'We still say we're a Dunedin band'

Celebrating their award for best single at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Vector Arena on Thursday night are (from left) Chris Mac, Marlon Gerbes, Matiu Walters and Ji Fraser. Drummer Eli Paewai was in Dunedin. Photo by NZ Herald.
Celebrating their award for best single at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Vector Arena on Thursday night are (from left) Chris Mac, Marlon Gerbes, Matiu Walters and Ji Fraser. Drummer Eli Paewai was in Dunedin. Photo by NZ Herald.

A former Dunedin-based band is on top of the music world after sweeping the 2012 New Zealand Music Awards.

Six60 won six Tuis for best single, people's choice, best group, highest-selling New Zealand album, highest-selling New Zealand single and the New Zealand radio airplay record of the year.

"We're really stoked. We just went along to celebrate a good year and we ended up walking away with all this silver," bass player Chris Mac said from Auckland yesterday.

"There was so much talent there and there's so much great talent in New Zealand at the moment that we didn't think we had a chance."

Band members Mac (bass, synthesizers), Eli Paewai (drums), Ji Fraser (lead guitar), Marlon Gerbes (synthesizers, samples) and Matiu Walters (vocals, guitar) met in 2006 when they were students at the University of Otago.

They named the band Six60 after their address at 660 Castle St and started out putting on small concerts in their living room for friends and family.

Their self-titled first album debuted at number 1 in the New Zealand charts last year and has subsequently gone triple-platinum.

The success of the album had surprised even the band.

"It's an independent record we financed ourselves with zero marketing and it's been something like 50 weeks in the top 10. It's been an incredible run and it's something we're really proud of," Mac said.

Their singles Rise Up 2.0 and Don't Forget Your Roots reached number 1 and number 2 on the RIANZ singles chart and also went platinum.

There was a simple reason for the band's broad appeal, Mac believed.

"Without sounding big-headed or anything, I think we've got good songs and our live performance is really strong."

Mac moved to Auckland from Dunedin two months ago and drummer Eli Paewai still lives in Dunedin, flying up to join his bandmates yesterday afternoon.

"I still own a house there and Dunedin is definitely my favourite New Zealand city, but the work is up here," Mac said.

"We still say we're a Dunedin band. We get angry when Auckland tries to claim us."

Six60 next performs with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on November 17 and is working on its second album and a summer tour.

Unfortunately, the tour will not include a Dunedin date.

"We're hoping to get back down to play in Dunedin as soon as we can," Mac said.

nigel.benson@odt.co.nz