Young musicians rock

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Central Southland College pupil Alex Dykes won the solo/duo section of the Southland Smokefreerockquest final. Photo: Supplied

THREE-PIECE alt-rock outfit The Dense from James Hargest College took out the Southland regional final of Smokefreerockquest at SIT Centrestage Theatre last Thursday.

Lead guitarist Liam Fairbairn said they got their name from a time when a few friends came around and they wound up on the roof.

“They left a few dents, but there’s already a band with that name on Spotify so we spelt it without the ‘t’.”

It’s the fifth time in Smokefreerockquest for Liam and drummer Jack Straw, with the line-up completed last year (when they competed in Dunedin) by bass player Nepia Ruwhiu.

Liam said their first song was about Southland pride and their second song was about enjoying the weekends out with your mates.

“I think it was our energy on stage and passion for the songs that helped us win.”

Beyond Society, from South Otago High School, in Balclutha, placed second.

Alex Dykes, from Central Southland College, was first in the solo/duo section, while Brianna Hedley, from Gore High School, was second.

Alex said he had been playing music for nine years – since he was 8 – and described himself as a “one-man band” with his guitar and loop pedal.

“My first song was called For the Love of God Please Turn It Down – my mum named that one,” he said.

“I’d describe my sound as indie-alternative – for me music is just a fun thing I do on the weekends.”

Founder and director Pete Rainey said from here on the Southland finalists would have to be well organised and work hard to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.

“They have to submit video footage of their original music that will be judged in August as we lead up to the national final,” he said.

“This process not only demands musical ability and creativity, they also learn to work together as a group and to develop the organisation and promotional skills they’ll need if they’re going to make it on the Kiwi music scene.”

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