Triple Whammy for Metal Trio
Young thrash metal band Alien Weaponry has scored a hat-trick. Earlier this month they reached the National Final of the NZ Battle of the Bands. They have also been named National Finalists in the Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats competitions, to be held in Auckland on September 11 and 12. As far as they are aware, they are the only band ever to have played in the finals of all three competitions in the same year.
At 13 years old, singer/guitarist Lewis de Jong and bass player Ethan Trembath are the youngest performers in the Smokefree Rockquest final for 2015. The group was chosen as one of only 6 bands to perform on September 11 out of more than 700 entrants throughout New Zealand. They played at the Northland heats, Northland finals and submitted a 15 minute video to get into first the top 20 and finally the top 6. “It’s actually really difficult to get to play at the National finals,” says 15 year old drummer, Henry de Jong. “This is the fourth year we have been in the competition.”
While thrash metal is not a genre typically associated with the Smokefree Rockquest, Alien Weaponry are even more of a rarity in the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition. “This is the first time we have ever had a metal band in the Pacifica Beats finals,” says organiser Elena Lome. “I can’t wait to see how they go down with the Pacifica Beats crowd. It’s going to be very exciting.”
The band has had extensive interest in their song Ruana Te Whenua, which is sung entirely in te reo Maori. Although they played it for the first time when they opened for SHIHAD at the Powerstation in May, it was written with Pacifica Beats in mind. Using traditional Maori instruments and the form of the haka, the song tells the story of the de Jong brothers’ great great great grandfather, Te Aho Aho, who was killed at the battle of Gate Pa defending his home territory against the British in 1864.
In preparation for the SFRQ final, a TV crew will spend 2 days in the little town of Waipu, filming Alien Weaponry in its natural habitat, and the band will record a single at Roundhead Studios in Auckland. This will become part of the SFRQ TV special to be broadcast later in the year. “It’s kind of handy actually,” says Henry de Jong. “We already have time set aside in the same studio to work on our upcoming album, so this is an awesome opportunity to collaborate with the Smokefree Rockquest team and get help and advice from some amazing people with heaps of experience.”
The winner of each competition will be up for prizes worth over $20,000 including more recording time and a music video funded by NZ on Air. “We already have some ideas for videos,” says bass player Ethan Trembath, “so it would definitely be good to win one, if not both competitions.” The tiny town of Waipu in Northland is holding its breath to see if they can do it.
The trio’s goal is to be playing big metal festivals in Europe and the USA before they hit their 20s, and, having recently been invited to play a metal festival in Brisbane in January 2016, it looks like they’re well on their way. On the local front, the band will be performing at a series of ‘School’s Out’ all ages shows to celebrate the end of exams in November/December, along with fellow SFRQ finalists Joe Says No and X-Factor heroes Brendon Thomas & the Vibes. Also on the bill is Hamilton core band Seas of Conflict. “There will be something for everyone,” says Lewis. “It’s going to be a brutally awesome way to end the school year.”