Press Release – Smokefreerockquest
SMOKEFREEROCKQUEST & PACIFICA BEATS – NATIONAL FINALS PREVIEW FOR SEPT 11 & 12
From Invercargill to Kaitaia they have played their way into the national finals of the country’s two top youth, live music events, with over $55,000 worth of prizes at stake at Auckland’s Raye Freedman Centre on September 11 and 12.
There were over 700 entries in Smokefreerockquest this year, with a high level of musicianship evident in the top bands and solo/duos to play off on Friday September 11, start time 7pm.
“We have several finalists from years 9 to 11, and its interesting to to see the growing level of musicianship and confidence coming through in that agegroup,” said Matt Ealand, Chair of the Smokefreerockquest Charitable Trust. “Kids today are exposed to music and performance across a range of media and they also have easy access to the technolgy that lets them produce their music and experiment until they’re happy with it.”
The top six bands:
Alien Weaponry Bream Bay College, Otamatea High School, Northland
Courtney Hate Green Bay High School, Auckland
Joe Says No Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland Grammar
The Big Gus Green Bay High School, Auckland
Reciprocate Alfriston College, Auckland
Joe’s Van Mt Maunganui College
Plus the People’s Choice winner, voted by text and announced today (31 July) :
El Jay Hall Cambridge High School
The top three solo/duos:
Solomon the Crook St Peter’s School, Cambridge
Ben Mollison Bethlehem College, Tauranga
Joseph Balfe Waitaki Boys’ High School
(Bios follow below)
Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and the solo/duo winners that include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on FOUR, a photo shoot with Thievery Studio, a branding package from Imaginary Friends and the Unleashed Travel ambassador award – a seven day trip to Fiji.
There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award and the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award. The People’s Choice award is voted by text with the opportunity to open the Smokefreerockquest national final.
SMOKEFREE PACIFICA BEATS
On Saturday night (September 12) the action on stage will reflect the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific in Smokefree Pacifica Beats, which drew just on 100 entries this year.
The top six Smokefree Pacifica Beats national finalist bands:
Taniwha – Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi, Auckland
Reciprocate – Alfriston College, Auckland
Blue Rhythm – Porirua College, Wellington
Alien Weaponry – Bream Bay College, Whangarei
Jah Mon Fever – Aotea College, Wellington
5XL – Gisborne Girls & Boys High School, Gisborne
The top two solo/duos:
Kapiolani – Western Heights High School, Rotorua
1andhalf men – Campion College, Gisborne
Blue Rhythm and Alien Weaponry have made it to both finals, and will play different sets in each.
(Bios follow below.)
The Smokefree Pacifica Beats finalists will come to Auckland for a weekend of music, mentoring, kaupapa maori and tikanga at the Waipapa Marae (band camp), this year held at the Waipapa marae of the University of Auckland.
The SFPB national winners’ prize package includes musical gear to a total value of $3,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a $10,000 song and video package from NZ On Air and performance spots at some of the 2015/16 Auckland summer festivals.
There is also musical equipment from NZ Rockshops, the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship and cash prizes for the Smokefree Mana Wahine Award, the APRA Lyric Writers Award, Smokefree Best Vocals, Youth Performance Trust (YPT) Native Reo Award, NZ Music Commission Best Song Award and Recorded Music Solo/Duo Award
Top six Smokefreerockquest bands:
ALIEN WEAPONRY is a three-piece metal band from Bream Bay College & Otamatea High School, Northland. The members are brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals), Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass).
COURTNEY HATE is a four-piece ‘space princess rock’ band from Green Bay High School, Auckland, made up of Xanthe Brookes (drums), Marieke Van Orsoy De Flines (bass guitar, vocals), Ruby Colwell (guitar) and Jami Kerrrigan (vocals).
JOE SAYS NO is an energetic five-piece garage punk band from Mt Albert Grammar School & Auckland Grammar, Auckland. The band members are Joe Curtis (guitarist), Jin Yun (bass), Ollie Curtis (drums), Ethan Broughton (guitar) and Denzel Kelemete (vocals).
JOE’S VAN from Mt Maunganui College, Tauranga is a psychedalic rock trio with a six-year history in Smokefreerockquest. Joe’s Van is Cormac Seymour (lead guitar) Rory Priest (drums) and Jake Nicholas (vocals, bass).
RECIPROCATE is a ten-piece soul funk band from Alfriston College, Manukau, Auckland. The band isSheldon Rua (keyboard), Jacob Kauri (drums), Joel Singsam (keyboard), Pauline Tuia (lead vocals), Taualoa Lemalu (vocals), Eunique Ikiua (vocals), Precious Tusega (vocals), Wayne Pagaialii (bass), Zaire Ugapo (rhythm guitar) and Marcus Patea (vocals/rapper).
THE BIG GUS is a blues based, alt, kiwi rock, three-piece from from Green Bay High School, Auckland, whose members are Mitchell Baber (lead guitar, vocals), Fergus White (bass) and Luke Walsh (drums).
