Waipu's Alien Weaponry lands $10,000 grant for thrash metal song in te reo Maori
Teenage thrash metal band Alien Weaponry have been awarded a $10,000 grant from NZ On Air.
The "Making Tracks" grant will allow them to complete recording and produce a video for their te reo Maori song Ruana Te Whenua (The Trembling Earth).
The three boys from Waipu, south of Whangarei, were one of just 12 acts selected from a pool of 123 to receive the $10,000 grant, and, with an average age of 13, are believed to be the youngest artists ever to be funded directly by NZ On Air.
Facebook fans have dubbed their style "Te Reo Metal" and compared them to Brazilian metal band Sepultura, who sing many of their songs in their native Portugese.
NZ On Air music manager Brendan Smyth believes the group are "set to take the heavy metal world by storm".
Record producer Tom Larkin, who is also the drummer for Shihad, agrees. He contacted the band earlier this year after he saw some of their YouTube clips, and invited them to open for Shihad at the Powerstation.
They have since been working with Larkin at Roundhead Studios in Auckland on material for an album. The the NZ on Air funding will enable them to release Ruana Te Whenua as the first single.
"These kids are leagues beyond their years and there is some incredible stuff on the way from them," Larkin says. "This is some seriously crushing metal."
"Working with Tom has been really inspirational," says drummer Henry de Jong. "Being in the studio with him has improved how we interact as a group and changed the way I think about drumming, so we can't wait to continue that process."
In September, Alien Weaponry - Lewis de Jong (13), guitar and lead vocals; Henry de Jong (15), drums; and Ethan Trembath (13), bass) - placed second in the National Finals of both the Smokefree Rockquest and the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competitions.
They also took out the Youth Performance Trust's Native Reo Award at Pacifica Beats for Ruana Te Whenua.
Written entirely in te reo Maori, the song combines thrash metal with the elements of haka, and is a tribute to the de Jong brothers' great great great grandfather, who died in the Tauranga conflicts at Gate Pa in 1864 defending his home territory against the British.