We’ll feed on your energy

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The Black Seeds’ guitarist Mike Fabulous says the band will feed off crowd energy at the Shotover Sunshine Festival this weekend. 

Fabulous rates Kiwi crowds up alongside Americans and Australians as the most inspiring to perform for – making memorable gigs for the hard-touring Wellington eight-piece. 

“They’re similar – enthusiastic, vocal and they like to move around, which is good,” Fabulous says. “That’s what our music is designed to do. 

“Of course, part of being a professional is about pushing those buttons to engage the crowd. But when you do a lot of gigs, ultimately you end up relying on your audience for your energy.” 

The platinum-selling New Zealand act, whose dub, funk, afro-beat and soul sound has gained worldwide acclaim, released their fifth studio album Dust and Dirt last year. 

“There will be a hefty amount of stuff from Dust and Dirt in the set but we’ll decide on the exact list at rehearsals this week. 

“It will depend on the length– for a short 40-minute festival set you need something pretty high impact. Definitely a lot of new songs, which is nice for us, but obviously we’re still mindful of playing the hits for the fans. 

“They’ll also be different arrangements. You just feel like changing and evolving songs from the studio when you play them live, you need them to do a different job I guess. 

“Wide Open for example, we really like but it’s quite down tempo, so we need to pick it up a bit for a live context – so we’ll just keep working away on an arrangement which will do that.” 

Chart-topper Dust and Dirt, which achieved gold status in New Zealand last week, was recorded at Wellington’s Production Village. The rehearsal space and studio was set up by The Black Seeds, which allowed them more time and freedom to bring tracks to maturity and ultimately influenced their work. 

But the building has since been knocked down with the land earmarked for an apartment complex. 

“So we lived the dream there for about a year,” sound engineer Fabulous says. 

“It’s the same old story in Wellington. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find cheap space to rent where you can make noise. 

“It will affect us to be honest, not necessarily negatively – it just changes things. But I don’t think we’re quite at the point of coming to do another album just yet. I’d imagine that will come towards the end of the year when we get a bit friskier to get back in the studio.” 

During the summer months the band is playing eight New Zealand festivals with three left to go, including Shotover in Queenstown. 

“We’re going to spend an extra couple of nights down there which we don’t really often get to do, so that will be really nice for us – just getting to hang out for a bit. 

“And it’s great to be doing something for a mate, we know the organiser Downtown Brown well – he’s well-known and liked in musical circles. 

“So we’re looking forward to coming down and being part of it – hopefully we’ll be invited back in future years.” 

Catch The Black Seeds at Queenstown’s Shotover Sunshine Festival this Saturday Tickets start from $140