Let’s start by getting this out of the way. OpenSide’s members Possum Plows (vocals), George Powell (drums), PJ Shepard (guitar), and bassist Harry Carter are not die hard footie fans.
“PJ got OpenSide from Harry Potter, not rugby, we’re not that patriotic!”, George Powell laughs as he quickly defends the name of the band. What was Maybe Rave changed to OpenSide after they were joined by Possum Plows and signed with CRS Management.
Plows was judged to be Auckland University’s Songwriter of the Year in 2014, the win bringing her to the wider industry’s attention.
“When I joined this band it felt like coming back to where I started,” says Plows, listing the likes of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy among her early musical influences. “They were the types of bands I wanted to be in, and OpenSide is along that vein.”
With their first single, Worth It, produced at Golden Age Studio with Josh Fountain and Jaden Parks, and mixed by Rich Bryan at Big Pop, OpenSide’s fresh and exciting power pop-style sound burst into the music scene.
“We’re a high energy band, that’s one of the things we pride ourselves in on our performance,” says Powell, explaining that the band aim to give their audiences a tight set with heaps of energy.
“You don’t want to see a boring band, you want to see them jumping, running, talking in mics,” adds Carter.
“Especially with our upbeat positive music. We try and push our stage presence onto that as well, we like to feed off the crowd,” adds Powell.
Since then they have been growing larger and larger, headlining shows, opening for several acts, and recently signing with Warner Music NZ.
“Warner Music were really excited about what we were doing,” says Powell. “They were like, ‘This is a cool sound. It’s fresh, we’re really excited about you guys’. We liked them the best and they liked us the best.”
“You can feel them on your back”, Shepard says, “It’s definitely the next step we need.”
It’s undoubtedly a very big year ahead for OpenSide, with their EP, due for release mid-year, underway and a festival debut at Auckland City Limits now under their belt. They remain humble about what lies in front of them, but are clearly readying themselves for success.
“None of us started music to be famous; it’s obviously one of the by-products that come from being in a popular band,” Powell says.
“We hope we are prepared for fame, but fame for the right reasons,” Carter reiterates. “Take advantage of people liking your music, and give them a message with it.”
• Sam Vegar