WILMINGTON — One local band is making waves in the reggae world after the release of its sophomore album, “Lift Up.” Wilmington’s own Signal Fire debuted at the number one spot of iTunes on reggae charts, and broke into Billboard’s Reggae Top 10.
Signal Fire consists of Sean Gregory on guitar and vocals, drummer Kenneth Forrest, bass and vocalist Cullen Seward, and Carl Blackmon on keyboard. (Editor’s note: Seward works for Local Voice Media.)
The band’s second album has been a long time coming, with the foundations of the record recorded over two years ago.
“It’s been a labor of love … We have had some bumps in the road and were just stoked to have it all come together and put something out artistically that we believe embodies what Signal Fire is,” Seward said.
Signal Fire first got its start about five years ago, recording its first album after only a few months of being together – now the group has gained a loyal following and plays about 150 shows annually, Seward said.
The band is apolitical, but Seward said reggae music as a whole often addresses social issues. In a time when tensions are high across the country, Seward said its interesting to see that some of the messages the band put into “Lift Up” more than two years ago ring more true today.
“The album is really just intended to be a lift up for everybody, no matter your beliefs. As long as you believe in positivity and the world being a better place that is our focus in music,” Seward said.
Signal Fire not only hopes to spread positivity through music, but also hopes to help unite two different groups of reggae.
“In reggae there are these two definitive ways to go – it’s either roots reggae, kind of your Jamaican Reggae, and then there is more of a rock/Southern California influence. We are trying in our music to bridge those things and pay homage to the Jamaican artists that came before us, while also throwing our own feel and touch into it … our whole meaning and message is to bring reggae together,” he said
For now the band remains an independent project, releasing the majority of its music through digital sales, but Seward said some record labels have shown interest in signing the group.
While other bands might take time to relax and rest on their laurels, Signal Fire is showing no signs of slowing down, and is already looking toward the future.
“We’ve got about 30 songs already written and recorded in what we call blueprint fashion … the hope is to use the momentum and the time we’ve taken on this last album to hit the studio in the next couple of months, we want to put out an album within a year of this one being released,” Seward said.
Find Signal Fire on Facebook. Below: “River” official music video
Michael Praats can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org