This past week saw an amazing lineup for reggae music at Webster Hall. Iration was touring for their new album Hotting Up and brought along Hirie, The Expanders and DJ Amp Live. This line up made for a solid night of reggae. With different sounds coming from each band, a true treat was in store for the fans in attendance.
DJ Amp Live kicked off the night with some great reggae mashups. Putting unique tracks together over reggae riddims. In addition to the DJ kick off, Selena Zontos, from Skavenge Art was in attendance. Through the entire performance she painted a beautiful piece of a lotus flower and sun. It is always nice to see artists bring together multiple forms of art and music in one space for everyone to enjoy and share.
"We started out small and we didn't have this grand budget, but we had grand dreams and plans."
As she rolled through NYC’s Webster Hall on the Hotting Up tour, we had a chance to talk with Hirie about her musical journey, the new album and her inspiring fans. This newcomer to the reggae scene has already made quite the splash and we can’t wait to hear the new album when it is released.
Reggae In NYC: (RN)
RN: This last year has been crazy for you. You were on tours, major festivals, you hit the ground and running fast and hard. How has it been?
HI: It was definitely a shocker to the system, but we enjoyed it. Absolutely every second of it, still do now. We definitely spent more time on the road than we did at home. Luckily, the band and I were hungry to go out perform and play music and meet people. It was great for all of us and we get a good boost in our life.
RN: You mention the band and I know travel with a pretty large band. What made you decide to bring so many people together to play?
HI: Well, it’s funny because I started the band out with our sax player, Chris (Hampton), and the second member to join the band was the trombone player, Andrew (McKee). From that point, I think I just realized I would never have a small band. You can’t minimize once you have two horn players. It’s just an organic thing with the horns and then we put the keyboard and a guitar and everything else together. Then we met an amazing percussionist from Todos Santos, Mexico. He plays with us here and there and he is amazing. The more people you can bring to the party, it’s always fun.
RN: On your self-title album there are many different styles of songs. You offer fans regular reggae songs, with full horns and band but then you also have acoustic content and some dub content. What made you choose to put so many different styles on the album?
HI: Definitely just a self-crisis, not necessarily knowing who I am exactly and then being okay with that. I started out at open-mic and everything was stripped down. I had these songs that I didn’t really think deserved to have much production around them so I wanted to leave them as is and they were the ones that got me started so I left them that way. Then having the horn players and the big band, so you have big sounding songs. Then working with Ian Young from Tribal Seeds really helped me round the whole album out and then do four different dubs at the end. That was just a flavor at the end of the dessert. We really put a lot of passion and creativity in it. I didn’t want it just to have one particular sound and that’s something I’m excited about with the new album as well. We’ve grown in the last two years and we allowed that to show in any music.
RN: The single "I Wanna Be" is out from the new album. What kind of feedback have you received on the single?
HI: It’s been good. Hawaii has been playing it a lot actually so back home, I know it’s been on rotation for a long time now. It was produced by Don Corleon (Donovan Bennett). He’s a really amazing producer. He’s done some Rihanna and some Sean Paul and Shaggy and stuff like that. It was just fun in a major key and it was just something that was a summer or spring song and it’s a standalone single. I was just curious to see how a happy-go-lucky song would do, most of my stuff is all minor and moody kind of dark and edgy. It was cool to put that out there and get to feel going in. I thought it’s doing great and it definitely brought us some new fans.