Starstruck moment in loo and a shocker in Mexico just part of the gig for band

Getting caught by Taylor Swift with your pants down. Risking electrocution in a Mexican bull-fighting ring. Encountering your musical heroes in backstage toilets.

Such has been the life of Lorde's backing duo, keyboardist Jimmy Mac and drummer Ben Barter, as they've toured the world with New Zealand's biggest pop star since the release of Pure Heroine. As the boss prepares to pick up yet more trophies at tonight's awards, the two Kiwi musicians reflect on their very big year...

Your favourite gig of the past year?
JM: My favourite was Rock in Rio in Portugal - one of the biggest and loudest crowds we've played to. For me it's always the crowd that decides whether I enjoy the show or not.

BB: The final show of the last US tour at Austin City Limits was one of my favourites. It was such a good atmosphere despite the rather large crowd. It's really nice when there is an intimate feeling at a big event.


You both seem to operate with very little gear on stage. Would you like more to hide behind?
JM: We had such minimal gear because we used to have to set up our own stuff and fly with it so it was a lot easier that way. There's more stuff I'd like to add in but we have been touring constantly so it's hard to change stuff up for a show this size.

BB: Ella's music has quite minimal parts so that reflects on the gear we use, often the less going on on stage means the sound is bigger and clearer. I would love more to hide behind as I've seen footage of my face when we play live and I'm not doing the show any favours.

Favourite place to visit?
JM: Japan. It was the only country where I haven't spent a minute in my hotel room and spent all my time out looking at stuff. The food and people are incredible and so are the socks.

BB: San Miguel in Mexico was one of the coolest places. It's such a picturesque town in every last detail. We played in an old bull ring which felt quite haphazard with live wires dangling about, Jimmy got a wee shock on the way to the stage. The bulls were apparently locked up nearby so we were very happy to give them a night off.

Your strangest backstage meeting with other musicians or stars. Ever starstruck? Or just over it now?
JM: Taylor Swift walked on to our bus when I had no pants on. I don't really get starstruck. Maybe I did last year but people are just people. I feel like people getting selfies with famous people are just doing it so they can boast on social media. I understand if you're a genuine fan of someone's work, though.

BB: I was very starstruck by Stephen Morris, the drummer of Joy Division/New Order. They have been a big influence for me and a lot of what I do with my electronic stuff he was doing 30 years ago. He was so lovely and down to earth though. We saw New Order play in Chile which was a highlight for me, I found myself in the toilet with about three of them before their show and I was the only one with stage fright. I still get starstruck by Jimmy on a daily basis.

Any amusing meltdown moments - technical or personal - from the past year spring to mind?
JM: I had a few problems with the bubble machine. The bubbles would come over to my keyboard and pop and make my keyboard soapy - so my hands would slip everywhere.

BB: The Grammys was pretty crazy. We were set up in the middle of the arena so when we played the sound would hit us with half a second delay so was tough to get the timing right. Ella's in-ear monitors broke just before we played so we had to do it a different way at the last minute where Jimmy controlled what she was hearing. She just walked up and started singing without time to test it properly but she did such an amazing job as she always does.