Airlie Beach based international collective Sun Salute have finally released their new album Time Has Come and are now taking it out on road for an Australian tour. Band member Jarrah Kurth answers a few questions for the Hi-Fi Way.
Your new album Time Has Come has just be released. How excited are you now that it’s out?
So stoked! It’s amazing how much work as an independent band goes into not just the recording, mixing and mastering but also the artwork, videos, promotion and social media. It’s exciting to be on the tail end of all this and just watch it grow on people. We have had great feedback so far about this album.
Dancehall Riddim is a catchy dance song. It has a real calypso vibe. Tell us how that song came about.
Our lead vocalist Tane had the core of “Dancehall Riddim’” written from a few years ago. He was inspired by a trip to Jamaica visiting the dancehalls over there which gives it that gritty ragamuffin vibe. We jammed the song in the rehearsal room and it was suggested to try a Latin feel section as one of the lyrics hints at dancing the samba. It worked well and allows the horns to punch through and also pays homage to the festive and feel-good vibrations that come from that part of the world.
Your music has a bit of a Melbourne Ska Orchestra feel to it. Has Nicky Bomba and the band given you guys a bit of inspiration for your music?We have been friends with and jammed with Nicky for around ten years now and he has definitely influenced some of the members including myself. We never felt as a band drawn to a particular style, genre or band. Nicky has influenced us more in his energy, hard-working creativity and friendship.
Who are your musical influences? What kinds of music do you listen to?
Sun Salute has such a variety of musical influences, Both Tane and Saia are from New Zealand so that reggae, soul and dub culture that runs so deep in the Pacific comes through for sure. I grew up in the tropics of North Queensland, on the beach nearly every day and fell in love with reggae from a young age after watching a UB40 concert when I was ten years old. Our bass player Dylan comes from a heavy metal and rock background fronting a progressive rock band in his mid-teens. He loves a variety of music from Tool to Jeff Buckley. Our guitarist/ trumpet player Chris is from the UK and played in a few punk, ska and rock bands so he brings that UK sound and raw live energy to the band. Our percussionist Nestor is from the Philippines and their love of music is rich as is his love of playing percussion, which you can see in our live show.
One important aspect of the music we love is the message it delivers. Sometimes you just want to dance but when you’re going to sing about something then make it matter. We all strive to bring positive change and connection to the world. This is a common thread through roots and reggae music. What the world needs now is more connection.
Do you think there’s a bit of a resurgence for ska and reggae styles of music?
I think in the mid-2000s there was a growing number of bands and artists that I was listening to starting to change their sound to bring in the reggae vibes. Artists like The Beautiful Girls, Michael Franti, Xavier Rudd.
Reggae was coming back into the consciousness, perhaps it was the uprising of social justice and also the positivity needed in the world and reggae music delivers both. But reggae is still an underground genre and not really in the realms of the pop market.
How long has Sun salute been together? How did you guys get together as a band?
Sun Salute was born from a few friends that all met in the ski resort town of Falls Creek, Victoria. Myself, Tane and Dylan all played music together for a few ski seasons. Nestor also joined in playing some percussion when he wasn’t cooking pizzas. We had a pretty great lifestyle, snowboarding and playing music. I met and jammed with Dylan since 2008 in Falls Creek and we met Tane in 2011 and had a few jams. It wasn’t til the season of 2013 that Tane and I started to play more of his original music.
At the end of the 2013 snow season the two of us decided to move to the coast and focus on a then un-named project of original music. We stayed on the great ocean road in a little town called Anglesea. It was here that the name Sun Salute was born and we recorded the first EP in a bedroom home studio setup. Dylan had moved up to Airlie Beach in North Queensland to play music and also started up a booking agency. He invited us up there, he would get us gigs and play bass. So we made the move in early 2014 and played as a trio. It wasn’t long before the band grew, one by one the members appeared at the right time. By mid-2015 we had a seven-piece lineup.
What’s in store for the future for Sun salute?
In winter of this year the band spent a week at my house and in my home studio in the hills behind Byron Bay. We wanted to just start writing again. Even though the first album wasn’t out yet we felt the need to create share some fresh musical inspiration.
We had a few ideas and all brought something to the table. In that week we wrote the ideas for twelve new songs. So we are pumped to get back in there and finish of the writing and focus on the next album and the band’s direction musically.
We also want to take our live show to bigger audiences and bigger festivals. We all have so much to give musically and are such great friends. People see that chemistry on stage and it’s infectious. We are just stoked to play and write music with each other and will continue to do that as long as we can.
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
Sun Salute Time Has Come Album Tour