EL JAY HALL are the People’s Choice winners, an indie-rock band from Cambridge High School is made up of Josh Mayo (guitar), Stephen Watson (vocals), Oliver Fairbrother (bass) and Liam Hall (drums).
The top three solo/duos:
BEN MOLLISON is a folk singer/songwriter/guitarist from Bethlehem College, Tauranga.
JOSEPH BALFE is a solo finger-style guitarist from Waitaki Boys High School, Oamaru.
SOLOMON THE CROOK is blues/soul singer Solomon Crook on acoustic guitar, from St Peter’s School, Cambridge.
Top six smokefree Pacifica Beats bands:
ALIEN WEAPONRY is a three-piece metal band from Bream Bay College & Otamatea High School, Northland. The members are brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals), Henry de Jong (drums) and Ethan Trembath (bass).
BLUE RHYTHM is a gospel and funk inspired eight-piece from Porirua College, Wellington.
The band members are Obe Ngatuakana (drums), Chris Ruaporo (guitarist), Tiresa Foma’i, Tupe Tuiala-Smith, Kalo Samasoni (vocals), Zion Sepelini (bass), Seti Sinoti (ukulele) and Filipo Foma’i (keyboard).
RECIPROCATE is a ten-piece soul funk band from Alfriston College, Manukau, Auckland. The band isSheldon Rua (keyboard), Jacob Kauri (drums), Joel Singsam (keyboard), Pauline Tuia (lead vocals), Taualoa Lemalu (vocals), Eunique Ikiua (vocals), Precious Tusega (vocals), Wayne Pagaialii (bass), Zaire Ugapo (rhythm guitar) and Marcus Patea (vocals/rap).
JAH-MON FEVER is an energetic reggae and R&B nine-piece band from Aotea College in Porirua, Wellington. Members are Tipapa Bracken (vocals), Evander Seiuli (vocalist/percussion), Benjamin Tofilau (keyboard), Thomas Temu (bass), Dora Laupola (guitarist/vocals), Julian Wright (vocals), Sina Esera (vocalist), Steven Taotua (drums) and Junior Brown (pianist).
TANIWHA is a three-piece from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi Marae, Auckland who sing fully in Te Reo Maori and have a big passion for music. The band members are Javan Rivers (drums), Metotagivale Schmidt-Peke (guitar) and Scarlet Manners (vocals).
5XL is a rock reggae five-piece from Gisborne Girls’ & Boys’ High Schools, East Coast; made up of Logan Hohepa-O’Keefe (drums), Cassidy Hohepa-O’Keefe (bass), Liushaan Ngaira (lead guitar), Guy Aupouri (keyboard) and Shaela Leach (rhythm guitar).
Top two solo/duos:
KAPIOLANI KIHI-WAIKATO is singer/songwriter from Western Heights High School, Rotorua, who says composing in Te Reo encourages and inspires her.
ONE AND A HALF MEN is a duo from Campion College, Gisborne who perform a rhythm and blues, reggae, pop, alt, native mix. They are brothers Liam (guitar, piano, drums, vocals) and Ronan Wallace (vocals, drums, ukulele).
Smokefree Pacifica Beats: Smokefree Pacifica Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific. The event started in 1994 as the Urban Beats Award within Smokefreerockquest and has steadily built over the years into a competition in its own right. Participants must incorporate Polynesian native language, instruments, dance or movement in their performance and songs. The event motivates young musicians to prove their ability with cultural relevance, and to encourage their peers to support 100 percent original Aotearoa Kiwi music. Smokefree Pacifica Beats successes include Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.
Smokefree’s – Smoking Not Our Future Campaign: Smokefree Pacifica Beats and Smokefreerockquest play a large part in helping students make protective connections to their schools, other students and communities. It enables them to develop new skills and aspirations for their futures. Smokefree has been the naming rights sponsor of Smokefreerockquest for 25 of its 27 years and this longstanding partnership has been mutually beneficial. Smoking Not Our Future is a direct to youth strategy and Smokefree Pacifica Beats and Smokefreerockquest provide the opportunity for youth to connect and engage with its messages. This year, young people will be asked to think about the benefits of being smokefree and get more involved in helping New Zealand become smokefree by 2025. For more information visit Facebook.com/notourfuture.
Smokefreerockquest – 27 years of musical success: Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, original music, youth event. The series of around 50 events provides young musicians with the opportunity to perform live in a professional setting, in venues from the Far North to Invercargill.
Smokefreerockquest 2015, powered by Rockshop, aims to motivate young musicians to prove their abilities, to realise the opportunities available in music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100 percent original New Zealand music.
The original founders Glenn Common and Pete Rainey were honoured with the MNZM in 2013, and continue to lead the team that now runs this New Zealand institution. For more information visit www.sfrq.co.nz
Hall of Fame: Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 26-year history include Broods, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Minuit, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Streets of Laredo, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Cairo Knife Fight, Cut Off Your Hands, the Datsuns, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Kora, Thomston, Anna Coddington, Midnight Youth, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Estere, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Grayson Gilmore, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, Julia Deans, The Naked and Famous, and Delete Delete.