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EMKE Vital Stats
Erzi - Vocal/Keyboard/Guitar
Birthday: December 17th, 2000
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

Kira - Vocal/Keyboard/Guitar
Birthday: March 17th, 1997
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

Mari - Vocal/Keyboard/Guitar
Birthday: June 9th, 1996
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

Kaci - Bass
Birthday: October 27th, 1992
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

Perry - Drums
Birthday: August 10, 1990
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

It's Hard To Say Goodbye song sample

4th of July Spectacular

Live at NAMM 2008

Live at NAMM 2008 P2


We're Not Too Young (2008)

It's Hard to Say Goodbye (2008)

It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Do you remember
The things that you said to me
You promised forever
But I guess it's not meant to be

I couldn't tell you
I just don't feel the same
Everything changes
And no one is left to blame

It's hard to say goodbye
(I don't know the meaning)
Of all the reasons why
(To leave it all behind)
It hurts the more we try
Thinking of the memories
I can't lose this feeling
It's hard to say goodbye

Do you remember
The way that you held my hand
Those memories have faded
I hope one day you understand

Can't keep pretending
We'll be alright
We've got to move on now
And give up this crazy fight

© 2008 EMKE

Mark Santos talks about It's Hard to Say Goodbye:

"During the interview, the girls explain that the song's inspiration was about a "break up" Kaci was going through. Kira wanted to include a "classic rock" type of guitar solo in the middle because no one does that kind of thing anymore. She loves Steve Lukather and TOTO. Kira really felt that the guitar solo would add to the expressiveness of the song."

Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link:
Interview Comments

EMKE Interview

Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size When you roll the music dice you're never quite sure what will come up ahead of time. The five members of EMKE, ages 8 to 18, are taking their shot at success with a debut album due out later this year. With 8 year old Ezri, Kira (12) and Mari (13) singing and playing guitars and keyboards, Kaci (17) on bass and Perry (18) on drums, these five fun loving kids with Japanese and Filipino roots are happy to showcase some of the indigenous musical talent of Hawaii.

So pull up a chair and take a look at the creation of Mark Santos, founder of Hawaii MusicWorks (and father to Ezri and Kira) and prepare yourself for one of the funniest interviews you're ever likely to see from a band.

On January 24, 2009 the members of EMKE were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of EMKE.

How did the group EMKE get started and where did the name come from?

Mark: Each of the members of EMKE started out as students, most of them at a pretty young age.

Kira: EMKE is an acronym for our names.

Mari: Do you even know what that means?

Ezri: It's Ezri, Mari, Kira, and E... Uh, we don't talk about him anymore...

Kaci: Now, it's kind of EMKKP.

Mari: That doesn't even make sense.

How is everyone in the band related?

Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Kaci: We're one big happy family. Kira's my adopted sister.

Kira: But I'm taller.

Ezri: Kira's really my sister. No, for real.

Kira: Mari's been my best friend since I was, like, 5 or something.

Mari: When we started piano lessons.

Kira: Yeah. That's right.

Perry: We're all Filipino/Japanese.

Kira: Except for Kaci. She's full Japanese, but we made her an honorary Filipino because she likes to eat Filipino food.

Kaci: True that. Isn't it weird how we all have Japanese last names?... Except for Kira and Ezri Santos.

Mari: Yeah and they look the most Japanese.

Perry: I think Ezri's part monkey.

EMKE will be releasing their first CD this year. Who writes most of the songs and lyrics?

Kaci: Kira!

Perry: Kira is our lyricist because she has the most to complain about.

Kira: Yeah, it's different every time. Sometimes, it's me and Kaci. Sometimes, it's me and Perry. Sometimes, it's the three of us together. When we're getting ready to record a song, the three of us work out the framework together. Then, Perry does all the drum arrangements first. After that, I put in the guitar parts and Kaci does the bass. The keyboard parts come last, along with the vocals.

Ezri: I wrote a song too.

