20 Oct 2020
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Sola Rosa - Interview with Sola Rosa

16 Sep 2020 // An interview by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Sola Rosa is one of Kiwi music’s most evolutionary and enduring acts. With 2020 comes Sola Rosa's next musical chapter with the release of the long player Chasing The Sun. Easily his most collaborative project to date, Chasing The Sun is an expertly crafted collection of the funk, soul and jazz influences that he’s been known for over his 20-plus year career, while further showcasing some of the best established and emerging musicians the world has to offer.

Gaby from Muzic.net.nz recently spoke to Andrew about all things Sola Rosa.

Hello to Andrew Spraggon and Sola Rosa! It’s a real pleasure. Please, tell us a bit about yourself as a band. When did you all connect and come to be what you are now?

Hey, likewise! I guess this is widely known now, but Sola Rosa started as a solo / studio based project which was something I needed to do after playing in bands for many years, but as I began to perform live I realised what a boring show it was to watch - a guy on stage twiddling knobs and faders, so I started to recruit players. It took many years to get a good band cooking, which was around 2005 and the Moves On album. Since then, there has been various band members in the line-up. Sola Rosa is essentially a collaborative project, so it’s a natural process to have a revolving door of different musicians involved in the live show.

Your album is reaching our ears this September 25th. How exciting! This is a 12-track beast of a record with some winning singles released thus far. The beauty of collaboration is heard here. What words of advice do you have for fellow musicians in regards to ‘the art of collaboration’?

Yeah it's my 7th studio album and 5 years in the making. I’m pretty proud of this one, I put my all into it. I didn’t want to cut corners, I wanted to take my time and end up with an album of tracks I’m 100% happy with. Not that you can ever be 100% happy, that's not really the nature of things as you’re always finding flaws in your own art. I love this quote by Antonio Gaudi "Work is the fruit of cooperation, and the latter is only possible on the basis of love". I feel that kind of sums things up. Music is about cooperation or collaboration with people you love and admire. Sure, you can make music by yourself and that’s all good, but the true beauty comes when hearts and minds come together and resonate. So deep huh!

Sola Rosa has been around for years. However, the band definitely does not have an ‘old’ sound. Your skill in music has really lifted-off multiple times with multiple records that many of us have grown to love. Would you say keeping ‘worldly’ is part of the secret to sounding current?

Thanks, I appreciate that. I guess a big fear of any musician that's been around long enough, is to become irrelevant. I know for me that during the making of the first 4 albums, I didn’t care what people thought. My mistake was to second guess myself around the time of the Low and Behold album, and also Magnetics. Not only did I lose confidence, but I wanted to explore a different sound - I was rebelling against what people came to know as the Sola Rosa sound. With this new album I feel like I’ve come back home and I don't care about being accepted, I just wanted to make music that I love, which is what I feel people were attracted to in the first place. Apart from that I like to listen to current music. I love music from every era, but I love to hear the latest and greatest and I feel like that rubs off on me. Nothing worse than a music-maker stuck in a certain era, you can't do anything but stagnate.

From the beginning, Sola Rosa has soul, funk, jazz, R&B, and Latin sounds. Your music may have many different influences of genre and rhythms, and a great many talented musicians feature, but the sound has some consistency. Who, or what would you say are your biggest inspirations musically that may have affected your sound?

In all honesty, there is no select group of influencers. I take influence from all kinds of music makers. Sometimes I feel like our major influences were formed when we were a teenager, those artists whose music you devoured with a ferocity. As much as I can't listen to them now, The Cure were a massive influence on me as a kid. Also, Devo, B52’s, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, Jane’s Addiction, Fugazi, Nick Cave, The Meters, Parliament/Funkadelic, as well as labels like Ninja Tune and Mo Wax in the 90's. That was the start of things anyway. I’ve been through different phases throughout the years, exploring different genres such as punk, post-punk, new wave, indie, rock, jazz, funk, hip-hop, world, classical etc. I feel like that's important for any music maker if you really want to try and reach the gold, and there's lots of it out there in every genre.

What are some key messages you like to express in your music? A lot of lyrics of course speak for themselves. However, what thoughts ignite and draw you to the creative process?

Up until recently I don’t get involved in the lyrics. I’ve learned to say when I’m unsure about a lyric, and will try and work with whoever is writing the lyrics to come up with something we’re both happy with, but lyric writing is not my forte. I did write lyrics in bands for many years, but I came to the realisation that I more or less sucked at it. It’s good to acknowledge what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.

Covid-19 has taxed a lot on the music community. It’s a really tough time for live performance currently! If we could put this pandemic aside, what are your goals in the next year with this album? If this is not possible to think of, what has this pandemic opened your eyes to?

It’s been shit for everyone in the industry. Sure, there’s some positives but overall it’s been hard for many, I especially feel for the production companies, sound engineers, lighting operators, booking agents etc. The pandemic has firmly established that the way we currently live our lives on this planet is unsustainable. I’d like to see governments really learn from this once it's all over, but I feel things will just go back to how they were - after all, when it comes down to it, money and greed drive the economy and the economy is king. I’d like to tour this album outside of NZ, that was the plan, but I can’t see that happening for some time. Who knows, hopefully we get to perform and tour NZ this summer. There's no point in predicting 2021 if 2020 is anything to go by.

If you could change a few things about the music industry in New Zealand, what would they be?

I don't know, I think everyone is suffering on different levels right now and there's a lot of support from the industry, so I wouldn’t like to make any judgements or criticisms.

Lastly, with your life experience so far, what is the best advice you have been given as a person?

I get this question a bit and tbh I can’t recall any piece of advice that was monumental. The best advice I have is my own advice from my own experience. If I were to pass on any piece of wisdom to younger music makers who are getting into music, seriously I would say 'get a contract / agreement for everything and make sure you understand what's in said agreement, have clear conversations with band members and collaborators and get a good lawyer’. On a more positive note I would say ‘be yourself with your music - don't try to be someone else, the music world celebrates uniqueness and diversity’.

 

About Sola Rosa

Sola Rosa is one of Kiwi music’s most evolutionary and enduring acts.

With seven full-length albums, four EP's, a handful of hits, countless collaborations and numerous world tours, it’s been a 20-year labour of love for the man behind the music, Andrew Spraggon.

And although it’s punctuated with twists and turns in the form of constant change and innovation, one thing has remained the same – Spraggon’s steadfast commitment to making great albums that seamlessly blend a myriad of genres, from hip-hop and jazz, to neo-soul, latin and funk.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sola Rosa

Releases

Chasing The Sun
Year: 2020
Type: Album
In Spaces
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Magnetics
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Solarized (Refreshed)
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Low And Behold, High And Beyond
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Get It Together - The Remixes
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Get It Together
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Moves On
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Haunted Out Takes
Year: 2003
Type: Album
The Ready Now EP
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Solarized
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Entrance To Skyway
Year: 2001
Type: EP

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