When he was in high school, Andrew Spraggon used to draw pictures of his future band on a big stage surrounded with all of their equipment. For him, it was always a dream to some day tour the world showcasing his musical talents.
More than 10 years later, Spraggon, who hails from Auckland, New Zealand, is set to roll into Whistler and continue down that very path with his act, Sola Rosa.
“It’s our first time (there) as a band. We're not really sure what to expect,” he said. “I know that Canadians are a friendly open bunch so hopefully they'll really dig us.”
Best described as a melting pot of soul, hip-hop, funk with a hint of ska and reggae, Sola Rosa started out as just Spraggon himself doing what he loved. After a few years cutting his teeth in the scene, Spraggon fleshed out his lineup and now Sola Rosa is a full-band experience and one step closer to that teenage dream.
“We're here due to serious amounts of hard work,” he said. “We couldn't do this without great management, booking agents, publicists etc. There’s a whole team of people involved who make the wheels turn. I am exactly where I wanted us to be but we're certainly not resting on our laurels. We're constantly looking at how we can improve from live shows to recordings.”
And in the time since he started, not only has Sola Rosa changed significantly, but so has the state of the industry. It’s something that Sproggan said is ultimately for the better.
“I (now) spend far too much time on social media. I sometimes wonder if I spent that time practicing my chops I'd perhaps be a kick ass keyboard player,” he joked. “To really answer your question: I guess physical sales have dropped but our performance fees have increased so we're doing better than we were five years ago.
“I have to say I'm glad to see the fall of major labels. We've done our time with them. They still don’t get it. Its great that bands can now be independent and make shit happen. You need to put more effort in but the rewards are well, more rewarding.”
As for how developing a music career in New Zealand is, Sproggan said that having been so involved with the music scene there, it’s definitely easier to make it as an artist in this day and age.
“In New Zealand, to be a career musician is more accepted than it was in the 1990s,” he said. “There’s more government funding and support, there’s a lot more festivals, which is really where we earn our bread and butter.”
Sproggan also attributes New Zealand’s more community-minded music scenes to being conducive for upcoming artists, but notes that it does have its similarities to scenes the world over.
“I'd love to say its more community-based and in some ways that’s true, in other ways it is just as competitive as it is anywhere else,” he said. “I can call up a player from another band I respect and ask them to come and play on a session, which is awesome. At the same time there is a rivalry, which is also healthy.”
When asked if he looks to different scenes when deciding what to do with his own music, Sproggan rejected the idea saying he didn’t look to what’s popular, but rather did things on his own terms.
“I don’t really care about scenes. Scenes breed nepotism and carbon copies,” he said. “I personally take influences from all sorts of music. I don’t care where its from or who it’s by – it’s either good or bad.”
Sola Rosa perform at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) on Friday (July 13) alongside fellow Kiwis Katchafire. Tickets are $25 and are available at the GLC and online at www.ticketweb.ca. Doors open at 9 p.m.