Glen Common and Pete Rainey founded the Smokefree Rockquest in Christchurch in 1989. The annual competition for intermediate and high school musicians is now in its 30th year, and still going strong, with over 800 bands entering in 2018. In this RNZ Music Mixtape Glen and Pete share songs from some of their favourite former Rockquest competitors.
1991: Fur Patrol - 'Lydia'
Julia Deans was in a band at the time, and it was a stunning performance. She made it to the national final that year. I still remember the song she played, it was called ‘Tower’. It's still a great song.
You see these songwriters starting and it really gives us chills to see what they can come up with. And the expectation of what they’re going to come up with down the track.
1998: Anika Moa - 'Flowers for You'
I remember the first time I heard this song I was working at Hornby High School and the music teacher brought Anika in and said ‘hey Anika has just written this song, she wants you to have a listen to it, what do you think?'. She had this incredible song. It was so moving.
It’s an amazing composition from a student who was still at school. She recorded the song for her first album. I don’t know if she still performs the song, but it definitely still stacks up.
2000: Nesian Mystik - 'It's On'
Nesian Mystik certainly had some real magic. They entered both Rockquest and Pacifica Beats, and they were one of the first to have that crossover. They were fusing cultural elements with the styles of music they were listening to, and starting to fuse their own genre, which is something we don’t see very often. And to great effect both commercially and artistically.
2010: The Good Fun - 'Naughty Little Sinner'
The reason I wanted to put The Good Fun in here is because of [band member] Leroy Clampitt. He has gone on to do some great things particularly in the world of producing- performing and co-writing with the likes of Justin Bieber. Many other artists as well - he’s quite in demand in the United States now.
We can’t ever really tell where our artists are going to go once they’ve been on our stage, but we’d like to think that no matter what they do, the experience holds them in good stead for their future.
2012: Broods - 'Bridges'
They came through Garin College and have obviously gone on, and continued to do, great things. But there are more success stories coming from Garin College, with Robinson being extremely successful worldwide too. It’s very exciting.
2016: Alien Weaponry - 'Raupatu'
These young guys have definitely fused their own genre. That happens very rarely. I can only really think of twice in the 30 years that we’ve been doing it. It’s an exceptional story, they came through and won both the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition and Smokefree Rockquest in the same year. That’s never been done before or since.
I’m incredibly proud of what those young guys have done, and I really don’t think we’ve seen everything from them yet. I think that star is going to rise even higher.