Reggae-pop band Magic! opens free Spring Back to Vail concert, April 15
If you go …
What: Spring Back to Vail concert with Magic! and 123Go! Project.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, April 15; venue opens at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Ford Park, South Frontage Road, Vail.
Cost: Free; a limited number of Private Reserve passes are available for $150 and include access to preferred viewing of the stage with outdoor heaters and complimentary food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
More information: Visit http://www.vail.com/springback.
VAIL — Traditionally, a band will spend time writing and arranging songs, choose the best of the bunch, record them and release an album. But Toronto-based band Magic! is taking a different approach, aided by trends in how modern listeners consume music.
Rather than collecting tracks for a complete LP, the band is focused on putting out a new song about every 30 days, building a pile of singles with which to tour and, eventually, when the time is right and the musicians are collectively and creatively in a good space, getting around to recording and printing a new record.
“Nobody’s looking for albums, and it sucks because I love albums, but I understand it. I understand that the listening culture has changed, and we’d rather just adapt, get out there and tour,” said Magic! frontman Nasri Atweh.
“I think with technology, it affords us to have those options. If we don’t like something, we don’t have to listen to it. If we don’t like something, we shouldn’t put it out. If we’re not excited about it, what’s the point?”
Nasri said it’s a bit like being in the 1960s again, when people were choosing to buy 45-rpm singles rather than shelling out for a full slab of vinyl.
“They just kind of put out songs, and I think when you think about it, you go back to albums, when you’re looking at it as a kid, you really only listen to maybe 40 percent of it over and over again,” he said.
Nasri said working on one song at a time takes some of the pressure off and allows the band to introduce fledgling songs to fans through live shows to see which ones stir them up. It also opens up more opportunities to present the songs in different ways.
“Instead of making a video for 10 songs, we’re making four videos for four songs, putting more money into the visual side of things,” he said. “Everybody’s on the same page in the band, and we’re loving it.”
Oh, it’s Magic!
Nasri is probably most well-known for being one half of the Grammy-winning production duo The Messengers, who have written hit songs for the likes of Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Shakira, Pitbull and Christina Aguilera. Magic! grew from Nasri’s time in the music world, where he met other producers and artists, including bandmates guitarist Mark Pelli, drummer Alex Tanas and bassist Ben Spivak.
Magic!’s breakout hit “Rude” charted in 2014 and sold more than 10 million singles, with a bouncy, pop-reggae sound that has become the band’s bread and butter.
“Whatever we do, we try to do what’s best for the song, and for whatever reason, every time we do a song and add a reggae flavor, it seems to match our style and energy,” Nasri said. “There’s something about that fusion that feels very natural to us as a band.”
That’s not to say reggae will always dominate Magic!’s repertoire. The band is still in its infancy, Nasri said, and its sound will evolve as other influences snake their way into the fold, from rock to R&B, pop to polka. But for now, that Rasta beat seems to fit.
“We consider ourselves a band, like The Beatles are a band or anyone is a band,” he said. “We like to write songs without any limit, but right now, a lot of the reggae ones feel good and seem to spark a lot of love with people.”
Nasri said the band’s live show is diverse, showcasing the musicians’ talents through originals and covers. When they bring their creativity and enthusiasm to the outdoor stage at Ford Park for Saturday’s Spring Back to Vail concert, he said they hope to ignite a certain kind of spirit in the crowd.
“When you’re outside, especially for our type of music, it gives it that instant festival vibe, so we kind of thrive outside,” he said. “We like to create that license for a good time. Don’t worry about watching us the whole time. … It’s a real treat when we see that everybody starts to fall into the vibe. Once we see that they sit in the groove, we hope that over time that people get used to that: That’s the magic.”
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