rock,” Lindsay explains. “I think when I came into the band I brought my influences to the table, I didn’t try to take credit for completely changing the sound, but it evolved naturally because I I’m a totally different singer.”
“I love the older stuff, I think it’s great, but I would never try to emulate it. I can’t do Rasta style and be taken seriously. You might get a good laugh out of it.
Cabrera luckily stumbled across Lindsay on a Facebook page for Savannah musicians while looking for a replacement vocalist.
“I was just scrolling,” Lindsay recalled. “I just said, ‘I sing’, period. He asked me what style of music I played. I had no idea who he was. He had no idea who I was. But it was a coincidence that he was looking for someone in the reggae sound. I jumped at the chance because it’s my wheelhouse.
Lindsay grew up in Savannah, in love with Tybee Island and the good beach vibes it produces.
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“My nickname that was given to me many years ago was Treyzee from East 80,” Lindsay said. “Even as a kid, teenager, it took me an hour to get to Tybee, and I always felt like I was from there, that it was home. I try to put something in my lyrics on Tybee, East 80 or Victory Drive.
Lindsay even led a band called Victory Drive – VD for short. The joke on the flyers was “Catch VD this summer”.
“I remember when Passafire was playing around town, Tybee and all that, and they’re a big inspiration to me,” Lindsay said. I was a lot younger when they were on the rise, so it’s cool to do that. There aren’t many bands in the area that do what we do musically.
“I have been practicing this style, solo, for a long time. If people saw me around town, they can catch me at a jam or a solo gig. I usually play Sublime or Bob Marley covers, but I’ve also played in punk rock and metal bands, as a leader of those. But it’s really my forte. »
Unifya’s latest single, “So Long”, has a strong connection to Southern California music from which it is influenced. When the band sent the track to the Total Access Recording studio in Los Angeles to be mixed and mastered, their producer offered to invite Sublime’s DJ to play on it.
“He does all the nice strumming you hear out there,” Lindsay said.
“So Long” is doing very well on streaming platforms, though it features a melancholy shot of the corner of Congress and Barnard Street that belies the sunny sounds of the songs. Lindsay took the photo after a concert because he was struck by the evocative way the light from the lamp looked like the sun shining through the rainy mist. The band also liked how the street signs depicted Savannah.
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“We really want to represent 912 and where I’m from, and try to grow or help grow some kind of scene and community, or at least part of it.”
Building community is what drew Lindsay and her UniFya bandmates to reggae in the first place.
“Playing in this genre, I feel it in my soul and in my bones,” Lindsay said. “I always appreciated the community when I went to reggae festivals. There’s this different feel of these shows versus a rock show or a metal show. There is a community and almost a lack of ego. At the last two festivals I attended in Orlando, Reggae on the Block, I saw no fights, no one got arrested. It was love, community, bringing people from all cultural backgrounds together. When we play, there is a positive energy, which does not promote violence or hatred.
The next chance to catch UniFya live is on Tybee Island at the North Beach Bar & Grill on June 25 at 7 p.m.
“It’s one of my favorite local places because it’s right next to the beach, it’s just a really relaxing and relaxed environment and everyone is there to soak up the sun and have a good time.”
UniFya’s “So Long” is available on all streaming platforms. Their next fun summer single, “Dirty Dub,” drops July 1.