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2014 Smokefreerockquest National Finals

2014 Smokefreerockquest National Finals

Dub-roots four piece HeadChef from Wellington High School took out first place in this year’s finals of Smokefreerockquest at Auckland’s Q Theatre on Saturday night.

After regional finals held nationwide, the top six bands and three solo/duo performers played in front of a capacity crowd at the national final of New Zealand’s only nationwide, orginal youth music event.

HeadChef got their name from a friend who used to ‘cook us up the meanest feeds’, and are Carlos McQuillan (rhythm guitar and vocals), Leon van Dijk (lead guitar and backing vocals), Dylan Quinn (drums) and Ted Bartley (bass and backing vocals).


Spokesman Carlos McQuillan said it was the ‘funnest time ever’: “We had mentoring from Mike Fabulous (from the Black Seeds) that really helped us and we worked and reworked our songs - I think it was their structure and our performance that got us through.”

Second placed band was Joe’s Van from Mt Maunganui College, a trio with a six-year history in Smokefreerockquest. They are Cormac Seymour (lead guitar), Rory Priest (drums) and Jake Nicholas (singer and bass).

The solo/duo section was taken out out by Georgia Lines, from Tauranga’s Bethlehem College, who also won the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship award worth $1000 cash.

Georgia said she plans to make music her life: “I want to surround myself with people who can help me. Smokefreerockquest has developed my songwriting – we all bring something to the competition and I guess the judges saw that in me tonight.”

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Second placed was Cam Dawson, a profoundly blind Year 10 student at Manurewa High School. Cam is originally from Blenheim.

The judges were Jeff Newton (NZ on Air), Damian Daniels (FOUR), Hamish Jackson from NZ Rockshops and Kiwi music legends Anika Moa and Aaron Tokona (Weta, Cairo Knife Fight, AHoriBuzz).

Jeff Newton said the overall standard of the six bands was so high he’d have been comfortable with any of them winning.

“Head Chef stood out for the quality of their songwriting, musicianship and performance – they were brave in what they shot for - with harmonies, rap and some surprising elements and complexities that they executed to a very high standard.”

Anika Moa described Georgia as ‘abolsutely fantastic’: “She was very entertaining, she dressed well, oozed confidence and is a very good songwriter – her songs nailed it.”

Head Chef win $10,000 of musical gear from the NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, while Georgia Lines wins $3000 worth; and both will get a $10,000 song and 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. Both also win an all expenses paid, seven day tour to Fiji thanks to Unleashed Travel.

Smokefreerockquest attracted just on 700 entries this year. Winners from 23 regional finals sent in DVDs of their original music, and the top six bands and three solo/duos were selected in August by judges from the music industry.

Other awards made on Saturday night were:

Third placed band, winning $3,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop: Vivid, made up of Ash Parton (vocals and rhythm guitar), Ellie McBurney (lead guitar), and Kathleen Williams (drums) from Diocesan School for Girls, and Jade Paynter (bass) from Marist College.

The MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, tuition fees for one year to a MAINZ Course, valued at $4800: Micah Van der Touw, Keri Keri High School

The APRA Lyric Award, $500 cash: Elsie Whelan from Hutt Valley High School.

The Lowdown Best Song Award, having their song professionally recorded: Vacant City from Wairarapa College & Rathkeale College.

The Smokefree Women’s Musicianship, $1000 cash: Georgia Lines from Bethlehem College in Tauranga.

The People’s Choice Award: The Oxymorons from Gisborne Girls’ High School and Courtney Hate from Green Bay High School, who played the opener at the event as the prize for this award, voted on Facebook in the lead up to the final.

The top six bands who played off at the Smokefreerockquest 26th national final were:
The Bradas
from Manukau’s Alfriston College, Vacant City from Wairarapa College & Rathkeale College, SODA BOYZ from Palmerston North Boys' High School & Freyberg High. Joe’s Van from Mt Maunganui College, HeadChef from Wellington High School and Vivid from Diocesan School for Girls and Marist College in Auckland. The Solo/duos finalists were: Cam Dawson from Manurewa High School, ELAE from Garin College in Nelson and Georgia Lines from Bethlehem College in Tauranga

More info at sfrq.co.nz or facebook.com/thesfrq


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