Grassy Spark

Grassy Spark – New Release

Grassy Spark have released their brand new single ‘Here I Am’ along with the music video for the track. Their debut album ‘Portal’ is also now available for pre-order on iTunes. 

Without a doubt one of South Africa’s top live bands, the 7-piece Ska-blend outfit have been working for quite a while on their debut album ‘Portal’. The first single to be released was ‘Living In A Paradise’ back in 2015 and features one of SA’s finest musicians and a great friend of the band, Jeremy Loops, on harmonica. The new single ‘Here I Am’ is the latest single to be released and fans were following the band all of last week on social media and on-air on 5FM as Grassy Spark and 5fm DJ Nick Hamman hyped the single premier with a great online campaign. The campaign had fans share videos via social media spreading the message of what they aspire to be one day and driving the trend with #HereIAm. The single received its first play on Nick Hamman’s show on 5Fm on Friday, 29 July.

‘”Here I Am’ tells the story of a narrative existing within every single person. It carries the message of overcoming one’s doubts and obstacles and taking that first step forward towards achieving one’s dreams,” explains front man, Josh Riley.

Grassy Spark are made up of Josh Riley and Yanick Bathfield sharing lead vocals and guitar, Simon Ackermann on Keys and Sax, Chad Hendricks on Trumpet, Murray Buitendag on Trombone, Kevin Kok on Bass, and Lawrence Jaeger on Drums, and have become the new kings of the live scene, so making sure their album mirrors their incredible live show was a big task.

Grassy Spark are from left to right: Simon Ackermann, Chad Hendricks, Kevin Kok, Lawrence Jaeger (bottom), Josh Riley (top), Murray Buitendag (top), Yanick Bathfield – Photo Credit: Hylton Boucher

Grassy Spark are from left to right: Simon Ackermann, Chad Hendricks, Kevin Kok, Lawrence Jaeger (bottom), Josh Riley (top), Murray Buitendag (top), Yanick Bathfield – Photo Credit: Hylton Boucher

Winners of the 2015 Vodacom In The City competition, which saw them open for international acts Milky Chance, The Kooks and Cat Empire in Joburg, Josh Riley and his six fellow band members felt the pressure to create a strong debut album. “Our Debut album ‘Portal’ was recorded in a room no bigger than a small storeroom with no windows and a broken door, in a dilapidated building in Kalk Bay, Cape Town. After tracking the drums with Dean Bailey at Cloud Studios, we decided it was time to put our heads down, go into that room as early as we could, and come out of it as late as we could – with some days not even leaving the room at all.”

Bathfield and Riley are the key songwriters behind the catchy 11-track debut album and the song writing process alone took 7 months before the rest of the band could join in to add their vital parts. Bathfield took the reigns as the tracking engineer as well as head producer, with Riley assisting where he could as co-producer. The album was mixed by Vicente Espi at Songololo Studios and mastered by Pablo San Martin at Esoteric Sound Studio, both of whom graduated from Berklee College of Music in their respective fields – they took the variety and diversity of sound and added the cherry on top with flawless consistency!

The album also features a nice selection of local artists with Jeremy Loops, Khaos Cotterell, Bonj Mpanza, and Rudeboboboss each featuring on a song.

“It was an epic experience to work with such a diverse range of artists on the album. Our relationship with Jeremy Loops started in Zambia at Greenpop’s festival of action in 2014, he took a keen interest in us as we bonded over a 2-week period, featured in each others sets at Earthfest and he has been an incredible mentor and friend to this day,” explains Riley. “Working with Khaos & Rudeboboboss has always been a dream, as we have always looked up to The Rudimentals as Ska/Reggae/Dance-hall icons and still do. The tracks we featured them on became more than what we imagined them to become once we had recorded them and they naturally blew us away in the process! We had to give a feminine touch to the album and only had one person in mind who could bring the fire the way we imagined and that was Bonj Mpanza. Her vocal range, power and diversity gave us the shivers while we were tracking her, so much that after every take either Yanick or I let out a little scream. There is no Diva attitude with this beautiful woman, only pure talent and a voice that can move mountains! Our reason for featuring these artists was because we wanted to make the making of ‘Portal’ a collaborative process and look forward to doing this more in the future with different, culturally diverse artists.’

A diverse album it is. Kicking off with the new single ‘Here I Am’, followed by ‘Living In a Paradise’ featuring Jeremy Loops, and then ‘Feel it’ with Khaos Cotterell, each song holds its own and has this 11-track album open up a portal to a care-free happy place where Grassy Spark found the magic sound for their album.

Photo taken from the groups official Facebook page (links below) on route to Oppikoppi Festival

Photo taken from the groups official Facebook page (links below) on route to Oppikoppi Festival

What does the band want people to take from this album?

“They can expect an over-abundance of hard-work, blood, sweat, and tears. We can’t say what they will experience exactly, but can assure them they will be moved by the amount of effort and power we put into it – the only advice we can give them is to listen to it with an open heart and an open mind, it is different from where we came from, and we will continue to carry this perspective on diversity through sound with us as we journey through life; our ethos is change and our mission is to promote positive evolution and creativity.”


Watch Grassy Spark Cover The Kooks, Milky Chance & The Cat Empire (Popsicle Studios Session):

Catch Grassy Spark live:

6 August – Oppikoppi Festival

26 & 27 August – Afriski Winter Music Festival

16 September – ‘Portal’ Album Launch, The Mercury – Cape Town

17 September – ‘Portal’ Album Launch, Cape Farmhouse Restaurant – Cape Town

24 September – Bokjol Festival, Magalies Retreat, Johannesburg

8 October – Rocking The Daisies

Follow Grassy Spark online:

Facebook –

Twitter –

YouTube –

SoundCloud –

All relevant information regarding covid-19 can be found on