It was only appropriate to have Brendon Thomas and co. bring the vibes at Rhythm and Vines this year. You’ll know the three piece Auckland band from their time on X Factor NZ, where they placed third and formed a partnership with new judge and I Am Giant drummer Shelton Woolright.

With a great Kiwi rocker behind them and with loads of fans of their psychedelic sound, Brendon Thomas and The Vibes they were set for stardom. We got down about X Factor, inspirations and a funny fact you didn’t know about Brendon Thomas.


How did Brendon Thomas and The Vibes come about?

Brendon: I started writing music in seventh form. I met Tim [Timothee Nolier, drums] at Albany Senior High; when I wanted to make my own band, my girlfriend reminded me of Tim. From the first jam on a song that I wrote, we knew. Every day after school I would go over to his and we started jamming together. I met Mikey [Michael Anderson, bass] on an audio engineering short course. We started jamming there – we didn’t learn too much, but we passed. So we all came together from there – we work hard, play all the time non-stop wherever we can… so that’s how it’s developed. That’s the story of Brendon Thomas and the Vibes in a nutshell.


What are your inspirations?

Brendon: Good vibes, real vibes. Everything on stage is what you hear – very pure, just three of us doing what we do. That’s the main thing – very soul-based music, promoting real music.


What made you audition for X Factor NZ and did you ever see yourselves getting that far?

Mikey: We went on it to have a bit of promotion, have a couple sets and go back to bar gigs, but they kept us on for all of the shows.

Brendon: We were different and people really liked that, so somehow we got through. We just wanted to be on TV one time. We wouldn’t have gotten something like Rhythm and Vines without it, as people know our name now. It’s worked out for the better and we’re very grateful for it.


Speaking of Rhythm and Vines, you were part of the line-up at the New Year’s festival. Tell us about that performance

Brendon: Rhythm and Vines was so awesome. That was our first big festival and now we really just want to keep doing it – we’ve seen the potential. There’s a lot of people with good energy, going hard in the crowd. We’ll just keep doing it. I just want to go play again.


Who would you love to collaborate with?

Brendon: Paul McCartney.

Mikey: Probably Luke [laughs, pointing to their manager].

Brendon: Black Keys would be cool to jam with. Jack White would be interesting. John Butler.

Tim: John Mayer, The Feelers.


Favourite song to perform?

Brendon: Personally mine would be Imperial Material – people seem to really dig it, I’m keen to get it recorded and out to radio.

Tim: We haven’t performed it yet, but Black Chopper Shades – it’s a new one.


One song you wish you’d written

Brendon: Probably most of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin songs.

Mikey: Toto – Africa.

Tim: That’s a pretty good question – you’ve stumped me.


Tell us something about you that would surprise us?

Brendon: I don’t sleep – I’ve just been playing. I used to play guitar on the toilet – I used to be that obsessed with it.

Mikey: It’s an important part of development…


What’s your best piece of life advice?

Brendon: Don’t care what other people think – just live and do what you want to do. You’re free.

Tim: Live free – just do what you need to do. Don’t force anything – be yourself. Keep doing what you’re doing – have fun.


Speaking of advice, do you have any advice for young people wanting to get into the industry?

Brendon: Play everywhere – we’ve had noise control but we’ve prevailed cause we love what we do. People usually are on a good level – they can see what you’re into. Don’t be negative – respect people. Get your music out there.

Tim: Practice a lot, go beyond the limits and be respectful.
What’s coming up next for you?

Brendon: We’ve got Homegrown in Wellington this year – that’s another festival. We’re putting this EP together – this is the main priority – and touring with it mid-year.


You can catch Brendon Thomas & The Vibes at Homegrown in Wellington in April. You can keep up with the band on their YouTube channel and Facebook.