Ebb n Flo is one of the Coffs region’s favourite musical acts. With their Reggae infused sound, they are starting to make it big on the festival scene and are gaining more and more radio air time. Singer Reo Hita fills us in on the details …
How old were you when you first experimented with music?
Music has always been a part of who I am, whether it was as a teeny bopper chilling in my room trying to make mix tapes off the weekly top forty, listening to my dad’s band rehearse in the lounge room, or bashing the old drum kit he gave me. Yeah, music has always been there.
At the age of 17 I moved to Australia from New Zealand, seeking what the lucky country had to offer a young Maori boy who was willing to have a go, and I have been very fortunate. It wasn’t until years later that music became more than singing at parties or at the back of the footy bus.
Myself, my brothers in-law and a couple of footy mates formed a band called Five Way Groove, and it wasn’t long before we were playing the pub circuit. I started to experiment a little more when I met up with a couple of very cool musos, Mitch and Lou, forming the trio Enough Said. Vocals and percussion became my thing.
> How did Ebb n Flo first get together?
For myself, it was playing the local circuit and going along and jamming at the muso nights at the Hoey Moey. That’s where I met Micky Seccombe (Drums), Troy Cheers (Bass) and Rosco Coulter (Saxophone).
A strong bond soon developed, and we were seizing every opportunity to play together. Micky, Rosco, Troy and Marty Rudolph (Guitar) already had a very close bond, having played in bands together over the years. We introduced Marty’s cousin, Marley Ruxton (Keyboards), to the mix, and we had a sound. Marty already had a back catalogue of melodies and lyrics, so we set about jamming and learning each other’s mojo. There was still an element to the sound we were after that was missing … welcome to the stage Hone Matete, aka DJ Brown Sugar (Decks & Samples).
We think we have finally completed the Ebb n Flo sound by recruiting the talented Mr Paul Duguid (Trumpet / Trombone). Marty and Marley reside in Sydney, so a lot of intensive rehearsals happen when we’re together. Also, many mini discs, emails and Skyping goes on.
> Describe your style.
Good question. I’d have to say a Roots Rock Reggae base with a Hip Hop flavour spliced with Dub, Funk and Soul. A tasty cocktail of peace, love, unity and anything else that promotes positive vibrations while having good times. It’s very much an ANZAC vibe, with 4 Kiwis and 4 Aussies making up Ebb n Flo (footy season can be rowdy).
> Who are your inspirations?
I grew up in a house where all music was appreciated, but none more so than Reggae and Soul music. So as far as influences go, I’d have to start with Robert Nesta Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, UB40, Dread Beat and Blood, Che Fu, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, ACDC and more recently Katchafire, House Of Shem and Fat Freddy’s.
I really dig the Aussie Roots Reggae and Hip Hop scene, with the likes of Mandawuy Yunupingu, Bliss n Eso, John Butler, Blue King Brown, etc. I could go on forever, but these guys are some of my mainstays and usually what’s on my stereo.
> You’ve got a pretty big following in the Coffs area. How much does this local support drive you to keep working hard?
It means the world to us. Most of the band were either born or grew up in or around the Coffs area, and our children were born here.
So to Ebb n Flo, this is home, and the support we have received from the community has been awesome – to say the least. It certainly drives us to excel in our field, and we are proud to represent and promote this area. Also, the support from local festivals, venues and local radio air play has been such a blessing. We are very grateful.
> Tell us about your releases so far.
We are about to release our debut EP, called House of Love. We are very proud of the final product, having just received it hot off the press and about to start promotions. Our single Bounce has been doing really well on JJJ Unearthed. We’ve had great air play, with all our tracks from House of Love getting a run. Once again, the high level of local services and support has been amazing .
> You played Open Arms this year and last year, and will also be playing FOTSUN this year. What do you love about festivals?
Wow, the atmosphere is something else. Not only do you get to play in front of so many people raging it up, but you get to meet and mix with other artists who are there for the same reason – live music and the love of it! Being able to expose your work to such a melting pot of diverse people is a buzz.
Coffs Harbour is always treated to an amazing festival with Open Arms. Jeff and the crew do an awesome job, and we’re very proud to be a part of the festival.
We are also very excited about being on the Festival of the Sun bill this year too. Look out Port Macquarie … you’re about to be Reggaefied!
> What are some of the major gigs you have coming up?
We kicked off a very busy couple of months – the Open Arms Festival, and then we’re off to FOTSUN in Port Macquarie in early December. Then we’ve got a run up the coast to Yamba, Lennox Head, Byron Bay, back to Bellingen, Laurieton and then home for New Year’s at the Hoey Moey. After that, we head back up the coast, finishing with a big gig on the Gold Coast at Waitangi Day Festival, which is a celebration of the Waitangi Treaty in New Zealand. We are amped and ready!
> What can we look forward to from Ebb n Flo in 2011?
2011 is going to be a very big year for us. We hope to be on more festivals and headline our own shows even further afield and certainly do more localised gigs to share with our families and friends, old and new.
We hope to present new material and generally offer more bang for your buck when you come to our shows.
Finally, I’d again like to acknowledge the love and support from the Coffs community. It goes without saying, there’s no place like home.
> Thank you Reo.