Alien Weaponry are a young band well on their way to becoming New Zealand’s next metal giants. TEARAWAY‘s BREANN DIAS caught up with the three teenagers recently to learn about life as a successful band with crazed fans chasing their van, and how they’re still humble enough to eat Weet-Bix.

The legend of Alien Weaponry is still being written, however the success in its future seems predestined. With voices like thunder and instruments that roar, Henry (17), Lewis (15), and Ethan (15) are three metal musketeers setting out on a brave journey. Their recent accolades include winning the prestigious APRA Maioha Award, attending the NZ Music Awards, topping Spotify charts, and releasing a series of singles while touring the country several times. Their new album is due out in early 2018, and- impressively enough- they already have four gigs scheduled in Europe and are looking to add more.

It was an absolute honour to talk to the three of them, all the while trying to reconcile the musical warriors of Alien Weaponry with the unassuming teenagers before me.

How do you keep up with everything?

Henry: I’d like to say that I do keep up with everything, but I don’t [chuckles]. There’s a lot of juggling with work and trying to do school work and not really doing it.

Lewis: It’s more of a circus. It’s weird growing up like this, but it’s fun. It’s interesting.

Henry: It’s pretty awesome. We get a lot of people at school- I do anyhow- commenting on it all the time like, “you guys are living the dream!” [laughs] It’s good to have that reminder of that fact sometimes especially when things get a bit tedious with band practice and stuff.

Lewis: Yeah a lot of people think we’re ‘living the dream’ or whatever. We’re really not. At the end of the day we still go home to our old farmhouse, you know. We still eat Pams, Weetbix, or whatever. We’re not sitting there rolling in cash.

Any crazy fan stories?

Henry: We were driving down to Wellington, and there was this car behind us, flashing his headlights. This guy was sticking his hand outside the window and kind of waving his hand wildly and driving quite close to us. I thought they were kinda pissed off at us and just wanted to pass, so I pulled over a bit so they could pass us but they didn’t. Then I thought, ‘there’s something wrong with the van- the backdoor or something must’ve been open.’ So we stopped and pulled over and the guys following us ended up being fans! He wanted a photo and was giving us hugs, which was really cool. The photo is floating [around] on Facebook somewhere.

Is that scary knowing that you’re already so recognisable?

Henry: Yeah it made us think that maybe in a couple of years we should look into getting a normal black van without a big sign saying ‘Alien Weaponry’ all over it, ’cause we’d get snapped so easily. People would be stopping us at gas stations after gigs and whatnot- which is cool- but you’re tired after a gig, and you need rest. You don’t really want people hassling you.

What do you do to pump yourselves up before a gig?

Lewis and Ethan: EATING!

Lewis: Me and Seth, who is the lighting tech, usually go for a skate.

Ethan: If there’s enough room backstage, I’ll run around in circles.

What do you do to calm down after a gig?

Lewis: We usually end up loading the van back up after a gig, and then we usually just find the nearest McDonalds. Grab the $1 Frozen Coke!

How do your friends fit into your touring lives?

Henry: My girlfriend’s come along and helped us sell merch on a couple of gigs.

Ethan: My friend jumped on board and was the tech for a while, helping us with gear loading and stuff.

Lewis: None of my friends have come along but it’d be really sick if they did.

Henry: As for our social life, there are some sacrifices we have to make. It’s not like we never get out or anything but there are some parties and stuff we have to miss out on to make the gigs we’ve got booked in.

Lewis: I don’t get invited to parties.

What’s it like living in the world of adults for your professional work and then going back to school and being a kid again?

Henry: I don’t really mind it. I’ve always enjoyed talking to people who were older and have the same mind-set as me, which is normally the people that aren’t making the ‘penis’ jokes and aren’t playing the little kid games, you know? I enjoy talking about really interesting stuff and talking really seriously. So I never really found [talking to adults] a problem as such.

Lewis: To be honest, I’m kind of like Henry, but not. Like [at] gigs it is really cool talking to grownups cause it’s such a different environment. In school, conversations are really not serious at all and people think that I take myself too seriously, which I kind of have to. I end up hanging out with a bunch of people who are a year older than me and they’ve kind of matured beyond the shallow group you usually get anyway.

Ethan: I think that the best conversations I’ve had are with people who have the same hobbies. The best conversations I have are at gigs and things, with the music all around and it makes it easier because we have something in common to talk about. Like even at the video shoots, when you just listen to people and you relate to them cause you have so much in common.

Do you have to do anything to keep playing live interesting for yourselves, as you’d be having the same set list or songs you’d be playing quite often?

Ethan: Not if the crowd feels us.

Henry: Playing live shows is no problem at all, it’s the rehearsals that can get a bit tedious. But in order to get the crowd all riled up and amped, we’ve got to practice. There’s definitely a lot of practice that goes into playing even just one show.

You mentioned earlier that your worst gig was probably the one you played at K’ Rd when you first started. Does that still stand?

Everybody: [laughs]

Henry: Oh yeah! I think that definitely still takes the cake. It was at this really dodgy club. Oh man! It was so dodgy! We were playing at the ‘after-party of Steve Vai’…

Lewis: Air quotes around that!

Henry: Oh yeah because apparently Steve Vai was too sick and couldn’t come.

Lewis: Yeah I wonder why that was.

Henry: Anyway, we were at this after-party where two people showed up and we played the same four to five songs over about three times. And he wasn’t going to pay us but ended up paying us $50.

Lewis: Not each! But for the entire night, for food, travel, accommodation, everything.

Henry: At the time we were just babies and just thought ‘Oh my god we got money!’, but then we realised we used about $40 in petrol, never mind food and accommodation.

Lewis: Yeah, we were just little kids and that was our first paid show.

Are you more nervous or excited about your European Tour?

Lewis: So excited!

Henry: We don’t really get nervous anymore. We just get super buzzed and channel that energy while we’re playing. It’s a sort of fuel.

It’s not too late to catch the trio in New Zealand at Soundsplash, and the Tattoo and Arts Festival, or at one of their shows in Australia before their next big adventure in Europe.

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