Catch Local Band Streetlight Cadence’s New Reality Travel Series, “Will Play For Food”
The show airs on KFVE every Wednesday at 7 p.m. starting Sept. 26
Imagine waking up every day and having to perform for your next meal. That’s life for Streetlight Cadence, an indie folk pop band from Hawai‘i. The quartet relocated to Los Angeles three years ago and has since played shows everywhere from Japan to Canada to Las Vegas to the Bahamas, trying to survive in the notoriously tough-to-break-into music industry.
“We save up enough to get ourselves to the destination and back. Everything in between is completely on us to fund,” says accordionist Jesse Shiroma. Most days, that means playing on the streets for change, hoping for enough to buy dinner.
streetlight cadence is, from left: Accordionist jesse shiroma, cellist brian webb, drummer ben chai and violinist jonathon franklin. they take turns singing.
Photos: Courtesy of Philippe Villarubia
While that may sound like a harsh reality, SLC sees it as a challenge—and an entertaining one. That’s why, for the past few years, they’ve been filming their adventures and putting together a reality TV series to show people what it’s really like to make a living as street performers.
“It’s a fun, exciting, engaging way for us to share our adventure,” Shiroma says. “We want to take everyone around the world with us, whoever wants to tag along with four idiotic musicians. We’d love to have you along.”
Will Play For Food premieres this month on KFVE and runs for 13 weeks.
“With every episode in every locale, we don’t have a dollar in our pockets. We have to use our wits to procure a meal for the band,” Shiroma says. “It’s genuine reality TV.”
That typically means asking their Facebook followers for a floor to crash on and playing on the sidewalk for money, asking restaurants if they can trade a concert for a meal, even knocking on people’s doors to ask if they’ll feed the band in exchange for a show. They also play some regular gigs in L.A., including at Downtown Disney, and occasionally land travel sponsorships.
Shiroma says he and the band—violinist Jonathon Franklin, cellist Brian Webb and drummer Ben Chai—began filming about two years ago and researched the industry and trends, read tutorials, met with professionals in the biz, learned how to edit, even snuck Franklin into a TV convention to network with bigwig executives. Shiroma says they were told their show was promising, but services like Netflix were unwilling to take the risk of running it without proof of success. But “KFVE was like, ‘This looks fantastic!’ and they generously took us onboard,” Shiroma says.
“Will Play For Food is our child. From the concept to the execution to the postproduction, it’s all done by us. … We take turns—we all learned how to operate various cameras. We’re super proud and super stoked.”
Each episode takes place in a different city and ends with a music video. The half-hour show, completely edited and produced by the band, airs on KFVE every Wednesday at 7 p.m. beginning Sept. 26 (you can stream each episode on k5thehometeam.com after they air).
SLC will be in town for the premiere, with a short promotional tour culminating in a “super special bash” at Ka Makana Ali‘i in Kapolei. Stay tuned to SLC’s website for updates. (You can also catch them this Saturday, Sept. 8, at the GreenRoom Festival at the Waikīkī Shell.)