Split Tone is an independent band that hails from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, creating vibrant blend of reggae, hip-hop, soul and rock. Drawing from a plethora of musical and cultural influences, the band has created an innovative sound that has taken Florida’s first coast by storm. Split Tone’s brassy vibrations, hip-hop swagger, vigorous stage show and socially-charged themes provide a welcome detour from the technical, riff-oriented styles of pop-punk that pollute today’s radio airwaves.
Since forming in late 2007, these longtime friends and schoolmates have developed a blueprint for the successful independent band; playing incessantly to a variety of audiences. The band recently unveiled an updated lineup and streamlined newer compositions, presenting the strongest version of the band thus far. Beginning with several weekly local residencies at an assortment of bars and nightclubs on the coastline of Northern Florida, the six-piece ensemble has developed a fervent following amidst the passionate surf and collegiate music scenes. Split Tone was the lone band chosen to perform at Jacksonville’s annual Beerfest, played the high-profile premiere of a surfing film, was selected as the opening act for Ludacris, and recently performed at the Clevelander Hotel in South Beach for the 2010 Super Bowl. They have had the opportunity of the perfoming at the LandShark Stadium in front of a crowd of 58,0000, have opened for Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs and Harmony, Afroman, and original Whalers. They have also been sponsored by Budweiser, LandShark Beer Company, Syk Surf Clothing Co., FunkFashion clothing company, and courted by several other companies for representation.
A long and storied history amongst the band mates is essential to the chemistry that allows them to progress at such a rapid pace. “We all mesh and gel well with one another on both a musical and personal level. We feel that personality is even more important than just musical ability…after all, we wouldn’t want to be on the road with someone who is a very talented musician, but has a bad attitude or or vibe.”
This chemistry and the musical relationship contained within is evidenced from the moment Split Tone hits the stage; a camaraderie of sorts that pulsates through the bombastic bottom end supplied by drummer Willy Neal and bassist Jason Pierce. The triumphant horn leads, ably provided by trumpet player Nick Causey and tenor saxophonist Darren Escar, soar atop the infectious grooves. This dynamic between players is part and parcel to the originality of the Split Tone sound. “Darren and I continually strive to mesh our sound and uphold a rhythmic integrity so that we can sound as one. We often come up with lines and melodies on the fly, and the goal is to sound as if it is really an idea that has been composed, developed, and performed for a long time.”
Most visible at any Split Tone show are the band’s de facto leaders, multi-instrumentalist Joey Peters and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Campbell. The duo’s kinship is on display from the very first note, be it the psychedelic dubbed-out dancehall styles, the super-charged surf punk, or the organic hip-hop that emanates from Campbell and Peters. Their vocal harmonies exquisite, each player maintains a musical identity without sacrificing the collective energy. This delicate balance is what separates Split Tone from the proverbial pack.
Split Tone is looking forward to exciting times; their fan-base is exploding, and their original music is constantly evolving into new arenas of sonic exploration. Hold on tight, Split Tone is clearly poised for an evolution of grand proportions.