Streetlight CadenceStreetlight Cadence is the little band that could
By Naughty Mickie

I first encountered Streetlight Cadence about a year ago when they were part of a Hawaiian artist showcase at the Grammy Museum. These four young men were full of energy when the performed their original alternate folk pop and their talent soon had the audience sitting up and paying attention.

I knew then that I wanted to interview the band, but as fate would have it, the thought sat on the back burner until I ran into them again, this time at the annual Slack Key Guitar Festival in Redondo Beach. I spoke with cellist, pianist and orchestrator Brian Webb and we planned our chat.

Did I forget to mention what makes Streetlight Cadence stand out? Webb is joined by violist and guitarist Jonathan Franklin, accordionist and pianist Jesse Shiroma and guitarist and drummer Benjamin Chai. They are all classically trained musicians playing what they love. And they have shared a journey too, from busking where they could to now being invited to play at esteemed concerts around the globe.

Streetlight Cadence was started in Oahu in 2009 by Franklin, Webb tells me when we begin our chat. He met a guitar player named Danny at an open mic night and the two decided to start a band.

"Danny said we should make it so we have interesting instruments in the group," Webb says.

The duo put out an ad on Craigslist, which Shiroma answered and ended up joining the group. The trio of college students hit open mic nights and other opportunities to gig.

"If you fast forward a bit, we had a lot of members come and go and the prevailing theme of it is that Jon the violin player, Jesse the accordion player and myself the cellist all stuck around then meanwhile we had 10 other people come and go," Webb explains.

Webb joined about six months after the group initially formed. Webb was in the university orchestra with Franklin, when he was first invited to jam with Streetlight Cadence. He went to a rehearsal.

"Coming from a classical background I had no idea how jamming worked or how bands worked or how any of it worked." Webb goes on, "I was totally clueless so I got that fundamental training through playing with Streetlight and about a month later the guys asked me if I wanted to become a full member. The offer was simple, it was learn the songs, play at some shows together, street perform a lot and they said if I was really lucky sometimes a girl might give me her phone number. I was like, yes! Yes, I would totally do it."

Streetlight CadenceStreetlight Cadence has now been based in Los Angeles for four years, but not after winning a number of battle of the band competitions in Hawaii and music awards for their recordings, including two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Hawaii's equivalent of the Grammys. In Southern California you may have heard them performing in Downtown Disney or California Adventure.

"We're all proficient writers and we all have slightly varied styles," Webb tells me. "You see a lot of that represented on our most recent album, 'Momentary.' When we write we're pretty bad at writing together as a band just because we're all so different on how we approach our music, but generally one person will flesh out a song and bring it to the group and we'll work our arrangement together. We also might tweak the song as a group as well, like melody and lyrics. From there we put the spin and voicing of everyone's instruments on it and it turns into a record."

Streetlight Cadence starred in the 2018 Emmy-nominated television series, "Will Play for Food." The show was the band's attempt to establish a non-traditonal platform, Webb says. They were "copying 'The Monkees'" in hopes of gaining attention and propeling themselves into the spotlight.

 During the travel docuseries the band went to various cities around the world where they had to busk to earn a meal or the money to buy one.

It's harder than it sounds, as in Tokyo it's illegal to street perform for money so they had to ask for food and in Washington D.C. it was late and rainy so they only made $18 and had to share three appetizers... eating them while wet and cold. If you want to watch "Will Play for Food" the band is currently releasing episodes on YouTube.

Streetlight Cadence still appreciates its roots- and its strongest fan base.

"We still have a very strong connection to Hawaii," affirms Webb. "In the past we would travel back there 10 times a year to do performances and that was too much. We're dialing it back a little bit. We've only been five times in 2019."

Next the band plans to refocus on recording. They release music monthly, but Webb says it is mainly demo quality so they want to keep defining their style and get back into recording. They also have a booking agent who is keeping them busy and the band should be traveling more across the United States soon rather than just focusing on the Pacific Rim.

Lastly we discuss Streelight Cadence's cross-generational appeal.

"You could say it's nostalgic, but it's sophisticated. Part of it is probably the fact that there is some type of classical training that can be sensed in how we approach playing because we all come from classical backgrounds. I think an older audience is more tuned into that. I also think that they's attracted to the subject matter of our songwriting because we don't really have any songs that beat around the bush emotionally. Most of our stuff is not fancy, but a bit refined and it speaks to more emotional topics and adult things." Webb goes on, "I feel like it's music that can be digested by all age groups. We're really accessible across age groups."

To sum it up, Webb says, "We're generally never as talented as other people that we perform with, that we share the stage with, and the only thing we've got going for ourselves is slightly more energy and overall we're just super try-hard guys. We're always trying to be the best."

Check out Streetlight Cadence at or on Facebook and Bandcamp.

No. Title Length
1. "Past Life" 4:01
2. "I Miss You" 3:29
3. "Streetlights and Sirens" 3:21
4. "Invisible" 3:41
5. "Francis Ferdinand" 3:05
6. "Vinyl Records" 3:41
7. "I Can't Do This" 4:22
8. "Learn To Love" 4:44
9. "Live A Lie" 4:07
10. "Constellations" 6:22
11. "Counting On The Odds" 2:03

  • Released:  June 18th, 2019
    Streetlight Music
Streetlight Cadence 

Streetlight Cadence is:

Jonathon Franklin - Violin
Brian Webb - Cello
Jesse Shiroma - Accordion
Ben Chai - Drums

For More Streetlight Cadence

Return to DaBelly

2020   DaBelly Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.