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Drax Project - Gig Review: Drax Project @ Rec Bar, Auckland - 17/12/16

13 Jan 2017 // A review by James Castady-Kristament

Wellington's Drax Project came to the Rec Bar in the heart of Auckland City for a one off show. I was invited to review the gig. Arriving an hour after the advertised 9pm start I thought I’d arrive to see the opening bands play before we got down to business but unfortunately I was way too early and the show wouldn't start for at least another couple of hours. Eventually after much waiting the odd punter obviously in their early 20’s began to trickle in until eventually becoming an impressive crowd of 20 something millennials.

So what was all the fuss about? Drax Project had obviously made a name for themselves and had quite a following in Auckland. 

I could tell by the heavy duty equipment on stage and the dedicated sound guy that this was going to be quality and when they eventually did play, the first thing that stood out was Shaan Singh's impressive vocal ability. His voice is soulful and honed. If you closed your eyes you would scarcely believe this voice was coming from this skinny kid behind the keyboard.

I’d heard they were a Pop/Hip-Hop covers band but they had plenty of originals and to me they had more of a Shapeshifter New Zealand Drum n Bass/Dub vibe to them.

I really appreciated how they bought elements of electronic music into their live set with Drum n Bass low rumbling bass lines and drummer Matt Beachen triggering more electronic drum sounds from his modified live kit.

The energy of these guys was amazing they really know how to set it off and the crowd were equally enthusiastic. Band and crowd feeding of each others energy. The band jelled really well together with bassist Sam Thompson and guitarist Ben O’Leary multi-tasking between their instruments while holding it down for the backing vocals. Although when it comes to multi-tasking, singer Shaan Singh takes the cake with his keyboard ability and his energetic saxophone playing really puts the icing on this already rich chocolaty musical cake.

Drax Project really had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand and they sounded great. I felt like I must have been living under a rock because all these young hip punters knew who they were and I really had never heard of them before.

Well it turns out they’d started as buskers on the streets of Wellington. Just a duo to start with. Drums and sax. This is where Drax Project got their name from half drums and half sax = Drax.

They then continued on to play festivals over the summer of 2014/15 and started working on their second EP with producer Devin Abrams. One of the founding members of Shapeshifter.

They also have several singles with music videos under their belt.

These guys really have come leaps and bounds in a very short time and I’m sure now that I’ve been introduced to their existence I will be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

So watch out for Drax Project or be left behind.


About Drax Project

While studying jazz at college in Wellington, Drax Project — Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson and Ben O’Leary — took what they learned in class and applied it to another pursuit, making pop their own. The group gained a following after re-working vocal hooks of famous pop songs into saxophone licks. Their cover of Kimbra's track Goldmine went viral and caught the attention of an influential producer, giving acclaim to the newly-introduced group.

Signing to 300 Entertainment stateside as single Woke Up Late took off everywhere, they accompanied Famous Dex on the standout single Light from his chart-topping 2018 debut Dex Meet Dexter which bowed at #12 on the Billboard Top 200.

As Drax Project continued to make their imprint in the US music scene, they gave hit single Woke Up Late a fresh take with a feature from Hailee Steinfeld. As the single climbed to the top of the radio charts, they released a music video featuring YouTube sensation, Liza Koshy. The video took off everywhere reaching 1 million views in a mere 24 hours.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Drax Project


Year: 2016
Type: EP
Drax Project EP
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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