Layin’ It Down

Area residents grooved to the tunes of Rochester’s Haewa at Mojo’s on Friday evening.

For the second time ever, Haewa took the stage at Mojo’s to entertain its guests with ambient sound that draws listeners into a open-minded state. But, this time, they didn’t open for a local band, rather they had the entire evening to themselves.

The three-piece funky, psychedelic groove band is comprised of Ben Chilbert, bass; Riley Dichairo, percussion; and Collin Jones, guitar, synth, harmonica and vocals. The name, pronounced Hey-Wha, is Mandarin for peace.

According to Chilbert, coming back to Mojo’s is a great opportunity because the venue has a strong following of people who appreciate music and culture.

“Last time we played here there were tons of people, many who had heard of the band we opened for, Well Worn Boot, but not us – yet we still had a good response,” Chilbert said. “There were a lot of people here having a good time, and that’s what we like to see when we play live music.”

Because the group wasn’t opening for another band, it was able to perform from 10 p.m. until close, which is exactly how they like it, Chilbert said.

“Honestly we pride ourselves on being able to play all day – we love it,” Chilbert said. “We take it very seriously because it’s what we want to do. So, to be able to play here at Mojo’s all night is a treat.”

The group performed selections from its first studio album, “Deadwet Soundwaves,” including “Ghost Dose” and “Ogopogo.” According to Dichairo, “Ghost Dose” is a tune that always manages to get a good reception on both the album and during live sets.

“It’s got lyrics, a jam, some reggae and rock – for me it’s got everything in it – and people always get down to that song,” Dichairo said.

Haewa also played a number of songs that don’t appear on the album, including “Headstone Laughing” and “Dan’s Brain.” Because the group has nearly 40 original tunes in its repertoire, it’s able to offer venues long sets that feature a variety of genres.

“Those songs are all very different genres, and are on totally different ends of the spectrum,” Chilbert said. “We want people to see our music, and to open their mind up to a lot of different genres. We play our own interpretations of different genres, and hopefully they see that in the music. A lot of our songs usually fit into two or three genres, if you were to label it – but we’re just trying to write good music.”

“We want our fans to understand that we don’t play just one type of music – we play everything,” Dichairo added. “If you put a label on us then we’re in a box, and we want to be in a really big box with all the other little boxes in it.”

In addition to the group’s first Mojo’s appearance, in which they opened for Well Worn Boot, Haewa performed during the Night Lights At the Heron Fall Music Festival over the summer.

“It was a fun festival – the lineup was great,” Chilbert said. “We’re friends with a lot of the bands who were playing so we got to see them as well as meet new bands that were there. And, we got to play on the main stage the first time we were there. Lazlo Hollyfeld, the band that puts it on, are phenomenal – the vibe I got from their set at the Cafe In The Woods was really fun. We’d love to be back again this year.”

“Hopefully we’ll be back this year so we can tear it up,” Dichairo added.

For those who didn’t manage to catch Haewa at Mojo’s, the group will perform at the Tap Room, 43 E. Main St. in Westfield tonight from 10 p.m. to close. They also recently invested in a tour van, so they’ll likely be back again in the near future. And, chances are that they might bring another studio album with them later this year.

Fans in Rochester will also have plenty of opportunities to catch the band, including the group’s upcoming show at one of the first venues they ever performed at: The Dub Land Underground. The venue is set to host its last gig ever, and will feature: Roots Collider, Neuroceptor, Mosaic Foundation, Haewa, Occupanther and Tim Tones.

“It’s disappointing to see it go because we love playing there,” Jones said. “We’ve been playing there extensively for the past two years – it’s kind of been our home base. It’s a unique place in Rochester, and there’s not too many of those left. On the contrary, I think it’s a good opportunity because it’s a historic event – and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

The entirety of Haewa’s debut album, “Deadwet Soundwaves” is available to stream or purchase at www.haewamusic.bandcamp.com. For more information, visit www.haewamusic.com or search for “Haewa Music” on Facebook.