Winter, do you remember that?
It's winter in Wellington, but singer Barnaby Weir of New Zealand reggae band The Black Seeds feels fine.
"It's a beautiful, sunny day here," he says over the phone.
"It's wintery, but I'm sitting in a park. It's very different to a Whistler winter. We get the lamest bit of snow, if you're lucky. You can see lots on the hills miles away. Sometimes I wish we'd get a proper winter — if you're going to have an ice-cold winter, you should have snow."
The eight members of The Black Seeds are about to leave such conundrums behind, coming to summery North America for a tour.
The band has a new song, "Better Days," to promote ahead of the release of their first album in five years, the first since Dust and Dirt in 2012.
Fame came when the song "One by One" appeared in the second season of Breaking Bad, with Rolling Stone calling the band "The best reggae band in the world right now" in 2011.
The Black Seeds embrace old-style reggae of the '60s and '70s, and "Better Days" is in the vein of the best — a positive vibe with upbeat rhythms.
"We're conscious of the music. It's one of those genres that punches through with messages for humanity, whether it's for a better world or a protest song," Weir says.
"We have positive songs on the album, but also ones that are a bit darker. We want to create tunes that everyone can relate to."
Weir says five new songs were added to their set for the tour.
"We've been busy working on the setlist. We had a really busy year last year, especially at the end recording the music. We had heaps of time to write the album... we started one three years ago but then had member changes and that meant we had to start again."
The as-yet unnamed album will be released later this year.
"We put our heads together on this one and we're really pleased with the result," Weir says.
"We wrote a whole bunch of songs and picked the top 24, the ones that stuck with us, the ones that had great rhythms and were easy to work on. Then we picked the top 13 democratically and worked hard on finishing those.
"In terms of genre, it doesn't sound like we freaked out and have moved to something new. It definitely has a Black Seeds sound."
The Black Seeds performs at Garfinkel's on Wednesday, June 14.
Joining Weir are Mike Fabulous, Daniel Weetman, Lee Prebble, Jarney Murphy, Tim Jarray, Jabin Ward, Nigel Patterson and Barrett Hocking.
Their show is the second in Whistler in the past two years.
"I love touring Canada, it's great. There are similarities to New Zealand, what I picked up on last time is how expansive and massive the views are. I think New Zealand is probably second to Canada for vistas. I was blown away. Can't wait to be blown away again."
For more information, visit www.theblackseeds.com.