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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Interview with Katchafire for Island Vibe

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Katchafire play Island Vibe Festival at North Stradbroke Island 25–28 October.


Island Vibe Festival | North Stradbroke Island | 25–28 October | islandvibe.com.au

One of the highlights of Island Vibe Festival at Stradbroke Island is sure to be Katchafire. The New Zealand reggae and dub all-star’s new Legacy album is exciting and fresh with messages of love, hope, togetherness, and family, with the 12 songs on this album being recorded in numerous studios around the world from New Zealand and Australia to L A and Hawaii to Jamaica, featuring collaborations with some of reggae’s finest. They spoke with The Echo ahead of their show at Island Vibe.

Did you expect the new album would receive such a huge response?

I guess we did. Our previous releases were all huge in their own right. Our last album was the fourth-biggest-selling album in New Zealand that year and that was against all genres including pop.

You also got to number eight in the popular charts in Poland.

Yes, we enjoy international fanbases all over the world. We love Poland, have played their Ostroda festivals a few times now and are keenly awaiting the call back!

Did you know you had so many fans (family) in Poland?

Not until we played there the first time… a lot of blue-eyed dreads singing along… very awesome to see!

The name of this album, Legacy, is referring to your the legacy of Katchafire and KatchaFire’s extended family. You have mentioned how important the extended Katchafire family is to your music and the artistic journey you as a group are. Can you tell us more about what that means and how it impacts on you guys and on your music?

Yep, it’s about the legacy we have created and the legacy we are yet to create. Family is everything to this band. And we take on the work as a family, which has always been a strength to us… taking on the trials and tribulations as a functioning family has always been what it’s about for us.

Shortly after you released the album you made a trip to Hawaii for a ‘surprise’ performance at the Island Music Awards. How was that for you all? Was it amazing to play at one of the industry’s most high-profile events? 

It was the first iHeart Radio Awards in Hawaii recognising artists from the reggae genres and Polynesia. Our Best Group Award nomination was up against Hawaiian and Jamaican artists. We didn’t take the win but it’s really promising to see an award recognising our efforts and interesting to say the least.

Do you have a big fanbase or lots of extended Katchafire family over there in Hawaii? 

We do! We really love touring there and the Hawaiian people love Katchafire. We have been pretty much claimed as Hawaiian; a few times when locals see us they think we are locals.

After Hawaii you went on to North America to tour the album for two months. What is it like to tour in the USA? 

It’s very gruelling playing six nights a week on average. We had 11 shows back to back on that tour… you have to really pace yourself and know your limits. We’ve been touring there for some time now so it’s fully dialled in. Having a tour bus is pretty crucial when you do heavy tours like that: 12-sleeper, kitchen, and two lounges with a full-time driver means you can wake up outside the next venue ready to go with all that you need right there. It’s like having your house right next door to the venue.

You have Island Vibe Festival coming up. Are you looking forward to coming to play the festival? 

Yes we are. We have fond memories of that festival, particularly the afterparty going on the beach for drum circles!

What else is coming up for Katchafire? Is there anything else you’d like to tell your Byron fans about? 

There are some exciting new releases and collaborations coming up that we can’t wait to share with everyone. And the boys are promising to step up our studio releases so you can look forward to more fire real soon!

Katchafire play Island Vibe Festival at North Stradbroke Island 25–28 October. For tickets and program info go to islandvibe.com.au.

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