The 2016 Smokefreerockquest final is just around the corner, so let’s catch up with the nine acts who will be rocking the stage at the Raye Freedman Centre in Auckland this Saturday!

Let’s start with the six band finalists…


Alien Weaponry (Bream Bay College)

Sounds like…?
A locomotive in a concrete mixer.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
We have been really ramping up the intensity of our live show… it will be LOUD!!!

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
Playing at the Northland Regional Finals and getting to play our song Kai Tangata. We love surprising people… it’s intense.


Daffodils (Western Springs College)

Sounds like…?
An extension of our emotions and personalities. Our music sounds like the way we look at the world and feel about it. It’s really important to us to be honest in the way we play and write, so it all comes out sounding like us!

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
Chorus-drenched guitar and lots of dancing!

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
Just playing music with each other has been a major highlight for us; you can’t beat playing live, so that has been a massive buzz! Also we absolutely loved going into the studio; it was a brilliant experience.


Half Eaten Pie (Te Awamutu College)

Sounds like…?
Fast funky frantic indie punk.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
A high energy set with light yelling and jumping at random intervals.

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
Definitely finding out we got to nationals as we were absolutely stoked and surprised to get through. We even ended up writing a song from the celebration of getting through, which we actually recorded at Roundhead Studios!


O-Boy! (Kaipara College)

Sounds like…?
O-Boy! sounds like a slap in the face filled with alternative rock riffs and energy.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
Something new and punchy. We’re very excited and we’re encouraging everyone to get pumped with us. We can’t deny we’re looking forward to going all out.

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
The moment when we just got through to the national finals; we were crying on the phone to each other while running around our houses in our PJs!


Retrospect (Onslow College)

Sounds like…?
Indie rock, very upbeat, energetic and fun rock music. We cite bands like the Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and The Strokes as some influences among many.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
A good time. Our performances are very fun and full of energy and bring good vibes to the crowd.

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
Recording a song in The Armoury studio in Wellington. We learnt lots from the experience and got to work with Mike Fabulous, which was a great time.


AhJeez (Bethlehem College and Tauranga Boys College)

OK, so we couldn’t manage to lock these guys down for comment – most likely too busy being the incredible funk/blues four-piece they are! AhJeez came second in the Bay of Plenty final and feature last year’s national solo/duo winner Ben Mollison on lead guitar, along with Elijah Taula (lead vocals), Mitchell Nemeth (bass), and Brodie McDowell (drums).


And now, the three solo/duo finalists…


Iris G (Avondale College)

Sounds like…?
Being alive: flickering lights, tapping feet, clicking pens during mock exams because you don’t know how to answer any of the questions, the wind during dusk, the chime of cereal bowls and spoons in the morning, chirping birds, spinning bicycle wheels, and the sound of paper being written on.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
Some happy feet! I can’t stand still! When I’m playing music, there’s not a nerve in my body that doesn’t feel it. I’ll be a happy gal if that makes the audience wanna feel the music too! I’ll probably also have a Strepsil in my mouth. I always get sick before a performance – I think it’s probably the nerves. For the solo/duo Auckland regionals, I had to sing with a Strepsil stuck to the inside of my cheek!

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
It’s hard to choose because everything about it so far has been incredible! Working with Ruby Frost for the SFRQ TV show was definitely a huge highlight. We had actually met before that when I bumped into her last year on Queen Street after going to The 1975 signing – I had the best luck that day! She’s probably one of my favourite artists ever! I’ve written a song about my Ruby Frost withdrawals, called Frostbite; it’s so embarrassing how big of a fan I am. I’m so grateful to SFRQ and Commotion for giving me the opportunity to work with her! Filming for the SFRQ show has been an absolute dream.


Sonatane Kaufusi (Manurewa High School)

Sounds like…?
I feel like I don’t have a certain genre to the music I produce because I like to write about the things happen around me and life constantly keeps changing. If my music was to sound like a certain genre though, I’d like to label it country-blues.

What can we expect from your performance at the finals?
A good ol’ jam! I’m going to leave my everything on the stage and perform my heart out there! For my family, my uncle and Pa and for everyone that has been a part of my life so far.

Your favourite moment at SFRQ this year?
I entered SFRQ this year to hear new sounds and learn off other talented teenagers. Getting to know other musicians was probably the best part for me! Hearing their stories through music is something I love to do, and I felt like I could connect with everyone else that entered musically. It’s awesome!


Cam Dawson (Garin College)

Cam is obviously a busy dude too – we couldn’t lock him down for comment! The Blenheim teenager plays keyboard and describes his music as varied in style. He placed second in the solo duo section of the Smokefreerockquest 2014 national final and we can’t wait to see how he rolls this year!


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!

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