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The Black Seeds - Planting The Seed

Author: Saeed Saeed
Monday, 18 February 2008
NZ dub act The Black Seeds are crossing the Tasman to bring us new tunes ahead of their new album. 3D’s Saeed Saeed spoke with lead vocalist Barnaby Weir.

The Black Seeds are all about progression. They have an old school workman-like approach to their craft and the music industry in general – the focus is on continuously improving the material with the knowledge that recognition and kudos will follow.

This tried and tested philosophy has worked wonders for the eight-piece Kiwi collective. Each album and tour became more successful and it all culminated in their fourth and latest release, Into the Dojo, selling double platinum in New Zealand and the band playing in front of 60,000 people in the iconic Lowlands Festival in Holland.

Weir recalls the Dutch experience as the highlight of what was a gruelling European tour.

“We loved it. We played this big marquee tent,” he says. “People were interested in checking us out and they got into it straight away. We were pleased about that and we can’t wait to build on it”.

Momentum is definitely building for the Black Seeds and 2008, their 10th year, is set to become their biggest yet with two European tours waiting in the pipeline and a new album set to drop mid year. Weir is relishing the prospect of hitting the stage in front of new European audiences.

“Playing live is what we do best,” he states confidently. “We have a great vibe with each other and that is probably the best way to see what we do. We are not strictly a reggae band and some people try to put us in a box before they hear us”

Experimentation has always been part of the Black Seed’s musical out-look, their tracks often eschew traditional reggae and funk arrangements to explore different sounds and rhythms. In order to maximise the creative flow of ideas the band is currently recording their new album together instead of the standard practice of separate studio booths.

“It’s a great way of letting loose on the tunes and it so much more exciting because of all the creative freedom to do what we want to do,” he says. “We will obviously create an album that we can play live but we will also experiment in the studio and add lots of layers that we couldn’t have live, even with eight people”.

This brings us to that tricky equation of artistic compromise amongst eight high calibre musicians.

“There is a lot of flexibility. I guess it’s about having some trust and respect for each other and being able to say, ‘Look I don’t like that idea that you suggested but let’s try it anyway’,” Weir says. “But I do agree that we don’t want to water down an idea to much!”

The Black Seeds are looking forward returning to Australia where the crowds are always up for listening to a great groove.

“It is always a good peaceful vibe,” Weir says. “People want to be experience being part of a community and this is the music to explore that.”

WHO: The Black Seeds
WHAT: Play the Gaelic Club
WHEN: Thursday 29 February