Kaci: Oh, yeah. Ezri wrote a song for her grandparents. It's really good. I think we're going to record it eventually.

Kira: It made Grammy cry.

Ezri: I know, it was so funny.

What type of sound or genre of music do you consider the band to be?

Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Kira: We like classic rock so our originals are like modern classic rock.

Kaci: Not exactly pop, so pock.

Mari: What? That's sounds stupid.

Kira: Kind of alternative... punk... but not.

Kaci: Yeah. Definitely not punk.

Perry: What's wrong with punk? I like it. I say, Classic rock and pop rock put together.

Kira: Why are you so serious?

Ezri: OMG, don't listen to him...

The band has performed at the NAMM Show in Anaheim. How did things go?

Kaci: OMG, It was awesome! We played at the NAMM Show two years in a row but last year was literally the best thing in the world to see all those people.

Kira: I almost cried because it was so crazy.

Mari: I was so nervous.

Ezri: Me too! And it was really cold so my fingers were frozen.

Kira: Ezri had a fan club.

Kaci: Yeah. There were these people dancing in front of Ezri and every time she did something, they would totally scream.

Ezri: It was creepy!

Kaci: You can see them in some of the videos.

Mari: I was totally bummed that we didn't go this year.

Perry: So was I... I wasn't even with you guys last year.

Kaci: We didn't go this year because we're working on our CD.

Perry: Yeah, that's right. We're still recording and that's more important right now. Next year is going to be really good, though.

Mari: Yup, we're working on a completely new set, including our originals.

Can you tell us about the band getting signed with Daisy Rock Guitars?

Kira: Me, Kaci, Mari and Ezri went to the Daisy Rock booth at the NAMM Show to try out the guitars and they let us play a few songs. The Artist Relations lady really liked us so she came to watch us perform on stage.

Kaci: They just asked us because they liked us, I guess.

Mari: Karissa really likes Ezri.

Kaci: That's because she's so cute and so little.

What do you want fans to know about the group EMKE?

Kira: That we're actually playing our own instruments and singing... It's really us!

Kaci: Lots of artists have studio musicians that record the tracks for them but when we record, that's really us playing. We're not fake.

Kira: That's what I just said.

Kaci: I know, but it bears repeating.

Perry: I think we're best live. I mean, the studio tracks sound pretty good but we really just like to go out and perform.

Ezri: Especially when we can play loud.

Perry: Definitely... We like it loud with a big sound system and a big stage. That's when we have the most energy. Lots of groups don't sound the same live but we do.

Kira: But we like to do acoustic sets too.

Kaci: Ooooh, yeah. We love to do acoustic arrangements of our favorite songs.

Perry: Okay, yeah, it's kind of cool to play smaller clubs sometimes.

Kaci: Oh, and we're not fake people.

Kira: Hello... random...

Perry: Yeah, but I think we really are nice people.

Mark, can you tell us about Hawaii MusicWorks and your own musical background?

Mark: Hawaii MusicWorks is something I always wanted to do after I left Yamaha Music Corporation. I really want to make this a place where kids who have this kind of interest can develop their skills. It's probably all a result of remembering the turn off I got when I thought I was going to major in music and got steered wrong by a college counselor. I went away to visit some colleges and just got turned off by the ivory tower atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good schools, just not the right type of schools for the type of musician I wanted to be.

If I had known about places like Berklee College of Music (in Boston), things might have turned out differently. I guess that's why Hawaii MusicWorks is the way it is. We're trying to create a miniature Berklee atmosphere in Hawaii, a Berklee prep school, so to speak.

I often think it's funny that I run my own music school now because between the ages of 5 to 12, I quit piano lessons 5 times. The truth is, it's all about finding the right teacher, which is what I did when I was 12. He got me interested in piano lessons again by incorporating music I related to. My heroes at the time were Elton John, Barry Manilow and Stevie Wonder. Oh, am I dating myself?

Kids these days are inspired by different types of music. We try to incorporate all genres and styles to keep our students motivated to continue their study.

