Vicki Anderson talks to Jurassic 5's Soup about their breakup and why they reformed for Coachella.
They played to 50,000 people while headlining the Coachella festival in California last year and this month they're playing Auckland and Christchurch.
One of the world's most loved hip-hop groups play two New Zealand shows on this tour and will perform at Glastonbury in June, something fans thought impossible after the group broke up in 2007.
After forming in 1993 and representing the city of Los Angeles, the six-piece crew consisting of MCs Chali 2na, Mark 7even, Zaakir aka Soup, Akil and DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark, dropped their first single Unified Rebelution in 1995.
Lyrically bold, their brand of laidback West Coast hip-hop developed into a signture sound which saw them release four successful albums, and 13 singles including the hip-hop bangers Quality Control and What's Golden.
Soup is laidback about what led to the breakup. Well, Soup's just laidback in general.
"I always be honest, you know, it was ego," he says. "It was egos and a lot of other different things which came into play and I wasn't smart enough to recognise it and I don't think anyone else was smart enough to recognise it and you're left with. . . we were always with each other, people get sick of each other. It was one of those things. People start feeling they could do better on their own, you know. That is part of it."
He is equally frank when discussing their reunion last year to headline the prestigious Coachella festival in California.
"I definitely want to be honest, it was Coachella number one because that's a super big thing and I don't think it's wise to say no to Coachella. They made us an offer we really couldn't refuse.
"Before that people were asking us to come back and this and that and we were like ‘no, no, no'. Then when Coachella came up. . . After years of not having any new material it's kind of hard to say no to that. Then you put aside the differences, that's when your maturity and being grown comes in. This is an opportunity that you generally do not get again so you cannot be emotional at this point, you have to be strategic and smart. I praise the guys for being that way because it could have went left, it could have went left."
Soup says he only kept in touch with one member of the group throughout their seven year split and only saw the rest of the crew again at Coachella.
Now that they're touring togther again after so many years apart, I ask him if it's a little like getting back with an ex-girlfriend and he laughs heartily.
"You have your fun night and then you go ‘oh right we don't mesh?'. It's fun, definitely fun, I think it's fun. I can't speak for everybody I would be crazy to do that. I enjoy being back on the bus, doing soundcheck. If you ask me again at the end of this tour I might give you a different answer. Right now it's all fine."
Soup says the setlist for their New Zealand shows will incorporate songs from each of their albums.
"We're going to definitely give our all. That's the beauty of working with these guys, nobody is a slacker, nobody wants to give a half arsed show, everybody wants to do well because that's who we are."
The reunion at Coachella led into the subsequent tour as Jurassic 5 was surprised by their warm reception at the festival.
"At Coachella we had one of the biggest crowds at that whole event. To be in front of 40,000 to 50,000 people and you have Katy Perry on stage and Kristen Stewart from the Twilight movie on stage, it kind of buzzes you out.
"If you have been away for seven years and you've had no new music out, it becomes a sea of buzz, it was crazy, really, really crazy in a good way, a very good way. People are still interested, that's my number one thing, our shows are still selling out."
Jurassic 5 hasn't ruled out returning to the studio and recording new material.
"You know that's not such a far fetched thing. We haven't got anything definite in stone but we have spoken about it but it's been very vague. We just got back together and people could still be apprehensive which is understandable. My thing is you can't rush anything you've got to let it take its course. I'll be all for it if it's something cool and feasible and updated then I will definitely be with it."
Jurassic 5 at the Bedford, March 27. Tickets $59 plus $4 booking fee from minttix.co.nz or $55 plus booking fee from cosmicticketing.co.nz. Tickets have nearly sold out. Jurassic 5 also play at Auckland's The Powerstation on March 26, tickets from Ticketmaster.