February/March 2017

by Charlotte Crone

Fresh Talent: Gromz

by Charlotte Crone

Fresh Talent: Gromz

Gromz is a new band of twenty-somethings formed in Dunedin mid-2016.

“Gromz can be any little nippers, trying to make their mark. Grommits are just little kids running around causing mischief – I guess that’s what we are!” Semisi Maiai, singer of Gromz, explains the name of the band and how the guys got together.

“I met Mo, our guitarist, February last year at uni and we had a wee jam just for fun. I knew Isaac Kennedy was a drummer and I kind of knew him mutually through mates. We got together and had a jam and it was sounding alright – wasn’t amazing, it was pretty rusty! We wrote up like six songs and then just played them at our first gig.”

The full band line up is Max Gunn (bass), Mo Winders (guitar), Isaac Kennedy (drums) and Semisi Maiai (vocals and guitar) who combine contrasting influences of ’70-’80s British sound from bands like Velvet Underground to funk/soul/reggae grooves that can be heard in Gunn’s melodic bass lines.

From these casual beginnings the band has founded a carefree, fun, dreamy style that Maiai dubs as “romantic surf-rock”. The band started to get a bit more serious about the tunes they were writing after performing sold out gigs of up to 400 in pub and student venues. Deciding to record an album they took themselves to that gem of the Dunedin music scene, Port Chalmers’ Chicks Hotel Recording Services run by Tom Bell (David Kilgour and The Heavy Eights).

Following the digital release of ‘Two and a Half Days’ they were pleasantly surprised when, by a stroke of good fortune, they found new listeners all over the world via Spotify.

“A track from our album got onto a playlist on Spotify, one of those ‘Lazy Sunday’ ones or something like that, with 300,000 followers. There are only 20 songs on the playlist so we got heaps of listeners from that. From there on it just kind of kept going. Heaps of people know us all around the world just from that one song on that playlist… it was pretty interesting to have people from places like Manhattan listening.”

The bandmates are now all living in different locations around Australasia, so getting together isn’t easy. This summer, however, the band had a few weeks living in close quarters as they road tripped around the country on an extensive Summer tour put together by Queenstown’s Harry Petit (Birds Nest Entertainment).

“He did heaps, completely smashed the tour for us basically – sold out heaps of places and we didn’t have to do much!”

The band visited over 10 cities and towns, including Christchurch and Maiai gives a glowing review of their experience there.

“We went to the Darkroom and just packed the place out. It had a mean energy, everyone was just frothing the music! We all had great impressions of the mixer. He was really easy-going, set us all up and the sound was amazing. It was probably the best sound we had all tour.”