New Zealand Music Month kicks off for 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

May marks the start of the month-long music festival dedicated to celebrating homegrown New Zealand music. The up and coming band, Spyte, helped to open New Zealand Music Month 2008 by playing a concert at the Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch. Gabriel Pollard sat down and talked to the members of Spyte after watching their gig.

The annual Kiwi music showcase, which officially began yesterday, had various bands playing, ranging from jazz to heavy metal. While Spyte don't associate themselves with a particular genre as to not restrict themselves, the "unofficial leader" of Spyte, Bex Thomas, told me that they generally play heavy metal like they did today.

The band members of Spyte include Bex Thomas as guitarist, Logan Ellis as drummer and Stuart Hunter as bassist. They met each other at Christchurch's School of Rock.

They are looking to add new members after dropping some members earlier in the year, including a new drummer when Mr Ellis moves back onto guitar and a vocalist. Because they are yet to secure a vocalist, their current songs are instrumental.

Spyte played both of their songs at the Christchurch City Council-organised concert today because a third was not ready in time. Ms Thomas said they didn't have enough time to prepare if they were to play three songs.

One spectator listening to Spyte play described their performance as "awesome". Clay Shaw says, "I feel that they produced a very unique sound even though they had to make it quieter than normal due to noise restrictions."

When Spyte formed last year they didn't have a name and quickly chose one when asked if they had a band name right before jumping on stage. When asked the origins behind the name, Ms Thomas said, "We didn't want to risk having the same name as another band and it looks better."

The band tries to practice around once a week at least, but, as Ms Thomas says, "You can't practice too much if you're a musician."

All members of the band are serious about music and all indicate they wish to have a career in music in the future. Ms Thomas says she would like to be a professional musician or a guitar technician, but failing that she would fall back on psychology. She says, "It's hard to get into the New Zealand music industry. You've got to be realistic." Mr Hunter also says he would like to be a professional musician, but is training to become a chef if the former isn't possible. And Mr Ellis says he would like to be a music producer or a session musician.

Spyte have so far had three gigs, including today's one but would be able to get many more if they "tried".

All photographs below were taken by Gabriel Pollard.


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