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8 Foot Sativa - Step Up, Step Up – An Interview With 8ft Sativa, 6th October 2007

16 Oct 2007 // An interview by CEOMong
After a 5-hour delay due to transportation issues, and a hefty amount of blame directed Jamie’s way, I finally met up with Gary Smith, the only original member of 8 Foot Sativa; a genuinely awesome guy who is dedicated to and loves music – and quite rightly so! We discussed at length (and could have for several hours) motivation, conspiracy and the future of 8 Foot Sativa in a cosy corner of Bar Mode in Palmy North, during their national Undoing Tour.

What’s the best thing about being 8ft?
The ability to express ourselves musically, going overseas & being able to bring new stuff back. Showing that bands can get out – as bad as that sounds – but it's true. The odds are generally against bands leaving the shores, but we are proof it can be done.

What inspires you guys? One website describes your music as “Hate, Drugs, Life” – what’s your take on that, do you think you fall into any particular category/label?
Musically inspired by Pantera, Sepultura, and Swedish metal (The Haunted etc). Jamie is more into the extreme thrash. Pretty much collectively we are into groovy catchy thrash with some death. The band set out wanting to sound unique and not like anyone else. We always try to get a hook and a groove in there.
8ft collectively disagree with society in general, specifically the categorisation and “isms” – sexism/racism/ageism etc. everyone should just be one, a true, equal society. 8ft just want to make a difference, and fight inequality where they can, David Icke is another source of inspiration, and the entire band are vegan.

You’ve played some pretty sweet venues, where’s your fave?
Bar Mode in Palmy North, we are pretty well looked after when we play in PN, Nelson’s Phat Club, Christchurch’s Jetset Lounge. Anywhere in Dunedin, Gisborne & Hamilton, they’re all pretty awesome (sometimes surprisingly) cities for gigs. Auckland sucks, too full of judgmental critical egotistical monkeys who come out to judge instead of have a good time.

What rumour would you like to start/deny/elaborate about yourselves?
New rumour: Carnal Forge may very well be touring with 8ft next year.
Dispel a rumour: regardless of image we are 8foot. The lineup currently is the best its ever been, most bands that have been together 2years don’t get this much done, or make this much noise, so forget the old image, we are 8foot and harder than ever.
And as a side note: Christian is, in Gary’s opinion, the best guitar player in NZ at the moment, and Jamie the most talented drummer internationally as far as he is concerned.

Any particular things you’d like to try next, people to do, places to see? What’s next for 8ft in the next 12-18 months?
The next album is 75% done; expect to see that early next year. Lots more touring and videos planned shortly, so keep your eyes & ears open.

You’ve often been described as NZs premier metal band, what do you think you’ve got that the rest of the metal bands in NZ haven’t?
We are very anal about out playing and performances, some bands sound great live, but like shit recorded. We never forget that there is something to improve on, never ever do they rest on their laurels; instead they try and improve every day, with constant rehearsal of even the original songs just to keep in shape, as it were,

You’ve made it pretty big, any advice to aspiring bands?
PRACTICE! Keep your egos under control, both of the band collectively and individual members. Stay loyal to the band; when shit goes down it gets really hard on the band and their families, especially at this level when it falls apart (for whatever reason). NZ has a toll poppy syndrome where its hard to get ahead with everyone trying to pull you down, or put you down, so overcome that and show them it can be done. Never forget that there might be a band even bigger and better than you waiting in the wings, so play the best you can, and keep getting better.

You’ve played with some pretty sweet bands, who’s your favourite band to gig with?
Pantera – a really nice bunch of guys, Gary once spent an evening with Dimebag Darrell who said of 8ft “Really nice band, wish we had got that name.” As a further example of constant striving for perfection - Dimebag spent 3hrs pacing before they went on, nervous as hell.
Disturbed – nice bunch of guys.

Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands?
Akaname (ah-ka-na-mi) from Wellington,
Anatagonist, also a bunch of vegans from Auckland/Hamilton, very tight sound, admirable values.

I’ve got to know, how did you come up with your name? Behind the bike sheds at Massey High?

No, actually, we were watching a TV show one day and the cops busted this guy who was growing a cannabis plant in his living room, and the announcer said “Who would grow an 8 Foot Sativa in their living room?” – it just sounded right.

The timeless desert island question – 2 (negotiable) things you couldn’t live without if you were stranded on an island? Collectively or individually.
Without a doubt, or nary a pause, Gary reckons the whole band would take their cat, their girlfriends, and as a sneaky extra, a whole bunch of other NZ bands music to listen to.

8ft are:
Ben Read (vocals)
Gary Smith (guitar)
Christian Humphreys (guitar)
Rom Smith(bass)
Jamie Saint Merat (drums)


Completely Undone, this is CEOMong.

About 8 Foot Sativa

Exploding out of West Auckland in 1998, 8 Foot Sativa have gone from being a local band playing every week, to becoming the premier Metal band in New Zealand.

They are the first metal band in NZ to crack out of the small scene and bring New Zealand Heavy Metal to mainstream Kiwi's doorsteps, with the song 8 Foot Sativa staying at number 1 for three months and eight months in the charts. They have also had success overseas, in Australia, USA and Europe. With their first album Hate Made Me achieving Gold Record status, the follow up with Season for Assault, which established 8 Foot Sativa as a household name. Since then they have released 4 more albums Breed The Pain, Poison Of Ages, The Shadow Masters and 10 Years Of Sativa.

8 Foot Sativa have played with the big names of metal including Pantera, Motorhead, Korn, Children of Bodom, Disturbed, Soul Fly, Shihad and Corrosion of Conformity. They have had 2 Big Day Out appearances on the main stage, sharing the stage with Slipknot, Metallica and System of a Down.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for 8 Foot Sativa


10 Years of Sativa
Year: 2013
Type: Album
The Shadow Masters
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Poison Of Ages
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Breed The Pain
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Season For Assault
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Hate Made Me
Year: 2002
Type: Album

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