22 October 2007 - 0 Comments
North Shore band Solomon announced as winner of this year’s Smokefree Rockquest.
Made up entirely of students from Rangitoto College, North Shore band Solomon were last night crowned the winners of the annual Smokefree Rockquest at Auckland’s Bruce Mason Theatre.
Now almost 20 years old, the Smokefree Rockquest has been the launchpad for artists Evermore, Anika Moa, Die! Die! Die!, The Checks and The Have, so Solomon are certainly keeping good company. Their overall prize package includes $10,000 to spend the Rockshop, a NZ on Air New Recording Grant and Video Grant, inclusion on the NZ on Air official Hit Disc and a session at York Street Studios.
Solomon also took the award for best song for Grand Vocation.
Other awards given out on the night include:
Smokefree Best Vocals Award
Ollie Sewell from Frankly Mauve, Canterbury.
Smokefree Award for Womens Musicianship
Anna MacDonald from St Hildas Collegiate, Dunedin.
APRA Lyric Award
Tonnie ten Hove, Wairarapa College, Masterton.
Jesse Kearse from Peaches and Spleen, Hawkes Bay.
Smokefree Rockquest Rip It Up Journalist Award
Elle Hunt, Nayland College.
The competition began with 650 bands played off in over 40 heats and finals around the country over winter, with the final selection from DVDs of the bands’ original music made by judges Jason Kerrison from OpShop, Ashley Paige from Warner Music NZ, and Tania Dean from NZ on Air.
Dean, one of the judges on the night along with Tardus Music and Isaac Promotions’ Mark Kneebone and producer and musician Hook from 48May, was amazed at the standard of this year’s entrants, saying: “I really noticed how much the level of musicianship has been stepped up this year, they were a truly talented bunch. I’ve been at three Smokefree Rockquest finals now and each year is so different and so enjoyable”.
Smokefree Rockquest's organiser Glen Common was in agreement, saying “As an event organiser, it is great to see these young bands launch into the music industry. All of the bands performing tonight have the ability to carry on to greatness, and we look forward to seeing the ongoing impact the y have on the industry in the years to come”
And as for the winners? Solomon frontman Michael Cho was overwhelmed, admitting “we came second at the event last year so it was a huge risk entering again. We learnt a lot from last year though and just practised and practised until we got things as perfect as we could, and this year it seemed to all come together”.
And finally, “we’ve got exams now but just can’t wait to get into the studio!”
In geographical order the Top 6 finalists were:
Solomon - Rangitoto College, North Shore.
This five piece band has grown musically and professionally since coming second in last year’s national finals. Together now for three years, they have developed an artier sound with their sophisticated blend of ‘epic, dark rock and bluesy guitar grit’.
Malford - Botany Downs Secondary College, Auckland East
With a mix of catchy, fast-paced, melodic pop tunes and a sprinkling of four-part harmonies, these four guys from Auckland East have created a genre of their own - barberpop.
The B-Side Electro Funk Disaster - Awatapu College and Palmerston North Boys High School, Manawatu
The indie/blues three-piece band from Palmerston North formed in 2005. They’ve drawn inspiration from artists such as The Pixies, The Strokes and Jimi Hendrix, and have developed their sound into a unique balance of jazz, rock and fusion.
Frankly Mauve - Burnside High School, Canterbury
This Canterbury five-piece has been playing together for two years. Their brand of indie-tronica/surf rock has come out of the garage, through the regional finals for the second time and now into the national finals.
Bang! Bang! Eche! - Hagley Community College and St Andrews College, Canterbury
Two girls and four boys from Christchurch who describe their sound as ‘live electronics, post punk, breakcore’. They have their first EP underway and have been doing plenty of gigs around Christchurch.
Taking the Fall - John McGlashan College, Logan Park High School and Bayfield High School, Otago
Taking the Fall formed in early 2005 and their blend of alternative rock infused with metal and screamo influences has already gained this five piece band a reputation as a very tight, original act in the Dunedin music scene.
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