Since Andrew Spraggon's first formative releases as Sola Rosa at the turn of the 21st century, he's steadily built a reputation for his deft synthesis of styles and quiet disregard for the niceties of genre boundaries. With a catch-all sound encompassing the best of hip hop, reggae, jazz, latin, soul and funk, all six of Sola Rosa's critically acclaimed albums are a potent distillation of the music that's influenced Spraggon over the course of his decade long career as a musician and producer. From a humble, self-released one man project to a decidedly deadly live collective, Sola Rosa has grown from a national treasure into an act of truly international repute.
While Sola Rosa's first three albums undoubtedly cast Spraggon as one of New Zealand's finest purveyors of downbeat-electronica something that was backed up by a raft of accolades including a NZ Music Award for 2001's Solarized, and b-net awards for 2000's Entrance To Skyway and 2003's Haunted Out-takes his fourth long player, 2005s Moves On, saw a change in tact. Not content to simply stay within the bounds of any one genre, Spraggon expanded the Sola Rosa sound, incorporating more live instrumentation and adding a healthy dollop of funk, soul and reggae to an already considerable list influences. The new direction not only reinvigorated the Rosa sound, but earned Spraggon another nomination for Best Dance/Electronic album at the 2006 NZ Music Awards.
Despite the rapturous reception that all six of Sola Rosa's releases have garnered, it's Spraggon's latest album, Get It Together, which has so successfully captured the breadth of his vision and piqued the most interest from record labels, artists and fans the world over. Like its predecessor, Moves On, Get It Together builds on a more performance based template than Sola Rosa' early work, featuring a full band. It's also Sola Rosa's most ambitious to date, something which can largely be attributed to the talented musical cast Spraggon surrounded himself with over the course of the album's recording. Long-term Sola Rosa collaborators Matt Short (bass), Ben White (Guitar), and Will Scott (drums) were joined by vocalists Spikey Tee (best known for his work with Jah Wobble, Mr Scruff, and Bomb The Bass), UK MC Serocee, German-based poet and singer Bajka, and Wellington songstress Iva Lamkum. Beyond the outstanding vocal collaborations a bevy of New Zealand's most talented musicians have lent their hand on the album as well Julian Dyne, Scratch 22, James Duncan, Victoria Kelly and Miguel Fuentes to name a few.
As a result, it's no surprise that Get It Together has been so well received in New Zealand, chalking up the number one spot on iTunes and the Independent NZ Music Album Chart (where it stayed for four months), and reaching number 15 on the NZ Album Chart all on the way to achieving Gold status. If that wasn't enough, Spraggon was nominated for Best Producer at the 2009 Vodafone NZ Music Awards, Get It Together was nominated for Best Electronica Album, and the album's second single, 'Turn Around', was nominated for Best Video. Perhaps most tellingly though, the success of Get It Together has spawned a remix album, Get It Together: The Remixes, which features the likes The Nextmen, DJ Vadim, Yes King, TM Juke and J Star reworking Sola Rosa originals for maximum dance floor effect.
Along with attracting a who's who of international producers to remix the album, Get It Together's heady mix of hybrid funk and tough beats has caught the attention of various labels throughout Europe. Lead single 'Del Ray' has been licensed for release through Sony BMG Germany for its Exotic Lounge Sessions compilation, and DJ Ease of Nightmares On Wax selected 'Del Ray' for his edition of Stereo Deluxe's Coming Home series. This adds to an already impressive list of releases through revered global labels like Ministry Of Sound, Guidance, Different Drummer and Satellite K.
With a recent deluxe edition vinyl release of Get It Together, along with the albums release in Australia and scheduled release in Europe, Canada, Japan and the US early next year, Sola Rosa is slowly but surely spreading from their South-Pacific roots, letting the world in on what Kiwi music-lovers have been blessed with for years.