Grassy Spark. Picture:  H Bester
Grassy Spark. Picture: H Bester

Grassy Spark's lead Josh Riley on new single 'The Candy'

By Helen Herimbi Time of article published Jan 8, 2019

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“Naturally the inspiration comes from conceiving my first-born child. No one knew about it at the time, and when the pre-chorus and chorus of The Candy was tracked for the first time, the only thing I was thinking was that I’ve made a human and nobody knows.”

This statement was attributed to Grassy Spark lead vocalist, Josh Riley, in a media release announcing the band’s new single, The Candy. But when I spoke to the singer-songwriter about it, he told me his finacée had played a prank on him about a second pregnancy.

But he didn’t sound like he wanted to make a song about it.

“The time when I recorded the line: ‘Let me share this with you’, no one knew except my fiancée and me that she was pregnant,” he said. “It was a special energy I couldn’t express and the lyrics were my subconscious talking.

“That’s how I write songs, actually. I’ve still got that creative energy in me, and that’s what it means to make music right now.”

Riley said it took a long time to make the song that audiences now hear. “It is probably take number 100,” he laughs. “We changed the verses maybe 30 times and the past year of writing the song was about being deliberate with messaging, deliberate about our intentions through music and really undoing bad habits.

“We really wrote the verses to the song during the past five months, and (Grassy Spark bass guitarist) Yanick Bathfield actually wrote the line about, ‘We’ve got the real love/the kind that makes you feel so good’. And that brings it back to the most important thing: what this message means to the band and the context of where the band is right now.”

Grassy Spark burst onto the scene and established itself as a ska band, with moments of eclecticism that made them a pleasure to watch on stage. Now the group is following a pop-tinged route.

“We’ve been perceived as a reggae or ska band But even in our deep ska days, we never thought of ourselves as that. Our background is heavy metal and I think we are connoisseurs of music, period! The truth is we are what we want to be, and we will break those perceptions if you think we are what we are not.

“Who we were as Grassy Spark five or six years ago is completely different from who we will be in years to come. You find true expression in the fact that things are always changing and so, we too will change.”

Riley pointed out that they weren’t necessarily going for a sweet pop sound for all their songs going forward. “Once you get comfortable with an idea, you form a belief around it but doors and minds must remain open,” he added.

“People closed their minds to what they thought Grassy Spark was, but our next song will be different from The Candy and the next one will be different from that. Our goal is to stay as independent from genres as possible,” Riley said.



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