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Arts and Culture: Roger Bong

Aloha Got Soul is a record label based in Hawaii specializing releasing in funk, soul, jazz, and R&B music and is run by couple Roger and Lei Bong. Aloha Got Soul started as away to to pay homage to older soul/funk Hawaii musicians by re-issuing vinyl records from the 1970’s. Recently Aloha Got Soul has been focusing on releasing music from new Hawaii-based artists. Roger and Lei feel a big part of their label is forming connections with artists, both young and old, to foster a community locally in Hawaii and present it on a global scale. In addition to Aloha Got Soul, from mid-to-late 2018, the Bongs formed an online radio station called Central Pacific Time which was located at BoxJelly. Before they left we had the opportunity to sit down with Roger Bong and discuss his vision for his record label Aloha Got Soul.

 

Was there like a pivotal moment in your life where you decided to follow your passion?

 

Roger: There was a time when I was trying to work a day job while doing Aloha Got Soul at the same time. I knew that if I was going to continue doing both of them, they would both suffer. I needed to choose one or the other. It wasn’t fair to my own business if I did not dedicate 100 percent to my project. It also wasn’t fair to the company that I was working at. That’s when I decided to let go of my day job and work on Aloha Got Soul full-time. The hardest part about the decision was a leaving a job with steady paycheck. When youʻre working for yourself you have to make things happen.

 

If you were giving advice someone who want to be an entrepreneur, what advice would you give them?

 

R: Try to utilize the resources that are out there, whether it’s reading stuff or just reaching out to other independent record labels.

 

How did you start Aloha Got Soul?

 

R: I started Aloha Got Soul as a blog to document records from Hawaii in the seventies and the eighties. These records, primarily consisting of funk, soul, r&b, and jazz, are now out of print. A lot of people say that the 1970s was a period of Hawaiian music renaissance. During this time there were a lot of fusions of genres happening and a lot of underground content coming out. So, around 2010, I started a blog promoting the underground music in Hawaii during the 1970s. I became friends with a lot of artists that I featured in my blog. I noticed that people frequently were asking where they can get copies of the records on my blog. Thus, the label started out of this necessity to re-issue out of print music so that people today can hear it, own it and love it. In turn, the artists can also reap the financial benefits financially, gain new fans, and make new connections.

Leimomi is your personal and professional partner. What’s the hardest part of working as a couple?

 

R: The hardest part is just always being in an environment where our conversation might be about business. When we’re at the BoxJelly, we’re going to talk about business. At home we’re just trying to enjoy ourselves. Working as a couple is all about that balance between life and work.

 

What’s your workflow like?

 

R: Well I make a list of tasks to do and I try to organize them by priority. I organize each tasks with a letter such as A, B or C, with A being the top priority. B being secondary and then from there going in and adding numerals. For example, A-1 is very top priority. I try to do that every morning.

It’s actually from this book that was written in like the eighties. I just found it randomly at a thrift store. The guy who created the system was actually living in Hawaii. I remember picking up the book and turning to a page when he’s talking about swimming across the channel at Hanauma bay. This guy was writing about Hawaii. I thought that it has to be a sign.

 

What’s your favorite thing Aloha Got Soul has released so far?

 

R: My favorite thing is always what’s next. As of right now in (November 2018) Iʻm into an artist named Jah Gumby. He’s the bass player for a local reggae band called Glow the Mark. They’ve been around for around 20 years.

 

What inspires the vision for your label?

 

R: The difficult thing about being an entrepreneur is having that daily inspiration or motivation to keep doing what you’re doing. For me, I always think about a lot of the older musicians and as time passes, they’re getting older. Soon we won’t have the opportunity to re-release their music and preserve this piece of history. Also, Iʻm really inspired by community aspect. I get the opportunity to make connections with people around the world and locally through music.

 

Define being based in Hawaii?

 

R: Being based in Hawaii makes you very resourceful. We’re kind of isolated living on an island. We have to work with what we have. Honolulu has the vibe of a really big town.

 

Describe your experience working at BoxJelly?

 

R: The best part of our experience was that we had the opportunity to be a connected with online radio stations all around the world. We saw ourselves as part of a community with stations such as Worldwide FM in London, Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, and The Lot Radio in Brooklyn. These networks became an inspiration for us to do something similar in Honolulu. So in January of 2018, we launched an online radio station called Central Pacific Time. Around that time, we also met Rechung. He really dug what we were doing and he offered to bring us into the BoxJelly. For us, it was validation that we had a great idea. Here’s this guy who believes in us and our mission. He was willing to support us and help us foster this community. In March, we moved in. We had people coming through doing shows on the radio station. The experience has been a open and freeform place to work.

If you had to match a song to capture BoxJelly’s vibe, what would it be?

