The science of making music

By Jacqueline Smith

Bandicoot promise a wild ride at 10.30am. Photo / Supplied
Bandicoot promise a wild ride at 10.30am. Photo / Supplied

This is Bandicoot: A flurry of noise and speed that is as goggling as the animated animal with the first name Crash. Its three members hail from Western Springs College and this year, they will be in Year 12.

Last year, science class became the band's conference room. Not because they had anything against the subject, but because it was convenient. In fact, despite using the time to plot their band's future, they managed to maintain acceptable marks.

Reuben Winter, who plays in six other bands - some with names too vulgar to reprint here - wanted to form a group that played music you could put your finger on, rather than another wall of sound. He recruited drummer Daniel McBride (younger brother of Sophie McBride from Under the Mountain) and Pearl McGlashan (daughter of Don and choreographer Marianne Schultz) who he knew could sing.

Asking one of their mutual friends whether Pearl would be able to jump around on stage, he came up with the band's name.

"They said Pearl jumps around more than Crash Bandicoot," he says.

Reuben describes the ensuing band's sound as "noise, spazz, angst-pop" and Pearl's lyrics as ironic.

Generally it is Reuben who nuts out the melody, and jams with Daniel to get it right, while Pearl gets some words on paper - sometimes in the space of 10 minutes.

"It's noise over noise over noise, rather than lyrics with big ideas. I'm 15, I don't have big ideas about things," she says.

But if she had to describe them, her lyrics are scathing of indie kids who think they are better than other people because they are so alternative.

Bandicoot played their first gig in May to 40-plus people crammed into a small K Rd cafe.

Not long afterwards they played at the Smokefree Rockquest and though they won the People's Choice award, what really boosted their profile was their success on the bFM playlist. Their track Emotional and Dirty rose to hold the number one spot for three weeks in September last year.

"It felt really weird because it had turned and it was like, ok, do we have to be serious about this now?" Pearl says.

From then, it has been all go. As well as being approached to play at the Big Day Out, Bandicoot have about 10 other gigs to play before school resumes, including the indie festival Camp A Low Hum in Bulls.

They're dead excited about playing the gig tomorrow - they just hope people realise the festival is open when they are on at 10.30am.

Bandicoot promise a performance as wild as the Mint Chicks. Daniel reckons he goes so crazy that he once found blood on his snare and is not sure where it came from. Reuben will definitely get into the crowd, he says. And the audience has Pearl's word that she will be wearing something outrageous - she's not sure what, but she is thinking leopard.

Lowdown

Who: Bandicoot
What: Local noise-pop three-piece from Western Springs College
Where & when: Big Day Out, Essential Stage 10.30 - 11am
Latest: EP Happy Talking released in September, next EP Jurassic Warfare due out this month.

- NZ Herald

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