The members of Sweet Leaf enjoy some relaxation on the beach before kicking off a week long party at the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival.

The members of Sweet Leaf enjoy some relaxation on the beach before kicking off a week long party at the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival.

Living the SWEET life

Local group Sweet Leaf have just launched a new album and are stoked to play Ska

The members of Sweet Leaf have been jamming together for a while, but they only recently recorded their first album Stress Leave earlier this year.

“We rented some office space in Esquimalt and sound proofed it then just party and record, party and record, lather and repeat, you know?” says Chris Jones, guitar and vocalist.

Victoria-based Sweet Leaf includes Zak Knippel on bass, Mike Luis on drums, Spencer Lee on trombone, Jason Ramalho on sax, Nick Brandle on percussion and backing vocals, Tyson Crabb on trumpet and Nick Taylor on backup vocals.

“We could have another if the keyboard player ever showed up,” deadpans Jones.

Knippel and Ramalho started the band some four years ago and Jones joined after answering an online ad.

They’ve lasted through five drummers and Taylor was added after the album was recorded to help fill out their sound, says Jones.

Band members’ musical interests vary from metal to punk and reggae and some of the guys are “not into ska” at all, but they play like they love it.

“Victoria has a good scene. People come out and skank it up at a ska show,” says Jones.

The Sweet Leaf sound is not straight up ska, he adds. “We cross a bunch of different barriers. We’re not just ska or ska influenced. We rock, reggae, we play funk too. We play some pretty funky riffs and genres will change in the middle of a song. There’s hip hop influence in some beats, jazz.”

This is the third year in a row Sweet Leaf will hit the stage at the Ska and Reggae Festival which runs July 1 to 5 at a variety of locations.

“It’s super fun. And we get to play with some of our favourite ska bands – that’s kinda why we do it. You don’t make a lot of money as a band but the payoff is meeting these super talented and influential artists.”

Sweet Leaf plays at Sugar Nightclub July 1. See the full Ska and Reggae Festival lineup at victoriaskafest.ca

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Most Read