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Spark Up with Sol Seed

photo by Athena Delene

Popular Eugene hip hop-soul-reggae act Sol Seed is prepped to release its new studio record Spark. Vocalist, keyboardist and didgeridoo player Sky Guasco says the self-produced album is full of his band’s trademark, feel-good Rasta grooves, funk flourishes and elements of world music.

But Guasco says Spark also has some newer, stronger sounds.

“I think there are a lot of messages in there related to the times,” he explains, though Guasco is quick to add he doesn’t consider the new album political. “We’re living in an interesting era now. As artists I think we have a responsibility to acknowledge that.” 

After celebrating Spark’s release at Eugene’s Hi-Fi Music Hall, Sol Seed hits the road on a cross-country tour. As one of Eugene’s most active professional bands, Sol Seed spends most of its life on the road, and is also five-time winner of Best Band in EW's Best of Eugene contest.

Guasco says Sol Seed hopes to finally put Eugene’s burgeoning music scene on the map. 

The band recorded Spark at Eugene’s Track Town Records, and Guasco calls it his band’s best studio work to date. “I think every song on the album has its own place,” he says. “I think the album flows well. For this record we were able to mess around a little bit with different sounds.” 

Guasco says Sol Seed’s recording and songwriting process is highly collaborative and he wouldn’t have it any other way. But, he adds, the recording process is a very different experience for his band.

“As far as the studio goes, it’s a totally different element,” he explains. “It’s a time where we can play something, record it, listen back, take it in, have some emotion, have a reaction and talk about things. A lot of times when we play live what you play is what you play in the moment.”

But Guasco says that what really sets Spark apart from Sol Seed’s previous work is “deeper roots, lyrically and instrumentally than maybe we’ve had in the past.” Some songs on the new record might be familiar to Sol Seed audiences since the band often develops material live on stage, he says. But Guasco assures faithful Sol Seed fans they will find lots of surprises on the album.

Helping Sol Seed celebrate Spark’s release will be Eugene reggae band Indubious and J Ras. California artist Matt Milano will be recreating Spark’s album artwork live on stage while the band plays. Guasco also teases several other surprise guests at the show.

Sol Seed’s official album release party is 8 pm Saturday, Feb. 25, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $10, 21-plus. — Will Kennedy