A quick chat with Katchafire Image

by Federico Di Puma

Just a few reggae bands from the South Pacific managed to bring their music and get recognized and loved far away from home in the rest of the world. One of those bands is Katchafire from New Zealand. We had the opportunity to sit for a while with them after their show on the Main Stage of Rototom  Sunsplash.

JAmusic: How are you feeling playing in Europe?
K: It’s great, we have been touring Europe since 2011 and that’s our third Rototom, the first time the Festival was still in Italy, then we played here in Benicassim in 2013 and this is the third time. Things are growing very much here in Europe and I think we are going to come back regularly every year. I mean it’s hard and it’s so far away from home but it’s very important, we went to spread our vibes worldwide. And this year we’ve been lucky and we played at some very big  Festivals like Rototom, Chiemsee and Summerjam.

JAmusic: Tell us about the reggae scene in New Zealand.
K: Well the reggae scene in the whole South Pacific is really huge even if many artists don’t get to be known in other parts of the world, but it’s big! And in the 80’s the are consumed the most reggae music per capita in the whole world.

You are Maori, is it true that there are deep connections between Maoris and Rastafarians?
K: Yes it’s definitely true, Rastafarianism is quite big in New Zealand due to the strong connection with the 12 Tribes of Israel Movement. It’s a very serious thing and it has to be treated with respect.

JAmusic: You are a big band with 7-8 elements on stage. Nowadays is not that common to find bands like yours in the reggae world, what do you think about that?
K: Yes it’s true, we take a lot of pride in having a band with many people, horns and harmonies, and harmonies are a dying art form! We are very much into the classic reggae of the late 70’s so ours has to be an organic sound, and we feel that’s something you can achieve only with a big band.

JAmusic: Your last album of new stuff is from 2010, are you working on something new?
K: Yes we know it’s been a while (laughs)! But touring 8 months a year and having families and babies it’s quite difficult to find the time to sit down and concentrate on creating new music. But we have some new tracks on the go, there is a new tune out as a single, Down With You, and we are working on new stuff in the small studio we have on the tour bus.

JAmusic: How’s this massive tour life?
K: Honestly it’s tough, but is good! It’s great because of the family vibe we bring on tour with us, and we visit the world! We got to wake up in Barcelona, Amsterdam and all these beautiful places and we still keep on pinching ourselves for this.

And we have to give credit to our wives, they are the real heroes. It would be impossible for us to do what we do without them.

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