If you don’t know Coterie already, you soon will because the Kiwi-Australian band - made up of four brothers: Tyler, Joshua, Brandford and Conrad Fisher - is about to release what may be their biggest single yet; Slice of Heaven, featuring Sir Dave Dobbyn.
The single was first released by Dobbyn in 1986, appearing on the soundtrack of the iconic Kiwi film Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale. Quickly climbing the charts, it stayed at number one in Aotearoa for eight weeks and has since become somewhat of an unofficial national anthem for the country.
But while it’s been covered by multiple artists and recreated around the world, it has never officially been remixed, remade or re-released - until now.
“There’s a little rumour in the music industry that there’s been 150 attempts to get Sir Dave to do a [remix]. DJs have tried remixes and all these different people, and it’s just never felt right for him,” Coterie star Tyler tells the Herald.
Officially becoming the 151st musicians to request a collaboration, and the only ones who ever received a yes, Coterie are humble in admitting their fans did the groundwork in making things happen.
While touring Australia following the release of their self-titled debut album – which was created with the backing of Six60′s record label, Massive Records – the band decided to play their own version of Slice of Heaven during a couple of festivals and “people went crazy”.
Videos of the brothers’ cover soon went viral on social media, and Tyler admits, “We knew straight away, this is bigger than just a song that we chuck in our set.”
“A lot of people were sending him [Dobbyn] the video saying ‘this is a vibe’,” he adds, “So, we finally messaged him and said, ‘Can you imagine?’ And he replied back saying, ‘I’d love to’.”
One thing led to another, and after being “just four local boys who tried to get one little line in the book of history with Sir Dave”, their dream became a reality and they were soon in the recording studio with the legendary Kiwi musician.
Reminiscing about their time working with the award-winner, they reveal multiple studio secrets - including how many takes it took to create their upcoming single. “Two takes,” Tyler smiles, adding, “Voice doesn’t waver in the slightest. Hands on the guitar, beautiful.”
Going on to call him the “Goat” (Greatest Of All Time), Joshua says their time with the 66-year-old musician - who recently revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis – was spent more as friends rather than collaborators.
“Sir Dave has a story for everything under the sun,” he says. “He’s got so much experience, he’s got decades worth of a career, and half the time was just spent sitting, talking, eating, listening to stories, jamming. It was gangster.”
Coterie’s version of the song is slightly more upbeat and electric compared to the original. It’s something you can picture yourself dancing to at a festival or in a club over summer instead having played it at a backyard barbecue like the original, and Conrad shares how Dobbyn reacted to the changes.
“He hated it,” he says plainly before quickly breaking out into a grin, clearly indicating he is joking. “Nah, he was cool. He was so open to our version.”
Tyler adds, “He had a bit of input on musical elements. I think we did the best we could, being new to this whole world - staying true to us and what we believe is our art, and then also paying homage to his art.”
Regardless, taking on such a legendary song is no easy feat for any artist. It can be a very pressure-filled situation. But Coterie explain they’re feeling good about it.
“I think because he [Dobbyn] fell in love with it, it made an easier process for us,” Brandford explains. “It was a very collaborative process, but if he’s jamming it then so are we.”
Joshua continues, “It’s always a big feat to tackle a song that’s been legendary for so long, and a lot of people they go, ‘I like the original, don’t stuff it up’. But having his tick of approval, we’re just like, ‘Sick, we’ll just run with it’.”
The song comes out on Friday (September 15), and if you’re attending one of the band’s many upcoming shows - including at dates at The Coro Classic and Sound Splash - there’s every chance you get to hear it.
As for whether Dobbyn will make a sneaky appearance during one of the brothers’ many summer sets, they are smooth in neither confirming nor denying the answer to that question - but grin, admitting that “yes”, you can expect some special guests.
Slice of Heaven ft. Sir Dave Dobbyn is available from Friday, September 15.
Lillie Rohan is an Auckland-based reporter covering lifestyle and entertainment stories who joined the Herald in 2020. She specialises in all things relationships and dating, great Taylor Swift ticket wars and TV shows you simply cannot miss out on.