Raglan school band Majestic Unicorns reckon they’re looking forward to opening for Beyoncé now that they have hit the big time – making the finals of the Waikato regional competition of Smokefree Rockquest.
The seven young band members, aged 13-15, who only two years ago were learning the basics of their instruments, say they were “surprised” to make the finals after playing the regional heats at Clarence Street Theatre earlier this month. Twelve bands out of 24 were selected.
“We honestly thought they’d made a mistake. We tried to look cool in front of the other bands but failed miserably.”
Majestic Unicorns comprise of Dughall Eadie, 13, lead guitar; Sasha Kirkwood, 13, lead singer and ukulele; Lily Bradley, 14, rhythm guitar; Jack Kirkwood, 13, drums; Sven Seddon, 15, bass guitar; and Emily Wiki, 14, harmony singer. They say their influence is everything and anything.
For the heats of Smokefreerockquest, New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, all original youth music event, Majestic Unicorns played a song called School Time, written by Sasha, which is about the importance of school.
For the regional finals they are working on a new song called Princess, written by Emily.
“At the moment we’re experimenting with different arrangements and workshopping our sound.”
Smokefreerockquest is their first foray into original music.
They began gigging last year, playing covers at school assemblies and fundraisers, the Musicians Club and A Taste Of Christmas held at the town hall.
“We’re looking forward to opening for Beyoncé,” they say, when asked what is next on the books.
“Ha, nah, we’ve got a few gigs coming up.”
Raglan Area School’s contemporary music teacher Peter Skandera says he’s very proud of his students, and believes they would have been the youngest competing at Smokefree Rockquest.
He reckons there are a number of reasons why Majestic Unicorns would have been selected for the regional finals.
“The unique instrumentation that they have: ukulele, bass, acoustic and electric guitar, drums. It’s not something that is mainstream, it’s a fresh sound, says Mr Skandera.
Also “there is an honest, authentic, unpretentious aspect to their music and to what they are portraying … they are not trying to copy anyone”.
They are “sweet honest authentic kids who love what they are doing. Their music is positive and uplifting – they haven’t hit the teenage years of darkness”.
Founder and director Glenn Common says: “The 12 bands going on to the finals need to practise hard, craft their set, get their supporters rallied and make good use of networking opportunities and social media to promote themselves and their achievements.”
The Waikato regional final is on Saturday, June 25, at Clarence Street Theatre.
The national final is on September 24. Winning prizes include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers and a $20,000 NZ on Air recording package.