by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Macho Macho

by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Macho Macho

If a band pooling their creative resources to create a ‘Beatles/Wiggles format indie quartet’ sounds like you, meet Te Whanganui-a-Tara four-piece Macho Macho who have done just that, tearing themselves away from other local bands such as Blunt Dog and Big Pharma. NZ On Air Music got on board the Macho Macho roundabout by featuring latest single Junior Munch (La La La) on their NewTracks compilation this October.

What are your names and what instruments do you each play?

  • Lachlan Burne – Guitar & vocals
  • Connor Lyttle  – Bass & vocals
  • Logan McAllister – Guitar & vocals
  • Dayne Robinson – Drums

Was any high school or other music training especially important?

We met at university in Wellington, but we learnt how to operate our band by going out on our own and playing gigs. We’ve been on two nationwide headline tours, not including one mini tour of Te Ika-a-Maui, which we’re about to do again to support our new EP.

Any other projects that we might we know you from?

Logan plays guitar in Sleeping Village and Cold Ceiling, as well as drums in Blunt Dog. Lachlan plays guitar in Big Pharma as well as drums in Birdcage. He is one of the founding members and guitar player of Floral Shirt. Connor plays guitar in Birdcage and is one of the founding members and bass player of Floral Shirt. Aside from playing for Macho Macho, Dayne Robinson has previously sat behind the drum kit for Casual Healing and Riiki Reid.

What’s the background story of how the four of you came to be (so) Macho Macho? 

In 2018, some of us had compositional ideas we wanted to develop with a band. Instead of any of us making a solo project, we all sensed the best approach would be to pool our resources and create a Beatles/Wiggles format indie quartet. A four quarter pie with equal creative input.

How has your  music evolved from the beginnings in songwriting to now?

Our younger selves were most satisfied when the dynamics of our music were dialled to 100%. These days, our new material (beyond the ‘Blink & You’ll Miss It’ EP) shows more restraint; a push and pull of sorts.

How did you come up with the name for the project?

There was a lengthy discussion about what our band would be called and we were nameless for a long time. Many of the suggested names sounded rather hostile or aggressive, and after a practice one night drummer Dayne Robinson said that he didn’t want to be in some “macho macho”-sounding band.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

We’ve been very fortunate to perform some memorable shows. Notable moments include packed nights at our favourite venue San Fran in our hometown Te Whanganui-A-Tara, as well as playing big outdoor stages to crowds we’d never play to otherwise at Newtown Festival and CubaDupa.

What makes Junior Munch stand out for you as a single?

When we got this song back from the producer of the EP, Toby Lloyd of Tiny Triumph Productions, it stuck out to us because we’d finally captured what it felt like to see us live. We’d been trying to emulate this in studio settings for years and we were stoked to finally achieve this feeling.

What is the story behind Junior Munch?

Junior Munch (La La La) is about the feelings of anxiety that can arise knowing that you might have done something that could get you into trouble… That, paired with cheap fried chicken meals you can find in the dairies, gas stations and corner stores of New Zealand.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

In the bridge of Junior Munch (La La La) the song becomes unhinged and a hint of industrial noise seeps in through the mix. The band then abruptly drops into a final chorus with additional guitar layers by Lachlan. These final moments, we think, are some of the most effective in the whole EP.

Who did you record/produce the single with and where? 

We were lucky enough to be given a day in Massey University‘s grandiose Studio 1 with producer Toby Lloyd (Revulva, Hollie Smith). Toby is always smiling and keeping spirits high, walking around the control room dancing barefoot like Rick Rubin might do.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

We only hope that it makes listeners want to see us live and join us in song. This music is best enjoyed when you’re singing along with us in a sweaty room, packed like sardines.

How do you generally work out what would make a good single?

It’s a spur of the moment decision for us. In this case we felt strongly that Junior Munch (La La La) had legs to stand on its own.

Who else is in your team?

Toby Lloyd was the producer for ‘Blink & You’ll Miss It’. These days, Logan handles PR through his own venture Goose Garden.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Just a month or so ago, we stepped into the Surgery studios with a new engineer, James Goldsmith (Beastwars, Mermaidens) to self-produce our next EP, the follow up to ‘Blink & You’ll Miss It’. We are excited to develop these songs and share them with you when they’re ready to come out of the oven.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

  • Ringlets: I Used To Paint
  • The Naenae Express: Carisbrook
  • Avant Glass: Bruised & Sweet

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks?

We’re stoked to have been granted NZOA funding for ‘Blink’, we’ve applied unsuccessfully numerous other times. It took a while for us to become eligible, but we managed to secure a live to air performance on the Radioactive airwaves thanks to the magnificent work of Harri Robinson. This ticked enough boxes for us to be able to apply. Our only advice is to persist. Keep writing new music and apply every time a round opens.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

We enjoy Isaac McFarlane‘s Hahko updates. He covers a lot of great NZ music and international releases too!

Have you got the video with the new single?

We’ve only made one music video, and it was for our song Blink, with the phenomenal Samuel Austin. Samuel runs a production company called Don’t Shoot Films, and is an incredible creator with the same visual vocabulary as directors like Spike Jonze.

Any last words?

We’re excited to get on the road again and play for our listeners who have exercised great patience. This EP is a love letter to you and all the good times we’ve had together, soundtracked by these songs. 

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