Six60 are everywhere – radio, TV, night clubs and even opening for the New Zealand Music Awards earlier this year.
But this time last year, the band was a little known group, hiding out in Dunedin, studying for university and working gigs around the South Island to get some exposure.
Six60 has come a long way from their roots at Otago University, conquering New Zealand charts and rising quickly to the top.
Incredibly, lead singer Matiu Walter feels like nothing has changed.
“We are a bunch of dudes just playing shows and now we are just playing more shows, to more people, with more interviews.
“It has been pretty crazy, a pretty rapid rise. Especially walking up the red carpet (at the New Zealand Music Awards) – we were actually really nervous about it, but it was one of the coolest parts.”
While the overwhelming success may seem instantaneous, it is the long years of hard work behind the scenes that has made this a slow, but worthwhile journey to the top. Forming in 2006 at Otago University, the band named themselves after their flat address on Castle Street – 660. The group began small, playing flat parties and open mic nights doing mostly covers, as well as securing spots at Orientation Week at both Otago and Canterbury University.
It wasn’t until this year when the band hit gold with Rise Up 2.0 – an upbeat mix of drum and bass, synth and guitar riffs – that caught commercial attention. Since then, the single has dominated radio stations across the country, securing consistent number one spots on the charts and has since been certified a Platinum selling single.
The album, released in October, was certified Gold in its first week of sales.
But what many people don’t know is Rise Up is actually an old song, written and performed at least three years ago and one that Matiu says the band didn’t expect to take off.
“We didn’t think anything would happen for us to be honest. We just wrote a song and it has done this on its own, it’s been extremely weird.
“There is no argument that between us there are better songs on the album. I think in a way, we are not that proud of that song because of how it is produced and how it sounds. “It definitely has a more commercial sound to it.”
He says the new album is a different direction, moving away from the sound of Rise Up to establish a sound they are more comfortable with.
“We were fortunate enough to tour a few of the new songs, with most of them written in the last six months.
“We hadn’t really written songs in studio environment. We usually write songs for the purpose of live.”
On listening to the Six60 debut album, Rise Up is buried away on the second CD and stands out as the only ‘dance’ track. With mellow sounds of Don’t Forget Your Roots and Only To Be, the album is reminiscent of the summer sound that bands like Black Seeds and Katchafire have epitomised in previous years. This summer 2011-2012 is the sound of Six60.
Playing off that summer sound, the band is heading around the country on their inaugural headline tour, stopping at Brewer’s Bar in Mount Maunganui on January 4.
Matiu says a headlining tour for summer is something the band has always aspired to achieve and is “stoked to be on the bill”.
“Through the summers we have always gone to those shows and thought how epic it would be to play. To book a summer tour is the most difficult thing to do.