14 Aug 2022
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Newtown Rocksteady - Newtown Rocksteady Newsletter Interview

26 May 2013 // An interview by Shade

Newtown Rocksteady is a dance band that simply makes you move. Cool covers, righteous melodies, and hot original songs, rocksteady is more than a band, its a moment in life. Their second EP Goin' Steady was released in April with the title paying homage to the growth of the group, over the last three or four years, into a solid unit and one which looks set to keep rocking steady. James answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

What is your favourite place to relax in NZ?

My favourite place to relax in New Zealand is probably Golden Bay. It holds a special place in the band's heart as the scene of Newtown Rocksteady's first tour and the locals always receive us so warmly there.

What New Zealand musicians/bands would you like to see more of and why?

I would like to see more of The Nudge, Brockaflowersaurusrex and Electric Wire Hustle because they always make me dance my ass off and are good mates. And I would like to see more of Jonathan Crayford because he never fails to inspire me as an instrumentalist.

What has been your most memorable show to date?

My most memorable show wasn't the biggest or best-paid but an epic house party in an epic house called The Moorings in Wellington. You know that close, sweaty, fully supportive feeling when a room full of people are about to crush you with the weight of their loved-up vibe. That was it. Also, WOMAD stands out as a great milestone for the band.

What sets Newtown Rocksteady apart from other bands?

Well, Rocksteady is a great party band and the sound of vintage reggae music, however we are also very aware that we are from Newtown, and home and away we represent our place. It's a sense of being the host, or being hosted. When you have a strong sense of identity, "the band" becomes a conduit for building healthy relationships. It's very normal for musicians to represent their lands and traditions, however in an urban environment in our generation in New Zealand, I think the fact that we manage this makes Newtown Rocksteady unique.

Where do you get inspiration to create your music from?

I get inspiration to create music from a desire to create artifacts that are like islands in a river of time, moving and flowing and changing with each performance but retaining their quality as a snapshot of a particular moment or sentiment-little time capsules if you like. All the better if they make the people get up and groove too.

What can we expect to see from Newtown Rocksteady over the next year?

Expect great shows! And some concerted team effort on the compositional front. There is also a desire, and with the release of this EP, a good reason to venture out and play to New Zealand in zones we haven't hit yet, like the lower South Island or the Hawkes Bay, and Auckland.

What rumour would you like to start about Newtown Rocksteady?

I would like to start the rumour that Newtown Rocksteady has never burned a drop of oil in its career as a working and touring band. I wish it were true-imagine the high seas and hitch-hiking adventures to be had.

What local albums have you been enjoying recently?

Oooo, Orchestra of Spheres' Nonagonic Now is amazing.. The Phoenix Foundation's Fandango is inspiring.. but there have been a lot of good albums recorded at a new studio called Blue Barn in Newtown, so a family of albums is coming that is going to be quite electric in the scene, like EWH, Data Hui, Family Cactus, Joe Blossom, Ria Hall, Brokaflowersaurus Rex & The Blueberry Biscuits. All great projects

 

About Newtown Rocksteady

Newtown Rocksteady have been bringing the sound and values of the original Rocksteady movement to festivals, events and established New Zealand venues with a generous dose of soul and a solid helping of skank since 2007. Newtown Rocksteady features key members of Wellington‘s music scene in an all brass, all bass, all party, big band, big dance, chant down MASH UP.

Newtown Rocksteady's ever-expanding repertoire effortlessly moves between original compositions and adaptations of classic Rocksteady and Reggae gems guaranteed to get the people dancing! Comprised of active members of Wellington’s vibrant music scene, Newtown Rocksteady has a great depth of experience to call upon. Its members are involved in groups including The Nudge, Brockaflowersaurus-rex and Fly My Pretties.

The band has its roots firmly embedded in the traditions of Jamaican rocksteady, ska and reggae music and is further nourished by its connection with its community. Hailing from the Wellington suburb of Newtown, ‘Rocksteady’ as it is known to many of its fans, began its existence playing at community events and stonking house parties; as such the band is well-versed in the art of getting bodies on the dance floor.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Newtown Rocksteady

Releases

East Of The Tasman
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Goin' Steady
Year: 2013
Type: Album
EP
Year: 2011
Type: EP

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