Are NZ’s SIX60 the most humble stage rock band in the world?
Last year SIX60 made New Zealand chart history once again. Their self-titled second album, released in 2015, now holds the record for the most consecutive weeks in New Zealand’s Top 40 Albums Chart. He overtook Pink Floyd The dark side of the moon, which lasted 297 weeks on the chart.
It is difficult to imagine that the achievement is ever exceeded. SIX60 remains in the top 40, having spent 330 weeks in the ranking. However, the affable pop and soul quintet’s latest LP – and the third consecutive self-titled album – is a possible challenger. He is currently placed in 3rd place, 84 weeks after entering the rankings.
But SIX60, which formed while studying at the University of Otago in Dunedin in 2008, has made a habit of breaking records in recent years. The five plays made world news earlier this year for performing in front of more than 50,000 people at Auckland’s rugby stadium, Eden Park; the biggest live show to take place in the post-pandemic world.
Watch the SIX60 – Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō / Don’t Forget Your Roots 2021 Tour Video
They had already made history by selling over 130,000 tickets to their Aotearoa 2020 summer tour, a record that was eclipsed by the SIX60 Saturdays 2021 NZ tour. The group’s success is not limited to Aotearoa either. 2019 SIX60 debuted at # 8 on ARIA’s 50 Best Albums and the band will be returning to our shores in November for their biggest Australian gigs to date.
The quintet, led by Matiu Walters, has released two new singles since the 2019 LP. The first, ‘Fade Away’, was released in conjunction with the documentary SIX60, Until the lights go out, last November. The band’s latest release is “All She Wrote,” a catchy acoustic anthem in which Walters’ lyrics encourage accepting what comes your way and not clinging to the past.
The clip for “All She Wrote” features cameos from a host of Kiwi celebrities including Sir Dave Dobbyn, MP Chlöe Swarbrick, All Blacks legend Dan Carter, boxer Joseph Parker and dancer Kirsten Dodgen. Throughout the video, the five members of SIX60 are seen roaming the streets of Auckland in a convertible, itself a nod to one of Aotearoa’s most enduring pop exports, ‘How Bizarre’ by OMC.
Watch SIX60 – Sundown (Live at Eden Park 2021)
your deaf spoke to Walters about “All She Wrote”, the importance of the WTO, the Eden Park experience and what to expect from the Australian tour.
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Tone Deaf: “All She Wrote” seems to want to cultivate Zen and look to the future. Can you tell me a bit about what the song means to you?
Matiu Walters: Thinking back to the state of mind we were writing this song in, we were pretty much in the middle of lockdown here in New Zealand. There was really a feeling across the group that literally anything can be taken away in just a few days. We wanted to try and capture it in a more playful way, so there’s a pop sensibility in the production and that kind of OMC style that we’re always trying to achieve.
TD: OMC’s ‘How Bizarre’ was one of my childhood songs. However, I doubt that I recognized at the time that it was performed by a Maori and Pasifika artist. How important was this song to you as a young Maori?
MW: It was not so foreign to us. I mean, that level of success certainly was and it certainly inspired a lot of young Maori guys like me, but there was a lot of Brown music on the radio and at festivals and around the stage at the time. People like Che-Fu and the Decepticonz and people like that.
But I think [OMC] just took it to a whole new level and it was quite influential for Maori and Pacific artists because it also clung to it. It didn’t sell, which was quite admirable.
TD: Fast forward to 2021 and not only are SIX60 the biggest group in New Zealand, but there are also a lot of other Maori and Pasifika artists dominating the charts. Do you think the level of representation has increased significantly?
MW: It’s hard to say. A lot of people in New Zealand, a lot of modern Maori, can feel an identity crisis and maybe what Maori means or what Pacific means is different from what it meant 25 years ago. It’s a little… not watered down, but things are a lot more blurry now.
There is a better understanding of the culture and certainly an acceptance of Maori songs which has been a good thing to see. This is something that we have helped to advance by covering our song “Don’t Forget Your Roots” in Maori.
TD: This version, renamed “Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō”, was released in 2019 and was also very popular.
MW: It was pretty cool, because the real challenge is to put a flag in the ground so that Maori music in the future is not just a gimmick and used for political purposes or some sort of social currency. Success depends on its commercial success, and that remains to be proven, but I think we are moving in the right direction.
TD: You’ve made headlines around the world this year for performing in front of over 50,000 people at Eden Park. Do you always come down from this experience?
MW: It was a dream come true. Six months ago, when we decided to take up the challenge, we did not yet have the consent. It was still under debate at the council level and they were still deliberating. We went into the legal process to try and put some weight on it, as it seemed like the best place from a bettor point of view.
So we are happy to have changed that for future generations and we are proud to have been the first band to be invited to play there.
TD: You will be playing your biggest Australian concerts in November. You are known for writing melodic, relaxed songs with great backing potential. Do you make a lot of adjustments to accommodate larger venues?
MW: I think the songs translate to any kind of [venue]whether it’s 50,000 or 500. I know that’s true because we weren’t just fresh out of the OR – we worked hard, we got the job done, you know? For years we didn’t play for anyone when no one was listening and I don’t think we need to change much at all. We try to make the small rooms look like stadiums and the stadiums look like small rooms.
ODEON THEATER, HOBART
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY *
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4
HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5 – SOLD OUT
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 6 – SOLD OUT
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 7
THEBARTON THEATER, ADÉLADE
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 10
FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER
RED HILL, PERTH
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 – SOLD OUT
RED HILL, PERTH *
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14