Smashproof are readying a new album five years after they hit it big with smash single, Brother. They tell Chris Schulz why it's taken so long.
Sid Diamond and Deach are staring out the window, slowly shaking their heads. For the first time during our chat, two of Smashproof's three members are speechless.
Why? They're remembering when Brother - their award-winning single with Gin Wigmore that detailed gangs, violence and street life in South Auckland - spent 11 weeks at No1 and scooped several New Zealand Music Awards.
"It was crazy," says Diamond.
"Brother changed our lives," continues Deach.
"It was the first time we got paid - real money."
Fast forward five years: The three - Diamond (formerly Young Sid), Deach and Tyree - are gearing up to release Forever, the follow-up to their 2009 debut The Weekend which came after Brother's smash success.
They're understandably nervous but "relieved" to have finished the seven-track album, which has been recorded in bits and pieces in various studios over the past two years.
That includes a session spent at a studio in Waihi to rid themselves of "distractions".
There were plenty of reasons for that: after Brother's success, each Smashproof member launched or continued their solo career: Deach released his debut album Vision, Diamond released his second album, What Doesn't Kill Me, and Tyree released his second album, Motivation.
But Diamond and Deach - Tyree was unable to make the interview - told TimeOut they always intended to come back and record a second Smashproof album, it just took longer than they thought it would.
The delays came from their solo careers and the fact that they're perfectionists in the studio.
Deach: "There are hundreds of songs sitting there unfinished. Sometimes we'll do a song and it will sit there for a couple of months, and it gets dated so we'll drop it.
"We had a reggae song that was going to be on Forever ... but we dropped it. I liked it."
Diamond: "I didn't. I knew [it had to go]."
Forever has a heavy club-friendly hip-hop vibe: LAB's bass-thump thrills include the chorus, "All we need are liquor and boom bangers", the epic title track has a Coldplay-style guitar riff flowing through it, while Get By and Paint Fade include sweetly sung pop hooks and wouldn't sound out of place on The Edge.
Diamond says Forever was a reaction to the success of Brother. Despite its success, they say Brother's subject matter can make it a depressing song to perform live - something they've had to do hundreds of times; they got so bored with it that the three started trading verses to make it more challenging. "We want to do songs that are fun to play live - not a downer," Diamond says. "We wanted every song to be a single."
"Brother still goes off," says Deach. "Sometimes we'll run off stage without playing it, just to tease [the crowd] ... then run back on while the intro plays."
Deach and Diamond say the three are still good friends who see each other nearly every day. Their jovial relationship is obvious and at one point during the interview they start arguing over who's fitter.
They've been that way since forming a group at Papatoetoe High School in their teens. But their continued friendship can sometimes surprise people who see them fight like siblings.
"We give each other heaps," Diamond says. "If you saw us at a party, getting on it, you'd be like, 'How can you still be friends?' "But we'll go outside, be like, 'hey bro'."
And if Brother hadn't blown up, where would Smashproof be now?
"We'd still be doing this," Diamond says, nodding his head. "We'd still be here I reckon. Yep."
Who: Smashproof, with Sid Diamond, Tyree and Deach
What: New album, Forever, out January 31