Photo credit-Hylton Boucher
The name that is on all our lips these days, as well as on almost all the biggest festival and event line ups in the country, is non other than Cape Town band GRASSY SPARK. This collective of cool kids, bad ass musicians, have come together to create a sound that will get you moving. Make sure you catch them this weekend at the Arcade Empire & Griet powered HALLOWEEN party, which promises to be the biggest jol of the year.
Grassy Spark is a collection of musicians with a passion for groove. They blend ska with rock, funk, reggae, latin and more all coming together to form a unique sound that is fueled by the love they have for music and the diversity of tastes and culture that cooks in the Mother City.
Interview: GRASSY SPARK
Photo credit-Hylton Boucher
MA: Hi guys, how you doing?? Its rad to be chatting to you!!
MA: Before we get started, can you please introduce us to the members of Grassy Spark and tell us each persons role in the band?
So Grassy Spark is a 7–piece Ska-fusion outfit with Lawrence Jaeger on the drums, Yanick Bathfield on lead vox and guitar, Simon Ackermann on Saxophone, keys and synth, Josh Riley on Lead vox and rhythm guitar, Chad Hendricks on trumpet, and Murray buitendag on Trombone – Basically if the Power Rangers and Earth, Wind and Fire started a band it would be Grassy Spark – haha. What I’m trying to say is, we’re a diverse outfit of musicians with universal happiness and love as the end goal.
MA: How/Where did you guys meet up to form the band?
Oooo long story! So Lawrence and I (Josh) played in a church band, then we started a Metal band haha, then we got Yanick on board because he is one of the most burning guitarists we know. Then when we hit varsity Yanick started playing in 7th son, where I joined him at rehearsal and had my mind blown by the genres that are Ska and Reggae. At the time I was going through a relationship that was on the rocks, so I decided to write this chicky a song haha – this didn’t work, but the song was incredible, so Yanick and myself decided that this was something we needed to pursue. We got Lawrence on board, because #brothers and from there the family grew, now 4 years later we are in the happiest place we could be as 7 musicians, brothers, and mal koppe!
MA: Can you give us a short background on the name Grassy Spark?
Although none of us are necessarily from the area, the name Grassy Spark originates from an area in CT called Grassy Park. We wanted a name that represented a culture unique to Cape Town, and try to incorporate this culture in the going-ons of the band in whatever way, shape or form while still remaining entirely universal.
MA: Where do you guys take inspiration from in your “sound”?
Wow. Very, very difficult to answer. We are 7 individuals so inspiration for us is a universal endeavour that celebrates the diversity that exists in Grassy Spark – we feel this is what makes our music different, and what will continue to push our evolution, as well as our growth.
MA: Can you give us a few of the best moments, experienced as Grassy Spark?
We toured Zambia thanks to Greenpop and braved the Zambezi River, we skied the slopes of Lesotho, we had the best time at Oppikoppi thanks to the Oppi team and the Oppikoppe, we had the most incredible experience at the end of 2015 playing to 6000+ people at Kirstenbosch Gardens with our homie Jezza Loops, we’ve open for The Cat Empire, The Kooks, and Milky Chance at In the City JHB, and last but most certainly not least we opened for Foster the People at Rocking the Daisies this year – too many treats to mention actually.
MA: Our local scene has been growing positively over the past few years… What are your thoughts on our local music scene at the moment and if there is anything you wish to see happen differently?
The local scene is indeed thriving but it could always do with more support. We urge fans to love their local scene, cherish it, and realise that what artists have to offer in this country is more than adequate. We would love to see more people attending live shows, and we would love the age of the superstar to voetsak, and the age of the musician to prosper – we do this for the love of music, not for the love of the self!
MA: Are there any local acts that you think need a special mention?
Obviously our babyboys Shortstraw, Jeremy Loops for all the guidance along the way, Nomadic Orchestra for being the tightest band in South Africa pretty much, and there are a whole bunch more – Opposite the Other, Slow Jack, TheCITY, The Rudimentals. These are all bands that inspire us – oh and The Checked Zebra are back so you best believe Ska music is alive, well, and skanking!
MA: You are playing up in Jozi for the Halloween 2016 party, brought to you by Arcade Empire and Griet… are you excited for this gig?? What can we expect from your set??
Yoh too amped! Thank you Grietfest and Arcade! Homies can expect all of the fire with a dash of evil because #Halloween mos ;). To be honest, just come without any expectations – we’ll sort you out lekka!
MA: Anything that you guys are currently working on that we would be interested in hearing about?
Always have things buried up our XL sleeves – but ssshh, you’ll know soon enough 😉
MA: Thanks for your time guys…!!
No thank you! All the Love in the world.