Velvet Strings surprised by win

Velvet Strings band members (from left) Seth Fleming (15), Max White (15), Jayda Smither (14) and...
Velvet Strings band members (from left) Seth Fleming (15), Max White (15), Jayda Smither (14) and Cameron Stewart (15), all of Taieri College, look to the future after their Otago Rockquest win. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
Playing with nothing to lose seems to have worked for a Taieri College band.

Velvet Strings took first place at the Smokefreerockquest Otago finals on Friday from a pool of 12 acts.

The group, which formed earlier this year, consists of Seth Fleming, Max White, Jayda Smither and Cameron Stewart.

Jayda said she did not think they would even win a place.

"None of us have ever gone to regionals before and we've never won anything."

She described their style as "alternative rock".

Cameron said he was fairly calm before they took to the stage.

"We'd played the song so many times that there wasn't really the chance of stuffing up. It's quite nice to be applauded.

"I was still very surprised to win."

The Velvet Strings band members had all entered Smokefreerockquest in the 2018 competition, but then they had been playing separately in different bands.

Max said they were "testing the waters" of the competition.

"We weren't really going for anything."

Then their music teacher fortuitously rearranged the bands this year and they all got "chucked together".

Max was considering a future in music, even if it seemed like "wishful thinking".

"But I'd love to give it a chance".

Seth said the band members all had different musical tastes.

"But we all like what we make."

The win was especially surprising considering the other talented acts performing on the night, he said.

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