Bringing the fire


After 18 years at the top of the reggae game, Katchafire are still pouring and tears” into their music.

The Kiwi reggae stars have just returned from several months overseas and bring new tunes to Queenstown’s Loco for shows tomorrow and on Saturday.

Formed in Hamilton two decades ago as a Bob Marley tribute band, Katchafire’s gone on to release Kiwi summer music staples and entrench themselves as local legends.

After countless jams and sold-out concerts, they swelled to an eight-piece collective of multi-talented songwriters and musicians and have become a staple on the Californian, European and Pacific Roots scenes.

This year has ushered in an exciting time for the band, singer Logan Bell says.

Not only have they got a new album out, but reggae is increasingly featuring on the mainstream radio airwaves.

“Our first album was called Revival, and with that we definitely laid the groundwork,” he says of the reggae scene in NZ.

“The genre was pretty non-existent. Salmonella Dub was doing a bit, and Herbs were pretty successful but there were long gaps in between.”

He says with megastars such as Ariana Grande and Cardi B incorporating reggae into their music, more people are being exposed to it.

Katchafire released their sixth album, Legacy, in June.

“There’s definitely a lot of love in this album, it took six or seven years to get done, we’ve had a pretty hectic touring schedule.

“We’ve put our blood, sweat and tears into this one, I’m pretty proud of it.”

The band has definitely left a legacy in New Zealand music, which includes nabbing the highest-selling NZ single of 2002 with Giddy Up and performing alongside the likes of Shaggy and UB40.

The band typically spends six to eight months of the year overseas.

“This year it’s probably been a little bit more, so it’s really nice to be home, back to earth.”

Bell reckons their longevity and success is mainly down to their work ethic and no-frills approach.

“We have amazing energy at our shows, it’s pure musicianship, no gimmicks or cheats.

“We play our instruments and we sing.”

Queenstowners can expect plenty of that energy at tomorrow and Saturday nights’ gigs.

“We’ve been working really hard, we’ve got a really great show for you.

“The new album is fire.”