Black Square’s sound is a blend of ska and reggae delivered with the urgency and intensity of punk rock. As reggae music was the backdrop for these Hawaii raised punk rockers, the sound of Black Square came about organically from their musical and geographical upbringing. The band’s name comes from the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich’s 1915 painting of a black square. The theory behind the painting was that the material matter of art was without value and the true value in a work of art was in the feeling it expressed or provoked—without leading the viewer to a specific object based reflection. Black Square seeks to do the same with their music.
Black Square was formed as a Hardcore Punk trio in 2002. Influenced by bands like Operation Ivy, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and The Clash, Black Square’s lyrical focus aimed at attempting to raise consciousness concerning political, environmental, cultural, and economic issues—many specific to Hawaii.
Black Square released their first CD “End the Cycle” in the summer of 2004. “End the Cycle’s” basic punk and reggae sound is a great musical match to the lyrics and stands up to the test of time. Black Square released their second album, “One Glass of Water” in January of 2007. The album incorporates their full horn section and features songs covering such diverse concerns as teenage homelessness, globalization, militarization, and the Japanese internment camps during WWII. Their third cd “Onward” was released in June 2008 infused with the influence of traditional ska music without compromising any of their unique blend of punk-fused reggae tones. Their fourth self-titled CD was released in June of 2011. Black Square captures the uniqueness of their sound with tracks that range from punk to dub all the while sounding coherent.
Black Square tours the mainland on a consistent basis including 2011’s Van’s Warped Tour. Their music has been featured on FUEL TV, Billabong Surf, Heavy Water, Wahine Blue, Board Stories, and the feature films One Kine Day and Noho Hewa.