“We operate like a family”: A chat with New Zealand reggae legends Katchafire

Hamilton, New Zealand based music heroes Katchafire have been a staple in the global reggae scene for the better part of twenty years now. With their deeply infectious brand of music, the group will make any listener feel a part of their extended musical family.

So before they return across the ditch for a run of Aussie shows later this year, we caught up with the band to chat about new music, Bob Marley, and why they think they’ve endured as a band for so long.

Ahead of a huge Australian tour later this year, we caught up with New Zealand reggae legends Katchafire to talk their music, keeping authentic, and the influence of Bob Marley.

HAPPY: Hey guys, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately?

KATCHAFIRE: We’ve been getting accustomed to home life again, changing nappies, doing dishes… all while we tour New Zealand and start on a new album.

HAPPY: We’re really loving Legacy… how are you feeling about it now that its out?

KATCHAFIRE: Relief, haha. Very proud. We put a lot of hard yards into that album. And it has been received as well as we’d hoped.

HAPPY: It has been charting in so many different countries – from Ethiopia to Bangladesh to Palestine – what’s it like knowing your music is being heard in so many different parts of the world?

KATCHAFIRE: It’s a testament to the work this band has put in over the last 20 years… Second to UB40, we have realised that we are one of the few reggae bands that enjoy an audience worldwide in so many countries – South America, EU, USA, Africa, the Pacific…

HAPPY: What do you think it is about your music that makes it so accessible to a global audience?

KATCHAFIRE: I think it’s the melodies, harmonies and the vibes people feel from the music – it’s very inclusive.

HAPPY: You originally started as a Bob Marley cover band, yeah? Does Bob Marley still have a big influence on your music?

KATCHAFIRE: I think he’ll always be the standard in which we compare our work to… his work is amazing. We like to play at least one cover at every show.

HAPPY: You’ve been a band for over 20 years now, and most bands definitely don’t make it that far. What do you think it is about Katchafire that allowed you endure for so long?

KATCHAFIRE: I think it’s our attitude towards the work; we have never bought into the idea that we are famous and looked up too… we have always had a humble attitude towards this journey… and I think it’s because we are a whanau unit. That is the secret right there… we operate like a family.

HAPPY: You’re about to embark on a huge Australian tour… what can Aussie audiences expect heading along to one of your shows?

KATCHAFIRE: Good times guaranteed! We are playing new music, we have a new show, we love coming across the ditch to reconnect with our fire family and our new mates that will become lifers once they get their cherry popped at their first k-fire show.

HAPPY: Any other plans in the works for Katchafire? Can we expect more new music any time soon?

KATCHAFIRE: Yes working on some big collabs coming soon, can’t talk too much about them yet… We want to get into the studio ASAP to start our 6th studio album…

Catch Katchafire live at any of the following dates:

SUNDAY 19 AUGUST – Gulf Country Frontier Days Festival, Gregory Downs QLD
THURSDAY 18 OCTOBER – Prince of Wales Hotel, St Kilda VIC
FRIDAY 19 OCTOBER – Plaza Tavern, Hoppers Crossing VIC
SATURDAY 20 OCTOBER – Chelsea Heights Hotel VIC
SUNDAY 21 OCTOBER – The Backroom @ Chardons Corner, Brisbane QLD
THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay NSW
FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER – NightQuarter, Gold Coast QLD
SATURDAY 27 OCTOBER – Kingscliff Beach Hotel NSW
SUNDAY 28 OCTOBER – Island Vibes Festival, Stradbroke Island QLD
THURSDAY 1 NOVEMBER – Solbar, Maroochydore QLD
FRIDAY 2 NOVEMBER – The Ville, Townsville QLD
SUNDAY 4 NOVEMBER – The Jack, Cairns QLD
THURSDAY 8 NOVEMBER – The Basement, Canberra ACT
FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER – Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA
THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER – The River, Margaret River WA
FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER – Northshore Tavern, Hillarys WA
SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER – Port Beach Garden Bar, Fremantle WA
SUNDAY 18 NOVEMBER – Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA
SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER – The Pleasure Garden, St Kilda VIC
More dates to be announced soon…

Tickets and info.