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August/September 2016

by Hunter Keane

Fresh Talent: Kip McGrath

by Hunter Keane

Fresh Talent: Kip McGrath

Coming together in time for 2014’s Chronophonium festival, Auckland act Kip McGrath have since released two self-produced EPs. Their latest entitled ‘Sour Grapes’ consists of five tracks, the majority of which were written by Timothy Berry.

“Me and Grelj [bassist Michael Garelja] were talking about forming a band and I was trying to get Sylvia to sing on some stuff I had already recorded and then that ended up coming together as Kip McGrath”,  Berry remembers.

“I came up with the name on a whim,” vocalist and percussionist Sylvia Dew volunteers. “Me and Tim were walking in the middle of town and talking about terrible band names, and band names we thought were good… this was sort of before we even decided to be in a band. And there was just this line for Kip McGrath, an education centre, and then we were just like, ‘Oh yeah.’”

The new EP’s name was similarly random, taken from the signage on a truck parked outside their flat, rather than any expression of internal ructions. Minor tensions did surface near the EP’s release, but any thoughts of ending were swept clean when it received positive reviews.Their self-titled first EP, just a year earlier, showcased more of a bubblegum pop style. That remains sprinkled throughout ‘Sour Grapes’, but is now combined with more rock hooks, merging together to make a solid indie pop recording.

Drummers have been their problem, with Reuben Winter (Totems, P.H.F) replacing the original, and the stool more recently filled by Keria Paterson (RalWuss). The band are determinedly DIY and chose to produce the first EP themselves, but Tim admits that in the process he realised he wasn’t actually that good at it.

“So I spent a lot of time learning how to produce. I think that’s the main difference between the first one and ‘Sour Grapes’.”

“We had a bit more of an idea of what we wanted it to sound like as well, following on from the last one, we each had our own ideas and we wanted it to be a bit more dancey, a bit more funky,” guitarist Tane Marques adds,

A new batch of recording is already scheduled, with the plan now to start compiling an album.

“With all of our music that we have recorded and released to date it hasn’t been so much a process of writing something and then recording it ,” says Tane. “We’ve still got a backlog of stuff we learned from when we started. So I think the next stuff that we do will be more like, “Yeah, we wrote this and learned it and recorded it.’”