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Music News - Smokefree Rockquest Finalists Announced

Smokefree Rockquest Finalists Announced

18 August 2008 - 0 Comments

The twentieth anniversary Smokefreerockquest finals promise a varied celebration of young Kiwi music talent, with the six national finalists announced today covering the field from hardcore to harmonies.

Over 700 bands played off in 40 heats and finals around the country over winter, with the final selection from DVDs of the bands’ original music, judged by independent music producer Clint Murphy and Tania Dean from NZ on Air.

Six bands will play off at the Christchurch Town Hall on Friday September 5, followed on Saturday night by a retro concert featuring some of the country’s top bands who started their careers in Smokefreerockquest.

In north to south order the finalists are:

Jicky Chan, a six piece band with a funky reggae dub sound from Kawarau College, made up of five Year 13 musicians and ‘their baby’, Year 11 vocalist Jordan Whakaruru.

They have been playing together for three years, and won the national final of Pacifica Beats in 2006 under the name The Jick.

Jayme Fitzgerald, singer-songwriter from Tauhara College Taupo. Jayme has been playing guitar for some time and picked up piano last year. She is putting out her first CD of music - with a strong Jack Johnson influence.

The Stray Dogs, a three piece from Wellington with a rockabilly sound. Band members are drummer Benjamin Wattie and guitarist Jess Sheehan both from Wellington College, and bass player Patrick Stewart from Wellington High School.

Beneath the Silence, Canterbury hardcore fivepiece with four guys and one girl. The line up is Brook Williamson, vocals, Kaiapoi High School; Mark Woodcock, guitar, Rangiora High School; Hamish McIntosh, drums, Sophia Di, guitar and Nic Rollinson, bass, all from Cashmere High School.

New York Minutes, Timaru four piece indie-rock band with members James Gibb, guitar; Peter Scott, vocals/guitar; Kieran Ormandy, drums; Isaac McFarlane, bass; all from Timaru Boys’ High School.

The Slur Tones, an indie three piece from Wanaka, in Smokefreerockquest for the fourth time. Made up of guitarist Fabian Shaw and bass player Yannick Weastell, plus their new drummer, Alistair Mawhinney, a hosteller (boarder) from Auckland - all from Mount Aspiring College.


Rockquest Promotions Founders and Directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey said the professionalism of the young bands was more evident than ever.
“These young musicians are using technology in ways that were just not possible when we started out 20 years ago,” they said. “They have sophisticated recording gear, they are using the internet to promote their bands and they are far more articulate - in their song writing and when they talk about their sound.”

The judges were impressed with the standard of the music and its presentation on DVD. Tania Dean said there was a greater diversity than in previous years, with a move away from ‘emo’ into more interesting sounds and fresher ideas. Clint Brown said the song-writing stood out, with the bands concentrating on the song as a whole and working together as a unit, rather than as individual musicians.

The Smokefreerockquest National Finals are at the Christchurch Town Hall, starting at 8pm on September 5. Tickets are $20 at the venue pre-sales and door-sales. At stake is the first prize of $10,000 worth of music gear and recording time, plus almost guaranteed recognition by the music industry. The other awards made at the finals reinforce the key Smokefreerockquest aim of encouraging students to write and perform their own music. Individual prizes are awarded for best lyrics, best vocals, women’s musicianship and the best song. A scholarship to the Tai Poutini contemporary music course is also awarded.

Retro Concert

On the Saturday night (September 6) a retro concert marking 20 years of Smokefreerockquest is scheduled for the same venue (Christchurch Town Hall), celebrating the successful New Zealand bands that started out in Smokefreerockquest. The line up includes Minuit and Autozamm, full details to be announced next week when tickets will go on sale at Ticketek.

Anniversary CD

The anniversary is also being marked with the release of a double CD: Melodies, Moshpits and Mullets - 20 Years of Smokefreerockquest. This collection of the best bands and musicians to come through Smokefreerockquest includes The Checks, Anika Moa, Evermore, The Datsuns, Weta, Steriogram, Fur Patrol, Sommerset, Brooke Fraser, Die Die Die, The Rabble and many more. The CD goes on sale on August 25, $24.95 at all music stores.

C4 coverage

Smokefreerockquest regional finals from this year begin to screen on C4 next week, featuring Christchurch, Manawatu and Auckland East. The programmes screen at 5pm, during Vodafone Select live, starting on Friday August 22. (full details on episode breakdown follow at end of this media release)

Thanks to www.smokefreerockquest.co.nz for this story.

Next: Greg Johnson Is Coming Home With A New Record And Tour

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