An Interview With The Brooklyn-Based Reggae-Blend Band, SUPER HI-FI!
Posted On 22 Mar 2018
Meet the Brooklyn-based band called Super Hi-Fi. The group is known for fusing reggae and elements of Afrobeat, and on March 9th, they released their long awaited sophomore LP Blue and White via Very Special Recordings. Punctuated by dual trombones and gut rattling bass lines Super Hi-Fi have certainly mastered the reggae art form and their new album Blue and White further exemplifies this mastery.
This collection features original songs and will have a stunning cover design from print-maker Robert Swainston, who designed a cover that will be printed on each album individually. “Each one will be a little different but will come from the same source” explains Gale, “which echoes the aesthetics of dub music where you have different pieces made from the same song.” It’s a different perspective and more ambitious than most, but it’s clear by now that there aren’t many challenges Super Hi-Fi isn’t interested in taking on
Super Hi-Fi is:
Rick Parker, Robert Stringer – Trombones
Jon Lipscomb – Guitar
Ezra Gale – Bass, vocals
Madhu Siddappa – Drums
Connect with Super Hi-Fi Here:
Facebook – Twitter – Website – Soundcloud – Spotify
Learn more about Super Hi-Fi in the following All Access interview: (The answers are from Ezra Gale)
So what is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
I woke up today with “Karma Chameleon” in my head for some reason and I’m sure we would all disagree about that one.
How has 2018 been treating you all so far? What is one musical goal that you have for this year?
Been good so far! Our goal is to finish printing all our album covers and then make another record!
Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are? How did you pick this one?
The band has been evolving since 2011; actually we started because l put an ad on Craigslist for trombone players and I got two responses, from Alex Asher and Ryan Snow, who knew each other and were both awesome, so that was that. The name came from wanting something Jamaican (“Hi-Fi” and African (“Super”); I thought of it while on my bike.
What has the growth been like for this band since first forming?
I think we’ve been evolving all the time as you can hear from all our records and singles over the years. Once we do something, there’s no reason to do it the same way again.
How do you think being from your hometown has influenced this group and the kind of music that you create?
Being from Brooklyn, New York means we hear the best of everything every day. And it all seeps into our music – reggaeton at the bodega, Bach cello suites on the subway platform, some pedal steel guitar at some honky tonk in Williamsburg.
Let’s talk about your newest and fifth album called “Blue and White.” Was recording this collection any different than your previous ones? Did you approach the process any differently? Why did you decide to record this entire album directly to tape?
We recorded Blue and White over a period of several years while we were recording other albums – our two Christmas records and our Nirvana tribute (“Super Hi-Fi Plays Nirvana”). We record to tape because it sounds better, and also because it forces us to commit and make decisions in the moment – no “let’s just do twenty takes of this and decide later”- and so it makes us more focused on the studio.
Where did the inspiration for these songs come from? Generally speaking, how do you all go about putting songs together? Do you all take turns writing or do you really do it all together?
Climate change deniers, Brooklyn’s Dirty Reggae Party, our band, racial injustice in Ferguson, MO, improvisation, the NYPD standing up for racist police brutality, meter maids. That’s side 1!
Why did you decide to put a cover of The Police’s “Hole In My Life” on this album?
We released a single of the Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping” and a shorter version of the Police’s “Hole In my Life” last year for Record Store Day. But this version is a different performance – it’s longer, and the solos, on guitar by Jon Lipscomb and trombone by Robert Stringer – are out of this world, so we had to put this on the record. I love the Police. We would do a whole Police tribute record like we did for Nirvana but it’s maybe too obvious for us.
Why do you think Very Special Recordings is the right place for this group and your music today?
There’s a bunch of our favorite bands on the label – People’s Champs, Green and Glass, Sheen Marina, Xander Naylor, and this was the first vinyl record release they had done – they’ve done only cassettes so far, and they are really excited, so it seemed like a good idea.
Where can our readers see you perform next? Do you have tour dates already lined up for the year? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
We’re doing a big punk ska bash in Brooklyn at Rubalad on Sat March 17. We’re going to be playing a lot this spring and summer, check our website and social media for updates.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it all?
PR is key for every band right now, in my opinion. Everybody can release anything themselves now, but so what? Who’s going to hear it? You need someone working for you. And you need to focus on your art, not on calling a million blogs to review your record.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
We would love if Bill Laswell produced our next record. Bill, if you’re reading, call us!
We are living in a trying time right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that music being created today is going to reflect this challenging time?
I think music can be a release and an escape, but it can also be something that pushes us to look and think deeper about things that we might not have otherwise. I hope our music does all those things for people, as needed.