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The best kept secret in music


"Six60 - Six60"

These brothers are like the Craig David of epic New Zealand rock.

Reggae-come-rock-come-gorgeous synth fest, this is some spacemodic, modern work from a band of mellow intergalactic New Zealand cloud riders. A true listener's recording, I happened to be with a new set of headphones when I cracked this open - and what better way to break them in?

If Delta Goodrem reviewed Six60, she probably wouldn't get the same joy I did. If Brian McFadden reviewed it though, I reckon he'd get off on the sonic hum of synthetic electro bass, acoustic guitar and soft, fluid vocal. Maybe that's why their engagement didn't pan out - she didn't dig on his music.

As for Six60, I'd recommend this to hi-fi stores who want to sell more speakers. The album opens with very slow-burning Only To Be, then smoulders along like it has no point to prove with every single instant available to create gold. Fitting then that the album cover is plated in the stuff.


On Forever (track two), elsewhere remixed by Paul Mac, the juicy synth makes you want to lay on the floor. By Run For It on track five, the album climbs to its first real peak and makes known some clear intentions - Six60 plan to rock you into a new here and now.

There is loads of space in this Six60/Tiki Taane (Salmonella Dub) produced record. It is a two-CD release, with the second shorter CD warranting attention because it contains the two biggest hits, Don't Forget Your Roots and Rise Up 2.0.

I'm not sure of the logic behind splitting up the album like this.

With a healthy dose of reggae-dub finding its way into the mix, this album has echoes of an acoustic, Islander style, particularly in the vocal. High in torque and riding well at low RPM, this is a sublime record that deserves full attention. In fact, without a proper listen you may pass it off as a lesser work. Not so say I, as do 15,000 New Zealanders who made Rise Up 2.0 a number 1 in the land of the long white cloud back in 2010

Read more: - The Sydney Morning Herald

"Dreams come true for Six60"

Local heroes Six60 are adding "classical" to their genre-mashing sound, reports Lydia Jenkin.

It's one of the oldest recording studios in New Zealand, but on this particular winter afternoon, the iconic Stebbings building, with its dark wood panelling and cream lamps, is full of youthful energy.

The five members of rock-roots-electronica act Six60 are there for some recording, but instead of a studio strewn with amps, guitars, keyboards, and drums, there are 30 members of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, along with conductor and composer Peter Scholes.

Yes, it may not be a move Six60 fans have seen coming, but they're collaborating with the APO on a brand new recording of their soulful ballad, Lost.

"I was teary-eyed when they started playing earlier, it was something special," lead singer Matiu Walters smiles, sitting on the orange leather benchseat in the control room.

"Even when this song was being written, you can always hear how it could work with an orchestra. It was just a matter of opportunity, and I'm so stoked that it has actually gone ahead because I think the dream is coming true. It's probably anyone's dream, to be able to play a gig or record a track with an orchestra. It's just that most of the time you don't have enough money to do it."

Fortunately, Six60 have had a pretty successful year - they have sold nearly 50,000 tickets to their shows since releasing their debut self-titled album (which has gone double-platinum, racking up more than 30,000 sales) in October 2011, and every single they've released has sold at least platinum.

Which means they're able to make this particular dream a reality and not only record with the orchestra but play a large-scale live show, which stretches them musically and offers something new to their fans.

The one-off show will be in three parts. They'll be presenting an "unplugged" set of acoustic versions, a set dubbed "Live & Massive" with their usual full set-up, and a set to be performed with the APO.

"To say that we're content with where we are now would be a lie, because we just wanna keep pushing. That's why we're doing this recording and this show, we want to find new ways to entertain people" Walters explains. "Being a band from New Zealand, you play a lot of pubs, and everyone has heaps to drink and you have a big party, and we're down for that, but this is an opportunity for people to see us in a different light, in a new atmosphere. When we tour in summer, we'll play Rise Up and everyone's going for it, and then we'll play Lost and everyone's like 'oh yeah, let's go get a drink, eh'."

They're likely to be listening when the new four-minute version of Lost lands on the radio though - the more down-tempo, soulful ballad that showcases Walter's voice has been impressively transformed by composer and arranger Peter Scholes.

"It's an ideal song to bring an orchestra into," says Scholes "because there's a lot of space in it, and so there's room to have an orchestral sound. It really lends itself to this treatment too - it has really dark lyrics, and so I've gone dark with the orchestra in terms of the instruments. There's no flutes, just clarinets; no trumpets, just horns. It's a bit broody, but at the same time it reaches a triumphant place, not a 'ta-da' kind of happy triumph, but there's a change."

