The new pride of Palmerston North, the two members of Fruit Juice Parade, guitarist/singer Shannen Petersen and drummer Tharushi Bowatte are still really a couple of kids.
Like others their age, they still have a bit of the drag of NCEA to go before they are finally free from the clutches of high school. They won their region’s division of this year’s Smokefree Rockquest, have had a favourable writeup from American outlet Noisey and recently finished their first all-ages tour of the North Island – off the back of their debut EP.
Signed to the youthful Papaiti Records label they seem to be living the dream of any high school band. Do they see necessarily see themselves as having ‘made it’?
“Not really,” Shannen responds. “I don’t think we’re famous yet. It’s mostly the same as it was before, everyone’s sort of become used to it.”
“I think people know we’re a band, but I don’t think they understand it,” expands Tharushi. “It’s like when you see goth kids, you see them, and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s just them.’ You don’t really question how they got there. I don’t even think we’re famous.”
The two had already been in separate bands before forming the current powerhouse duo.
“It’s wasn’t this explosive moment, like ‘Let’s show this intermediate what they missed out on!’ We just started a band. It was great.”
Fruit Juice Parade is noted for having a sad yet melodic sound that’s been described as everything from pop-punk to Emo. The pair admit it is a mix of a little bit of everything.
“I feel like since we’ve been going to gigs for so long, you take things from every performance. I think every gig is an experience,” says Shannen.
Wittily titled ‘The more you don’t know the less you know’, their introductory EP is the result of relentless songwriting.
“We’ve written heaps. The songs aren’t specially made for the album. We write so much that we kind forget a lot of them,” claims Tharushi “These are the ones that sort of fit together and made their way to The Stomach when we decided to record. We definitely want to keep the momentum going. We have enough for a few more EPs!”
As Tharushi explains they owe a lot to The Stomach, Palmy’s all-ages facility that offers super-budget rehearsal spaces and a recording studio, for giving them a space to really flourish. Their five-song EP was recorded and mixed there by Harry Lilley. Even the mastering by Nigel Mauchline was done there.
“I feel like in other places they kind of hate teenagers. I feel like a problem with other places is that they don’t have a proper place for teens and they get pissed. When you don’t give teenagers a place to put their energy into, of course, they’re gonna stray off the path and just do weird things, because it’s a really confusing age to be at. We’re just so lucky to be able to have the right means to put our energy into music.”