The first time I ever listened to O-Boy! I was convinced PJ Harvey had been reborn in the nineties and was somehow in the bodies of these two unique young women. Kaipara College takes nothing for granted when it comes to the musical capabilities of its students.

The two-piece O-Boy! was created to compete in the 2016 Smokefreerockquest (SFRQ), a competition between New Zealand high school bands with a chance to win a large booty of prizes. The prize pool includes $10,000 worth of Rockshop vouchers, as well as professional recording time and a music video for 1st place!

Bianca Bailey and Bryony Roberts, now both in Year 12, first joined forces in Year 9 with their band DayGlow. Since then they have gone their own way musically and reached the regional finals four times each. This year as O-Boy!, the duo has become Kaipara College’s first act to make it to the national finals.

There is a stark difference between the peculiar duo; Bryony , the vocalist and bassist, has dark, wine-coloured curls and large hazel eyes, while Bianca, the astounding drummer and vocalist, sports platinum blonde hair, vibrant blue eyes and a short fringe. Their appearances aren’t the only differences; while performing, Bryony calmly bobs and grooves with the music while Bianca plays with a wild energy that her bandmate thinks “looks a lot like Animal from The Muppets.”

When asked to describe the style of O-Boy!’s music, the words “abrasive alternative rock” and “slap-in-the-face” are used. Both girls agree that the purpose of their music is to “make people realise that they can do whatever they want and not have to worry about everybody else,” and to leave them refreshed, knowing that they’ve just heard “something totally different from what they’ve experienced before.”

I quizzed Bryony on which musician she’d most want to dine with and her response came almost immediately, “100% Ty Segall!” She explained that she was interested in learning the thought behind some of his songs, like Baby Big Man, and would love for “some of his godliness to rub off” on her. “The ultimate goal,” she said, “is to be produced by someone like Jack White and to play at Glastonbury.”

Both Bryony and Bianca are greatly supported by their small town when it comes to achieving their own big town dreams.

Bianca would like to “sit down with The White Stripes,” because “they’re both kinda weird and a duo.” The weirdness of their music is a definite link between the famous band and this newborn one.

O-Boy! performed five songs in their SFRQ National Finals video entry and out of those songs, both Bryony and Bianca agree that She is their favourite. With a slightly eerie bass line and changing time signatures, the song is definitely one of their most developed pieces. The lyrics hold a personal meaning to Bryony, which simultaneously help make it relatable and significant to both the girls and the audience.

Together, Bianca and Bryony are yin and yang, fitting together in a way that creates a unique genre of music and an exciting atmosphere during performances. Even through the emotionless machine of a phone, Bianca’s bubbly nature translates: “We’re both really enjoying what we’re doing!”

Their friendship has stayed strong through the trials and frustrations that come with creating art and both girls hold each other in high regard. “She’s my family,” Bryony says. Bianca responds with four words describing what her bandmate means to her: “Most important nutcase ever.”

The lipstick-wearing, hair-flipping, alternative rock femme duo, O-Boy! are like a pair of pleasant, soft violet sunglasses you come across in your grandmother’s attic; unexpected and a treasured find.


TEARAWAY be at the Smokefreerockquest 2016 National Final at the Ray Freedman Centre – will you? Look out for our reporter Breann and photographer Max – come and say hi and get your picture taken for our SFRQ wrap-up!