Rockquest band ahead of the game

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Recorded . . . Opihi College pupils (from left) Luke Smith (15), Matthew Anso (15) and Reef Brazendale (14) recorded and released a collection of original songs under their band name The Begonias earlier this year. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Young musicians are preparing for next month’s Smokefree Rockquest competition, but one Temuka band has another piece of musical experience under its belt.

Opihi College trio The Begonias released a nine-song album on Bandcamp and YouTube last month.

Song titles on the album, named Livin’ Like A Mushroom, include In A Can, I Don’t Like My Little Sister, The Serious Songand Mushrooms

Opihi College head of music Russell Fleming said while the recordings – made in the school’s music recording space – were rough, the music itself was not.

“The songs, I really believe, are extraordinary for a group this young.”

The trio of drummer Luke Smith, bassist Matthew Anso and guitarist/vocalist Reef Brazendale had put in a lot of work to record the album, Mr Fleming said.

“The songs, I really believe, are extraordinary for a group this young.” – Russell Fleming

“These guys have worked more or less constantly in the holidays, and at lunch and morning tea for about a month, to get their songs recorded and learn the skills needed to record.”

Luke said they had learned how to use the multi-track in the college’s recording room.

The band would be performing one of the songs off the album at the South Canterbury Smokefree Rockquest competition in late June, as well as a new song, Luke said.

The trio had all performed at Rockquest last year, as part of “punk-ish” band ALRM.

However, former bassist Allicia Kelly, who performed in ALRM last year, was no longer in the now-renamed band. The musicians had also changed their style, Reef said.

“We’ve mellowed a bit.”

Smokefree Rockquest requires solo artists and bands to perform at least one original song.

The Timaru competition will be held on June 22 at Mountainview High School.