From the home of reggae, Jamaica, come EarthKry, a roots-rock-reggae band formed and forged at the Edna Manley College Of The Visual & Performing Arts in Kingston.
Since 2013, vocalist-guitarist Aldayne Haughton, bassist Kamardo Blake, keys player Phillip McFarlane and drummer Kieron Cunningham have been creating music as EarthKry after coming together at the academy to play a series of small gigs.
Last year the band released their debut album, 'Survival', and now EarthKry will be supporting reggae royalty Katchafire on their 'Legacy' tour that comes to Australia this October-November.
We sit down with Aldayne to find out what they have planned for the trip.
What has the band been up to so far in 2018?
[Aldayne] Well, 2018 has been a rather busy year for us. We’ve basically toured all year starting out with our winter tour (northern hemisphere) and we did about 25 shows there and came home for a few weeks. We were out again by the start of June for our summer tour (northern hemisphere) for another 30 shows, which we started in USA then moved on to Europe where we played in Poland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and the UK. All that came to an end last month, and after that run we came home to Jamaica briefly and we are currently in the US. I’m forgetting a few dates, but you get the picture haha.
You released your debut album 'Survival' last year; have you been happy with the response to the record?
The response has been nothing short of phenomenal. We have watched the reaction of old fans and the new ones we gained and it's absolutely great. We even met this one guy who came up to us after a show crying and saying our music touched his life. It's moments like those that inspire us to continue to create good music for the masses. We’ve touched new territories this year and to go to countries that we’ve never been and see people singing the lyrics to our songs is amazing.
How have the live shows been for the band?
The live shows have been going great. We love to play music. Also, I take the fact that everywhere we play we win people over as a sign that our performances are top-notch and well enjoyed by the masses. We realise that people will hear our album and love it, but the live performance is the truest test of their love for an artist and his/ her music. The fact they keep coming back in more numbers than the last time says to me we are doing well.
How are the band feeling about the upcoming Australian tour with Katchafire?
We are ridiculously excited. It's always a joy to explore new territories and see how different cultures react to our music. New cultures are a breeding grown for life experiences and material for our new music. Separate from that Australia has been on my bucket list of places to visit.
Are you fans of Katchafire?
HUGE FANS! They have become one of our favourite reggae bands of this generation. Their music and musicianship is amazing, plus they’re all absolutely wonderful people to be around. We can't wait to chill with them on their home turf.
Will this be your first time to Australia? If so, what do you hope to find when you get here?
This will be our first time. What we wish for Australia is the same thing we wish for every new territory we visit i.e. we make an impression with our music so much so that the fan base requests us back. It’s about growing the brand and expanding our reach to new territories. After all, we make music for the world.
What can Australian audiences expect from your performance?
Authenticity. Judging by the sounds that Katchafire present, we can assume that the Australian audiences love roots-reggae in particular. We've been told that we have captured the vintage essence of roots-reggae in our young hands and voices and we bring that to the masses as well as good vibes, positive energy and lyrics to uplift. So the masses can expect to dance and let themselves lose. It will be a buffet/smorgasbord of sorts for true connoisseurs of roots-rock-reggae.
Is there an essential travel item that you never leave home without?
I have one of those portable fretboards for practicing guitar when I'm on the plane or in the airport. it doesn't really make a sound so i can do finger exercises on it or work out guitar licks without a sound. I take it every time I travel. (Aldayne)
Bluetooth speakers (Kieron)
Portable charger (Kamardo)
When you hear the word 'Australia', what's the first thing that comes to mind?
Ayers Rock. I want to see it haha. (Aldayne)
Poison insects (Phillip)
Ten deadliest things in the world (Kieron)
Why call the band EarthKry?
We are the voice of the people of Earth. One thing is certain: you are not the only person to go through your situation, there is literally nothing new under the sun. We write for those who don't have a means of expressing their innermost feelings as well as those who struggle. Struggle comes in different forms and there is no limit to what we write. I don't want the misconception that EarthKry is a band that writes melancholic music only, because we write on all topics so all people may find something to relate to and know that they are not alone in what ever they face. EarthKry: voice of the people.
Is there a philosophy the band follows that guides the music you make and how you perform?
Write it as you hear it and write from a place of truth. There is someone out there that needs a message and a good time to forget about their troubles, so the show must go on.
What's the next goal the band wants to achieve?
Growth. 'If you build it they will come' - thats what we believe, so we continue to build. As much as it would be nice to have Grammy Awards and the accolades that make you feel like we have been recognised for our good work, we only hope to continue diligently working hard to create music for longevity to last the test of time. We hope to earn the respect for our music and recognition from people of our home country as we are now ambassadors of reggae and brand Jamaica. We’ve been to so many places in two years that many have yet to and we wear the name Jamaica and roots-rock-reggae high as our banners representing for home. The accolades will come. If we keep our focus on the purity of the music and making sure it reaches the masses, then all else will follow in due course.