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Amanaki - Interview: Amanaki

11 Jul 2019 // An interview by Steve Shyu

Formed from various Auckland and Hamilton metal and hardcore bands, Amanaki is a name rising in the extreme music scenes of Aotearoa. Adding on top of existing EPs and singles, the band's impassioned and bold performances are turning plenty of heads this side of the country.

Muzic.net.nz's Steve S. caught up with the four-piece to chat about live performances, influences and what the immediate future holds.

Starting with an introduction: Sum up yourselves in five words!

Jared: Loud, rowdy, fun, aggressive, melodic.

Jethro: Hope-filled, wholesome, heavy, ambient, angry.

April: Barking, beauty, beasty, breakdowns and Burgerfuel.

Ethan: Aggressive, heavy, sing-a-longs, punk-jumps

When it comes to writing Amanaki’s music, what are your top influences?

Jared: For me, artists like Stray From the Path, Stick to Your Guns, Rage Against the Machine, Counterparts and Have Heart would be my top influences. As a band, we all have our different vibes. Jethro’s a massive For Today fan and you can hear that in some of the drum patterns he’s written.

April: I take most of my influence from non-metal genres and bands like jazz and the band Daughter. But I do love Stray From the Path, Silent Planet and Counterparts.

What are some unexpected or non-musical influences in your song-writing?

Jared: As a Christian band, we take some inspiration in our lyrics from verses of the bible.

April: Personally, I write a lot of my riffs and ideas from life experiences. For example, at the start of this year, I had a lot of negative things hit me all at once, which made me produce some angry-sounding riffs for our new material.

Amanaki are relatively new on the scene but making powerful waves; care to reflect on the journey thus far?

Jared: We've had some incredible opportunities thrown at us right from our first show which has really given us a great head start. Our friends at Downfall Productions have put us on so many shows and given us the platform to do what we love doing.

April: I agree with Jared. Also, having experienced members who have been in the scene for many, many years has helped.

What have been some important turning points in the band’s career so far?

Jared: As strange as this sounds, our biggest turning point to me was our first show. That was the moment that I realised “yup, we’re doing this”. For our first show to be sold out and performing our songs for the first time to such a packed crowd absolutely blew me away.

Jethro: Playing Hamtown Smackdown this year was a real significant moment for us that we'll definitely remember!

April: Travelling and playing in different cities across New Zealand this year has been excellent, too. I hope we make it overseas in the future.

Ethan: Playing two sets on the big indoor stage at Festival One earlier this year also showed us how far we can take this band.

How did the band choose the name 'Amanaki'?

Jared: Amanaki was a name that I came across. April and I had been discussing potential name ideas and we wanted a name that held meaning. We wanted a name that meant something along the lines of hope, so I looked up different translations of the word hope and when I saw "amanaki" I instantly knew it was the one.

Lyrically, what is your new song Exit Wounds about?

That new song is one of our more aggressive songs and it’s about letting go of something that’s been keeping you down or holding you back. With the main breakdown line saying, “all you’ll ever be is an exit wound!”, we are portraying that, yes, this will leave a mark and I’m hurt by it, but I’m moving on and that’s all it will ever be.

Which band(s) would you most like to open for and share a stage with?

Jared: I’m sure all of us have different bands that come to mind, but for me opening for Stray From the Path or Terror would be pretty amazing!

Jethro: There are so many... But For All Eternity, Silent Planet or Counterparts would be crazy!

April: I would love to open for Stray from the Path, Silent Planet or Counterparts too.

Ethan: Would love to share the stage with Northlane, Counterparts or Stick to Your Guns as well.

What Kiwi bands have you guys been really digging recently?

Jared: New Zealand's scene is really amazing at the moment. My top pick at the moment would have to be ColdxWar from Wellington. Such a heavy, groovy band, it’s hard not to get into them!

Jethro: For sure! ColdxWar is my favourite!

April: Loving ColdxWar too, they are super great live.

Ethan: ColdxWar make some great music and are really awesome guys! Seas of Conflict have been grinding hard for years and I can’t wait for the new music they're going to release! Xile and Antagonist A.D. always keep it heavy as well, so it’s great when they come back to play shows.

Any exciting news on what’s inbound on the band’s horizon?

Jared: Lots more shows! We’re already well into the writing process for the next release - Gotta keep the pace up!

Aside from gigs and single, where else do you see Amanaki’s music is headed in the next year or two?

Jared: The dream is always is to play somewhere else in the world, but we will keep writing, releasing music and playing it live 'til that day comes along!

Ethan: Would love to play shows in Australia! I've been over there a couple of times for shows and made some great friends. The scene over there is really cool to be a part of.

Follow Amanaki on their Facebook page and listen out for new releases!


About Amanaki

Comprising of scene veterans April Haines (ex-Patriot, East of Eden and Lead Us Forth) and Jared Kerr (Vanguard and ex-Lead Us Forth) with young bloods Jethro (ex-Patriot) and Ethan bringing a youthful flare.

Hardcore sound which boasts a sound comparable to the likes of heavy hitting band Counterparts.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Amanaki


Year: 2018
Type: Album

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