This week has been an extremely emotional week for me and this is thanks to Grassy Spark.
I’ve known Grassy Spark for a few years now. From working at the rehearsal studio where they practised when I was still a student, by booking them for shows and also attending an unknown amount of their shows, I’m privileged to have called the guys, my friends.
I became involved with South African music industry, because I’ve been dealt some low blows in life, but I mean who hasn’t?
The music industry and local artists like Grassy Spark fuel my passion and gives me the power to take on each day, step by step. It’s guys like them who inspired me to join forces with SA Music Scene’s original founder in 2011.
I reached out for help and I learnt that my brain functions a bit differently than the ‘normal’ everyday person.
Sometimes at work or whenever things get too much, I put my earphones in and listen to positive music.
I’m so thankful for guys like Grassy Spark making music, maybe struggling to make a living, but I rejoice for every #HereIAm video I see online because not only is this band inspiring positive change, but we as music fans are supporting local artists who pour their heart and soul into their music. Every musician you see and hear should be appreciated, no matter how successful they are or if you can relate to their music/genre because I promise you that someone out there can relate and needed their music to carry them through difficult times.
When the #HereIAm campaign launched, I spoke up for the first time and I had a chat with Josh and explained to him what their music means to me. Their single, ‘Here I Am’, off their brand debut album premieres on 5FM Friday morning 29th July and I just had to chat to Josh before the release.
What inspired you and the band to launch the #HereIAm campaign?
The inspiration is as simple as a feeling we all experience, think about, and act upon; that only you can make your dreams happen, only you can overcome fear and doubt, and that if you have a particular skill or talent, its important to inspire and communicate a positive message with it so that people can do the same, given the amount of negativity we’re exposed to as human beings – Life can be dark and hard for everyone, the point is not to ignore it with this campaign, but to rather take a step forward at tackling the inner conflict as a first step towards tackling the collective struggle and conflict.
For many people, your rise to fame and success came very fast by winning the In The City competition in 2015(?), but Grassy Spark has been going for many years now. Can you please tell us when the dream of Grassy Spark was first born and the message that you as a band stand for?
I suppose the dream of Grassy Spark began long before we were even Grassy Spark, when myself, Yanick, and Lawrence use to jam metal in high school. The dream really started to kick in when I wrote a reggae song for a girl with Yanick, where we realised that we had something really special going. Since then we made an effort to make our music, product and brand as polished as possible and will continue to do so; but on top of that, we recognise that having the talent’s we do comes with an even bigger responsibility and that is to communicate to people and affirm within ourselves that we are just average, everyday Joes, who just want people to know they are just as epic at whatever they do, whatever it may be.
You guys in the band are extremely friendly and always have time to have a chat with your fans and people you work with. Why do you as a band do this and how do you make every fan feel part of your family?
We do this because we’re tired of competing,tired of individualism, and tired of the ‘Rock Star’ attitude – we are indeed in the age of ‘The Popstar’ which is scary because it fuels the ego to horrible extents – we’re not perfect at all either, being in a 7 piece band is all about democracy, and the ego we each possess is constantly trying to have its voice heard, however at every point (even when we fight) we do our best to keep the Monkey on our backs under control, and come together in the best way possible – the idea and ethos is collectivism resting on the premise that nothing can be achieved alone but rather together – it’s a really tough thing to get right, and we don’t explicitly do every time, but we do our best to communicate this to everyone around us by inviting as many people into our live’s as possible and letting our guard down; if we fight we make sure we say sorry, we try to be as understanding, and make sure that Love is the final goal – this is definitely what fuels that ‘friendliness’ you speak of.
I’ve read about artists who’s fans have testified that their tracks have saved them for doing unthinkable things like suicide, etc. It looks to me as if you guys didn’t only believe in the power of music, but took full responsibility for releasing music with a deeper meaning to change lives. What changed in this past year that Grassy Spark started recording debut album ‘Portal’?
A lot I suppose, to mention everything would be an endless conversation, we’ve lost Loved ones, we’ve failed at particular things, and I suppose we’ve begun to pay close attention to the darkness and struggle that is ripe in our world, and with our music seek to affect a positive change – it definitely started in 2014 in Zambia on that trip with Greenpop; they showed us a reality we had been ignoring all along at home, and opened our eyes to how lucky we are – life can be hard, life can be rough, but the silver lining is the goal. We’ve been on this trip for a while and somehow can’t escape it – although we carry a consistent humorous tone (because that’s how we are in real life), we are extremely deep individuals.
With politicians, leaders and most mainstream figures not acting as idols to the youth, do you feel that the role of musicians have gained an immense amount of responsibility?
Definitely, think about Bob Marley – that’s all we have to say in this regard!
Humanity worldwide seems to be in a time of crisis and I feel your campaign has called every individual to act on their dreams and change their world positively. Was this a concession decision?
We could’ve taken two paths with it 1) Be full pop about things and sell that side of our music or 2) Be as real as possible – which is what the world needs; although a balance of both at the right time is important; bearing in mind the ego monkey that always wants his voice heard.
What does it mean to you seeing all these #HereIAm videos and what would you like to say to all your fans who have participated?
Cannot express what it means to us; it could’ve been one person that did it but the response has been overwhelming; it means that people are actually listening and acting out how they should; not for us but for themselves. We can only express our deepest gratitude and salute those who have opened up about their dreams, we are incredibly proud to call them fans but more so friends; our hearts are bursting and there is an overall good vibe in the Grassy Camp.
Here are some of the #HereIAm videos:
You can catch Grassy Spark live:
Friday 29 July at Manila Bar with Shortstraw
Saturday 30 July at Manila Bar with Shortstraw
OppiKoppi 2016, 5 – 8 August