Ital Seeds grow at Crossroads
If it’s reggae and it’s in Boone, Peter Brown and Justin Butler are likely to be involved.
Founding members of notable Boone reggae band Hope Massive, Brown and Butler are bringing their latest project, Ital Seeds (EYE-tall), to Crossroads Pub in Boone on Friday, Oct. 28.
Brown, the group’s singer and keyboardist, calls Ital Seeds straight-up roots reggae music.
“Mostly, we’re just a fun dance act, with positivity and a reggae feel,” he said.
The “Ital” in Ital Seeds refers to the diet typically practiced by people within the Rastafarian movement. Ital, which borrows from the English word “vital,” prescribes that only pure, natural foods without added salt should be eaten.
“The reason we call our band Ital Seeds is that we’re trying to not necessarily promote that type of diet, but just taking care of yourself, having fun and camaraderie in music,” Brown said.
Ital Seeds grew from a years long friendship between Brown and Butler, two Appalachian State University alumni who, while attending the school, bonded over their shared interest in reggae.
In 1998, they embarked on their first musical project, The Apostles. In the early 2000s, the group evolved into Hope Massive, a roots reggae and dancehall six-piece. Hope Massive had a burgeoning East Coast following until several of its members dispersed to different locales, limiting their ability to play regular gigs.
Brown and Butler remain in the High Country area, as does their music. While still active members of Hope Massive, they have created two projects that continue to promote reggae music: The dub collective Boom One Sound System in 2009 and Ital Seeds in summer 2011.
“We’ve had a nice little reggae scene for about 15 years here in Boone,” Brown said. “We’ve been kind of holding it down for a while.”
Ital Seeds intends to keep that scene in season.
Brown is excited about the approach of the new band. He said Ital Seeds moves away from the redundancy of some reggae, incorporating plenty of textural and chord changes into their music.
“With these three guys and myself, it feels right,” he said. “This is the way reggae is supposed to feel and sound.”
In the band’s few short months together, Ital Seeds has already planted the reggae bud in many ears. Brown said though most people wouldn’t categorize themselves as being reggae fans, he’s found that most people are receptive to it.
“We’ve played a show where there’s a 3-year-old kid dancing, and his grandma there telling me how much she enjoys the music,” he said. “We don’t have anything that anybody can’t listen to. It’s very versatile.”
Brown said he hopes to reverse the resistance to reggae created by misconceptions of the genre.
“One of my missions is to break the stereotype,” he said. “It’s a lot more in-depth than a bunch of dudes singing about weed. It’s a very spiritual type of music.”
Ital Seeds’ common themes include many Judaic-Christian principles, including positivity, forgiveness and acceptance. The “one love” concept, synonymous with reggae, also serves as a guide.
“One love – you have to be accepting and tolerant of everybody, while also being proud and aware of your own history,” Brown said. “It’s about positivity and building people up instead of tearing them down.”
Ital Seeds continues spreading the love at Crossroads Pub Halloween weekend. Performing the Friday before the holiday, Brown expects everyone will be in a festive mood.
Costumes are not required, but are encouraged. As some incentive, Brown said the band would reward prizes for the best costumes.
Ital Seeds is Peter Brown on vocals and keyboard, Justin Butler on vocals and guitar, Jonathan Priest on drums and Basil Punsalan on bass.
Ital Seeds performs at Crossroads Pub and Neighborhood Grill on Friday, Oct. 28, at 10 p.m. Ladies are admitted free, and the cover charge for men is $3. Crossroads Pub is located at 125 Graduate Lane in Boone, just off N.C. 105.
For more information on Ital Seeds, visit them online at http://www.facebook.com/italseeds.