Whakatane's Brad Kora is a hometown boy at heart. But he could soon be travelling the world as part of internet millionaire Kim Dotcom's new band.
Brad and Kora bandmate and brother Laughton have been recording with Kim Dotcom at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios.
Dotcom will next week launch his album Good Times at a huge function at Vector Arena.
But while Brad's music has put him on big stages in front of screaming fans, he says chasing the bright lights that sparkle a long way from home isn't atop his priority list. Continuing with the music that has been such a huge part of his life is.
Way back in the early 1990s, Brad and his brothers Laughton, Francis and Stuart formed band called Aunty Beatrice, which won the 1991 Rockquest competition and the Battle Of The Bands three years in a row, earning a release on Tangata Records.
Dan McGruer, the only non-related member of Kora, studied commercial music at Whitireia Community Polytechnic and joined up with Laughton when they performed together in Queenstown band Soul Charge.
In early 2002, core members Laughton and Dan recorded a four-song demo while living in Queenstown. Later that year the demo caught the attention of Wellington-based record label Recordings Aot(ear)oa who, in December, released the song Barely Can See on a compilation album.
In 2002, Kora was formed.
"It's been an awesome journey with Kora but earlier this year musical differences saw Laughton and I leave the band in search of something else," Brad said. "We're still 100 per cent behind Kora and it's awesome to see them performing in front of sell-out crowds, we're just doing something different."
Not long after the boys left, Kim Dotcom got hold of Laughton and asked him if he was interested in producing and providing some vocals for an album he was putting together.
"Laughts mentioned he had a brother who played drums and, as they say, the rest is history."
Laughton and Brad joined Dotcom and his band at Rhythm and Vines and were on stage with them when the countdown toward 2014 started and finished.
Thanks to Dotcom, festival-goers were also treated to a spectacle of fireballs, electroluminescent dancers, lightning bolts and special effects before a breathtaking pyrotechnics display was launched from multiple sites.
All this was accompanied by Dotcom on stage with his band performing tracks from his debut dance album Good Times, with the final track being performed by Printz Board of Black Eyed Peas fame. Recent Cher collaborator/producer JD Walker is also giving his time to the album.
"We've been putting in huge hours at Roundhead Studios, the recording studio owned by [Neil] Finn," Brad said. While in Auckland he and Laughton are put up at the Dotcom mansion and treated to some "pretty upmarket" restaurants.
Brad, Laughton and another musician also plan to launch their band The Empire, under Dotcom's record label.
He describes Dotcom as very determined and equally driven: "He's super intelligent and is prepared to work around the clock to get things done.
"He's a perfectionist but also a great deal of fun."
Dotcom had planned an Auckland waterfront release of his album next Monday, but demand for tickets soared so high he's moved it to Vector Arena.
The German national has also announced today the name of his new political party - The Internet Party.
Brad said: "I thought I'd seen a lot within the music industry but Kim Dotcom's lifestyle takes it to a whole different level".
"He's talking about a world tour as well as other things - it's just awesome."
And for Brad, the best thing is he gets to stay at home.
"I never thought I'd be lucky enough to stay in Whakatane but continue to follow my dream - but I am."