Six60 work to entertain and surprise their fans

Six60 play will play at Butlers Reef on December 27
Six60 play will play at Butlers Reef on December 27

Kiwi band Six60 have barely had five minutes to sit down and bask in the glory of their recent success.

It has been a non-stop ride for the five-piece, who have played to sold out crowds around the world, and scooped six gongs at the recent New Zealand Music Awards.

Guitarist Ji Fraser said all in all it had made for a fairly "mind- blowing" year.

"We haven't really had a chance to sit back and look at it all. But yeah, we've picked up some awards, been all over the United States, all over the UK, so it's all been pretty crazy."

For someone who was unfamiliar with the Northern Hemisphere, Gisborne-born Fraser said the overseas excursion had been as much of an experience for him, as it had the band.

"I'm travelling the way I always wanted to travel, which is with the band, so I'm pretty happy.

"We went up the top of the Eiffel Tower, went to Niagara Falls, so I've seen some stuff now which is good."

Selling out a show in London, as well as five of the eight they played in the US, had definitely been a highlight.

"That was pretty incredible for a band going over there for the first time, especially from New Zealand. I mean they weren't huge venues, but there was a time when we couldn't even do that in New Zealand."

Following their return from overseas, and the New Zealand Music Awards, the madness hadn't stopped.

Last week the Taranaki Daily News shamefully interrupted a rehearsal as the lads prepared for an anniversary show which they played last Saturday.

The concert featured the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, who Six60 recently collaborated with on the single Lost.

Fraser said it was a different experience to play alongside an orchestra, but one he made the most of before he had to slot back into the laid-back vibe of their upcoming summer tour.

In what will be their fourth visit to Taranaki, the band - who formed in a traditional Dunedin student flat in 2008 - will descend on Butlers Reef on December 27.

Fraser said after the success of last year's tour, the band couldn't wait to get back on the summer circuit.

"We had the honour of doing the biggest summer tour on record last summer. . . I had the time of my life last year and I can't wait to do it all again," he said.

And there will be a few surprises in store for even their most dedicated fans, he said.

"We're writing a new album as we speak, so we're looking at popping a few surprises in there for everyone.

"We start road testing our new songs around this time, so there'll definitely be some new and some old in there with these shows."

Dubbed as a band who blend soul, rock, dub-step and drum and bass, Fraser said he found it hard to pin- point the exact style they aimed for.

"We're not really into writing to a particular style; we never have been. That's sort of a question that we really enjoy not being able to answer.

"We are all different, so we're all going to write different stuff all the time."

The "we" he speaks of are fellow band members Matiu Walters (vocals, guitar), Marlon Gerbes (synths, samples), Eli Paewai (drums), and Chris Mac (bass).

Having been together for about four years now, Fraser said he had definitely become more tolerable of his band mates when on tour.

"You're living about 2 centimetres away from each other for about two months and it becomes a bit testing. The dynamic's always good though. We always have a few laughs."

Despite their recent award haul which included Vodafone Single of the Year, Best Group, People's Choice Award, Highest Selling NZ Single, Highest Selling NZ Album and NZ On Air Radio Airplay of the Year, Fraser said the achievements still came as a surprise.

"We we set our goals high, but it is still a surprise when they come to fruition," he said. "We'll definitely continue to do what we do and keep working."

Asking Ji

Can you give me a rundown of who plays which role in the band?

Matiu's the hero. If somebody doesn't want to do something he'll always step in and say "Well I'll do it then". Chris is the cheap ass, and Eli's the quiet one who doesn't say a word. I'm more of the leader type, and Marlon's just the weirdo.

If Six60 held a dinner party, what three guests would you invite and what would be on the menu?

Um Jimi Hendrix, Kanye West - we might have to have him - and a third person . . . It can't be a musician . . . Danny DeVito. We'd probably cook Spag Bol with no flavouring, just chopped up tomatoes like we used to have in the flat. Dessert would probably be a toasted sandwich. It's a "that's all we've got in the fridge" dessert. It's more about the conversation than the food.

If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

I know Chris would love to have the ability to spend his own money. I wouldn't mind being able to fly. That's a pretty boring answer though, sorry.

If you weren't a part of Six60, what would you be doing?

I feel like I would be a gourmet chef or something like that. (Judging from his dinner menu above, the Taranaki Daily News finds this hard to believe).

If you had to pick one musician who inspires you the most, who would it be?

Eric Clapton. I just love his music, love his playing, love his songwriting.

PREVIEW Six60 with Iva Lamkum, Butlers Reef, December 27

Taranaki Daily News