Kira, how did you get asked to join EMKE?

Kira - Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Kira: At first, it was kind of me and Mari with some other people, but we kind of evolved into EMKE pretty fast once we realized that Ezri was really serious about joining. I mean, I think she was only, like, 5 years old or something. After that, it was just about finding a drummer.

Ezri: And Kaci.

Kira: Oh, yeah, and we didn't have a bass player so Kaci had to play with us.

Which do you like best, singing or playing guitar?

Kira: That's a hard choice. I really can't choose.

Ezri: Kira's a really good guitar player.

Kaci: OMG, yes, she's really awesome. Sometimes, I think she's too modest about it.

Kira: But I like to play keyboards too.

Mari: You do play keyboards on some songs.

Kaci: Oh, and Kira has, like, the loudest voice on the planet. She doesn't even need a microphone. I can hear her down the hall even when all of the doors are closed. She disrupts my homework time.

Kira: What are you talking about? You never do your homework at the studio.

Ezri: You always fall asleep on the floor.

Perry: Kira's voice is so loud, she causes certain species of birds to migrate... Or certain geographic plates to shift on the ocean floor.

Do you have a favorite memory from recording the new album?

Kira: Kaci recording her verse over and over again... 20-something times.

Ezri: It was more like 40-something times!

Kaci: Everyone went to get lunch while I was recording.

You're a big fan of the Twilight series. What about the stories and characters do you like the most?

Kaci: I think big fan is an understatement.

Kira: Shut up, Kaci. These are my questions... * ahem * Edward Cullen.

Kaci: Yeah. He's hot.

Mari: OMG, yes. He's soooo hot!

Kira: I'm not talking about the guy who played him in the movie. I'm talking about the character in the book. No, I like how Bella and Edward interact because he's so protective and he's, like, the perfect boyfriend.

What did you think of the movie?

Kira: Uh... I was kind of disappointed because the books were, like, awesome so it's kind of hard to compete with that.

Kaci: I liked it.

Mari: That's my favorite movie!

Ezri: I didn't go. I saw Bolt 3D with my mom and dad instead. That was a really good movie.

Perry: What... that was, like, a chick movie, right?

If you could do a cameo appearance for a part in a future Twilight film, who would you want to play?

Kira: Renesmee. She's Bella and Edward's daughter, the half human, half vampire thing that can communicate by getting into your mind.

Kaci: I'd be Bella.

Kira: Ew, that would mean that Kaci would be my mom. Wait. I changed my mind. I wanna be Alice. She can see into the future... That would be a cool thing to be able to do.

Mari: I'd be Alice or Rosalie because they're both so cool.

Perry: That's a chick movie, right?

The school you and Mari attend this year is different than the last one... it has boys. How do you like the change in scenery?

Mari: I've been going to Island Pacific Academy for the last two years. Kira's going to Iolani with Kaci now.

Kira: Kaci brings me off campus lunch.

Kaci: Only when she's nice to me.

Kira: I didn't like that other school but it wasn't because there weren't any boys. With just girls, there's always so much drama going on. Besides, the guys in my grade now are just like manlier girls. Iolani is bigger, greener, and there are more places to eat lunch. It feels more open.

Do you have a "most favorite" and "least favorite" class?

Kira: Lunch is my favorite class. Nah, just kidding. My favorite class is Japanese. This is my first year studying Japanese and now I really like watching Japanese dramas like Hana Yori Dango.

Kaci: Matsumoto Jun is so cute.

Kira: Oguri Shun is cuter. Hana Kimi... Ikuta Toma!!!!!

Kaci: My favorite class is Japanese... or Psychology. It's definitely not AP Statistics.

Kira: I didn't like having to take Street Dancing because I look stupid when I dance.

Kaci: That's because you have ginormous feet.

Kira: Shut up, Kaci.

Mari: Wait. You did Street Dancing at school? That's not fair. I guess my favorite class is Music, but it's only for one semester so I'm done already.

