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NewTracks New Artist: No Cigar

NewTracks New Artist: No Cigar

Auckland five-piece No Cigar consists of Willy Ferrier on rhythm guitar and vocals, Sam Benson on bass and keyboard, Josh Morrice on lead guitar, Ned Gow on drums and James Mitchell on saxophone. The “pychediscofunkilicious” band released their debut single Tickets To Space very late in 2019. Instead of a summery floundering, the song was picked up by NZ On Air for their NewTracks compilation this February. We asked Josh to answer a few questions to find out more about No Cigar.

What high school or other music training was important to you?

No formal training, Youtube is an epic resource though!

What’s the background story of how No Cigar came to be?

Really just a bunch of mates that started jamming together!

How has the band’s music evolved to where it is now?

It feels like our music is always evolving. I’d only been writing for a year before we started No Cigar, and it’s always quite excited me how many songs we’re able to generate. We have some distinct sounds that shine through, but we really like to run with whatever makes sense and gets us smiling.

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

I’m not sure actually sure who suggested it but we quickly agreed it fit! New Zealand society is known to suffer from crippling tall poppy syndrome at times, so we thought something self-deprecating would suit.

What made Tickets To Space stand out as a single option?

As soon as we wrote the song, it was the song we wanted to keep practising and playing. It has a slightly different sound to some of the others we have written so far, so I think that fresh direction was exciting for us to explore.

What’s the story behind Tickets To Space?

The story itself compares the great unknown of space to the uncharted experience of growing up and leaving the nest. When you’re young, parents try to protect you from everything, telling you it’s dangerous, and that you’re fragile.

When you grow up you start to realise that you’re not made of glass, and the things you were once afraid of are just a part of life.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical?

When the chorus hits there is a whole bunch of layered vocals we did. That’s probably one of my favourite parts.

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

We recorded at The Lab recording studio in Mt Eden with Olly Harmer. Sam’s brother, Luke, is actually on the recording too. He lives in London, so we sent him the rough mix over in-between sessions for him to lay down trumpet alongside James’ sax.

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

I would prefer them to try to relate to that feeling of growing up and discovering something new.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

It’s usually quite obvious for us, it’s the song that has been in our head since the last practice and we have been excited to work on and progress. Basically the song we enjoy the most!

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for, with this band or others?

A few of us have some other musical avenues, but at the moment they are unnamed and quite loose. We are really just enjoying playing as much music with as many different people as possible. 

Can you name three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Mako RoadOpen Plan Living
Daily JThe Otherside
LABShe’s Gone

Have any previous applications not been funding or considered by NZ On Air? Got any advice?

This was our first! So none so far.

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

Myself personally (because I’m a guitarist) I watch a lot of Paul David’s Youtube, and also listen to That Pedal Show podcast. An awesome all-round podcast though is Song Exploder! It’s a great insight into some really cool artists’ workflow.