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Written by Jesse Hayward on August 31, 2009

New Zealand reggae roots band Katchafire have come a long way from their origins as a Bob Marley tribute band, from worldwide tours, top selling singles and big name support slots, with a few lineup changes along the way. Performing at the annual Reggaetown festival this weekend, the guys dropped by the Music Feeds office recently to have a quick chat.

Music Feeds: Last year you did the Raggamuffin tour with legends like Arrested Development and Maxi Priest. Any memorable stories from the tour?

Katchafire: Yes. Speech is doing a remix of Katchafire’s Seriously? And Family Man from The Wailers played our bass player’s bass for a song or two.

MF: How big is the biggest joint you’ve ever smoked?

K: Massive

MF: With so many people in the group, how do you write? Do you get together and jam, or what?

K: Both separate and individually.

MF: Reggae. There are so many variations, from the recent pacific resurgence, to the two-tone English white-boy ska revival in the late 70s early 80s, all the way back to the birth of ska and reggae in the Caribbean. Are you big fans of reggae in general or are there certain moments in time that capture your heart?

K: Personally I love Prince Buster circa 1965… he was a bastard. Definitely moments in time. I can’t get down with all of it. Mostly the classic roots stuff from the late seventies and early eighties.

MF: Why do you think Maori, Samoans and other pacific islanders find reggae so appealing?

K: The messages, the melody, and the feeling .

MF: Are you guys still based in Hamilton? How’s Hamilton in terms of the music scene?

K: Still the same. It sucks but it doesn’t matter if your local music scene is lame, it’s what you make of it.

MF: How is New Zealand in terms of the music scene?

K: It’s very good, unique, fresh.

MF: Do you like playing in Australia? What’s your favourite place in Oz?

K: Melbourne.

MF: Are you prepared for the heat in Cairns?

K: We have just come home from Hawaii and Cali so yes, the boys are well adjusted… not ready for the guy to girl ratio there?

MF: Do we have long to wait for a new album?

K: It’ll be dropping mid 2010.

MF: Can you give us some old school roots/reggae/ska band names our readers should check out?

K: Sure. The O.G , the Skatelites! And Earnest Ranglin.

MF: How about some new school roots/reggae/ska bands?

K:Sonz of Zion, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds.

MF: What, besides Katchafire, is the best thing to come out of New Zealand?

K: Meat pies!

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