Northland metal band makes history
Northland metal band Alien Weaponry has won this year’s Smokefreerockquest on Saturday September 14 at Auckland’s Raye Freedman Centre, adding to their Smokefree Pacifica Beats win the night before – a first in the event’s history.
From Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School, and comprising Lewis de Jong, 14 (guitar/vocals), brother Henry, 16 (drums), and Ethan Trembath, 14 (bass), Alien Weaponry have made New Zealand music history as the first band to win both competitions, the youngest band to win either final, and the only metal band to win Pacifica Beats.
Co-judge Jeff Newton said the judges couldn’t fault Alien Weaponry, whom he described as a band that was beyond their years.
“They believed in their identity as a metal band, their use of Te Reo was impressive, there really isn't anything else like this in the world at the moment.”
Alien Weaponry drummer Henry de Jong said the band extracted all the energy they could while on stage.
“It’s just such an awesome feeling after coming second last year – we’re really stoked,” he said. “We want to share our music and get out albums and singles as quickly as we can.”
“We were already surprised to win Smoke free Pacifica Beats [the previous night],” says Henry. “There are such great musicians in both competitions, and we don’t really fit the mould. We play thrash metal, we’re political and we sing in Te Reo Maori.”
However, it was these very differences that impressed the judges and earned the band the top prizes.
The band wins $10,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $10,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, and a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends.
“We feel very privileged to get these awards,” says guitarist and lead singer Lewis de Jong. “The NZ On Air funding and gear from the Rockshop will really help us to achieve our goals, and we plan to make the most of the opportunity.”
These plans include recording with Shihad drummer and producer Tom Larkin.