It’s all going on with The Black Seeds. This month has seen an onslaught of exciting news. News that shall take them overseas, climbing up the ladder of international success. Their innovative fusion of reggae, dub, soul and ska has been sophistically reworked into their new album Into The Dojo. Their last tour recently sold out in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Wollangong and now with the European signing The Black Seeds are ready for their fast growing international following. Don’t worry they aren’t turning their backs on us, catch their New Zealand tour in Sept/Oct.
Lucy Wyatt talks to Barnaby Weir from The Black Seeds to find out where they are heading this year.
Lucy Wyatt: Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on signing with the renowned international labels “Sonar Kollectiv” for Europe and “Rough Trade” in Holland. How does it feel to have that level of recognition?
Barnaby Weir: Cheers, yeah it’s really good and it feels quite satisfying. We have done some European tours in the past so it’s great to get something from them. It’s (Sonar Kollectiv) a good label, quite a diverse label, and yeah it’s exciting. It’s just the beginning I guess…
Lucy: Your new album Into The Dojo is to be launched across Europe and Japan, at the beginning of next month. So tell me, how did the title of the album come about?
Barnaby: Well we rehearse in an old Dojo where we’ve spent many years. There is a bit of a history to the place. Stretching back probably 15 or 20 years. Many different people have used it for music over that time - different bands - underground bands, some really good bands have passed through there. We have been using it for about 5 years or so, and we’ve spent a lot of time there tuning our sound. It’s a funny place, really dingy sometimes, especially if it’s a nice day outside, it doesn’t let much sun in. But that is where the magic has been made and lots of cool music has come out of that room.
Barnaby: I guess it’s good for a band to be on tour in Europe and see what the other big bands are doing. Not necessarily similar bands, but just to see how other bands are trying to make it. It does open your perception of what it is you are trying to do and how difficult it can be - it gives us better clarify when you see other acts perform. Also, when you get to London you can look in the paper and there are international acts touring Europe all the time and it’s inspiring for us to be at that level. Getting out there - doing the festivals and widening our fan base.
Lucy: Into The Dojo has had raving reviews so far. Was it a natural progression from On The Sun, or do you feel your sound has changed?
Barnaby: It was a natural progression but On The Sun does have a slightly different rhythm partly because it’s slightly different band, I mean the same band, but different members. And we’ve matured as artists and we’ve got better as we’ve done more gigs. Genre wise - it’s not really a huge shift. Perhaps there is more variety in the new album, it’s less poppy, a bit darker - we dimmed the lighting. Daniel Weetman was one of the writers, he’s more of a shared writer from the rest of the band, and Mike Fabulous who plays the guitar produced the album with Lee Prebble, who records lots of other bands. I’m really into the album it’s a good one from us. It’s more interesting than the previous one, and a bit different.
Lucy: We see a lot of successful New Zealand bands relocate. Does the band have any plans to move offshore in the future?
Barnaby: Well, no not really, I mean not at this stage. I’m not sure if that will ever happen because of the way the band works. There are young fathers in the band and the kids and families are based here. If you really wanted to take on Europe you would just move somewhere cheap in the middle of it and just nail it for 3 years, but we are not going to do that because it’s just not possible and it’s more important to just have the band all together doing as much as we can. We need to work within those boundaries. We can do a month here or 2 months there we do replace people if they can’t make it on a big tour, but you can’t put that type of pressure on everyone as they have other responsibilities.