Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Interview with The Black Seeds
Interview by Chad Hillje
Editing by Kyle Hillje
Photography by Mark Franzen
DRS: We are at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado once again and we’re sitting with guitarist and lead vocalist of The Black Seeds, Barnaby Weir. How are you doin’ tonight buddy?
Barnaby: Doin’ good and feeling good. I love it!
DRS: It’s good to have you guys here in Boulder, Colorado. We heard that you guys had a little bit of a rough time getting your visas approved. Now that your tour has started, how was Canada and how has the start of your tour been so far?
Barnaby: Yeah we did have some issues getting into the states and missed a couple stops on the tour, such as the Vancouver show, but we re-scheduled the show for the Monday night and it went well. So, that was good. We arrived in Victoria and then went to Oakland and to L.A., and one of the nights on our stop, we played with Fishbone. We were pretty stoked to play with them and now we are here so it’s all good man.
DRS: We’re glad you made it! You guys have a great funk/reggae sound. What influences your guys’ sound?
Barnaby: I’d have to say all American music. English music as well as Jamaican music influences us. You have to realize that music is influenced by many cultures all over the world. Down in New Zealand, we get a lot of American media, so we are influenced highly by a lot of American soul such as Al Green, Otis Redding and Ray Charles. We are not trying to copy them; we are just influenced by them the same way we are influenced by Jamaican music. We are highly inspired by all kinds of music from different countries, but American and Jamaican music is what really inspires The Black Seeds.
DRS: You guys inspire a lot of Americans as well. In October of 2009, you guys released your live album/dvd which was only released in New Zealand and Australia. Are you guys planning on releasing it in the United States anytime soon?
Barnaby: We would absolutely love to. From the states you can find it online and iTunes sells it as well. You can also go onto our website “theblackseeds.com” and at the moment, we have a free five track download. All you need to do is give your e-mail and you can check out a remix of “slingshot” done by a dubstep producer by the name of Truth. We would like to make our stuff as accessible as possible for everybody in the U.S.
DRS: Tell us a little bit about Surgery Studios back home in New Zealand.
Barnaby: Surgery Studios is not the average studio. It’s not flashy and it’s like a warehouse really. When I was almost 19, I got a student loan to go to a University in Wellington and I spent it on recording at a place called “Original Music Workshop” which is now “Surgery”. It doesn’t look very professional but when you’re there with a bunch of other musicians, you get the feel of intimacy with the place. We like to make it affordable for musicians to record at “The Surgery”.
DRS: Is it the same studio that “Flight of the Choncords” recorded at as well?
Barnaby: They did do some recording there. They did some recording in America in L.A. as well. That band is awesome. They are our mates! We have known each other for a long time and Bret McKenzie was actually a member of the Black Seeds from it’s inception for about six years.
DRS: Is it true that your 2008 album release “Into the Dojo” was given the name due to the fact that “Surgery Studio” used to be a karate dojo?
Barnaby: Wow, you have done your research! (Laughs) As I said, “Original Music Workshop” was a part of it, but back 15 years ago, it was a karate dojo, and that’s where The Black Seeds practiced down the hall from the studio.
DRS: That’s cool to know that little piece of insight about you guys. Your fans want to know what kind of music you listen to. If we found your iPod, what would be on there?
Barnaby: The first one would be AC/DC for sure! I also like the Beetles, and as far as American influence is concerned, I really like Jimmy Hendrix. You would also see Fat Freddy’s Drop on there. They are a great dub/reggae band from Wellington and you should check them out if you have not already. I really like KRS-One, N.E.R.D, Dr.Dre, Outkast, Run DMC, De La Soul, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy as far as the hip-hop genre is concerned. I mix it up!
DRS: Barnaby thanks so much for your time! We love your music and keep it coming.
Barnaby: Dub Rock Syndicate! BIG UP! Thanks for listening to some kiwi tunes and I’d like to thank Katchafire for playing with us. Your readers can check us out at theblackseeds.com and get a free 5 track download that also includes some unreleased stuff.