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June/July 2013

by Alex Baird

Fresh Talent: 1 Drop Nation

by Alex Baird

Fresh Talent: 1 Drop Nation

1 Drop Nation is a band of many flavours. Drops of reggae, Bollywood, funk, pop, jazz, rock and RnB. You wouldn’’t think it was possible, but that’’s what 1 Drop Nation has crafted: a sound that listeners have been calling “sublime””. Lead vocalist Kanei Johnston laughs at the compliment. He doesn’’t even know what that means.
McDonald’’s doesn’’t strike as the likely haunt of one of the most gourmet sounds in Christchurch, but it was there that I met 1 Drop Nation one brisk evening in May. Gathered around a tray of hot chocolates, Kanei, bass player and back-up vocalist Damien Rarere, and guitarist Paerau Hemopo waited for their first-ever magazine interview.

In just one year, the six-piece act has supported some of the biggest names in reggae – from Spawnbreezie and 1814 to Tomorrow People and Tahuna Breaks. 1 Drop Nation has been on TV, radio and is featured on volume 6 of CHART’’s (Christchurch Music Industry Trust) ‘Emerging Artists’ album, which was released on May 1. All indications are the band won’’t be playing the support role for much longer.

“We just went hard from day one and tried to get our name out there as much as we could. Things just happened from there,”” says Kanei.

The band is still developing – an “evolving power”” – and the guys admit they are still unsure what its sound is. Indeed the six, all of whom, bar one, went to CPIT’’s Jazz School, are continuously reshaping the sound.

“There are some pretty sought-after musos in our band,”” says Kanei. “All of us individually just bring so much to the table, and I think with the more time we have together, we can evolve into something really massive.””

1 Drop Nation has already released two singles but is now taking time out to focus on its “crazy” live show” – a live show that, given their early success, promises to be more than sublime.

https://www.facebook.com/1dropnation