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The Checks


The Checks' brand of blues-driven, jazzed-up, high-energy, raw, soul madness has seen the young band sell out venues that are packed to the rafters with dance-crazed punters.

In January 2003, Embraced by student radio, the five teenagers from Auckland’s Devonport first performed at a friend's birthday party. The set consisted of an eclectic mix of cover songs.

March 2003: Buoyed by the enthusiastic response to their first ever performance, the lads decide to enter the school music competition, and proceed to rock the house. Despite having the crowd on their side, they come second to the only band that played an original song; a lesson that may eventually benefit all lovers of guitar driven rock music, as the lads go home and write their first ever self written song The Creek.

June 2003: Student Radio Breakfast DJ Hugh Sundae visits school to listen to the winners of the music competition. The Checks also put in an appearance - thankfully Hugh is still there. He is so impressed he asks them to perform live-to-air on the bFM Breakfast Bus. The bFM newsreaders announce that the future of rock 'n' roll is aged 16 and wears yeti-like leg warmers - in reaction to The Checks front man Ed Knowles' unusual taste in stage wear.

September 2003: Camped in the school music practice room at lunchtimes, the lads write 4 original songs in 2 weeks and enter a national secondary schools band competition. They win the regional finals.

September - December 2003: The Checks play a series of sweaty gigs in the fringe bars of Auckland's K-Road. They are invited to play at local indie label Lil Chief's Xmas party, where they impress Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman - the man who discovered Nirvana. Jonathan joins the now fast growing list of excited fans.

June 2004: The Checks are hand picked by ex APRA boss, Mike Chunn, to open a live 24-hour TV broadcast of all New Zealand musical talent.

July - December 2004 : More gigs to standing room only crowds cement their reputation as the live band to see in Auckland. They win the 'Most Promising Band' at the 2004 Bnet Radio Network Awards (despite being unsigned and unreleased), appear in a variety of local and international music and fashion magazines and newspapers, and appear on local music TV.

January - March 2005 : The Checks impress a large crowd at the Big Day out and are invited to support REM on the NZ leg of their world tour after they discover The Checks on an NZ music compilation. Michael Stipe introduces the band both nights and REM play the opening bars for Tired From Sleeping during their set.

April - May 2005: The Checks are invited to join the NME New Music tour of England by editor Conor McNicholas. The band suppport Maximo Park, The Towers of London and The Cribs for 6 exciting nights. Whilst away they win 'Most Bnet Play' awards at the 2005 Bnet's.

Their first album Hunting Whales (2007) was a blues inspired boogie recorded in RAK Studios, London and was produced by Ian Broudie. The lead single What You Heard debuted at number 16 on the UK indie charts and sparked a 117 show tour through New York, L.A, Berlin, Cardiff, Madrid, Barcelona, Dublin, Belfast, Sydney, Melbourne, London and Glasgow. The band cut their teeth and became one of the tightest bands on the planet under the age of 18.

Their sophomore release, Alice By The Moon (2009) was self produced and won 'Best Rock Album' at the prestigious Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. It was a departure from their earlier, more traditional, sound and an arrival into their weird and wonderful world of genre bending grooves. Alice By The Moon birthed crowd favourites You and Me and Ballroom Baby.

Deadly Summer Sway (2011) was their next release, offering that musically and conceptually capitalized on everything they started with Alice By The Moon. It was produced by New York producer Bassy Bob Brockman, who having worked with Biggie Smalls, The Fugees and even Dylan claimed that working with The Checks was “one of the greatest experiences of his life- no doubt.” The lead single Candyman Shimmer caught the entire industry off guard and surprised fans and critics alike.

The Checks disbanded in September 2012.

Band Members:
Edward Knowles (guitar)
Karel Chabera (bass)
Jacob Moore (drums)
Sven Pettersen (guitar)
Callum Martin (guitar)


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muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5068
Location: Manawatu
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The Checks Update
Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 11:11 am
It’s been an exciting journey for The Checks since emerging from the harbour district of New Zealand's largest city a few years ago. Their creative energies fuelled equally by vintage (rhythm and) blues sounds, pop classicism, and similarly-minded acts of the 21st century like the Black Keys and Kings Of Leon, have seen The Checks achieve the unthinkable for a gang of NZ schoolboys: they have transformed their enthusiasm for songwriting and wild performance into something resembling a career. They’ve been attacking their new material with the fervour usually reserved for first-timers, and this crazed energy certainly leaps out in their second album, ‘Alice By The Moon’.

The Checks relocated back to New Zealand after living in London for 18 months, with their killer debut album ‘Hunting Whales’ (produced by Liverpool legend Ian Broudie), four 7" singles, and a whole spectrum of touring experiences under their collective belts. ‘Hunting Whales’ was touted as "a gloriously uncomplicated dollop of funk and boogie" by NME; and "a rough diamond of a debut" by Mojo.

The band have garnered astounding recognition both at home and internationally from the wider music industry, with achievements including requests from Oasis to open for them across the Antipodes; touring Japan with The Hives; and being championed by Michael Stipe, who invited them to open REM’s New Zealand tour - personally introducing The Checks set each night. These things don't happen to any ordinary, run-of-the-mill group.

For The Checks though, it's about cranking up the excitement in their recordings and their breathless live shows. Whether they’re playing to 12 people in Hull on a wet Tuesday night, or 1200 at Homegrown in Wellington, the energy levels are the same for The Checks; and the last 12 months has seen them bring the electricity when supporting The Killers, touring with Muse, returning to visit Tokyo, and pulling off a Dylan-at-Newport moment at the Whitianga Blues festival with Wilco. The band are barely out of their teens, and just beginning to hit their stride.

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