Perry: My favorite class is Geography. Religion class is kind of interesting too.

So what's it like living with Ezri? Is she a perfect angel or an unspeakable monster when there are no witnesses around?

Kira: OMG, do you really want me to answer that? I have to go home with her tonight.

Mari: I'm not telling. She might hurt me.

Kaci: I'll trade her for my sister. Nah, never mind. Depends on what day you catch her on...

Perry: She always picks on me, jumps on my back, messes up my hair, and eats my food. And she still won't admit that she's my best friend.

Mari, what song from your upcoming album is your favorite?

Mari - Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Mari: Games With My Heart is my favorite. We're almost done recording that one and it sounds kinda like a modern classic rock.

Perry: Yeah, I like that one the best too.

Everybody else: Edit/Undo!!!!

Kaci: Because it's different from your typical pop.

Kira: And it's not about a boy... It's deep...

Can you describe the feeling you get when you are performing music and things are going great?

Mari: I'm always really nervous before I go on stage but when I get up there, it's totally fun. It's even better when there are lots of people watching because there's so much more energy.

Perry: We just really like performing live. It's definitely more fun.

How did your Christmas vacation go?

Mari: We didn't do anything. Oh, except one weekend, we went to Kira and Ezri's Aunty's apartment near Waikiki. We went swimming and watched movies all night long. It was for Ezri's birthday because her birthday is in December.

Kaci: I got my (driver's) license.

Kira: OMG, that's so scary.

You're also a big fan of the Twilight series. How did you first get into it?

Mari: My friends at school were all reading it and then Kira started reading it too so I borrowed the book. I think we're all a little Twilight addicted.

Kaci: Edward Cullen. I just wanted to say that.

There are rumors you suffer from a horrible disorder called ETD. Can you explain?

Mari: Excessive Twilight Disorder? * haha * Who called it that? I can't remember...

Kaci: Kira's got OTD... Obsessive Twilight Disorder.

Ezri: Yeah, she read all the books in one week. And she doesn't read!

If EMKE ever got to do a song for a future Twilight movie... would your head explode or just swell up real big?

Kaci: OMG, only if we got to meet Robert Pattinson.

Kira: I would definitely explode... or maybe, my head would swell up and then explode.

Mari: Ew, gross... But then, I guess, yeah. Both.

Perry: Are we still talking about Twilight?

Btw, what's the deal with your eating stages?

Mari: What? Oh, that's Kira. She goes through these phases where she only wants to eat one kind of food for, like, a really long time. And then when she gets tired of it, she switches to something else.

Kaci: Remember how she ate sushi everyday for, like, three weeks?

Perry: She's not eating sushi anymore?

Ezri: No, it's Korean Barbeque now...

Kira: Actually, it's Subway Turkey sandwiches with extra olives.

Mari: Really?

Ezri: I hate olives.

Kira: Kaci's always making fun of me.

Erzi, what about singing and playing music do you like the best?

Erzi - Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Ezri: I like the songs that we pick because they're awesome.

Kaci: Ezri sings everything perfectly. I'm jealous.

What is the hardest song for you to perform?

Ezri: The Heart medley. Never is my solo song and I always have to remember to sing it with attitude. Alone is Kira's song but I have to sing the high harmonies and it's really hard.

What's the most fun?

Ezri: Living On A Prayer.

Kaci: Because the bass line rocks.

Kira: Because Jon Bon Jovi is hot when you can't see his armpit hair.

Mari: Ew...

Perry: I can't believe you just said that.

What's the best thing about living with Kira?

Ezri: She's my sister. Kira gives me all the stuff she can't fit anymore or doesn't want and it's usually cool stuff.

Does she help you out a lot?

Ezri: When she feels like it.

Kira: What are you talking about? I help you all the time. Who just changed your guitar strings for you, huh?

What's the absolutely worst thing about living with her?

Ezri: Her big stink feet. Just kidding. She's grouchy in the morning.

Kaci: Her feet take up most of the room.

