Pumped-up girls rock on
This ain’t no bland band.
Dynamic teen jammers Ashleigh Wallace, Kathleen Williams, Ellie McBurney and Jade Paynter make up indie-pop-rock group VIVID.
And this year they’ve made it to the top.
VIVID is one of six finalists through to 2014 Smokefreerockquest nationals next month, beating 700 entries nationwide to get there.
They are the first all-girl band to make it to the finals since 1998, Wallace says.
‘‘That’s a long time ago. That makes it all the more significant to us, that there’s finally another girl band in the finals and it just happens to be us.
‘‘We love performing together. We’re just rocking out up there as these four pumped-up girls.’’
Williams and Wallace first set up their microphones in year 7 at Diocesan School for Girls and McBurney joined them during a classroom band project the next year. Soon VIVID was born. Bass guitarist Jade Paynter of Marist College is the newest recruit and joined this year.
The band’s toe-tapping tunes are a happy mix of indie, pop and rock music, Williams says.
‘‘It’s just catchy music. You listen to a song on the radio and it’s cool but there’s always something you want to change.
‘‘It’s so cool when people are singing your own songs back to you.’’
VIVID practise together about three times a week but getting to nationals hasn’t been an easy road.
They got to the Auckland regionals for the last three years but have never made it further in the competition.
The students are in their last year of high school and, even though they’ve decided to keep the band going through university, this was their final shot at the title, McBurney says.
‘‘We talk about this Winston Churchill quote: ‘Success is moving from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm,’ and it just kept us going.
‘‘I felt like I was in a daze when we heard. It didn’t sink in.’’
Mt Albert band member Paynter says she ‘‘pretty much screamed’’ with excitement when she found out they were through to the nationals.
And they have high hopes for the finals, she says.
‘‘I think it’s the energy we all have that makes it so amazing. It’s a really cool feeling to actually like the music that you play and want to do it all the time.
‘‘I hope we win and I think, if we work hard enough, we can get there.’’
Singer-songwriter Anna Coddington was one of the four finalist judges and also played in the last all-girl band to make the Smokefreerockquest finals in 1998.
She says she was blown away by the standard this year.
‘‘Their songwriting was so good . . . a lot them sounded like radio-ready, complete and wellfinished songs.
‘‘Another thing that was great to see was the strong performances from females, really shredding their guitars, which maybe shows a shift in attitude. Perhaps they’re encouraged more now.’’
The national final of Smokefreerockquest will be held at Auckland’s Q Theatre on September 27 from 7pm. Tickets are on sale from August 25.
Best friends: Kathleen Williams, Ashleigh Wallace, Ellie McBurney and Jade Paynter of all-girl band VIVID.
Rocking out: VIVID in action with bass guitarist Paynter, lead singer Wallace, drummer Williams and lead guitarist McBurney.