05 Dec 2017
Te Reo Māori thrash metal band Alien Weaponry will perform at some of the world’s biggest heavy metal festivals in Germany and Slovenia next year, thanks to support from Creative New Zealand.
The Waipu-based teenage three-piece burst on to the New Zealand music scene earlier this year after their single Rū Ana Te Whenua made it to the top of the Spotify viral New Zealand chart.
Brothers Henry (drums) and Lewis de Jong (lead guitar and vocals), of Ngati Pikiao / Ngati Raukawa descent, along with Ethan Trembath who plays bass guitar, sing in both Te Reo Māori and English.
Creative New Zealand will provide Alien Weaponry with $19,000 towards their European tour costs.
Cath Cardiff, Creative New Zealand Senior Manager, Arts Development, said the tour represents an opportunity for Alien Weaponry to grow its international fan base.
“We are delighted to help these talented young musicians to take their unique sound to the world. They already have fans in Europe and will have many more by the end of their tour,” she said.
The band, which has been together for six years, is very excited about its first international tour.
“This is a dream come true for us,” said 17-year-old drummer, Henry de Jong. “We always said we wanted to play at the European festivals but it’s hard to imagine it’s actually happening – come the middle of next year we’ll be sharing the stage with some of the biggest metal names in the world.”
Henry and Lewis are direct descendants of Te Ahoaho (a warrior who died in the battle at Pukehinahina, Gate Pā). A number of their songs, including Rū ana te Whenua, connect with the whakapapa and history of their rohe, as well as historical injustices and modern post-colonisation issues. Other songs focus on social and political issues affecting them as rangatahi (teenagers).
Both Henry and Lewis attended Kura Kaupapa Māori when they were younger and incorporate the haka skills learned there into their live performances. The result is a unique blend of high-energy, high-tempo thrash metal and Te Reo Māori lauded by heavy metal fans and critics around the world.
Alien Weaponry have previously supported popular New Zealand bands Devilskin and Shihad; and last year became the first band to win both Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats.
In 2018, Alien Weaponry will play one of the two main stages at Metaldays in Slovenia (July 23-28). Check their Facebook page for more European tour date announcements over the coming weeks.