Sol Nation

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Sol Nation

If you were looking for a recipe to feed your soul and light a fire in your belly, look no further than Melbourne seven-piece Sol Nation. Their blend of reggae, East Timorese folk, Cuban salsa, Latin dance, Afro-beat, Calypso and Brazilian samba will have you up on your feet, while their social message calling for peace, tolerance and understanding will linger long after the party is over. “We don’t want to hit people over the head with politics, but there’s always a little bit of social comment in our songs,” smiles guitarist Colin Badger.
Badger is a living legend. He’s been gigging around Melbourne for almost 30 years and is a long-standing member of the iconic Australian band Painters and Dockers and the Dili Allstars. His rock prowess adds just the right amount of swagger to Sol Nation’s infectious rhythm.
When Forte caught up with Badger he was basking in the glow that only a musician who’s just heard his song on the radio can understand: “Triple j played ‘Beautiful Smile’ on Roots ‘n’ All last night, which we’re all pretty excited about. It was unexpected so we’re all on a high at the moment.”
Sol Nation are an ensemble cast of Melbourne’s finest singers and musicians. “We’re all very different, and from different backgrounds,” Badger says. “We have different looks and styles, and honestly we probably wouldn’t know each other if it wasn’t for the music – but music brings people together.”
East Timorese-born front man Paulo Almeida and Badger share a common bond: “There’s history between myself and Paulo. We played together in the Dili Allstars and we both believe music can change lives.”
Guitarist and vocalist Deline Briscoe, of The Briscoe Sisters and The Black Arm Band, is another sublime addition to the fold. “Deline is amazing – we always have so much fun! I love playing with everyone.”
The united front of Sol Nation also includes Ann Metry on bass guitar, drummer Mark Grunden, Jeremy Bennett on keys and percussionist Zeca Mesquita. “We’re rehearsing right now for our album tour and we have to catch a plane to Darwin tomorrow, at 4.30 in the morning – but I think we might stay up, because we’re all so excited!” he grins.
Their debut album Melting Pot (out August 7 through MGM) was a labour of love and well worth the wait. “It’s taken a while to get everything to fall into play because a lot of things have to go right at the right time, which is tricky to do – but it’s coming to fruition. We were holding out for the right songs, the right line up, the best producer, studio, distribution and publicity – and it looks like it’s paying off.”
Melting Pot was recorded at the Production Workshop with David Briggs from The Little River Band. “David pushed us quite hard which is what we wanted – that’s how you make a good record I guess,” he says sincerely. “We really wanted the album to sound as it would at a live show which is hard to do in the studio, especially early in the morning when you’re not in front of a crowd and under the lights – but I think we’ve managed to capture it and we couldn’t be more pleased.
“Our music is made for people to get up and dance, forget their troubles and take some time out. That’s what people do when they come to our shows – they know it’s one big party and everyone’s invited!”
When & Where: Suttons House of Music, Ballarat – September 4, Theatre Royal, Castlemaine – September 5 & Rubix Warehouse, Brunswick – September 12.
Release: Melting Pot is available from August 7 at all good retailers
Written by Natalie Rogers