Kings of Spade

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - September 12, 2008

The 411

Kings of Spade
Kings of Spade

It was through the power of Anna Bannana’s open-mic night that Kasi Nunes (vocals),Jesse Savio (guitar) and Matt Kato (drums) met up to form X-Factor, the urban/funk/soul/blues/rock/hip-hop band now known as Kings of Spade.

The name change was one of those things just waiting to happen, as Nunes and Savio explain, there were just too many other things with that name and they didn’t want to run into licensing problems.

So after heading to L.A. two years ago to get a taste of the music scene in broader scope and to record their newly released album, the group was daunted with the difficult task of finding the perfect name.

Nunes jokes that she wanted Queens of Spade but the guys wouldn’t budge. After tossing around a bunch of names, Kings of Spade seemed to be the most fitting choice.

“If you look up the word spade it means to speak bluntly or plainly, and to call something out just as it is,“says Nunes, who grew up in Waianae and attended Kamehameha Schools.“So the mastery of that idea is what I agree with.”

Just back from their two-year stint in L.A., they all agree that it’s good to be home.As Kato, a home-grown Kaneohe boy, puts it,“We just want to cruise here for a while and play, and if something comes up on the Mainland, then we’ll go.”

Coming up for the group is a welcome home/CD release concert 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Ong King. Joining them on stage are Paula Fuga, Jamarek, Family Dinner, DJ Hop, Giinko Marischino, Nathalie Phoenix, Ujena Johnson, Erin McCollough and Dark. The place will be fully equipped with a bar, so 21-and-over only, please. For more on the concert or Kings of Spade, visit



What’s your favorite song on the album?

Jesse: My favorite is the song Move On.

Kasi: Crave.

Matt: Yeah I like Crave and probably the Funk song.

Kings of Spade: Kasi Nunes, Matt Kato and Jesse Savio
Kings of Spade: Kasi Nunes, Matt Kato and Jesse Savio

What is it that you love about music? Matt: I didn’t play drums to just play in a band. I just did it because it was fun. I just played on textbooks and liked it. But then we did open mic, and then I met these guys,and it just kind of developed. The best part was when we first started playing at Sand Island and we would just cruise and play. I feel that was the best times and when the best music came out. It was just having fun and playing music.

Jesse: Music, for me, was like the only thing I was ever good at. I played drums since, like, the third grade, but it was boring. But my sister gave me a guitar when I was 14 and was, like,‘you need to play this.’ As a teenager you have all these feelings wrapped up in you, and I would sit there and really feel that.And at the end of that you would feel better. So I started playing guitar and writing songs.And then I played for an audience for the first time, and that was the first time I ever felt connected to people. For me, being up in front of a lot of people who are very happy takes me to another level of consciousness.

Kasi: Growing up I had a lot of anxiety, and I just had to channel it out somehow and some way. My songs and my lyrics are something that had to come out, and this has been the best way.

Whom do you credit for your musical talents?

Jesse: My main No. 1 is my sister. She got me started with guitar, and she got her friends to teach me how to play.And then she moved me out to Hawaii,which is how this thing got started.

Kasi: My mom played Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin when I grew up, and she would sing around the house. And she still kills it, too. She would win all these karaoke contests and stuff. I was always in awe of her singing ability. It’s just something she happens to be really good at. But I know her listening to old school soul and stuff has been the biggest musical influence on me.

Matt: Probably, like, the bands I used to listen to in high school. A lot of the old school music like Zeppelin. I loved the guitar solos and the blues solos, and I really started to love music. I really like instrumental kind of music. I’ve gotta give credit to all the Hawaii bands I played with since I was 18. It was just such a great learning experience just playing with them.

What three words best describe who you are?

Kasi: Ambitious, passionate and sincere

Jesse: Conscious, passionate and paranoid

Matt: Hard-headed, carefree and real

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