June/July 2013

by Sam Carswell

Fresh Talent: Chatchy

by Sam Carswell

Fresh Talent: Chatchy

It is a lofty goal to want to be “one of the best live bands in the country””, but hard working Hamilton band, Chatchy, can reasonably feel they are halfway there. On the back of multiple big shows – including winning the Waihi Battle of the Bands, the York Street Band Experiment and opening for Six60 – the self-described “festival band”” have been racking up new fans and followers.


Chatchy is made up mostly of former music students. Hamish Jellyman (trombone/synth bass), Gabe Ngatai (vocals/guitar) and Anthony McMaster (guitar) constitute the core, augmented live and in the studio by Tom Stannard on drums, Jack An (keyboards), Mat Bizzle (saxophone), and Dave Van’t’ Wout adding percussion and vocals. Reflecting a wide range of influences, their self-titled EP (recorded between The Porch and York Street studios) oozes funk and flow, eclectically mixing reggae, ska and funk with rock and electronica.

The effect of the seven piece is surprisingly powerful, leading to descriptions like ‘Kora, with horns, on E’’, being thrown up. (There’’s a chuckle from Hamish and Gabe at that particular one). Many such comments though forget to give attention to the musicality of the band.

Arrangements are balanced and varied, and while the electronic influence is prominent and distinctive, crucially it never overshadows the musicianship or songwriting.

Where does this all-encompassing mix of genres come from? The band, who “…listen to a lot of music,”” credit Six60 as one major local influence, alongside The Black Seeds and Shapeshifter, plus bigger rock acts like the Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ngatai also mentions Barnaby Weir and Tiki Taane as major influences on the songwriting, saying he loves the way they get their message across.

Chatchy, who also manage themselves, have gained a decent following online too – with over 3000 Facebook ‘likes’’ and almost 10,000 views of the video for their single Running Away, which, Hamish jokes, is a result of “…harassing everyone possible””.

Their EP can be bought on Bandcamp for a mere five bucks, but the band put most of their effort into providing the best live shows possible. If you do get the chance to see them play, you’’ll see a band on top form, and well on their way to achieving that grand goal.