Four young Te Awamutu musicians who share a passion for heavy metal and hard rock music have been given an opportunity to make an impression in the New Zealand music scene — and they plan to give it everything.

Karnack is the evolution of four years of experimental line-ups, comings and goings, playing covers then writing their own material before lead guitarist Scott Pye, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Renelia Whitmarsh, drummer Jed Handley-Copp and bass player Zach Walsh gelled.

They have been together for about two years and recently won the right to play live at the New Zealand Battle of the Bands from the Waikato regional final held at Biddy Mulligan's.

With just 30 minutes — about five or six songs — to make an impression band members have to be on their game.


Scott says they now have to do it again on December 14, the second of two final nights, but bigger and better to do well against the best of the best.

The Karnack story started when Renelia and Scott were at Te Awamutu College at the same time about four years ago.

Independently they wanted to start or join a band and make music.

Both put posters up in the music room and soon teamed up, Scott on drums and Renelia singing.

Other musicians came and left but Scott and Renelia were keen to make it work so they persevered.

A couple of years ago, another former Te Awamutu College student, Jed, came on board, taking over on drums and allowing Scott to switch to lead guitar.

Then most recently Zach brought his bass skills to the band — the youngest member still at Te Awamutu College (he has just completed his last year).

Although not the only band members over the past couple of years, the current line-up are dedicated to the band and believe their individual influences give them their 'own sound'.


And they want to take every chance they can to make music their career.

They are heartened by the success of Waikato's own Devilskin — one of their influences alongside the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Lamb of God, Megadeth and Judas Priest.

Karnack learnt their craft and built up their skills on covers, before Scott and Renelia started contributing original material. They played open mike nights and pub shows whenever they could.

Scott says it was important to learn to be a band and play to an audience, no matter how small.

And although Scott writes most of the music and collaborates with Renelia on lyrics, the rhythm section say they bring something a bit different to the overall sound of Karnack.

Jed says he's influenced by heavy metal and the original punk scene, while Zach admits he's fully into funk and jazz.

They are using the time until the finals to hone their performance skills — plus trying to drum up support to get people to the show.

Scott says it is judged as a complete package, with half the score being determined by the judges and the other half through crowd reaction.

A win would be important — professional band gear, a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, professional studio time in Brisbane with an internationally acclaimed engineer and international radio airplay. It would be the right start for their dream of getting their own album out there — complete with professional videos and a supporting tour.