in partnership
(Image: Upstream)

Upstream Artist of the Week: Kore Ionz

We're partnering with Upstream Music Fest + Summit to bring the Pacific Northwest a whole new style of music festival we've never seen. Each week we’ve been profiling local artists playing at the Festival, and speakers talking at the Summit - to get us all pumped up! If you're not recognizing any names - we encourage you to read on anyways. One of the main goals of Upstream is raising awareness of amazing local bands - that might not be on your radio (yet) - but are worth our time and attention.

Daniel Pak fronts a popular Seattle band that's making big waves in the reggae world. It's called Kore Ionz, and has been a project of Pak's since 2008.

"We've been blessed to share the stage with bands like The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Toots and the Maytals," said Pak. "And we've released a couple full-length albums, a couple EPs. And its with great honor that we represent Seattle in the whole mix of reggae music."

Kore Ionz is made up of a diverse group of musicians from all over the world that come together to create a unique brand of reggae music.

Their drummer, Teo Shantz, grew up learning from uncles in Trinidad how to play the drums. Darian Asplund on saxophone, Greg kramer on trombone - they both come from a jazz background.

"And for me, growing up in Hawaii, I bring a lot of that island flavor," said Pak. "I mean I grew up listening to reggae on the radio. I was singing reggae songs ever since I was in elementary school. The reggae beat, the one drop is pretty much my heart beat in a lot of ways, I just can't deny that fact and so when we all come together and Kore Ionz is on stage, it's not your typical reggae."

Pak brings more than just positive musical vibes to the stage. He also has a strong commitment to empowering young people and giving back to the community.

"I co-founded a non-profit called Totem Star in 2010 which provides music production, performance and mentorship opportunities for young people, young aspiring musicians that may not have access to music programs," he said. "I'm a father of two boys myself. I have a seven-year-old and a five-year-old, and from the day that they were in the womb essentially I wanted to always make an intentional push that they would always have music in their life."

Kore Ionz doesn't just do music to go on tour, be on stage or release a video.

"We do it because there's a deeper element of love and responsibility to the community that we feel just comes naturally with being communicators through the language of music," said Pak.

And like the rest of us, the band is ready to get out and start enjoying some good weather. And what better place to do that than at Seattle's newest Music Festival - Upstream.

"Springtime in Seattle is such a wonderful time because all the new growth," said Pak. "It's like a big re-birth and with that comes music festivals and more outdoor music opportunities. And I feel like that's when Seattle really becomes alive and so for all the locals in town. Upstream will be the festival where you discover your new favorite band."

Upstream is taking place throughout Pioneer Square May 11-13. Tickets are on sale now.