One of this summer’s most refreshing singles to hit airwaves, comes from Magic!, with their seasonal Reggae infused hit, "Rude." The song emits a breezy Caribbean vibe that is infectious, and leaves you humming the melody, regardless of your musical preference. Magic!, comprised of frontman and award winning songwriter Nasri Atweh, Mark Pelli on guitar, Alex Tanis on drums and Ben Spivak on bass, have done exactly what their name implies. Fusing several genres absent from today’s current music scene; such as Reggae, Rock and Alternative, they have given relevance to the rebirth of a new format that complements the Pop platform.
Magic!’s debut album Don’t Kill The Magic, dropped last week, adding some audio heat to the already sizzling temps. I caught up with Atweh just before the release on July 1, 2014 and he told me, “We can talk about everything. Magic! is an open book. There’s no secrets here.” So we did, from t-shirts, to touring and how Magic! honed in on their unique style. The artist behind the music is truly as genuine as the original songs they have created.
Proving so, Atweh began by explaining that regardless of the fact that they have a No. 1 hit on multiple continents with their first single "Rude," what stands out to date as his defining moment is something far more foundational.
I honestly say, meeting Mark was it. I’d say the intimate moment between us as musicians was the defining moment and knowing that there is a real musical partner. And meeting Alex and I remember meeting Ben too, meeting my bandmates, you know. Those were the moments that I’ll carry.”
From the beginning, Magic! kept their mission simple,
It started off with the basic, let’s just all be on the same page as a band and let’s do a modern day Police.”
From there, the Grammy winning songwriter and his band, spread their wings inspired by multiple artists and genres. Elaborating,
We started there and then I said, ‘You know what are the influences of The Police and where are they getting their vibe from?’”
That musing, led him to listen to Bob Marley, who he found had a lot of similarities in lifestyle from athletics to songmanship.
I mean, I don’t have thirteen kids or smoke weed, but other than that, there was an energy.”
From there, the band incorporated influences from Sting’s sensual vibe and added in riffs and melodies inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That combination is what made Magic! musically, in quite a literal and figurative sense.
I’ve always tried to stay very open creatively. I’m definitely a student of music and sometimes you’ve got to do some homework to make something that you envision.”
Having a genre bending hit single like "Rude" to lead off your artistry is quite an accomplishment and one that has eluded many in the industry, including seasoned veterans. When I asked the Canadian born songster what had changed most for the band since their single became an international sensation, he replied in good humor.
The thing that always pops into my mind when I think of what has changed, and I know it sounds silly, is I have to buy so many shirts! It’s kind of ridiculous! As a frontman, I feel like I want to not only show people great music, but I want to look funky and have fun doing it. So, I have a lot of shirts. I finally figured out a few places I could go to buy these shirts and its working out. My answer is shirts and I’m going to leave it there.”
In response to my insinuation that they have quite brilliantly reincarnated several genres simultaneously with their fresh sound he was honest, saying,
We didn’t really know we were doing that. We were just having fun and kind of got bored of all the dance music and all that stuff going on when we started the band. We were just like, you know what, we grew up with way cooler music than what’s out right now.”
For the remainder of the year, you can find the band making multiple TV appearances including on "The View" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," among others. They will also hit the road in support of the release of their album, Don’t Kill The Magic.
We want people to grow with us and feel it from the earth.We understand ‘Rude’ is going to be No. 1 soon on Billboard from what they are saying to us, but we still want to play our 100 shows for smaller crowds before we dive into the big crowds. So that’s what we’re doing, everybody supports that vision.”
In addition to that they will be opening for Maroon 5 for several shows and Atweh confided that several other bands have mentioned booking them to open as well.
With all the hype surrounding the band, it would be very easy to get swept up in the current of the industry. But not for this songwriter and frontman who candidly concedes,
I just want to be an artist.”
I believe I speak for many when I say, we are very glad you are!