Entertainment

A new noise from SOJA

By Kevin Jackson Observer Writer

Sunday, August 17, 2014    

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American reggae band SOJA released its sixth studio album, Amid the Noise and Haste, on August 12 through ATO Records.

They worked with Jamaican Grammy Award-winning producer Dwayne ‘Supa Dups’ Chin-Quee on the 13-track set.

Amid The Noise and Haste is SOJA's first album since 2012's Strength to Survive which which has sold over 60,000 copies. Amid The Noise and Haste features collaborations with Damian Marley, Michael Franti, Nahko, Hawaiian reggae acts J Boog and Anuhea, and Bermudan reggae artiste Collie Buddz.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer, SOJA frontman Jacob Hemphill explained the concept behind the album.


"It’s my favourite poem in the world, Desiderata. 'Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence... be on good terms with all people’," said Hemphill, reciting a line from the timeless piece.

He is quick to point out that the presence of Marley, Franti and Collie Budz does not mean SOJA are searching for a hit single, but believes Amid The Noise and Haste expands on their previous work.

"We started as a three-piece, then a five-piece, then a seven-piece, then an eight-piece. That’s where we are at now. Supa Dups added a lot and Trevor and I sang together quite a bit.  Bobby Lee (bass player) has a new track (Driving Faster) on this one too," he said.

The group is promoting I Believe (with Franti and Nahko) as the lead single. They have a number of dates scheduled for the United States, Europe, South America, Puerto Rico and Hawaii to promote Amid The Noise and Haste.

Born in Arlington, Virginia, Hemphill met Lee in the first grade at school there. They became best friends, finding common ground through a love of hip hop, rock and reggae which they performed at school talent shows.

In high school, they met Ryan Berty (drums), Kenneth Brownell (percussion) and Patrick O'Shea (keyboards) and formed SOJA. The other current members are Hellman Escorcia (saxophone), Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet) and Trevor Young (lead guitar).

Veteran Jamaican engineer Cegrica 'Soljie' Hamilton tours with the band, which plays over 300 shows annually.

SOJA is among a number of American reggae bands which have sprung up in the last decade. In recent years, these bands have dominated the Billboard Reggae Album chart.

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