R: I couldn’t do just one song. It would have to be a whole mixtape. There are so many different things happening in BoxJelly. You have entrepreneurs and small businesses working out of the space. BoxJelly is connected to the Fishcake store and Morning Glass up front. It’s just a big mixture and it’s always thriving.

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Bitcoin Birthday Party Recap

Last week, BoxJelly along with the guys from Bitcoin Hawaii celebrated the 5th anniversary of Bitcoin with Blockchain Bash: A Bitcoin birthday party. A good crowd of Bitcoin enthusiasts and newbies to crypto-currency came down. We gave away some free Bitcoin, donated Bitcoin to some charities, raffled and even sang happy birthday to the Blockchain. Here’s a few photos and tweets recapping the night. If you’re curious about Bitcoin, be sure to come to the next Bitcoin 101 monthly event hosted by Bitcoin Hawaii and BoxJelly on Thursday January 16th

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EVENTS: Bitcoin 101

Bitcoin101_Flyer

Bitcoin – this digital currency. What is it? How does it work? And how can you use it to for your business? Bitcoin Hawaii will be presenting the in’s and out’s of the digital currency, including: the technology behind it, the annotated history, how to use it, and business facts. The event is free, all you need to do is RSVP!

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BoxLunch Vendor: Chef Hana

BoxLunch is a lunchtime series featuring food vendors in the BoxJelly storefront from 11am – 3pm. Click here for the list of schedules. Chef Hana will be at BoxLunch Thursday 9/19.
 
 

ChefHanaChef Hana will be our second BoxLunch vendor of the series. From Indonesia, Chef Hana has been a food service operator ever since her college days, owning first a restaurant, and a marketplace food stall. She moved to Hawaii where her first vendor experience was for Balinese Night at the Hawaii State Art Museum this past March. “I enjoyed doing it,” she says of the event, “and thought it would be a great to connect Indonesian culture with other cultures in Hawaii.” You may also have seen her at the Makiki Farmer’s Market and the Made in Hawaii Festival.

Getting ready for a popup dinner! Vegetable curry, beef rendang, and rice.

Getting ready for a popup dinner! Vegetable curry, beef rendang, and rice.

How did you come up with the concept for your business?
Well, I want to bottle our Indonesian peanut sauce. Indonesian peanut sauce is different from like a Thai peanut sauce. It is not easy to make and everyone enjoys it, so we want to bottle it and sell it here. But first, I need to get to know the local people face to face, so we can introduce the sauce. 
I want to bring variety to Hawaii. So the concept would be introducing the hidden treasure of Indonesian cuisine. It really is like a hidden treasure, and  is different on every island. Rendang is the most famous Indonesian dish. We have curry (gulai), such as the Thai and Indians do, but we use spices that are different.
Hawaii has many different food cultures here, and Indonesian food is a community food, and I want to connect it with the cultures already in the Hawaii community.

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

What are some of the biggest/unexpected challenges you face with your business?
The limitation of space; sometimes it is not enough space, or it is just not affordable. Also finding people who know how to cook (Indonesian food). We are still trying to become a part of the community culture here; I would love to train people in cooking Indonesian food!

Veggie-stuffed Tofu

Veggie-stuffed Tofu

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your business?
The satisfaction when they first try Indonesian food, and being able to introduce Indonesian treasure to the world. Sometimes, it’s not about making money. I would like to make money, but I’m passionate about what my culture is. I’m proud about introducing Indonesian culture to the world.

Find Chef Hana at

Chef Hana
808-944-1901
facebook-16CHEF HANA
instagram-16 ChefHana
Thurs. 9/26, 10/3, 10/10:BoxLunch 11am – 3pm 
Fri. 9/27, 10/4Taste Table 10am – 2:30pm
Events: Eat the Street, Made in Hawaii Festival

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BoxLunch

boxlunch_insta

BoxJelly - 307 A Kamani Street, 96813

BoxJelly – 307 A Kamani Street, 96813

Next week Monday will be the start of our lunchtime event series, BoxLunchAfter listening to members and talking with the neighbors, we are opening up the BoxJelly storefront to meet the demands of variety, convenience, and quality on Kamani Street. So come by, 11am – 3pm to see what’s cooking. Our first vendors: Laverne’s Lunch Wagon and Chef Hana!

Laverne’s Lunch Truck
MONDAY 9/16

LavernesTruckYour classic plate lunch wagon, made with local love and care! Combo, regular, mix, and mini plates are all available for whatever your appetite might be. They are a part of a catering company out in Waipahu, and even do plates such as garlic shrimp, and Eat The Street events (latest featured dish: their Kalua Pig Poppers!) Menu items include: Pork adobo, shoyu chicken, lau lau, squid luau, smoked meat, and even haupia!
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Chef Hana
THURSDAY 9/19

ChefHanaA taste of Indonesia right on Kamani Street! Chef Hana is an internationally versed cook, and is brining her knowledge of Indonesian cuisine to Hawaii. Her variety of menu options offers something for all sorts of palates! She’ll be featuring her most popular items: chicken curry and vegetable curry! Chef Hana will also be bringing beef randang, and her speciality melon-passion fruit drink, es buah!
Follow her on Facebook.