Perry: We have the same size feet so I can borrow all her shoes.

Kaci: And she eats all of the pumpkin pie.

Kira: * eats the last piece of pumpkin pie *

Do you have a favorite class in school?

Ezri: I like PE because we get to play dodge ball.

Do you have a favorite stuffed animal?

Ezri: Muni (a bunny), Teddy (a teddy bear) or Whiskers (a cat). I can't choose.

Which would you rather have as a pet, a cat or a dog?

Ezri: We don't have any pets because we're always at the studio so we're never at home. I want a dog, I guess. But the big ones scare me a little bit.

Kaci: I have a dog. His name is Roly Poly Olie.

Kira: He scares me.

Kaci: That's because he's mean sometimes.

Mari: I have a dog named Sam and a bunny named Dusty.

Do you have a favorite TV show or movie?

Ezri: I like Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends because it's really funny and my favorite characters are Bloo and Cheese.

Kaci and Kira: Hana Yori Dango... the movie.

Kaci: And I like The Office, too.

Perry: My favorite movies... The Dark Knight, Back to the Future, and The Goonies. On TV I like to watch Paranormal States or shows like that.

Kira: I like Ghost Hunters.

Perry: Yeah, that's pretty cool too.

Mari: I don't really watch TV that much.

Kira: That's because you're always on MySpace.

Mari: True...

Kaci, at the ripe old age of 17 you're practically a senior citizen in the group. Can you tell us how you first got into music?

Kaci - Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Kaci: My mom made me take piano lessons and I hated to practice. I'm still trying to work on that.

Kira: My dad was your teacher, right?

Kaci: Yeah. He was always getting on my case.

Did you always think music would play as big a part in your life as it has?

Kaci: Definitely not. When I was little, I wanted to be a chef. Because food is awesome.

Ezri: Apparently.

Kira: No comment.

Can you tell us the story of how you came to join the band?

Kaci: I don't really know. I think I was supposed to fill in at bass because they couldn't find a short enough bass player. So, I was the "tall person" and now I'm, like, the shortest person.

What are some of your fondest memories of playing music?

Kaci: NAMM show, definitely, because of the big crowds. It was a big rush being on that big stage in front of all those people. Fourth of July at Schofield was fun too...

Ezri: Yeah, because we had a picnic afterward, remember?

Kaci: How could I forget? Good food.

Ezri: Perry fell asleep after we played.

Perry: I did not.

Kaci: Oh wait. My favorite band memory is from last month when we did Sunset on the Beach (in Waikiki) and the hobo guy told me I was the sexiest one.

Kira: Between you, me, Mari and Ezri? OMG, Kaci!

Mari: Gross!

Perry: I just joined so... I guess my favorite band memory is 4th of July because that was the first time I really played with them. We got to play before Billy Ray Cyrus and people kept coming up to watch. Remember those guys singing Livin' On A Prayer with us?

Kira: Badly.

Perry: Yeah, but they were singing.

The song It's Hard to Say Goodbye was inspired by your own experience?

Kira: It's Hard to Say Goodbye is Kaci's song. It was the first song we wrote together and it deals with her breaking up with her first boyfriend.

Mari: They kind of went out for a long time.

Kaci: It's kind of funny, though, because when we started the song, I was only mad at him but by the time we finished it, it was over.

You did some volunteer work at the local hospital last year. What motivated you to do that?

Kaci: My mommy telling me I needed community service to put on my college application. (LOL) I never got my real nametag... that's all I have to say.

What kind of things did you get to do there?

Kaci: Um, I passed out ice to the patients and took away their food trays and answered phones. And I got to take off the sticky residue left on binders.

Kira: WooHoo, Kaci!

As a senior in high school how have your college applications been going? Any plans?

Kaci: All my friends did 7 or 8 apps and I did 3. Got accepted to 2 and am waiting on one. I didn't have to write any essays, thank goodness...

Other than music, what type of future career ideas do you have in mind?

