For a band who began busking on the streets of Wellington, Drax Project have had plenty of extraordinary moments, some just as clever as they were well-timed.
Tomorrow, they release their self-titled debut album, a summery pop blast set to be the icing on the cake of their commercial success since the release of platinum-selling breakout single Woke up Late in 2017.
That single, it turns out, was really clever and extremely well-timed.
Singer and saxophonist Shaan Singh says another song was originally earmarked for their debut single proper and had that been the case the band's fate could have been very different.
Drax Project came on to the scene with an EP of early material released on Bandcamp.
Through performances at high school balls and parties they attracted a loyal live following, which took their jazz-influenced dance music to New Year festivals Rhythm and Vines and Rhythm and Alps in 2014/15.
Then in 2017, they opened for Six60, who "graciously invited us to hang out and write some songs", recalls Singh.
Together they started writing Catching Feelings, the song they were going to release instead of Woke up Late.
Fortunately, they decided the latter was "really good and maybe one of the better songs we'd written in terms of a nice little story," says Singh. "There's a sneaky bit of house trap, we put a heavy bass drum in there and [thought] people will dance to it, which they did.
"It would have been a very, very different trajectory and story if Catching Feelings had come out instead."
Woke Up Late was released in November 2017 and pitched to radio stations before being released for streaming — which ended up creating a bit of a buzz.
"It started getting 'Shazaamed' a lot because people actually had no idea what it was," says Singh.
Shazaam - an app which identifies tracks - led listeners to the song's video — and the interest in Woke Up Late pushed it on to one of the app's charts before it had been officially released.
"The difference between Shazaam and streaming is quite big," explains Singh. "Streaming [music] can be forced in a way, you can put stuff on playlists and get played, but Shazaam is a really raw data thing because someone's going to take the time to pick up their phone and look up the song.
"I'm sure it's not a thing that works every time. It was just a good idea for us at the time. It proved to be a very good thing because we got interest from quite a few international labels."
The track has since accumulated just shy of 60 million streams on Spotify, in part thanks to a new version featuring American singer and actress Hailee Steinfeld.
It also helped land the band a slot opening for Ed Sheeran at three sold-out shows at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium last year, catapulting them to national recognition.
"We had less than 10,000 Instagram followers at the time, and after that, I think we tripled in followers and everything just kind of blew out of the water.
"When we played [Woke Up Late] over the course of three shows to more than 100,000 people, I think a lot of people would have had a moment like, 'Oh, these are the guys that play the song — that's cool, that's from New Zealand.' So that was a little moment for us."
In February this year, the band played their biggest gig yet, opening for old mates Six60 at Western Springs in front of 50,000 people.
"I think we learned a lot from doing our own shows and then also having to bring different elements of entertainment to opening for other people.
"You have to make sure you're being entertaining for people regardless of why they're there."
The band have taken all that experience into their debut full-length album.
Singh says the band leaned into several influences, the biggest being Justin Timberlake — both his old-school work and latest album Man of The Woods.
Drax Project was recorded at various studios in Los Angeles and New Zealand and the band implemented a DIY approach for some songs.
"It's interesting; sometimes you record something extremely professionally and with a really expensive set-up and it sounds okay, then sometimes you record things on a pretty sh**** set-up and they sound so much better."
The bandmates are divided over their favourite tracks.
Singh's pick is Only Us, a song released on earlier EP Noon. Bassist Sam Thomson likes Brain, a radio-ready track about being heartbroken. Guitarist Ben O'Leary likes Relax, an acoustic guitar-backed slow jam. Drummer Matt Beachen prefers fast-paced pop song Smart Love.
"Hopefully fans like it [the album], and if not, then that's all good," jokes the singer, proving his Kiwi humour is alive and well, despite the international success.
A TIMELINE OF DRAX PROJECT'S BIG MOMENTS
August 2014: After forming in 2013 and busking on the streets of Wellington, the band release their debut album on Bandcamp.
December 2014: National exposure comes through bookings for the Rhythm and Vines and Rhythm and Alps festivals.
November 2017: The band release Woke Up Late, and support Lorde in Auckland. Shawn Mendes gives Woke Up Late a shout-out in an interview with ZM radio host Cam Mansel.
March 2018: The boys support Ed Sheeran at three Mt Smart shows. The following month Woke Up Late is certified platinum in New Zealand.
June 2018: Camila Cabello enlists the band as the support act for her Europe Never Be The Same Tour dates.
January 2019: A new version of Woke Up Late featuring Hailee Steinfeld is released. The next month Drax Project support Six60 at Western Springs.
July 2019: After releasing the Noon EP, the band support Christina Aguilera on her European arena tour. They play headlining shows in Christchurch and Auckland, selling out Auckland's Town Hall.
September 2019: The band release Catching Feelings, written with Six60, and their debut album.