In our ongoing SKAROUND The World series, we give you one of the most entertaining bands you’ll ever see. They come from the birthplace of third-wave ska-punk, Orange County, California. The band is Half Past Two!
Half Past Two has entertained the locals for over a decade with their blend of ska, rock, reggae, and pop-punk all rolled into a polished ensemble of gifted musicians led by their front-woman Tara Hahn.
We first got to know them with hits like “Girl in a Band” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”
Since then, the band has maintained a heavy presence throughout the world of ska. They’ve played just about everywhere with some of the biggest names in the world of ska. Their music has been played at places like KROQ in Los Angeles, Viva Ska Radio in Las Vegas and locally on TNN RADIO and Ska Parade.
Ask anyone in the know, they’ll tell you this band brings a powerful horn section. The guitars shred and bass gets thumping, with the drums adding in the perfect tempo and keep everything on beat. Then you have a very powerful lead vocalist, Tara Hahn.
Collectively their sonic vision is nothing short of electrifying. The band features, Jordy Coutin (Trumpet), Jack Sneddon (Trombone), Din Fernandes (Baritone Sax), Mark Anderson (Bass), David Parris (Keys/Guitar/Vox), Max Beckman (Guitar/Vox), Cameron Hallenbeck (Lead Guitar), Dan Evans (Drums) and Tara Hahn (Vox).
As for the special place Half Past Two has in the hearts of the locals, it’s no secret… ska has had its challenges the past decade +. Luckily legends, like Reel Big Fish, English Beat, Specials, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Big D and the Kids Table kept the genre alive. Truth is, it’s the local bands like HPT that have kept the scene thriving. Sure, now the forth-wave of ska-punk is here and bands like The Interrupters made ska cool again. This applies to anywhere USA, it’s bands like Half Past Two that are the backbone of every single ska community, even across the pond.
Legendary bands have names we all know. No Doubt had Gwen, Selecter has Pauline, and The Interrupters have Aimee. The OC has TWO, you got it… TWO ladies that we all need to pay attention to. There’s Tahlena Chikami from Bite Me Bambi, and Tara Hahn.
Hahn is performance perfection personified. She brings great pipes to every show and her onstage presence puts a smile on everyone’s face. That’s what puts her at the level of all these great performers.
Recently, the two Queens of OC ska took part in a collaboration covering Dance Hall Crashers “Lost Again.” With contributions from musicians from other great bands, you can see why Half Past Two and Bite Me Bambi is so successful and why OC continues to have a strong ska community all these years.
Over the years, Half Past Two has worked with other great OC bands to put out great music.
They also do great covers. One fan favorite is the Killers “Smile Like You Mean It.”
“Half Past Two is the soul of OC Ska. Their passion goes beyond the scope of music. They care about the important things in life and bring attention to these causes through their music… they made caring cool. That takes courage and talent”
JIMMY ALVAREZ | TNN RADIO
Half Past Two also reprised some of their classics. They brought a current feel to “Lyin’ Eyes” which went over very well with their fan-base.
Now that 2020 is coming to an end, things are looking brighter on many levels. the band has a new single out and album on the horizon due out in 2021. We caught up with Tara and she has some killer things to say.
We asked what has been the reaction to the new song? She said “The single release has been great! We’re really happy with the response and it means a lot.”
After nearly 14 years together, do you have any favorite stories or cool moments? “Jeeze, it’s been almost 14 years! That’s hard to believe! There have been a lot of highlights and we’ve been lucky, no illusions there.”
How is the writing process going? “The group right now is really solid and there’s a really good energy to what we’re creating. Everyone is writing, everyone is musing, and bringing new songs; that’s what is getting me really excited for a new full length album. We haven’t had one since 2009, and 2020 just seemed right to slow down and put a new album together.”
When you last perform live? “Earlier this year, before everything shut down, we did a little four-day tour with The Toasters and Mustard Plug. It was exhausting; we played five shows in four days! But we had so much fun. The show in Scottsdale, AZ was sold out! The crowd was great, and some people even came to see us; it’s what you hope for – to be recognized in the scene.”
That sounds like a great trip! “That night we stayed in AZ at an Airbnb. Nine members of a ska band, our friend doing merch, our friend being videographer. It was a stretch with beds and floor space, but we stayed up making spaghetti until probably 4 am. Some of them tried to prank me for falling asleep first – kid stuff! But I look back on that with a lot of fondness now.”
With the new single, “Shine,” out now and new album coming in 2021, the band hopes to get back to rocking stages for everyone. For now, enjoy the new single and I guarantee the new album will blow you away!
Make sure to keep an eye and ear open for anything that Half Past Two has to offer. They represent the soul and class of Orange County.