Kaci: Um, I used to want to go to the Culinary Institute of America but I started coming to music more, and then I started teaching. So I probably want to go into teaching. You know what? I'm also really interested in Psychology and anything that has to do with Japanese culture. The University of Hawaii has a really good Asian Studies Department so I kinda want to go there.

Kira: You're a really good teacher.

Kaci: Thanks.

Kira: Kaci teaches piano, guitar and bass. Did you know she plays the saxophone too?

Kaci: Then you have to say what Perry teaches too. Perry teaches drums and guitar at the studio.

Ezri: I was going to say that!

Mari: Can we just move along? We have to rehearse.

Perry, can you tell us how you became EMKE's drummer?

Perry - Photo courtesy of EMKE - click for full size Perry: The other dude got kicked out... no, that sounds mean. He sorta didn't work out and they needed a drummer so I was like, sure, I like playing with these guys...

Kira: And we're soooo cute.

Perry: Yeah. Right.

How did you first get into the percussion business? Do you have a favorite drummer who inspired you?

Perry: Whoa... so many... how'd I get into it? I don't know. I've always liked drums. I started playing when I was 10. Favorite drummers? Too many... Hmmm... I like band kind of drummers. Travis Barker. Neal Pert. Buddy Rich. Too many to name, really.

Do you see the other band members more as friends or as band-sisters?

Perry: Ezri is my best friend... hahahaha!

Ezri: Why do you keep telling people that?

Perry: No, no... Sisters, I guess. I'll take care of them. Oh yeah, and Mari too, I guess.

Mari: What's that supposed to mean?

Ezri: I see him as a sister...

Perry: You see me as a sister? You eat all my food... you steal all my stuff... * chases Ezri down the hall *

What's the word from the college front? Do you have a set major yet?

Perry: I'm in my 2nd year, no major yet. Liberal arts, I suppose. Not really sure yet. Just taking core classes.

How does your college schedule work being in a band with members of such different ages?

Perry: It just does. I work here so we sort of fit in rehearsals when we can between homework and classes. It works out.

Ezri: Perry acts like a 5 year old.

Perry: What?

Kira: I'm gonna be taller than Perry.

Perry: No way, I'm always going to be taller.

Kaci: I think it's weird how I can just hang out with a 7th grader. My friends at school think it's strange that I like to do things with Kira. Sometimes, I bring her lunch from off campus, and we go running after school on Thursdays.

Ezri: That's because you have the brain of a 7th grader.

Kaci: What? Oh, Ezri, it is so on!

How often does the whole group get together?

Kira: A lot.

Perry: Practically every day. Except for Mari. She only comes in on weekends.

Mari: That's because I don't have anybody to drive me here during the week. You guys all have to be here.

How goes college dating?

Kira: Yeah, Perry. How goes the college dating?

Perry: It goes, I don't know... I don't date much. No, I haven't had a date yet.

Ezri: Liar. Liar. Pants on fire.

Kira: No comment...

Are you constantly being stalked by EMKE groupies yet? ;)

Kira: YES. He totally has 12 year old groupies that he teaches guitar to. They're always following him around and stuff.

Perry: No!

Ezri: Every Saturday, it's like, "Is Perry here?"

Perry: Whatever.

How much of a buzz has there been about the new US President being from Hawaii?

Perry: What? I don't know... It's pretty cool, I guess.

Kira: Ask my mom, she went to school with him.

Looking ahead a bit, what are your hopes for the band and your own future plans?

Perry: Lot of things... Finishing the CD, writing more songs, playing more shows, touring... See how far we can take it.

Does anyone have anything else they want to bring up or comment on?

Kaci: Kira just ate all the pumpkin pie.

Perry: That's okay, I don't even like pumpkin pie.

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

Perry: We have fans?

Kaci: Why won't you buy our songs?

Perry: Buy our songs, check for updates, come out and see us play live.

Kira: And comment us on MySpace and YouTube!

For more info checkout EMKE's MySpace page and YouTube page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments