NiceUp talks to Patu Colbert from Aotearoa reggae band, 1814, about how the group has evolved and their works in 2009.

Can you give us a bit of background about the band – who are the members and how did you link up?

I started playing with my son’s Shaun and Jimmy around 2004 as a three-piece supporting local community events. As the popularity of the band grew I brought people in to fulfill the sound I was wanting to incorporate in the music, like more vocals, keys and sax. My nephew Darren Katene is now the lead vocalist with Katherine Te Haara-Atama and Maihi Pinker (backing vocals), Reuben Heger (sax) and Erana Jones (keys).

Why did you call yourselves 1814?

The name 1814, was taken from the year the Gospel arrived at Oihi, in the Bay Of Islands, not far from where we live. Missionary, Samuel Marsden, held the first sermon there on Christmas Day, 1814. This is the inspiration behind delivering a message of peace, love and unity to all people throughout the land.

Who/what are your music influences?

Our influences are people like Bob Marley, Steele Pulse, Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Inner Circle, Morgan Heritage, Alpha Blondie to name a few.

Have you toured much around the country?  Where do you normally play?

We play mostly around Northland where we have a reasonable following and had near 450-500 Saturday night in Opononi. We travel down to the Bay Of Plenty often cause we have whanau in Rotorua and play from two to three weeks around Raglan, Taupo, Tauranga, Whakatane and the East Coast building our rep.

What was it like putting together your album, Jah Rydem?  How did that process go?

We had a great time putting the album together, we wrote some of the songs quite fast (two in a day) and things fell into place easy which sped everything along. Some songs we road tested the same week they were written and they went off with the crowd first time up.

What plans have you got coming up for 2009?

We hope to have a new album out for the coming summer and a few gigs down the South Island, a trip to Australia and heaps of gigs around the North Island.

Any other words for the reggae massive?

Get out and support all the reggae bands around the country and build a huge reggae following in Aotearoa that could rival Hawaii.

More info:
1814 website

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