Entertainment

Magic!'s Nasri on 'Primary Colours', his high school prophecy and loving the Raptors

By John Williams, Special to Postmedia Network

MAGIC!

MAGIC!

Despite what some may think, the magic has not been killed.

Two years after planting the summer earworm and global hit Rude on us, reggae-popsters Magic! are turning up the heat once again with their brand new album, Primary Colours.

And talk about a hard act to follow. The Toronto band’s 2014 debut, Don’t Kill the Magic, won two of the five Juno Awards it was nominated for, including Breakthrough Group of the Year.

But even with all of the accolades, frontman Nasri – with the rest of the band, now based in Los Angeles – claims there was no extra stress coming up with the oft dreaded sophomore disc.

"I'm constantly putting that pressure on myself," says Nasri. "And that is to make the best album that I can make in the moment, and to never sell the music short. With this one, we had to push ourselves to make something that is catchy and digestible, but also very musical and has a level of credibility to it. It is a very difficult and very fine line."

Postmedia Network sat down with the singer-songwriter in Toronto to chat about the new crop of tunes, his prophetic high school yearbook post, and his other love – sports.

Talk about the making of the new album. How did these particular songs come together and how long had they been in the works for?

We're always writing. That's something that is a through-line with us as a band. We're songwriters and always creating new material. Even before Don't Kill the Magic was done, we were already writing the second album. The hardest part for us was, we had like 70-90 songs to cut down from, and I was adamant about only having 10, because my favourite albums have nine or 10 songs.

Did you have all the things you get when you find success – like a bigger studio with full catering?

I live in the same house in Los Angeles, with the same studio.

Was there a particular person who inspired the new single Red Dress?

Yes – every woman in the world who takes forever to get ready. My lady, she takes forever, man. It's the weirdest thing. And then it's like, 'OK, are you ready?' And she looks absolutely gorgeous, and then I'm like 'OK, let's take it off.' And then you forget that you're hungry.

A post in your Toronto high school yearbook said your aspiration was to “be where the music is.” I guess you’ve already met that goal.

I totally forgot that I wrote that (laughs). I've always felt very close to music. I was an athlete growing up – that's what I did – I played volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, baseball – really everything. But music was just everywhere. It wasn't until I began writing songs that I started to become an artist – and that was the difference.

You guys had a chance to be on the field and throw out the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game a few weeks back. How was that experience?

It was fun. Rogers Centre is huge – you don't realize how big the field is until you step on it. We did rock, scissors, paper to see who would throw it and Alex, our drummer and baseball fanatic, won. And he threw a perfect strike... call it baseball karma.

Even though you've been in L.A. for 16 years, do you still follow the Jays and Raptors?

Oh, big time. We watch every Raptors game. When Cleveland went to the finals we rooted for them because they are the east coast team. We're pretty loyal. The weather is nicer in California, though.

Twitter: @johnwillms

JWilliams@postmedia.com