They’re a Kiwi household name, have an ever-increasing fan base around the world and cleaned up at the recent New Zealand Music Awards, but Six60 are as humble about their success as they were back during their Dunedin flat-jamming days.
The band’s members – Matiu Walters, Eli Paewai, Chris Mac, Ji Fraser, and Marlon Gerbes - met while studying various degrees at Otago University four years ago.
What started out as three housemates playing some sweet beats in their now famous Castle Street flat, soon lead to the emergence of Six60 in 2009.
While their journey epitomises the classic Kiwi success story, owing to hard work and an element of "being in the right place at the right time", it’s been a whirlwind ride for the boys – four of whom hail from different parts of the country and one from Darwin.
"We haven’t had a lot of time to sit back and think about what’s happened," recalls lead singer Matiu Walters. "Because things have continually progressed it’s been a bit crazy, but I guess that’s of our own accord because we’re always trying to plan our second move."
Renowned for their nationwide summer gigs, Six60 has not only made their mark on the NZ and Australian music scenes respectively, they’re proving to be a hit further abroad, with successful shows in the UK and Europe earlier this year, and in the US and Canada last month.
They’re hitting the road again with gigs at seven NZ hotspots in January, are performing a one-off album anniversary show with the NZ Philharmonia Orchestra this weekend, all while working on their second album - but are more keen than ever to up the tempo.
"We set the bar really high and always have goals that are somewhat far-fetched," says Walters. It’s that 'aim for the sky, and if you don’t make it you fall among stars’ kind of mentality. We want to focus on getting better and better; with our songwriting, our craft, and our instruments, and pushing the bar with our performances."
While he hopes to one day combine his law degree with his passion for music, the 25-year-old says he’s happy making the most of the opportunities that have come his way so far, because "you never know what’s around the corner".
"We not only get to travel but see the world, when we get the chance to take in the places we visit we go pretty large," he says, adding that his favourite destination so far is Berlin.
"I get to hang out with my mates and it’s hardly even work because I get to do something I love and entertain people. For me, there’s no better feeling than being on stage."
Walters believes the appeal of Six60 – whose six awards at this year’s NZMA’s included single of the year, best group, and the people’s choice award – is their ability to relate to the average Joe.
"We’re your every man in that we don’t really fit into any particular mold and we are what most people are. We all offer something different with our personalities and personal tastes and flavours and it’s kind of cool how it all comes together."
As their star continues to rise, it seems the local lads have their priorities sorted.
"You’ve got your family to keep your feet on the ground," he says. "There’s so much more to be achieved."
Six60's one-off album anniversary show - comprising three parts: Live & Massive, Unplugged, and a collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - is taking place on Saturday November 17 at Auckland's ASB Theatre.
Tickets are available from The Edge
Six60 Summer Tour - seven locations nationwide from December 27 to January 6• December 27 - Oakura – Butlers Reef – with Iva Lamkum
• December 28 - Lower Hutt – Station Village Complex - with Iva Lamkum
• December 30 - Riwaka – Riwaka Hotel – with David Dallas
• January 2nd - Coroglen – Coroglen Tavern – with David Dallas
• January 4th - Mount Maunganui – Brewers in the Park – with David Dallas
• January 5th - Matakana – Matakana Country Park – with With Shihad, I Am Giant, David Dallas & King Cannons
• January 6th - Opononi – Opononi Hotel – with David Dallas
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