Rotorua’s homegrown act to make mark on New Zealand’s music scene

April 11, 2019

Rotorua’s homegrown act to make mark on New Zealand’s music scene

Strangely Arousing performing at a pool party in Beijing. Credit:Yege Photography

They’ve already toured internationally and now a Rotorua band with a uniquely Kiwi sound hopes upcoming concerts in New Zealand will cement its home following.

Strangely Arousing, a five-piece reggae/ska act with a blend of jazz, reggae, indie, rock and electric elements as well as use of Te Reo Maori in some songs, will play in Tauranga and Auckland this weekend (April 12 and 13).

The group has already toured South Korea, China and Dubai as well as around New Zealand.

“All the overseas experiences have been amazing and always leave us wanting more. International touring is where we see a lot of bands making huge ground,” said vocalist Forrest Thorp.

He and the group’s other members –Lukas Wharekura, Liam Rolfe, Shaun Loper and Oliver Prendergast – all attended Western Heights High School.

The name started out “as a bit of a laugh to make announcers feel awkward when we entered competitions. But I think it has evolved into something more, a certain representation of our sound that is hard to pin down and awakens emotion in our listeners,” added Mr Thorp.

The band combine brass, percussion and string instruments with electronic elements to create a punchy, confident sound. They also incorporate the use of te reo Maori in their songs, creating something uniquely ‘Kiwi’.

Lukas Wharekura said their influences have changed over time as they have performed with other artists and exchanged knowledge with each other.

“I’d say early on some of our biggest influences early on would have been Fat Freddy’s Drop, Red Hot Chili Peppers, dDub, Sticky Fingers, Sublime, Gorillaz and Tool,” Mr Wharekura said.

The band are currently on a tour of New Zealand with Otago-formed band Summer Thieves, on the ‘Strange Summer Tour’, and played in Wellington over the weekend, with concerts in Tauranga on Friday April 12 and in Auckland on Saturday April 13.

“The tour has been pretty loose so far. We all love to have fun and make music, so it’s an easy thing really.” said Mr Wharekura.

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