To celebrate New Zealand Music Month entertainment reporter Adriana Weber spoke to five local musicians and bands about their careers.

Lukas Wharekura, 18, Forrest Thorp, 18, Liam Rolfe, 18, Oliver Prendergast, 18, and Shaun Loper, 18, who form band Strangely Arousing
Tell us a bit about your music career.
Forrest: We have been together for almost five years now. We started playing for the group performance aspect of NCEA Level 1 and moved on to play the school talent quests and enter and win Pacifica Beats 2013.

What first motivated you to get involved with music?
Forrest: Taking music as an option at high school was a huge motivator and what got us together, but also all of our families have been huge supporters of our aspiring careers in the music industry.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Forrest: Opening Raggamuffin 2014, it was an incredible opportunity, beyond words. Meeting Damien Marley afterwards was a huge honour.


What was the most embarrassing moment you have had on stage or behind the scenes?
Oliver: At the Pacifica Beats national final everything went wrong; my trumpet was malfunctioning, unable to hit certain notes, Shaun was vomiting and almost passing out on stage ... Lukas started our first song in the wrong key and then broke a string before the second song. However, Liam managed to throw his trombone in the air and catch it, so some things turned out okay.

What does New Zealand Music Month mean to you?
Oliver: It is a huge motivator for the population of New Zealand to get behind homegrown music which is so important for us and where we intend to go. It is amazing the support we receive during this month as well as every other month throughout the year.

Why is it important to celebrate home-grown artists?
Forrest: It is immensely important. Without our support, they are without a job. If we don't back home-grown artists, the New Zealand music industry will diminish very quickly, as sad as that is.

What is the best thing about coming from Rotorua?
Forrest: It is such a small community. My dad, David Thorp, who owns and manages McLeods Booksellers, knows almost everyone in town. It's great because ever since we left home to study in Auckland, whenever we come back we get amazing support, people in the streets actually know who we are. We did a photo shoot with Hannah Rolfe in a park on Utuhina Rd and a passerby came down with her kids and asked if we were playing anywhere in the next couple of days then helped us pack up our gear. It was awesome.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Forrest: Keep going at it, take any opportunites and stick with your mates and stay true to them. There's nothing worse than having to replace a member that you've became tight with over weeks of practice.

What are your aspirations for the future?

Keep working hard, and bringing our best to everywhere we perform. Hopefully land some semi-regular gigs in pubs and bars around Auckland whilst looking for opportunities to grow our fanbase here in Auckland and grow as a band.