 

 

For more info., questions, or to suggest a vendor, email britney@theboxjelly.com!

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Bow Wow Meow Pet Pop-up @ Fishcake

Happy Aloha Friday Jelly’s!

There’s a great event for you and your pets happening tomorrow Saturday June 29th at Fishcake, right next door to BoxJelly. It’s being put on by Art & Flea and Fishcake. BoxJelly member Rex Maximilian will be set up to take portraits of you and your pets! Everyone is invited!
BOWWowMeow

Art & Flea and Fishcake Present: Bow Wow Meow

Date: Sat June 29th

Time: 12p-4p

Place: Fishcake – 3087-c Kamani St (next door to BoxJelly)

FREE

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The Jelly Report (5/20-5/26)

The Jelly Report: Your source for what’s happening this week at The BoxJelly. 

Aloha Jellys!

We are happy to bring you the first installment of “The Jelly Report”, a weekly resource for what’s happening at BoxJelly and within our member community. Please take the time to read through and find out what’s going down at BoxJelly this week. Have a great week!

Cheers!

BoxJelly Staff

ANNOUNCEMENTS

A “Peace Out” Message From Bryan Butteling

bryan010As most of you know my time spent as being the BoxJelly General Manager has come to an end (don’t worry – Jim’s taking over my roll and thats a full upgrade!). While I won’t be on property every day to talk story, I will still be very involved with the growth of BoxJelly and the startup scene in Hawaii. I will be starting a new journey in the startup world as I will be joining the team of Nella Media Group as their Account Executive of business development. I’m stoked for this new opportunity to work with one of Hawaii’s fastest growing startups.So thank you to all of you who have supported the BoxJelly’s efforts and those of both Rechung and Tony. Please continue to be a positive disruption to Hawaii’s economy and if anyone wants to grab a beer sometime, don’t hesitate to contact.Don’t Suck, Get Shit Done…..I’m out! Bryan Butteling

bryan@intervalstudio.com
bryan@nellamediagroup.com
@braddahboots
808.281.5419

Jim DiCarlo Joins BoxJelly Team

We are stoked to welcome aboard Jim DiCarlo as General Manager of BoxJelly. Jim will be overseeing operations here at the BoxJelly, while helping to continue building a better BoxJelly community that serves our members.

Jim has been a proud member of BoxJelly since October 2012, and is founder of Each One Teach One (E1T1) Farms, a sustainable agriculture education and products company. E1T1 Farms is the creator of The Bokashi Bucket, a very user-friendly home composting kit.Jim has been in Hawaiʻi for seven years, and hails from the East Coast (NJ / NY). He has a professional background in advertising and marketing, having worked for various agencies in NYC.He is passionate about sustainability, entrepreneurship, branding and ideas. Go say “whattup” to Jim. He can also be reached via email for now at: info@theboxjelly.com

Box Jelly Member Profiles

Just a quick heads up that this week our interns Britney and Fabian will be coming around to ask you a few quick questions about you and what you do, as well as take a photograph of you.As part of a bigger initiative to update and redesign the BoxJelly website, we will be including profiles of our community members.

Thanks in advance for your participation.

EVENTS THIS WEEK

IDGA – Showcase Night

Date: Tuesday, May 21

Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Classroom
Event Description: Game developers showing off their creations.
Open To Box Jelly Members?: Yes

Open To Public?: Yes

Price: FREE

 

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Code for America w/ Jennifer Pahlka and Tim O’Reilly


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A couple of days ago we had Jennifer Pahlka Founder of Code for America and Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly Media visiting Hi-Capacity for a talk. They were both very different people but cool in there own way. O’Reilly reminded me a little of Doc from back to the future but a little more centered. Jennifer a true visionary. Both speakers were on top of their game regardless of a lack of sleep due to traveling, much respect.

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Recap: Founder Institute visits The Box Jelly

On Wednesday we hosted Keith Powers and Ted Gaubert the men bringing The Founder Institute to Maui early next year. We had a good turn out at the event and it is exciting to be in the middle of so many positive changes in the community. The Maui Founder Institute will be a full time program attempting to draw local talent as well as a talent from the mainland and abroad. On top of those participating mentors will be flown in from the mainland to mentor the fledgling startups.

Here is an article from Maui Time about the kite surfers changing the game.

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