"It's a sad song, for sure," Walters agrees. "It starts off with that feeling of being lost, then you go through the confrontation which is the bridge, and then coming to a moment of relief at the end, and I think that's something a lot of people can relate to."

Six60 were on tour in Europe, and wondering who to work with on this orchestral project, when they met Killing Joke frontman/prolific composer Jaz Coleman backstage at one of their gigs in Prague.

"We got to talking to him, and he's done orchestral arrangements himself obviously, and we said, we're looking to do this song with an orchestra, and so he put us in touch with Peter, who he's worked with before," Walters explains about the conversation which triggered the collaboration.

Scholes worked with Coleman for a To say that we're content with where we are now would be a lie, because we just wanna keep pushing. That's why we're doing this recording and this show, we want to find new ways to entertain people.Matiu Walters decade doing symphonic adaptations of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, and the Rolling Stones, along with many projects in New Zealand, so has great pedigree when it comes to doing 'classical crossover' projects, and is enthusiastic about their value.

Says Scholes, "It's great bringing the two genres together, and - The New Zealand Herald

"SIX60 | the AU review"

Photo Gallery: Six60 + The Hiding - The Forum (03.05.13) - The AU Review


It’s long been known that a town heavy with the culture of college proffers a healthy musical culture. Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, is such a city, and holds an impressive musical heritage. From the early 1980s, it was a chief source of ‘the Dunedin Sound,’ an indie-rock sensibility that fuelled a good portion of the bands under the Flying Nun label, as well as a healthy chunk of many of New Zealand’s musical imports of the day: The Chills, The Clean, The Bats and Straitjacket Fits, amongst many other bands.

And it was with the intention of studying music that brought Matiu Walters, lead guitarist and vocalist of five-piece genre-defying rock band Six60 down to Dunedin in the first place. “It’s a pretty prestigious music college they’ve got down there,” Walters says matter-of-factly, “with reading, writing and composing and whatnot.” Sadly, he was informed by the powers-that-be that he wasn’t dedicated enough, so he and some musical mates ended up moving into a decrepit house at 660 Castle Street that ended up being the source of their name.

“It’s kind of a ghetto area down there!” Walters says with a laugh. “And I don’t know what [660 Castle Street]’s like now, but when we were there it was a shithole. It was probably the worst house on the street and it was as cold as an icebox. It was cold even when it was warm outside. And it all kind of started from there. We had a studio in my room, we played parties at local pub, and then we ended up recording an EP [in 2008] and got a record deal.”

Sporting a sound that deftly blends guitar-heavy rock ‘n’ roll, jazzed-up soul and deep, throbbing drum and bass, the Six60 sound has since spread far and beyond the long white cloud’s shores. Their debut self-titled LP was released October of last year and has since gone triple platinum, with its singles Rise Up 2.0 and Don’t Forget Your Roots going double platinum.

Ever the tireless performers, they’ve been touring nearly nonstop over the last few years, and this month sees Six60 making their fourth headlining trip to our shores. Not bad for a band that takes its name from such humble origins. So naturally I ask him what he thinks it is about their music that captures the public’s imagination. “I like to write music the way I listen to music,” he says earnestly. “Our music is just natural and our hearts are on our sleeves; we’re not trying to be anybody else but who we are, I suppose.”

And who they are is a sum of their parts. The first thing you might notice when you listen to Six60 is how it seamlessly blends jammy, phishy guitar play with sleek electronics and reggae-infused R&B. Walters mentions that it has a lot to do with the fact that he and his cohorts all come from different backgrounds, and they let things happen naturally during the course of writing songs. “We definitely keep our minds open to debriefing, and we don’t try to confine ourselves to a genre,” he informs me. “We leave it open to allowing our songs to take their own direction. It allows our album and our shows to be more interesting because yes, we play a whole span of genres.

“Now, I’m not sure if the next album will follow that diversity – it will probably be more refined – but yeah, I like the feeling of the process being really natural and what happens happens. It makes the songs true.”

Word on the street is that Six60 might be releasing their sophomore album in April of next year. “Yeah, if all goes well, hopefully!” Walters exclaims. “We’ve got to make hay while the sun shines,” he laughs; a very easygoing laugh. “It’s kind of a whole weird new process now because we’ve got a whole live show off the first album and now with the second we’ve got all these new pressures working towards it. I guess now there’s these degrees of expectation and stuff like that, and we’ve got deadlines that we didn’t used to have; but pressure makes diamonds, I do believe.”

