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The First Child - Interview with Rei

02 Sep 2019 // An interview by Lexa.Dixon

Rei (pronounced "ray") is a five-piece Screamo / Progressive / Post-Hardcore band from Auckland which formed in 2015.

They have performed with the likes of Chasing South, Amanaki, ColdxWar and Parath in events such as Hometown Throwdown Festival.

With the lead up to their new single, Vore (which will be on all major streaming services), Axl Scott from Muzic.net.nz asked the band a few questions, and found out more about how Rei formed. Here's how it went down!

Where did the name Rei come from?

The name is a reference to the deuteragonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion; “Rei Ayanami”. Lily and Ariki (band co-founders) are huge fans of the anime series in all of its aspects from themes, aesthetics, narrative, design, and soundtrack. Thus, we decided to take the name “Rei” from who we think is the coolest character from NGE. We also have to stylise the name as 'REI' in full caps to differentiate ourselves from the acclaimed NZ Hip-Hop artist Rei, lol.

How did you all meet?

We believe that it was fate that brought us together as it was our destiny to find one another and create a bond through the strings of fate that connect us all; but it was mainly through the internet.

Here’s a quick rundown of how our paths crossed:

*Vocalist Lily, and guitarist Ian are childhood friends who have played in bands together in high school (2010 - 2014).

*Ariki got in contact with Lily over Facebook to jam and record after meeting at a gig in late 2014.

*In early 2015, Lily liked Ariki a lot and asked to make out a band with him. Lily asked Ian to join and he said “yes”. Thus, creating the original incarnation of REI.

*REI first met drummer Andy during a gig where REI and Andy’s other band Vanguard played in late 2015.

*REI played another gig with Vanguard in late 2017 and Andy messaged Ariki saying he thought we were cool. Lily jumped at the opportunity to get him to join the band as a second guitarist, and he agreed. REI’s original drummer Jamie left in 2018 and Andy offered to play drums in his stead.

*REI needed a second guitarist to fill the void of Andy taking up drums in 2019.

*Lily puts up a Facebook post to see if any guitarists were keen to join a band with hard guitar parts and Georgi was the only person who saw the guitar tabs and was instantly keen. (Everyone else saw the tabs and stopped messaging Lily.)

What made you guys want to do emo mathcore?

The first thing Lily ever said to Ariki about starting a band was “Can you name a mathcore band from NZ?” We pretty much chose to do experimental music as a response to the lack of it being popular and most importantly because it is our destiny.

I see that Rei was created as a tribute to Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, why was this? What triggered this to be a vital part of the band?

The band being a tribute to Evangelion is an expression of how the series has inspired us as artists and people at the time of creating the band. The protagonist Shinji is a depressed adolescent who embraces and overcomes his insecurities to save himself from losing his individuality. This character arc that he goes through has shown us the importance of holding onto our sense of self-worth as individuals, and to live life and create art that stands out from others. Also, because Evangelion is cool aesthetically.

Which NZ artists have influenced you?

Mainly a lot of older acts within our scene that are no longer active. Vanguard, Hello Headache, Fragments, and Djohn Doe Dies.

Is there a particular band that you’d like to open for?

Any band from the golden era of MTV / mall screamo. The only band still really kicking it from then is Dance Gavin Dance, so that’d be super sick if we could open for them.

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

We’re looking at releasing a 7 track EP which should hopefully be done before the year ends.

What is in your CD collection at home?

Andy: In my CD collection I have Yu-Gi-Oh!: Music to Duel By plus Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie Soundtrack, both of which I'd consider to be huge influences of mine when programming MIDI drums for the album.

Ariki: There is a 50 Cent album in Andy’s car that inspires us on road trips.

Andy: That 50 Cent album has done and continues to get me through the hard times with its inspirational lyrics like “you’s a bitch nigga” and “you ain’t shit nigga”.

Ian: I’ve got a Britney Spears CD Lily gave me for my birthday back in Year 9.

Lily: I have a CD by the band Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows and that was the first band I liked that had breakdowns in it. Also, a lot of Linkin Park CD’s. Ever since listening to them I always wanted to become a musician and felt like it was my destiny to fulfill this dream.

What is the best live gig you have ever been to?

Hometown Throwdown 2019! It was a gig that let everyone know that the scene wasn’t “dead”. Ever since then we’ve seen heaps of new bands pop up and we can’t wait to gig with all of them.

What is your favourite place to be in NZ?

Ariki: Andy’s garage with the jams.

Lily: The Kings Arms

What can you tell us about your upcoming single, Vore?

We really just wanted to make an insanely technical song that would make us stand out from our peers. There’s odd time changes everywhere, super-fast guitar bits, polyrhythms, and pitched screaming vocals. Lyrically the song is a hyperbole of the lustful instincts that plague the mind of men. It exaggerates them from wanting skinship to literally wanting to consume a woman in an act of sadism. This idea was inspired by the berserk form of Unit-01 that appears in Neon Genesis Evangelion where its instincts take over and we see it kill an angel by eating it in a gory manner. Vore comes from the latin word “Vorare” which means “to devour” and is used to make up the words 'Carnivore' and 'Herbivore'.

What rumour would you like to start about yourselves?

We’re opening for 50 Cent when he comes to New Zealand and doing a collaboration with 50 Cent and Britney Spears on a single, because it is our destiny.

Vore will be out on the 6th September on all streaming services, be sure to check it out


About The First Child

Since 2019, The First Child have made a name for themselves in the New Zealand local scene for their progressive approach in the realm of emo and hardcore favouring the use of technical musical stylings. Combining their love of emotional and experimental post-hardcore, alternative culture, Japanese music and the aesthetic of anime and video games, they have earned recognition as one of the forerunners of the New Zealand alternative scene for their uniqueness and undying commitment to the identity they have crafted for themselves.

With a heavy focus on nurturing their local scene; the band have made a name for themselves in the New Zealand local punk and metal scene due to their tireless work-ethic and progressive approach to their shows. This approach meant developing their local scene by any means necessary, such as mentoring younger bands, and building relationships with new venue owners across Auckland. After years of hard work, The First Child have become a cult classic in Auckland and there is not a single venue that they would struggle to fill with fans of vulnerable and emotional alternative music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The First Child


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