New Zealand roots-reggae royalty, Katchafire find themselves in a rare moment of peace and quiet ahead of their 'Fyah Up' tour, which hits Australia from October.
“We've had quite a cruisy first part of the year,” band leader Logan Bell reports.
“We've had the past three or four months at home, no shows at all, which has been the first time in several years that's happened. The boys took their time to regroup, reflect, check the milestones and set some more goals.
“We released the 'Legacy' album last year and that's been pretty much the campaign since the release. We did an earlier tour of the US this year and… a lot of writing, a lot of doing stuff we don't normally have time for – going diving, playing a bit of golf, horse riding – just normal stuff.”
The release of their fifth album 'Legacy' last year followed the 20th anniversary of Katchafire in 2017, and also marked a monumental shift in the make-up of the band. “It was received really well,” Logan says of the album.
“There was a lot of apprehension – there were a couple of senior members who left us in 2015-16, so there was a passing of the guard to me and the other boys, but I think the boys did really well.
“I'm proud of the album, the body of work that we did, and it definitely did the best we've ever done on [the] Billboard charts. I think we were the fourth most-streamed band in New Zealand last year, so we've been quietly going about our business but there has been a few big milestones for us.”
After indulging in some pleasure in the first half of the year, the last half is all business for Katchafire as they prepare for the 'Fyah Up' tour, heading first to the US.
“We've got a lot of work in front of us for the rest of the year, but the boys are feeling really refreshed and ready to go. We pretty much spend a lot of time off the road, three or four months, and we've been twiddling our thumbs a little bit, just keen to get back into it,” Logan laughs.
On 'Fyah Up', Katchafire will be joined by another international reggae institution Jemere Morgan from Jamaica, with who they share a close bond in the global family of reggae. “Jemere Morgan is the son of one of the Morgan Heritage band members, Gramps Morgan, and anybody who knows anything about roots-reggae, they're the heavyweights of reggae,” Logan says.
“Our very first international gig, we played a show with them in New Caledonia in about 2003. We met all the guys, we played with the original [Peter] Tosh band Word, Sound & Power and it really opened our eyes as a young band seeing the level of musicianship, showmanship and professionalism.
“We really came home with motivation and really inspired to take our craft and our music as far as we could.”
Katchafire 2019 Tour Dates
Wed 9 Oct - Prince Of Wales Hotel (Bunbury) Thu 10 Oct - The River (Margaret River) Fri 11 Oct - Port Beach Garden Bar (Fremantle) Sat 12 Oct - Rosemount Hotel (Perth) Wed 16 Oct - Solbar (Sunshine Coast) Thu 17 Oct - The Northern (Byron Bay) Fri 18 Oct - Southport RSL Club (Gold Coast) Sat 19 Oct - Coolangatta Hotel (Gold Coast) Sun 20 Oct - The Triffid (Brisbane) Wed 23 Oct - The Basement (Canberra) Thu 24 Oct - Cambridge Hotel (Newcastle) Fri 25 Oct - Metro Theatre (Sydney) Sat 26 Oct - Crown Hotel (Parramatta) Sun 27 Oct - Park House (Sydney) Thu 31 Oct - Port Douglas Yacht Club Fri 1 Nov - The Jack (Cairns) Sat 2 Nov - Prince Bandroom (Melbourne) Sun 3 Nov - Chelsea Heights Tavern (Melbourne) Mon 4 Nov - Plaza Tavern (Melbourne)