Over the course of the last few years, Six60 have been touring like crazy – each cycle of their live show has seen them playing larger venues and in front of larger audiences than the cycle before. Walters is psyched to be playing in Australia again, and especially so at the Forum. Touring, as he says, is part and parcel of his life, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. It surely helps that Six60 are made up of such good mates.

“Certainly we get along really well because we were friends before this. So the touring and all the stuff like that is easy. We get off on touring and performing and entertaining,” he says, “and we definitely set the bar pretty high – to say we’re content with where we are right now would be a lie, because we’re really not.”

So what does Six60 want out of life? He thinks for a second and takes a deep breath. “I guess we really want the main goal to be ­– just being a world-renowned band that has changed something. That would b -

"Review: Six60 at Wellington's St James"

Six60, St James Theatre, Saturday April 5

Reviewed by Sarah Catherall

I had read the reviews that Six60 sound better live, and after Saturday night’s performance, I can say that’s true.

I left the first concert in their New Zealand tour feeling uplifted, energized and moved by vocalist Matiu Walter’s melting voice and the lyrics he shared with the sell-out crowd.

Six60 is one of many Kiwi bands that started out at university. In this band’s case, its members met in Dunedin, when they were studying at Otago University and began playing together in their flat.

The band’s music is a mix of soul, rock, dubstep and drum and bass. They quickly captured the uni crowd, before heading to other uni towns to play there, with their fan base spreading in an underground way.

On Saturday night, the band played a mix of songs from its self-titled album - released in 2011 when it quickly soared to number one in the charts - along with trying out some songs that have never been heard before on the crowd of mainly late-teen and twenty-something fans.

They kicked off their show with their first single released in 2011, Don’t forget your roots.

Lead guitarist Ji Fraser and Walters are the biggest personalities of this band, although all of them were amped and energized throughout the 90-minute gig. They play their favourites that have hit the charts - Loss (backed on its album by the Philharmonic Orchestra), and also Forever (one for the girls) – driving the crowd crazy with excitement.

Six60 cleverly moved between soulful tunes like Forever to heavier drum and bass beats. There’s still a lot of boy in them and they bounced around on stage, at one point lying on the stage, strumming their guitars while lying on their backs.

When they return for an encore, they played a new song, High Note, before disappearing off the stage, with drummer Eli Paewai throwing his drumsticks into the crowd, driving everyone wild. -


LP - Self Titled: Six60

Only To Be
Besides You
Windy Days
Run For It
Hard For Me
Rest Of You
In The Clear
Green Bottles
Don't Forget Your Roots
Finest Wine
Take It From Here
Rise Up 2.0



As a band, Six60 originally formed in Dunedin in 2008. Inspired by the vibrant culture of soul, rock and bass heavy electronica that defined late 2000s student life down south, they began jamming out at their infamous flat, 660 Castle Street. Bedroom practices quickly became small living room concerts for friends and family, which lead them to playing flat-warming's, parties and eventually local bars.

Pressured into recording a demo EP by friends and family, they sold their music online through their website and setup some fan pages on various online social networks. As the saying goes, if you give, you get back, and as word about their high-octane live shows, and copies of their songs spread around New Zealand and Australia, they were rewarded with a burgeoning fan base, both in real life and online.

Sitting at over 175,000 plus fans on Facebook, Six60 also have to their credit, two double platinum selling singles 'Rise Up 2.0' and 'Don't Forget Your Roots', one platinum selling single ‘Only To Be’ and a triple platinum Number One debut album. They have toured internationally to sold out crowds for several years now, playing at consistently larger venues every cycle. Along the way they've scored prized time slots at key summer festivals such as Glastonbury, Summerfest, Wavefront Beach Music Festival, La De Da, Rhythm and Vines, Splore, Homegrown and Big Day Out, topped the commercial singles charts, and built a strong, robust audience worldwide.

The band also took home six NZ Music Awards in the Fall of 2012 including: Single of the Year; Best Group; NZ On Air Radio Airplay of the Year; Highest Selling New Zealand Single; Highest Selling New Zealand Album; People's Choice Award.

Blending soul, rock, dubstep and drum and bass, their music is as dynamic, versatile and unexpected as their back story. Extended singer/songwriter jams incorporate dubstep sections as bridges, hard rocking guitar work duels with robust synthetics and thunderous low end bass over vibrant percussive rhythms, and in both voice and instrumentation infectious melody consistently shines through.

They're a band with songs that make just as much sense when listened to with headphones strapped on, as they do in the heat of a capacity concert moment. And with Tiki Taane as co-producer on their self-titled debut album, they have married what they're known for with where they're going. Leave your preconceptions at the door and let Six60 show you the world as they see it, one song at a time.