They are two local bands who conjure up a similarly noisy sonic storm. Scott Kara talks to Mountaineater and Kerretta.


Quite a few years ago, at Auckland venue Galatos, Tristan Dingemans of Dunedin trio HDU twirled his guitar around and flung it full tilt into the back of the stage. It narrowly missed drummer Dino Karlis, who along with bass player Neil Phillips played on seemingly unperturbed. They were used to his pent-up explosions, and it was this sort of volatility that helped fuel the band's sonic intensity.

As the frontman he was key to HDU, who are currently on hiatus, but, says Dingemans who is now leader of another Dunedin trio, Mountaineater, he often felt like he played a part in the band's downfall when he "sabotaged" gigs.

Much of his unhinged behaviour stemmed from his drug addiction. He was addicted to opiates, was on a methadone programme for years, and "a very habitual pot smoker".


"I've been burning the wrong candles for some time I suppose and that's largely why HDU dried up," he says.

While he still managed to get Mountaineater up and running in 2008 with bandmates Anaru Ngata (bass) and Chris Livingston (drums) he was still in "this terminal groundhog day".

But at the end of last year he began the Ibogaine detox programme, whereby the properties extracted from the Iboga tree in west Africa are used to treat addicts. It has worked a treat, reckons Dingemans. "It reboots you. It just changed my whole life completely and I've got a far better relationship with my wife and my kids than I've had in quite some time."

Now that he's out of the drug-induced fog he also has a new and fortified musical focus. Mountaineater - the name comes from a song by Kahu (his solo project) about a myth surrounding Te Mata peak in Hawkes Bay where he is from - conjures up a beautifully sprawling and immense sound. It comes through best on a track like nine-minute monster Spider Baby, a song about his wife.

"We drifted in and out of each other's space without really getting to know each other but once we did it happened really fast," he remembers.

Mountaineater are recording a new EP with producer Dale Cotton, who worked on much of HDU's music, and an album to follow next year."I've been emotionally tranquilised for some time," says Dingemans. "Not utterly retarded but definitely not growing as I should have. But I'm rediscovering what I know I can do with music and what music means to me. I'm still mining a fairly dark seam soundwise though, and I don't think that's ever going to change," he laughs.

Will Waters of instrumental trio Kerretta casually describes his band as a "Sunday jam project that overtook everything else". He's referring to the way he got together to play with guitarist Dave Holmes (a producer who has worked with Hawkes Bay trio Jakob and psychedelic gypsy rockers An Emerald City) and drummer Hamish Walker.

"I remember bumping into Dave in a cafe in Kingsland once and he said we should have a jam. It's all a little hazy just for the fact it was all so casual."


While they all knew each other through various different channels, including Walker's record label Midium releasing Jakob's three albums, they had never made music together. They would meet on sporadic Sundays at Holmes' studio, then they were asked to play a party, then a gig, and the band's third show was at the Big Day Out in 2009.

"We just kind of tumbleweeded I guess," he laughs.

The fearsome, smouldering sound they create- a mix of post-rock, metal and experimentalism - is anything but lazy Sunday listening.

"As far as the sound goes it just kind of happened, really. Because I don't think we set out to be anything specific, but at the same time we're always trying to do something new." The other thing about Kerretta is that they do everything on their own terms, be it pressing their own vinyl to recording their music.

"We've done years of being in bands that have done the Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington circuit three times a year. We've done that. So in this band we've always had a definite sense of doing stuff when we want and how we want to."

Their second album, Saansilo, which is out on September 26, is the sound of a unique band. While there is more of a dance rock influence it's a more poised and subtle record too, yet no less heavy than slamming debut Vilayer from 2009.

In between albums Kerretta were approached by influential Chicago booking agents Flowerbooking to do a major tour of North America in 2010, and following that Holmes has been nomadic, spending six months in India ("We lost him to the jungle for a while there") and now he's in Europe, while Waters has been busy with a new baby. So all this meant the band had a strict timeframe to record Saansilo rather than having "all the time in the world" like they did with Vilayer.

As a result Waters believes Saansilo is a more honed creation - and "we did try and go for that more rhythmic, dancey kind of stuff."

Bloodlines is stealth and swinging ("Yeah but how do we do this without sounding like Battles," jokes Waters), Shepherd's Thread has hints of warped pulsing Kraftwerk, and By the Throats is the gripping and gutsy bruiser of the album.

"That song in particular is a brutal kind of song and it really does sit you in your place for four minutes."

Which pretty much sums up the sound and sentiment of Kerretta.


Who: Mountaineater and Kerretta

Where & when: Mountaineater, Saturday, Kings Arms

What: Kerretta's second album Saansilo is out September 26

- TimeOut