Taking reggae to a whole new level since the release oftheir first world hit wonder Rude, Canadian reggae band Magic! are proving to be born leaders in a respected musical genre that first surfaced more than four decades ago.
Nasri Atweh, Mark Pellizzer, Ben Spivak and Alex Tanas are the four magic musicians that make Magic! so inimitable and fruitful amongst a daring and difficult industry to break into and their rare take on reggae has their fan base abundantly growing.
They’re latest hit-maker Red Dress off new album Primary Colours has been profoundly red hot on the billboards, especially across Australia, which has seen the band return to our shores for the third time since making major headway two years ago.
“I think we still have a modest fan base at the moment we’re trying to do our best to expand that and connect the dots between the song, the brand and Magic! itself,” says Ben.
“I’ve noticed the growth in that myself, but we’re still very much in the process of connecting the song with the group,” he adds.
With a change up in beats and melodies in the band’s second album, the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree so to speak lyrically, as Magic! felt it was coherent to keep their eminent lyrical style for their next project.
“I’d say in many ways it’s a continuation on from the first album. In respect to the song writing, it’s a slight progression I think departing from reggae, but highlighting different aspects of reggae because we’re not authentic reggae musicians. I don’t think it’s that different from the first album, it’s just the next logical step,” says Ben.
“We’re kind of giving our fans what they expect from us, but it’s cool because it’s a wide variety of genres – reggae, pop, rock, even some nice ballads. It’s a nice mixture of what our fans would expect from Magic!,” adds Alex.
As the band’s lyrical creations illustrate creativity and originality, the foundation of such anecdotes for album number two branch from very organic experiences, with some as spontaneous as sitting in a hotel room in South-East Asia with kitchen utensils for rhythm and sound.
“Numerous of experiences incited our second album. We all talk about one that happened in Manilla, where we were just hitting pots and pans and vibing out in a hotel room,” says Alex.
“Though, that was a very common thing for this album – writing in the back of buses and hotel rooms. When we had an idea we’d just make a voice note,” he adds.
Their partnership with Jamaican musician Sean Paul on song Lay Your Down Easy off their new album is the first collaborated record for the band and is receiving high interest and support for the smooth and laidback track released earlier this year.
“It was very much a studio collaboration – we just sent him the song and he featured on it. Though, when we came to shooting the video he came over to Alex’s house and he was really cool. Super nice guy, really chilled dude and we just hung out,” says Ben.
And it’s the same smooth and laidback attitude that’s brought Magic! back on Australian soil to perform in Sydney for its large and loving audience, with the band’s now third visit proving their music is fitting us like a glove.
“I think Australia is the best of the best! It’s amazing coming here. I think our genre and style really fits the culture here and everybody seems to gravitate towards the warm, reggae pop vibe – it’s an easy fit for us here,” says Alex.
Their growth in modern reggae has rewarded Magic! with a strong fan base, continuing international success well after releasing Rude, which ruled the charts by sitting at at number one for six consecutive weeks.
“I think the most surprising outcome is just ‘Rude’ itself. We weren’t really anticipating or expecting it to be as big as it was – hitting a billion views,” says Ben.
“We just don’t want it to be a novelty single song situation. There’s always that worry of it being the elephant, like a mountain you can’t climb – you know being so big that we can’t progress from that, but that was shocking, how big it got,” he says.
Their style and approach to reggae is clearly flourishing across many cultures and countries, but it doesn’t stop there, as their live performances have bloomed fruitfully for all musicians since forming as a band four years ago.
“When we started playing in the band we were mainly in the studio, now for about three years we’ve playing live and getting way better at playing as a live show, and our musicianship is getting tighter together, that’s definitely the biggest thing – we’re working constantly on it,” says Ben.
“We’ve learnt that you just have to continue working and persevering and not to give up and things will continue to go well. And, I think personal relationships within the band is important, staying cool with each other and also just having a good time!”
And after blowing us away at Sydney’s Newtown Social Club and promoting their new LP in Brisbane, the band will head on over next month to Stars and Stripes, America before setting sail to Peru and Ecuador, which are both firsts for the bands’ touring history.
“We’re going to Peru, Ecuador for the first time, which will be cool. Then we’ll be going back to Argentina and Mexico again, which are places that embrace us really well, so we’re happy to go back there!
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