Moron Says What?!?! jump for joy!
It’s that time of year again: another May, another New Zealand Music Month. An opportunity for emerging local talent to share the spotlight with established Kiwi greats, NZMM is rediscovering that schools are fertile stomping ground for young bands bored with the Top 40 constantly thrust upon them in the guise of originality. In a special EMJ report, our favourite young bands who are steadily gaining momentum, Moron Says What?!?!
, The DHDFDs
, and Christchurch’s Bang! Bang! Eche!
tell us how they view NZMM and the school curriculum, and whether or not they think it helps their bands get out of the practice room and onto the stage.
Bang! Bang! Eche! – the coolest cats in all of Christchurch
“We didn’t think it was relevant to us until last year,” say members of MSW?!?! about NZMM. “(But) when Real Groove
came out with the Awesome Feeling compilation CD, it changed our lives!” they say hyperbolically. The New Zealand Music Commission-run NZMM has grown from a mainstream behemoth into a counterculture cheerleader, inspiring young bands. But said bands won’t necessarily use the Commission for their promotion.
Teacups enjoy handclaps (photo: Tania Setyady)
“We’re not so sure that NZMM really affects our gigs,” say MSW?!?!, “because we’re not playing any official NZMM gigs. We don’t really know how NZMM gigs work, we are just going to continue playing the gigs we usually play like we would any other month. We do believe in promoting NZ music though.”
Moron Says What?!?! because they're worth it
The lack of understanding about the function of NZMM could be put down to schools’ music curriculum, which many say is outdated. B!B!E! says: “Music in schools does not focus on performing at all, it’s all about being able to read Mozart. That’s rad, but it puts you off at an early age.” MSW?!?! agree, saying, “High school should offer things such as basic music production courses.” School curriculum needs to evolve as NZMM has. “I remember when two or three years ago it (NZMM) used to be about only bands like Steriogram and Elemeno P and all those mainstream bands,” MSW?!?! continues. “Now it’s expanded so much more.”
Teacups like to have fun in photo booths (with Matt Costa)
A lack of venues has been a tough obstacle though. Christchurch’s central city reportedly houses just two at present – “by far not enough,” says B!B!E!. Then there’s age-restriction. “Sometimes we have trouble playing in bars and we have to bring parents,” MSW?!?! says, “but we’re often alright. We manage to twist the law, a lot of times people don’t realise we are underage, but audiences treat us like any other band.”
The DHDFDs as talented as they are extroverted
(photo: Brendan Chan)
The DHDFDs’ vocalist Kudaranee Brown says “Heaps of venues wont book us again as soon as they find out we are young. I’m not sure if that’s from our age or the damage or noise we make!” But ageism won’t dampen Brown’s spirit. “Old people don’t write good music cause they are old, it’s just an excuse to find a reason to dislike our sound,” he says. “It’s kind of uncool to be young, we are just known as the noisy, young, crazy band from Pt Chevalier. But I think when we are 30 years old we will still be called that young band, ha ha!”
Your face hurts when you see The DHDFDs live –
'cos you can't stop grinning (photo: Brendan Chan)
And Music Month will still be ticking away. So what’s next, Atlas? Op Shop? Or a psychedelic explosion the likes of our recent SXSW invasion? Teacups' singer Chelsea says the support systems are in place, they just need to be utilised. “I think it (NZMM) is wondrous! I imagine the others would join me in harmonised chorus at this,” she adds cheekily. “There is no downside to exposing New Zealand music exclusively, there are a zillion amazing New Zealand musicians that are not recognised nearly enough.” It is to these unsung heroes that young bands look for inspiration – not their distinguished elders – for the excitement is literally everywhere.
Bang! Bang! Eche! out-of-control awesome