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December/January 2015

by Darryl Baser

Fresh Talent: Summer Thieves

by Darryl Baser

Fresh Talent: Summer Thieves

Within just a few months after they formed in late 2011, Dunedin band Summer Thieves were supporting hip hop royalty De La Soul. Singer guitarist Jake Barton attributes this coup simply to performing in the right place at the right time.

“We were playing a show and the promoter of La De Da festival just happened to be there, and was looking for a band to open the main stage.””

It turns out the band’’s own take on sun-inspired reggae has struck a chord (yes that old pun, must have been an election on) with a few other notable types, such as Tiki Taane, who has stepped in to produce their debut full length album.

Recording with Taane in his northern studio was an expensive goal for the band, so their management launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter, raising over $11,000, more than a grand above target.

“We met Tiki at the Summerland festival, now we’’ve recorded seven songs with him toward our album,”” Barton says, describing Taane as ‘…the man who says ‘Yeah, that’’s a take’.”'”

Johnny Ward (percussion), Adam Spencer (bass), Angus Cleland (keys and sampling) with Jake Barton (guitar and vocals) are the four friends who together make Summer Thieves.

They met and began playing in high school and now in their early 20s understand that they’’re living the dream by doing what they were born to do. The four have a youthful spring in their step with enough experience to get them places, and the’y’re in no hurry to slow down. Along with their management team they have regular meetings to discuss future events, and can communicate daily via a ‘management’’ section of the band’’s website.

“We probably spend more time talking either as a band, or with our managers, Tim and Jason, than we do playing.””

Next on the band’’s event horizon is a nationwide tour of summer beginning early October at Suburbia, at the end of a day that will have featured the Dunedin Craft Beer Festival.

Barton says they’’re scheduled to play several festivals over the holidays, many of which he’’s unable to discuss, but their itinerary includes a spot at the Kaikoura Summer Sounds on January 17 when they’’ll again spend time with Taane.