THE BLACK SEEDS
New Zealand reggae-soul legends
Over the past two decades, The Black Seeds have gone from humble beginnings to take their boundary-crossing reggae fusion to the world. One of New Zealand’s most-loved acts, at home the multi-platinum-selling band are revered stalwarts of the touring and festival circuit, while abroad they’ve spearheaded New Zealand’s internationally renowned roots movement alongside the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop and Katchafire.
Firmly rooted in the bass-heavy Jamaican sounds that inspired the birth of the band, since 1998 The Black Seeds’ have continued to push the boundaries of reggae without compromising the music’s heart. Seamlessly blending funk, soul, dub and Afrobeat into their reggae foundation, along with their own South Pacific influences, the result is a unique sound that stays true to the bands New Zealand roots.
Described by Clash Music as “one of the best live reggae acts on the planet’’, the band have earned a reputation for rocking dancefloors around the world. With numerous sold-out tours behind them, and performances at the world’s leading festivals, The Black Seeds 8-peice live show brings raw energy and good vibes wherever they go.
Alongside the European tour in August, The Black Seeds are set release ‘REFABRICATED: Fabric Remixes & Rarities’. The 6-track companion EP, out 5 July, features 3 new, unreleased tracks from the 2017 ‘Fabric’ album sessions, as well as album re-workings from the likes of DJ Mu (Fat Freddys Drop), MC Gardna (UK), Israel Starr (NZ) & Deep Fried Dub (AUS).
Since 1998, vocals led by Barnaby Weir and Daniel Weetman have been the driving force behind expressing The Black Seeds message. Conscious lyrics convey personal triumphs and failures, relationships good and bad, and are underpinned by a constant optimism.
The Black Seeds released their debut album Keep On Pushing in 2001, which despite a minimal marketing budget, went on to reach platinum sales in New Zealand.
In 2004, the next album, On The Sun, added a heavy dose of funk and soul to the band’s characteristic dub/reggae sound for the first time. The album reached triple-platinum sales in New Zealand and included one of the band’s biggest singles to date ‘So True’, which was accompanied by a beautifully shot video that captured the essence of summer life at the bottom of the South Pacific.
The third album, Into the Dojo, signaled the beginning of The Black Seeds introduction to the rest of the world after it was released by European label Sonar Kollektiv, garnering critical acclaim and airplay, particularly in Germany and France. The albums hit single, ‘One By One’ was written by ex-band member and co-founder of Flight Of The Conchords Bret McKenzie, and was featured in AMC’s smash hit Breaking Bad and included on the show’s Official Soundtrack. The Black Seeds’ music has also been featured in numerous other TV shows and movies including Weeds, Disney’s Eight Below, and The Inbetweeners II.
The Black Seeds first began making inroads into North America with the 2008 release of their fourth album Solid Ground through Easy Star Records. The album debuted in the top 15 of the Billboard reggae charts and was named Soul Album of the Year by jambase.com's Dennis Cook. The Huffington Post called it "a damn fine record…thick, bottom-heavy, and melodic." The album was also supported by a successful U.S. tour with John Brown's Body.
A live album (The Black Seeds Live: Vol 1) and 2nd remix album (Specials: Remixes and Versions from Solid Ground) followed before the release of 5th studio album, 2012’s Dust And Dirt. Jambands.com described it as "breaking barriers in the bestest of ways with it’s unique blend of funk with a reggae backbone." The album also received strong reviews in Europe, with Rolling Stone Germany heralding the group as "the best reggae band on the planet right now." The album was supported by an 80 show tour with performances across three continents, and slots at festivals such as Rock en Seine, Lowlands and Sziget.
2017 saw the band continuing to push the boundaries of reggae with the release of their progressive 6th studio album ‘Fabric’, featuring new guitarist Ned Ngatae and Francis Harawira on bass. The album, which included the hit single ‘’Better Days’’, reached the #3 spot on the Billboard Reggae Charts & NZ Album Charts, number #3 on the UK & German iTunes Reggae Charts, and was described by Clash Magazine as “a broad, vastly creative return..matching low-end weight against some mature, soulful songwriting.” On July 5th 2019 the band are set to release ‘REFABRICATED: Fabric Remixes & Rarities’, a 6-track companion EP that features 3 new, unreleased tracks from the Fabric album sessions and remixes/versions from the likes of DJ Mu (Fat Freddys Drop) & more.
Around the recording sessions of Fabric, The Black Seeds found time to tour Brazil for the first time - playing four shows in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, followed by another successful US / Canadian tour.
Overall the band’s six albums show The Black Seeds’ limitless creative energy for what it is - always progressing without compromising the soul of who they are, and remaining conscious of the world around them. But the band stresses that they focus a lot of energy on their live show. Weir says, "We've got our own specific South Pacific flavor that you wouldn't have heard before." If that's true, you're sure to hear it now, as The Black Seeds continue to reach new audiences the world over the same way they always have – by doing it their own way.