Rock from the rock

The fan blows directly onto the outdoor table sending cigarette smoke from the ashtray out to sea. 

Now tinted red, the late afternoon sun plays hide and seek with tall palms trees, but there is still an inextinguishable heat rising from the location. 

It’s not the sweltering heat captured by the Caribbean summer, but human electricity that’s radiating warmth. It’s the kind of energy that’s created and magnified when a group of rock musicians come together. 

And today it’s a celebratory get-together as the members of Koralhed, a Cayman rock band, talk about plans to launch their first EP, “Tuff Streets,” in the United States. 

The band that produces “rock from the rock” is a melting pot of talent from Canada, England, the Philippines, and the Cayman Islands, with members who spent their youth on the back seats of tour buses around the globe.  

After meeting and forming on island just two years ago, Brian Granstrand (vocals), Alex Cazzetta (guitar), Ronan Chiong (bass) and Mark McTaggart (drums) have performed 23 local gigs and recently claimed air time on local radio with their first single release, “When I’m Down.” 

Speaking about their swift progress, Granstrand has a sparkle in his eyes that’s somewhat intriguing when he explains that the band is going places. The first stop is this week’s trip to Los Angeles to label shop for the new EP. 

“We want Cayman to know we are a band from Cayman,” Granstrand says. ”We’re going to put Cayman on the international music map.” 

“We really feel we have a strong shot at this.” 

The United States is just the starting point. The band wants to launch it’s music worldwide and has plans to visit Europe and Australia. 

Cazzetta describes their music as “a muscle car in full speed” that he hopes will drive the full album all the way to worldwide distribution by the end of the year. 

“Musically, it grooves, roars and leaves no quarter. [It’s] rhythmically powerful, fast solos yet with genuine melodies. Lyrically, ‘Tuff Streets’ is an album that relates to every single one of us. It is happy, sad, angry, hoping, in love, betrayed, euphoric, but more than anything it is a statement to our generation and to those that will come,” says Cazzetta. 

Granstrand adds that the music is ”pure rock and roll” but with a scientific approach. 

“It definitely has an ‘80s heavy rock feel, but it represents the new millennium,” he says. 

Koralhed recorded their EP on island at Hopscotch Studios; it was mastered at Esplanade Studios in New Orleans. The project took two weeks and involved a lot of on-the-spot inspiration.  

“Brian would have his lyrics, but when we started recording he’d be like ‘No, it’s like this,’ and would start scribbling things down,” Cazzetta says. 

“He just came into his own in the moment, it’s the adrenalin.” 

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Koralhed, Cayman rock ‘n’ roll band from left Alex Cazzetta, Brian Granstrand, Ronan Chiong and Mark McTaggart

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