Over the summer of 2014, Molly & The Chromatics started playing covers at house parties. With most of the original line up hailing from Auckland’s North Shore they quickly developed a solid following around Devonport and Takapuna, gigging with other local bands.
“Our first big gig was at The Patriot in Devonport, which was packed because everyone there knows everyone, and wants to support everyone,” reminisces singer Molly Rowlandson.
The band quickly grew tired of playing the same songs and decided to pull together some originals. While Molly and bandmates Tom Taylor (keys), George Edgar (guitar and bass) and drummer Sam Horgan had individually done a bit of writing, this was the first time they had collaborated creatively as a band. With no sole songwriter or lyricist, the writing process for their debut EP ‘Straight Lines’, sounds almost sickeningly seamless.
“It was very very collaborative. Tom wrote the lyrics to Laughing At You, George wrote Clouds… so it’s all part of the mix but we put our own flair into it.”
“We’re all great friends and really have lots of respect for each other, but are also very democratic about things as well, so no-one’s gonna be a diva. We work really well as a group, it’s awesome.”
Drawing influence from the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote and Erykah Badu, their sound slots well into a current scene where neo soul and jazz fusion styles are making a comeback. Molly’s smoky vocal tone is certainly one contributing factor, but she says they all add a certain flair.
“I sing how I sing. Tom’s got his jazz influence cause he went to jazz school, and then me and George tried to push that into an RnB style.”
‘Straight Lines’ was recorded earlier this year at Devonport studio The Depot, with Morgan Allen. Maintaining a slick and professional social media presence in the lead up, it was released on Bandcamp, Spotify and Itunes on November 11.
Molly explains they wanted to make sure they ticked as many boxes as possible when it came to applying for funding and booking gigs, and “business-driven” drummer Sam has taken on that organisational role.
“If we wanna be able to have a go at pursuing music then we do need to have an image that people take seriously.”
They reckon getting their social media in line helped when it came to booking their upcoming 5pm slot on New Year’s Eve at Rhythm and Vines.
“We were like, ‘Let’s just try and go for everything that we can,’ and RnV was kind’a the goal. I’m a bit nervous… I’m intrigued to see how I’m gonna hold myself on such a big stage. But it should be good.”
With all members currently pursuing various jobs and degrees, Molly accepts that for now they’re best just taking it as it comes.
“For me it’s really important to maintain realness ’cause I think that’s quite a key likeability of our band. We have no façade and we’re just doing what we love and having an awesome time together. So if we continue doing that and people like that then who knows…”