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Seismic State - Interview with Seismic State

28 Aug 2019 // An interview by Lexa.Dixon

Wellington has produced some of the finest Rock acts this country has ever seen; from our greatest export Shihad through to modern day locals Curlys Jewels, Pale Lady and Merrin along with the gone-but-not-forgotten Mishap. Formed in 2018, Seismic State fit in nicely within the Wellington Rock scene, and judging from their new music, they have a bright future ahead of them.

Axl Scott from Muzic.net.nz spoke to the band about their name, their new music and what other NZ bands they enjoy. Here's what went down:

What do you have in your pockets?

Sai - Guitar picks (As all true guitarists do).
Liam – my hands, it’s freezing tonight!
Nicole - One lonely guitar pick and some earplugs (we have band practice tonight).

How did Seismic State form?

Matthijs - A couple of folks who found each other via the web and wanting to jam and make some kick-ass rock music.
Liam – Sai and I used to be in a band together in Auckland called Dirty Riot. After we’d both moved to Wellington (he followed me, haha) we decided to put a band together and that’s when we found Matthijs & then Nicole – the rest is history.
Nicole - Sai, Matthjis and Liam were jamming together for about a year after the departure of their previous drummer, they advertised that they were looking for a singer, I checked out their stuff, loved it, we met, we jammed, it stuck.

Where does the name Seismic State come from?

Liam – we thought it would be cool to reference Wellington somehow. We threw around a few ideas with Cyclone or Seismic and then Sai suggested Seismic State, which we all loved. I really like the dictionary definition, which you can see in our Spotify bio.
Nicole - We wanted something that showed we were from Wellington, and that we can shake up a room with our tunes! so Seismic State came about, I'm pretty sure it was Sai that came up with it.

What do you give that is different from the rest of New Zealand music?

Matthijs - Solid rock with a wrap of melodic vocals.
Liam – I think we have a fairly unique mix of hard-hitting riffs & rhythms with interesting vocal melodies and thoughtful lyrics.
Nicole - We're a classic rock band with not a lot of frills (if you don't count Sai's ever growing pile of gear haha) We're four genuine, down to earth people who love to make good tunes and play to rooms full of people.

What can you tell us about your new single, Since We Last Spoke?

Liam – it almost didn’t make it on the EP, our producer Toby was pushing for another track but we had a band vote and it made the cut. Toby’s since said it’s now his favourite of the four tracks.
Nicole - This could take a while. Since We Last Spoke is a real deep song for me, and recording it was one of the best experiences recording of the whole EP. Our Engineer Toby Lloyd really knows how to get a performance out and really put you in the place you need to be to feel the emotion of the song and really be in it. This song is definitely therapeutic and is one that I really enjoy playing live.

How do you calm your nerves before going on stage?

Matthijs - Drink a couple of Heineken’s and munch a basket of fries ;)
Liam – couple of beers and keep busy chatting & watching the band(s) before us.
Nicole - I let the nerves fuel the performance. When I'm nervous I talk a lot so usually my friends who have come to watch have to deal with a babbling Nicole right before I go on stage. But if I'm ever really nervous before anything, I just take three big breaths then go kick ass.

What New Zealand bands do you listen to and are motivated by?

Matthijs - The Datsuns: pumping rock n roll with kick-ass guitar riffs
LiamShihad, Garageland, Weta, Pluto, The Datsuns, Dragon, Th’ Dudes... And there’s some great bands in Wellington at the moment; Pale Lady, Dream State Empire, Archie the Brave to name but three.
Nicole - I grew up in the Zeal scene with my friends and saw many bands play alongside Bakers Eddy who are now doing really well overseas and making great music. Definitely a fan of I Am Giant, Blacklistt, and I also used to crank Goodnight Nurse and Elemeno P when I was younger for some inspiration.

What can we expect to see from Seismic State over the next few years?

Matthijs - Album release and some awesome gigs around the country.
Liam – an album, a tour (or two), heaps of awesome gigs, hopeful some festivals.
Nicole - We'll see where we go, we're hoping for an album at some point or maybe another EP but for now we'll keep writing and playing shows and having fun with it is the most important thing.

If you could open for any band, national or international, who would it be and why?

Liam – Alice in Chains, cos they’re my all-time favourite band!!
Nicole - For me it would definitely be Green Day, I've grown up with them, loved them all my life, seen them live twice and there's just something so incredible about a Green Day show that makes it an experience like no other concert, I take a lot of inspiration from them.

I hear your EP is dropping soon, what can we expect to see on it?

Matthijs - Solid rock combined with some proper melodic tunes.
Liam – Quite a broad range of rock music, summed up in four awesome tracks.

When can we expect a nationwide tour?

Matthijs - We are ready.
Liam – hopefully within the next year.


About Seismic State

Formed in early 2018 by former members of Auckland band Dirty Riot; Sai (guitar) and Liam (bass) were joined by Matthijs (drums) and Nicole (vocals & guitar) to complete the Seismic State line up. In late 2020 Rogina replaced Nicole on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, the band quickly set about writing new material and booking shows. In June 2021 Seismic State supported Auckland rockers and Aotearoa Music Award winners Dead Favours for the Wellington leg of their Riffing & Yelling tour.

Seismic State’s debut EP, State of Things, was released in September 2019. All four tracks off the EP receive airplay on NZ radio and internationally with Genius, the first single, leading the charge by reaching #47 on The Generator FM’s weekly airplay chart for the week ending 31 May 2020. Genius also held down the #58 spot in The Generator FM's 2020 Kiwi 101 chart.

Their style mixes rock with elements of funk, blues, progressive and alternative; combining riff oriented guitar with melodic bass lines and driving drum rhythms to form a foundation for creative vocal melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. The result is an accessible and sonically pleasing brand of music not often found in the rock scene.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Seismic State


State of Things
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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