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Success in the music industry closer for eight finalists

Success in the Kiwi-music industry is a step closer for the eight Smokefreerockquest national finalists, announced today.

There were 654 entries in this year’s only nationwide, orginal youth music event, with contenders going forward from 23 regional finals to play off at the national final in Auckland on September 28.

Judges from the music industry today named the top six bands and two solo/duos, selected from DVDs submitted since the regional finals.

Matt Warman from Midnight Youth said the Smokefreerockquest finalists demonstrated that music in New Zealand is in a very good place: “What really excited me was seeing that in spite of all the ipads and iphones kids are still into the fundamentals of what music is about – guitars, basses, drums and making really good rock ‘n roll.”

Hamish Jackson from the Rockshop said the talent at national finalist level never ceased to amaze him and 2013 had done it again: “There’s other bands that easily deserve to be there but we could only choose eight, which will make for a great final. I reckon there’ll be a few bands that didn’t make it that will go on to do some great things musically.”

The top six bands are:
The Moots, Auckland Central - a funk-rock three piece from St Kentigern College, Western Springs College, and Westlake Boys’ High School; members are Alexandre de Reuck (drums), Guy Beca (bass) and Gabriel Everett (lead vocals and electric guitar).
SundayBest, Waikato - the second time in the national final for this quirky indie band from Peter's School Cambridge, made up of Charlie Verberne (lead vocals and electric guitar), Chris Milson (drums), and Jesse Austin (bass).
All of a Kind, Waikato - third year competing in SFRQ for this five piece alt-pop band from Putaruru College, whose members are Conor White (vocals and acoustic guitar) James Te Whare (lead electric guitar and keyboard), Antonio Clair (bass and percussion), Tarewa Walker (drums), and John Keith (keyboard and backing vocals).
A Bit Nigel, Rotorua - it’s the third time in the national final for this indie-rock outfit from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and Rotorua Boys' High School. They are Hamish Nixon (lead vocals, guitar and synth), Sam Marshall (bass, synth), and Manawa Veitayaki (drums and backing vocals).
Aftershock, Rotorua - this four piece metal band from Western Heights High School and John Paul College have been playing together for six years and made the top 20 last year. The members are Lukas Wharekura (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist), Chris Everest (lead guitar), Shaun Loper (bass) and Oliver Prendergast (drums).
AashaWillandCullen, Christchurch – this alt-folk band from Shirley Boys' High School is made up of Aasha Mallard (banjo), Will McGillivray (acoustic guitar and kick drum) and Cullen Kiesanowski (double bass). The year 11 students have all played music since year 8, but formed a band only a year ago.

The solo/duo finalists are:
Harry Parsons, Waikato is from Cambridge High School and since he went solo has moved from punk and metal to songs that are folk or alternative. Harry has been surrounded by music all his life as his father is a professional musician. Khona Va'aga-Gray, Manukau this McAuley High School soul/R&B singer puts her success down to her mother sitting her down in front of the Disney channel to sing along, which sparked her love for music and performing.

Highly Commended
The judges decided that the standard of the top 30 was so high that, for the first time ever, they have named highly commended entrants, four for each category. The bands are:
Vivid, Auckland, Diocesan School For Girls
The Great Moon Hoax, North Shore, Rangitoto College
Arm the Reckless, Marlborough, Marlborough Boys' College
Puzzle Puppets, Otago, Otago Boys' High School

And the highly commended solo/duos are:
Thomston (Thomas Stone), Auckland, Avondale College
Andre Smith, Manukau, Glendowie College
Ruby Walsh, Waikato,Hauraki Plains College
Livvy & Anna , Nelson, Garin College

The national final of Smokefreerockquest is at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre, at 7pm on Saturday September 28. Tickets $20 from iTICKET, on sale from August 13. Guest acts include Massad, more to be announced. The event will be opened by the winner of the Skinny Mobile People’s Choice, with voting from the regional winners of this award taking place on facebook now.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has a national final prize pool for bands and solo/duo winners that includes musical gear to a total value of $22,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers. National winners also receive a recoding and music video package from NZ on Air, inclusion on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support, and video play on youth music channel FOUR. At the national final awards will be presented for the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefreerockquest Video Competition, National Skinny Mobile Peoples Choice Award, and the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award.

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