REGGAE | Kingfisha

IRIE™ Magazine | REGGAE - Kingfisha


Dub Aficionados

Internationally acclaimed dub aficionados KINGFISHA have been crafting their own blend of modern reggae for nearly a decade. Seductive, polished and undeniably catchy, the KINGFISHA sound is defined by its distinctive mix of deep all-encompassing rhythms, compelling synth lines and treated drums – all topped with an understated soul vocal. The band’s live shows have been relished from Europe to Africa while reaffirming their impeccable reputation back home as Australia’s bass-heavy roof-raisers.

Described as “unique as a fingerprint” by Scenestr and “completely fresh” by Rip It Up – the band charted nationally across community radio with a swag of ‘Feature Albums’, TripleJ rotation, Unearthed Roots wins, a Queensland Music Award and multiple stellar tours. It’s safe to say their albums comprised of exceptional musicianship and songwriting had hit the mark.

KINGFISHA have performed at coveted festivals such as: Reggae Sun Ska Festival, Rototom Sunsplash, Boomtown Fair, Earth Frequency Festival, Rainbow Serpent Festival, Island Vibe, IOMMA, Woodford Folk Festival and Ostróda Reggae Festival.

Their latest work is ‘Offered In Dub’, a premium selection of remixes from KINGFISHA’s second album produced by renowned international dub heavyweight’s such as Vibronics, Zion Train, The Disciples, Paddy Free and more!

KINGFISHA’s music can be found on all streaming services through Soulbeats Records in Europe and ABC Music (UMG) in Australia/New Zealand. Members of Kingfisha include (from left to right as pictured on the front cover of IRIE): Dave Bell, Drew Stephens, Anthony Forrest, Jason Leca, Andrew Zylstra.

Dirty Man Dub ft. Vibronics

IRIE™ | Kingfisha - Dirty Man Dub ft. Vibronics

Release Date: November 7, 2019
Label: Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC)
Copyright: 2019 Kingfisha
Total Length: 3:44
Total Tracks: 1
Format: Single
Genre: Dub Reggae

The Interview

IRIE. We first saw you perform live at Reggae Sun Ska back in 2017 and have been diehard fans ever since. Can you tell us how you guys came together to form Kingfisha?

Kingfisha. Anthony and I went to high school together and played in several bands for many years where we learned our strengths and weaknesses as musicians, songwriters and producers.

We developed a passion for reggae and dub music, and realised we could bring some of our own ideas and stories to create a sound that was original, yet rootsy and spoke to an international audience.

As the band evolved from a studio project into a live touring act we brought on additional members to hone our sound into the vocally driven, dub and digital songwriting unit that we are today.

IRIE. Why the name Kingfisha? Is there a story behind it or particular meaning?

Kingfisha. We were writing our first few songs in the studio where we lived and were looking for a band name, we looked out of the window and a Kingfisher bird was sitting on a branch watching us.

It seemed to take an interest in what we were working doing so we took that as a positive sign and the rest is history, we added an A on the end to highlight our Australian culture and the particular slang that can be heard throughout our part of the world.

IRIE. You guys have such an authentic dub reggae sound. Who are some of your influences?

Kingfisha. We have a wide variety of influences from electronic to world music but try to keep Kingfisha’s sound consistent.

We love Midnite, Biga Ranx, Max Romeo, Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Scientist, Vibronics, and much of the reggae we hear coming out of France.

IRIE. What is Kingfisha’s songwriting process? Is it a group effort or do certain members play specific roles?

Kingfisha. Anthony often brings in sketches with vocal melodies and lyrics, or someone will write a rhythm which we develop in the studio and rehearsal room where everyone gets to bring their own elements to flesh it out. We have a very open approach to collaboration and every idea gets a chance to shine, fortunately we are mostly on the same page when deciding if it’s a good idea or not, and the song always comes first.

IRIE. You released your EP, ‘Promises’, back in 2008. What was your mindset as a band releasing your first album to the world? Did you ever envision Kingfisha being where you are today?

Kingfisha. Kingfisha was always going to be the project that we put all our energy behind, and we did have some idea from the outset that if we could successfully bring together the digital and dub elements to support the songwriting then it would be a great band. I don’t think we ever expected to be given the opportunities to play at international festivals or that our music would connect with people from other countries, but reggae is more than a genre, it is a lifestyle that is recognised across the planet and we are honoured to share our music with people who understand where we are coming from.

IRIE. Where do you get your inspiration for your songs?

Kingfisha. Our inspiration comes from experiences that spark our creativity. It may be a conversation that is overheard leading to a lyrical idea, or maybe a series of notes that tell a story or even a sound that triggers an emotion. These sparks are then fleshed out and pushed in various directions until there is a song that connects with us and our audience.

IRIE. Kingfisha has toured all over the world, performing at some of the biggest international music 
festivals, including Reggae Sun Ska Festival, Rototom Sunsplash, Boomtown Fair, Rainbow Serpent 
Festival, Island Vibe, IOMMA, Woodford Folk Festival and Ostróda Reggae Festival to name a few. 
Is there a memorable moment that stays with you guys as a band?

Kingfisha. There are many memorable moments but its hard to go past the mind-blowing experience of our first Reggae Sun Ska show.

We had never seen reggae and soundsystem festival culture at this scale, it was both terrifying and validating at the same time, and we were made to feel so at home despite our obvious Australian naivety.

IRIE. What has been the biggest song for Kingfisha and why?

Kingfisha. ‘Piece Of The Puzzle’ is probably our most popular song in Australia as we received some decent radio play which showcased us to bigger more diverse audience. It was great because it was one of the first songs we wrote that featured lots of synths, including synth bass and it really captured the sound that we were working towards.

IRIE. Are there any artists or bands that you would like to collaborate with?

Kingfisha. We have actually been releasing some dub versions from our last album, Offered It Up. These were remixed by some of our favourite producers including Vibronics, Paddy Free, The Disciples, Zion Train, and more. It has been an honour to hear the heavyweight dub vibe they bring to our songs. It would be a dream to work with Scientist on a Kingfisha song one day.

IRIE. What’s in store for Kingfisha in 2020?

Kingfisha. We have some big festivals planned for the first part of the year and will continue writing and recording for our next album. We have a bunch of new tunes coming up which are partly recorded, and we are hoping to reconnect with our international audience in 2021 if not sooner!

IRIE. What do you hope your fans and first-time listeners take with them after listening to Kingfisha?

Kingfisha. I hope that people are initially drawn to the songwriting and vocals, then over time discover the depth to our productions. We have strong drum and bass rhythms that will ground people who are not familiar with our sound, whilst the synths and dub effects take us to another level of listening pleasure for those who are looking for something a little more sonic.

IRIE. Is there anything you would like to say or share with our IRIE audience?

Kingfisha. Just a big shout out to our family from Soulbeats Records and ABC Music – and of course all our fans! The memories we have from the last European tour are very close to our hearts and provide us with plenty of inspiration for the next batch of songs which we look forward to sharing with you all. Until next time, much love!

IRIE. Give thanks, Kingfisha! Much Love & Respect!

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IRIE on Spotify Playlist | IRIE on SPOTIFY – December 2019

LISTEN to Kingfisha on Spotify | Kingfisha on SPOTIFY