New Zealand’s own The Black Seeds have created an epic 10 track album with Love & Fire. Mostly based on their daily lives the new release takes a look at what it means to be a partner, parent, and musician – all in a day. It shines a light on the ups and downs of a life lived while musically honing their hallmark sound, the intersections of dance, funk, soul and reggae.
Photo by David James
For the recording, the band had planned to be together in the studio but like many other creative projects, the album took an unexpected turn with the arrival of COVID in New Zealand. With studio sessions canceled and bandmates unable to gather – they turned to zoom-based creativity. Lead singer Barnaby Weir and keyboardist Nigel Patterson’s studios became the hubs for pulling together the new album. Although written prior to the pandemic, the timing is not lost on us. With the themes explored on Love & Fire only amplified by the pandemic, The Black Seed has created one of the most relatable albums to date. Let’s explore:
“Let The Sunshine Through” was written by Weir who calls the new single a “Bittersweet love song.” He says, “I wrote this song just pre-Covid lockdown in New Zealand and worked on it during the first lockdown just after having had my first child, which was quite complicated and stressful.”
“‘Let The Sunshine Through’ is about finding hope in a fraught scenario. There was something about the key that it is in and the melodies of the song, they are emotional but in a positive way.”
“Bring The Sun” is a fun upbeat dance, reggae mash-up that shines a light on people’s newly or perhaps more exposed digital habits. The music video takes on a green screen/ zoom vibe with co-frontman Daniel Weetman explaining; “My eldest son lives in Sydney and due to the Covid restrictions with travel I started to wonder and worry about when I would see him again. We keep in contact a lot over video calls and when we speak it is for hours and we connect really well through this technology at a distance. So the song revealed itself to be about the strong bond my son and I have and that the distance between us is nothing when our love for each other is unbreakable”.
“It’s So Real” takes the album into a funky skanky groove that is based on the domestic grind of a stay at home parent and the trials and tribulations of raising a family in the modern world.
Director Ria Simmons worked closely with Barnaby to visually capture the sentiment of the tune and its “gritty, sexy, funky undertones.” “Barnaby rang me and told me it was a song basically about the domestic grind and trying to make things work with your partner,” says Ria.
“With the title of the song, we knew it needed to hold some home truths. We got onto the idea of following Barnaby and his son Miles on their daily grind – a week of stay-at-home dad activities. Then weaving the idea that it’s all to impress the Mrs, and we stumbled into the idea of mashing up super heroism with domesticity. From there the concept grew to the superpowers needed to get through life in general. We want to encourage people to see the fun and magic in the normal everyday grind and believe that super heroism can be the smallest of acts, like washing the dishes!”
“Game Over” is a classic reggae vibe, that confronts challenging subjects of adversity, depression, and the daily domestic grind.
“The lyrical content of this song describes some of the challenges and feelings of life as a musician and parent in this world,” says Weir. “It’s about the struggle to be the best you can while maintaining relationships and careers – as well as feeling like you’re achieving something. It’s definitely a feeling we all have at times.”
LOVE & FIRE is a skillfully woven album of soul, dub, roots, reggae, funk, Afrobeat and other elements brought together by well-honed musicianship and production – in other words, The Black Seeds!
By Mercedes Romana