The Black Seeds - Tetris In The Dojo
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Normally at the end of the Pier is a venue for ‘Summer Spectaculars’ with Freddie Star, Elvis impersonators and Simon & Simon (who?), so this was a great chance to catch the band before Into The Dojo gets its release in Europe.
“…the idea of Into The Dojo was like going into a different world, into a jungle, a wild place…”
I dragged Barnaby and Dan away from the sound check for a drink in the bar; Dan a pint of lager and Barnaby a small white wine. So I wondered why there’s was a giraffe on the cover of the album?
“We just wanted to be arty,” says Dan with a smile but Barnaby explains, “the idea of Into The Dojo was like going into a different world, into a jungle, a wild place. We’ve been practicing in this former Dojo for four years so it’s left a big impression on us. Chances are it’s not going to be there much longer as property prices are rising in this part of Wellington and it’s likely to be converted into apartments.
It’s the same all over from other ‘arty’ centres like Hoxton, Berlin or even the nearby Percy Shelly House’s redevelopment foresees the end of the of the Boscombe Arts Festival that was held earlier in the day.
Getting back to the band, Barnaby (who does most of the talking) says that the band started out a couple of years before Fat Freddy’s Drop (also in town a few weeks before) and at one stage, FFD’s Toby was a member of the group. “We’ve been constantly evolving like, Mike Fabulous isn’t with us on this tour so we’ve got the brother of our producer for the past seven years to join us on guitar and our trumpet player and trombonist, Michael Taylor has been accepted into the New York School of Jazz.”
“we’re too young to be into Madness, it was more in the tradition of country & western surf guitar.”
That was a bit of a disappointment for me as last weeks’ Larmer Tree 2007 was all about the trombone and one of the top tracks on the album, ‘Henry Mono E’ features the work of Mr. Taylor. That track also, but not detrimentally, sounds Kiwi? Barnaby says, “I’ve been working on my singing. Not purposely trying to water down my accent, I’m proud to be a Kiwi and I don’t mind sounding like a Kiwi, it would be stupid if I tried to impersonate a Jamaican accent. We’re not a novelty act.”
They say, “Our two previous albums had a more soulful, funky sound,” but say the more obvious reggae influence just came as a natural evolution. Even on their big ska track, ‘The Prince’, “we’re too young to be into Madness, it was more in the tradition of country & western surf guitar.” Impressively for beer heads, the track isn’t a Prince Buster tribute but it’s named after the Prince of Wales pub where they played it first.
“No, I’ve got an answer, it might not be the right one but we just want to stay positive.”
They say one of the reasons for all the prominence of Kiwi bands is that the Labour Party has been promoting the arts community for some time (see Fat Freddy’s Drop, Rhombus, Solaa, Katchafire, Mark de Clive Lowe, Zane Lowe and even Detroit exile Recloose has got in on the act. “He was in London Saturday” with The Black Seeds playing at Toast, an event promoting Australasian food, drink; “it was a bit pricey.”
So Bournemouth was like the real start of the tour as a proper gig but this this isn’t The Black Seed’s first time in Europe. They’ve been on tour twice before — see Jabin Ward’s MySpace site for some photos and “we’re looking forward to Llangollen Fringe as it’s laid back there.”
Talking of MySpace, what this about The Sound Of Music being an influence?
I’ll let you work that one out but enough to say there was not a hint of a hillside yodelling when they played their excellent set later that night.
Oh yeah! Barnaby, have you got ‘The Answer’? “No, I’ve got an answer, it might not be the right one but we just want to stay positive.” And it’s good to see that some positive common sense has broken out as the album, Into The Dojo was due to be released next month but I’m told it’s now coming out in the next couple of weeks.
The Black Seeds on Tour:
Hectic Mix nominations: ‘The Answer’, ‘Cool Me Down’, ‘Way The World’, ’ Heavy Mono E’, ‘Sometimes Enough’, ‘Sometimes (Dub)’, ‘The Prince’.
Reviewed: The Black Seeds - Into The Dojo (Best Seven) Cat No. SBCD0008 Release date: 20th August 2007
Photo: Gerry Hectic - London Astoria
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