West Philly births post-apocalyptic reggae rock

Post Sun Times recently got signed to 619 Entertainment Group.

Post Sun Times, a Philadelphia reggae rock band, took its name from a parody newspaper that claimed to be a guide to the apocalypse. | ANDREW THAYER / TTN

While reggae rock might make you think of a tropical island, a band of the very genre is hailing from a different habitat – the concrete jungle.

The reggae-infused rock band of West Philadelphians has been together for about a year, said bass player and singer Matt Kay. The quartet includes guitarist and vocalist Robin Carine, drummer Adam Ferguson and keyboardist Matt Smith along with Kay. After a chance encounter in Fall 2011, a leading reggae entertainment company in Philadelphia agreed to manage the band.

“I met [him] on the street,” Ferguson said, referring to the managing director of 619 Entertainment Group, Roger Grant. “I was walking down 52nd street, because I wanted to get some copies made for a show flyer, and I saw this recording studio and looked in the window. He came up behind me and was like, ‘Oh, you play?’”

After seeing the band Ferguson and Carine were in at the time, Da! Comrade, Grant expressed his desire to work with the musicians to create new songs. Kay, who had been playing music with Carine and Ferguson since they were teenagers, joined the two to form Post Sun Times. Smith is the newest addition to the band.

“What [Grant] gave us was a goal to work toward,” Carine said. “Then it sort of actively became a band, and then he got interested in doing bigger things with that band, and that’s what really led us to signing.”

619 Entertainment Group generally gravitates toward reggae, dance hall-type artists, and represents top chart musicians in Jamaica, such as rapper Hefla Nyah and female roots artist Princess Thundah. Post Sun Times is the first rock band it signed to manage.

Post Sun Times members, who Kay said “always had a great dynamic,” offer a new sound to the producers, but their reggae influences along with Grant’s appreciation for American rock music made the band a good fit. The group has collaborated with fellow 619 artist Hefla Nyah in some performances, and on one specific track called “About a Girl.”

“They have their own label,” Kay said. “But we’re all shooting for bigger and better things.”

Band members said they hope their management relationship with 619 Entertainment Group will eventually result in offers from established producers who would want them to put out an album.

Post Sun Times’ name was derived from a late night creation of a fake, parody newspaper that would be “a guide to the apocalypse,” as Ferguson described, making light of the drama surrounding 2012’s predicted apocalypse. Considering the band’s promising development since December 21, 2012, the supposed date of the Mayan apocalypse, perhaps the musicians unknowingly prophesized their future success.

“I think it’s really ironic that we’re named Post Sun Times,” said Ferguson. “And it was 1 [a.m.] on December 22, just after the world was supposed to have ended, and [Grant] calls and says we [have to] have this emergency meeting. That was when he was like, ‘We maybe have potential interest.’”

It may have been what many superstitious individuals assumed would be the first day of the post apocalyptic world, but for Post Sun Times, it was the beginning of a road to success. Since that meeting, the band has put in serious work in the recording studio. Kay said the band also rehearses often on its own time in an art and music studio space in South Philly called Cha-Cha-Razzi.

“Basically, we’re trying to record everything we have, then see what catches with the label,” Kay said. “It kind of now depends on getting fronted money from the label and what they’re interested in as far as what they want to go with.”

Grant, who Carine said has been in the industry for “a while,” often has ideas that inspire new songs, which are among the tracks being recorded. After receiving a song suggestion, usually in the form of a potential melody or basic lyrics, Carine said the band will “figure out how [it] can put [its] fingerprints on it.”

This collaboration with 619 Entertainment Group is just one of the many adjustments the band members said they have been getting used to. In addition, the band’s live sound has been different, compared to its mixed studio sound, members said.

Though the band may be focused on recording and less on performing in Philadelphia at the moment, Post Sun Times plans to arrange some outdoor shows for the summer, a performance setting members said they really enjoy. On top of that, they still have time to give tongue-in-cheek apocalypse survival advice.

“Progresso soup is the best,” Smith said, as his fellow band members laughed. “If you’ve been a little zombified, it will help you [get rid of] that.”

Though the band hopes to put out a recorded album in the near future, no official release date has been set, despite indications of a summer EP release. With the end of the world now behind the group, however, the members of Post Sun Times are not afraid to dream big, aspiring to work with some of its dream producers, including Lee “Scratch” Perry and Rick Rubin of Def Jam Records. All the musicians agreed that they hope the band will become a lifelong career.

Though they’ve set serious goals about being successful in the music industry, the band mebers said they love their native West Philly and are always open to performing at house shows throughout the area. The opportunity to play at any setting for college students, Temple included, is something they said they would never turn down.

“My dad told me from step one, ‘Don’t ever sell drugs to college students, but you should play music for them,’” Smith said.

With those guidelines in mind, and plenty of confidence in its catchy, energetic sound, Post Sun Times hopes to spread its music to new audiences faster than a zombie plague.

With a second listen from a label affiliated with Universal Records under their belt, the “dirty West Philly boys,” as Ferguson labeled them, don’t seem all that far away from receiving the recognition they’re working toward. They certainly have the positive mindset needed to soldier on to success.

“Our worst song is f—in’ amazing,” Kay said. Clearly, there can be no self-doubt when your band formed to guide the world through the apocalypse.

Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at erin.edinger.turoff@temple.edu.

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