As of February 7th, 2019, I have been studying in Christchurch, New Zealand for a semester. Although New Zealand has a thriving, international reputation for beautiful lakes, impressive mountains and fantastic beaches, it is somewhat under-represented as a source of exciting new music. In fact, I would wager that most of you reading aren’t too familiar with modern Kiwi music (past Lorde, Kimbra and maybe even Flight of the Conchords). However, in my short time here so far, I have learned of quite a few Kiwi and Aussie bands that deserve, in my opinion, far more international recognition. So, I would like to make it my mission to bring you a new South-Pacific artist each week in hopes that you may too enjoy them.
To kick this off, I’d like to introduce Mako Road, perhaps my favourite band I have discovered here so far. Mako Road formed at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch in 2015 with members Rhian Ward, Connor Jaine, Connor McErlich and Robbie Day, starting as a small cover band. Since then, they have gone on to produce 2 EPs – ‘The Green Superintendent’ (early 2018) and ‘Local Safari’ (late 2018) – and support acts such as Rudimental and Bootleg Rascal.
I was introduced to this band by my Kiwi flatmate who played their song “Daiquiri”. Instantly I was hooked on this song. Its catchy lead riff and bouncy rhythm guitar puts me in a good mood as soon as I hear it. I feel like this song is a good representation of their current overall sound; a soft indie-rock style that mixes in some elements of reggae and pop, happy and upbeat without being too complex. I guarantee that after one listen, you’ll be singing along.
The title track from ‘The Green Superintendent’ is probably my favourite song by Mako Road. Opening with a soft guitar arpeggio and mellow vocals, the song quickly becomes more like “Daiquiri”- it’s bouncy and fun; the two guitars play back and forth with each other during the verses whilst the bass quietly keeps the groove going, walking down the frets. There is undeniably a stronger reggae vibe in this song, chords are quickly muted after being strummed and the one drop rhythm on the drums is much more pronounced. It’s definitely a song worth listening to.
Their biggest song on Spotify, “The Sun Comes Up”, is great too. As with ‘The Green Superintendent’, the song starts in a rather subdued way – some chords played rather faintly paired with an echoey riff on lead, sang over softly by Ward. But, about a minute in, the reggae inspired drum kicks in with the bass and the soft-rock/reggae fusion begins again. There’s something sort of mesmerising with this song, it’s catchy and energetic without doing too much.
Following the terror attack in Christchurch, Mako Road joined with 4 other artists to play a charity gig to support those affected by the tragedy. I went along to see them perform and I was thoroughly impressed. They gave a fantastic show, performing the three songs above flawlessly, along with many others, such as “Lady”, “Be the Same” and “All We Need”, all whilst having fun moving around to their music. If you happen to get a chance to see them, make sure you do!