Australia-based reggae band Paua are a melting pot. United by their shared love of music, the seven-piece, hailing from all corners of the world, blend elements of reggae, soul and funk; producing an earthy original sound unique to them.
Since first stepping onto the music scene in 1998, the independent band has gone through a number of line-up changes, growing to nine members at one time while at other points shrinking to four.
Now, more than two decades later, their repertoire contains two albums, an EP and multiple single releases - many of which have topped the iTunes Reggae charts in both New Zealand and Australia.
Speaking from his base in the Gold Coast, founder and frontman Jay Thomas said there was no plan in the beginning, it was just about "making music and having fun".
"Then, as the first year went on, we started writing but there weren't any expectations to what we were doing. But then it started making a bit of noise and it's been amazing, especially back home," Thomas said.
Getting into music was almost inevitable for the New Zealand native. His parents and wider family members were all in bands as he was growing up. But it wasn't until he became a teenager that he began to write songs.
"I think it was just being surrounded by it and having it in my blood, it was always there and once I got old enough to realise, it became my passion," Thomas said.
Paua is made up of Māori, Philippine, Mauritian and Australian band members. A mix which arguably deepens their sound.
"Musically, we probably all grew up listening to different music and experimenting and playing different music.
"I mean the three of us from New Zealand probably had a similar sort of upbringing music-wise but I do think it's just the different backgrounds musically, more than anything else that what we sprinkle into our music. It sort of naturally happens that way, so it gives it an organic feel to have people from different parts of the world sprinkling their little vibe in there."
As the lyricist, Thomas said life is what inspires him the most.
"Things that I take in, the way that I see things and just things that are going on in the world I guess that I want to talk about. So inspiration is everywhere."
The music video for their latest single, Promises and Lies, dropped on June 30.
The thought-provoking track was originally released on their EP and echoes the injustices of indigenous peoples. It comes from the "backdrop of the oppressed", Thomas said.
"It's just something that we wanted to touch on, especially living in Australia for as long as we have, as well. But I think that any indigenous people can relate to this song if you really listen to it."
While his favourite song is always changing, he always goes back to Coming Home, from the band's 2011 self-titled album.
"It was a song that came out of nowhere. It was a spiritual experience for me as a songwriter and I feel the lyrics wrote themselves.
"There's a soul to the song that is hard to explain and I never imagined the impact it would have on people in the years to come.
"But the impact that it has had on people I guess is always very humbling."
They are currently working on new music and hope to record in the coming months.
They will be in Hawke's Bay for the first time since January, performing at this year's The Good Vibe Festival, with Katchafire, L.A.B, Tomorrow People, 1814, Lion Rezz and General Fiyah.
"It's just a quick stop, this one, so we will be in and out. But you know we always love coming home to play, and especially Hawke's Bay, it's always a great reception for us and it's going to be an amazing show with some awesome acts."
*Paua will perform at the Good Vibes Festival at Pettigrew Arena in Napier on July 13.
*For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.ticketfairy.com/event/good-vibes-winter-festival-napier-2019