Nelson Band Wins Smokefreerockquest
A Nelson band took out New Zealand's major high school music award for the second year in a row, at the Smokefreerockquest national final in Hamilton on Saturday night.
New Vinyl, a quirky three-piece with a folk jazz sound and an unusual combination of instruments won first place, $10,000 worth of instruments from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a NZ On Air new recording and music video grant worth over $10,000, a place on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support for a single, and video play on youth music channel FOUR.
The Nelson College year 12 and 13 members of New Vinyl are Ed Palmer (double bass), Alex Farrell-Davey (guitar and vocals) and Allister Meffan (accordion and trumpet).
Spokesman Alex Farrell-Davey says he has entered Smokefrerockquest before but it was the originality of the three-piece combination that brought success - plus 'practice, practice, practice'.
"When we heard the other finalists we didn't think we'd win - they were so talented, but we are really stoked," he said. "Smokefreerockquest gave us a goal to work towards and built my strength as a song writer."
Smokefreerockquest founder and director Pete Rainey said it was almost 'an embarrassment of riches' to have a Nelson band win again, after last years winner was The Peasants from Nelson's Garin College.
"We can be really proud that Nelson kids are getting great support from their teachers and from this event," he said. "Glenn (Common, co-founder and director) and I can just enjoy Nelson's success - although the event is organized from Nelson, we are completely outside the judging process."
The judges from the New Zealand music industry Jaden Parkes (Sony Music), Jeff Newton (NZ on Air), Lisa Blatchford (Ivy Lies), Matt Barthow (FOUR) and Matt Warman (Midnight Youth) said it was a very tough decision.
"New Vinyl gave a mature performance with solid vocals and melodies that were really well written and performed," said Jell Newton from NZ on Air.
Second place, winning $5,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers went to Auckland pianist and singer Indi, who is 18 year old Indira Force from ACG Senior College.
Third place, winning $3000 worth of musical gear from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers went to acoustic duo Luke and Amberly from Kamo High School, Whangarei. They also won the Lowdown Best Song Award.
Other awards were made to the national winners from the 25 regional finals in the following categories:
The MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship: Joshua Wrightson, the drummer from A Reflection of Yesterday, Alfriston College, Auckland
The APRA Lyric Award went to Claudia Jardine from Cashmere High School, Christchurch.
The Smokefree Women's Musicianship Award: Ruby Walsh, electric guitar, Getting Up Backwards, Hauraki Plains College, Waikato.
The national winners of Skinny People's Choice, voted by text were Heroes for Sale from Green Bay High School who won the opportunity to play at the national final as the opening guest band.
Go to http://www.sfrq.co.nz and be impressed at the creativity and skill of the national finalists.