Whanganui High School band Jansen and the AMPS has claimed first place in this year's regional Smokefreerockquest final, beating out stiff competition from Whanganui City College band Strithe (third) and fellow WHS group Onism (second).
The eight-piece group has only been performing together since halfway through last term, but their high energy performance won over the crowd and the judges at the Royal Whanganui Opera House on Saturday night.
The band is made up of students from years 9 to 13.
High School music teacher Freddie Loveridge said a handful of the group had performed in the competition last year, under the moniker AMP.
"We wanted to keep the band going, so when some of the students moved on and left school we got some other guys involved," Loveridge said.
"The core sound is still there but it's ramped up a bit from last year.
"There's a bit more creativity in this line-up as well."
As it turns out, there's no one called Jansen in the band at all.
"Jansen actually left this group and went off and got second in the solo category this year," Loveridge said.
The new group features Gian Buico on keyboard, Harvey Hughes on drums, Sjoerd Molijn on saxophone, Theo Almazan on guitar, Luke Squire on cornet, Bryn Morgan on trombone (aka "sludge pump") Jordan Manville on bass and Alyssa Hartley on lead vocals.
Hartley said songwriting in the band was a democratic process.
"Theo came up with the chord progressions for both the songs we performed," Hartley said.
"I added melody and lyrics from there and the rest of the band each wrote their own parts.
"I guess we'd describe ourselves as jazz-pop."
The band played two original songs for the regional finals, and their next challenge is to video a performance of two more before submitting it to judges for a chance to go through to the next phase of the competition.
While other bands have three weeks to complete their submission, Jansen and the AMPS has only 10 days because of band members' other school commitments.
They were still working on the next two songs, but Hartley said the band was confident they would make the deadline.
"We already had an idea for a new song during first break today."
The full list of awards for this year's Whanganui regional final is:
First place band: Jansen and the AMPS (pictured), Whanganui High School
Second place band: Strithe, Whanganui City College
Third place band: Onism, Whanganui High School
First place solo/duo: Jessamy Cottis, Rangitīkei College
Second place solo/duo: Jansen, Whanganui High School
Smokefree Tangata Beats Award: Toa Te Ra, Whanganui High School
People's choice: Hiraeth, Ruapehu College
Electronic performance: Onism, Whanganui High School
Best vocals: The Otherside, Whanganui High School
Musicianship: Bass player from The Striknien Deluxe, Whanganui High School
Musicianship: Keyboardist from Strithe, Whanganui City College
Best song: Periwinkle Blue, Whanganui High School
Lyric Writers' Award: Jessamy Cottis, Rangitīkei College
Future Recording Artist Award: GECKO, Whanganui High School