Interview with Christafari from Fear Nuttin Band (@fearnuttinband)
On a mission to “Unify The Music, Unify The People” and hailing from Springfield, Massachusetts, Fear Nuttin Band are turning heads and making plenty of noise in the Reggae-Rock circuit these days. Featuring a diverse cast of musicians from all over the world, the sextet’s multiple genre approach to recorded music and live performance makes for a great time in concert.
Whether sharing stages with musical legends like Steel Pulse or Toots and the Maytals, or packing clubs with newer bands like Tribal Seeds and Rebelution, Fear Nuttin Band aims to bring their hybridization of Rock, Hip Hop, and Reggae to audiences everywhere. Groups like Fear Nuttin Band are doing wonderful things to revitalize the Jamaican musical presence, and their distinct ability to blend and fuse musical stylings is something to behold.
Currently touring their latest release, “Move Positive,” on BoomBlaze Records, the group has also released “Yardcore,” which was produced by none other than Terry Date (Deftones and Korn.) I got to speak with guitarist Christafari prior to their performance in Hartford, Ct. opening for Less Than Jake, Pepper, and Sublime with Rome to discuss the group’s history, their unique sonic combination, live show, and life on the road.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where did you guys all meet?
C- Chris, Brian and Jay grew up together playing in bands since teenagers. We met up with Roosta and Prowla 11 yrs ago. A friend of ours brought them by our old band’s rehearsal space in Enfield, CT. for a jam, and the band broke up that night. So we asked them if they wanted to start a band with us.
Prowla – Vox
Roosta – Vox
Christafari – Guitar
Mike Fuchs- Drums
Jay Chung – Guitar/Vox
Brian from Zion – Bass
G- How long has Fear Nuttin Band been around, and when did you first get started? Can you tell us a bit about those first practices where things started to gel?
C- The first jam session we knew we had something. We vibed on roots reggae stuff for a bit and then decided to turn on the volume and go hardcore to see what happened next. It felt new, exciting and right.
G- So, Fear Nuttin band has members from West India on the mic, and all the instrumentalists are from New England. Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, and how is the scenes are in your (vastly different) respective areas?
C- Roosta and Prowla are from Jamaica. Jay Chung, who is also from Jamaica originally, grew up in Enfield, CT. with Brian and I, where we were classmates in middle school before we played instruments. We found Mike Fuchs, from New York, 2 years ago on Youtube covering one of our songs while we were in search of a new drummer. Ironically, he heard of FNB from his brother who was in prison in Enfield. While locked up, he heard us on a local college radio station and told Mike he has to check out this crazy Jamaican rock reggae band!
G- Lol that’s pretty wild! So, Fear Nuttin Band are currently working on your third release, if I am not mistaken. Where are you recording the next album, who is producing the record, and when might we be able to expect a release in the future?
C- We plan to release our next album “Vibes Love Revolution” on Nov 6. (Election Day.) I produced this one mostly at my house in Springfield, MA.
G- Can you tell us a bit about your tunes and writing process? Where did you find the inspiration to write your new material, and do you have a primary songwriter, or is it more of a collaborative effort based around jamming in rehearsals?
C- Songs come from a variety of places… We just try to follow the vibrations around us. There is no set way in how we do it. “Vibes Love Revolution” is probably the most collaborative album we’ve made and everybody has a part in it. The inspiration for the title was from us trying to put into words what we are about. We felt that “Vibes Love Revolution” sums us up fairly well.
G- Solid. That seems like a good way to go about doing it. To get back to touring for a minute, you guys spend a good amount of time on the road, and the road can be a harsh, unforgiving place for bands. How do you guys maintain your performance schedule and how do you occupy your time when you’re traveling between gigs?
C- We just do what we do. Reading, listening to music, writing songs, talking about politics, food, movies… We try to just chill and keep up a good vibe with each other, which sometimes means giving each other space. On the road, you always try to catch sleep whenever the opportunity arises.
G- Right on… A rested musician always plays better! To change it up a bit, the issue of crowd safety and security has been in the news recently. Has Fear Nuttin Band had to deal with any altercations with fans or security at your shows? What do you guys do if/when there is an issue with the crowd/security?
C- We’ve never really had any major problems at our shows from fans or security. Every once in a while it gets rowdy on the floor, and if it looks like it could get bad, we usually remind everyone to take care of each other and that usually seems to work.
G- Cool. So what should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road? What should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
C- Expect us to blaze the fyah! We never hold back! We love to be on stage, so whether there is a small crowd, or thousands, we bring it the same way. It’s a love thing. You can’t go half in with love… It’s all or nothing
G- Excellent answer… I dig it! Can you give us a few examples of any bands or artists in particular that influence or have influenced your style? Who do you typically like to listen to, and are there any acts you think we should know about?
C- It’s hard to say. We all listen to a lot of different music, separately and together. We are always learning from each others’ iTunes playlists, so it’s a constant evolution of influence. Over the years, we’ve played with tons of great bands, and some of everything we like ends up somewhere in our sound or stage show.
G- How about any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future?
C- We have been blessed to have the opportunity to link up with a lot of the bands and artists we like, but Damian Marley, Killswitch Engage, the whole Wu Tang, and 311 are some bands that come to mind.
G- FNB and 311 sharing a stage together would make entirely too much sense… I’d love to see that happen! Since I only have a few questions left, can you tell us what is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
C- That’s a tough one. There are so many. We go at each show the same way and try to come out of it feeling the vibes up high. I guess one that stands out at this moment is a show we did with Streetlight Manifesto in Nebraska. It was a sold out show and kids were flying on and off the stage the whole set. Thankfully, security was cool and helped facilitate the fun and keep it safe rather than fight it. It was like having 4 extra band members on stage with the security guys being up there the whole show!
G- Ha right on! Energetic crowds always make the show a blast, and big ups to the security guards for letting the fun continue! Can you give some of our readers who may be looking to form bands some advice on making it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
C- Keep doing it. There’s no easy ways or shortcuts, get to know your fans and let them be an inspiration. Make friends with bands and help each other out, always work on making your craft better on and off stage, and be self-reliant. Music industry people are usually dicks.
G- I hear that.