Alien Weaponry Nail It Live In The USA

ALIEN WEAPONRY play HOB/San Diego Dec. 18, Fonda Theatre Dec. 20 and 21; press photo

ALIEN WEAPONRY play HOB/San Diego Dec. 18, Fonda Theatre Dec. 20 and 21; press photo

New Zealand’s teenage ALIEN WEAPONRY debuts in the states opening for MINISTRY. Don’t let their age or the fact that they sing in their native Maori language fool you into thinking they’re a gimmick. Their music is at times unique yet fits right into several genres. Sometimes tribal chanting, sometimes industrial rhythms and sounds, sometimes breakneck thrashing metal.

Concert Guide Live caught up with Alien Weaponry to find out more about what they’re into musically, underage touring, growing up Ministry fans, singing in Te Reo Māori, and… playing hackey sack?

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: This is your first U.S. tour – welcome – and what took so long? What are you looking forward to?
ALIEN WEAPONRY: Thanks! We’ve been aspiring to get over here for the past year, because we have a lot of fans in the States, so it’s brilliant to have finally made it. We’re really looking forward to touring with Ministry, who we listened to a lot of growing up. We are also looking forward to playing our first headline show in the USA; and meeting the 6 amazing First Nation bands who will be doing that show with us.

CGL: How would you describe your music for people who aren’t familiar with it, and why should they get there early to catch your set?
AW: We’re a mix of old-school thrash and groove metal; and we also sing in Te Reo Māori (New Zealand’s native language). If I have to give a reason for people to come early to see us, it’s probably not a very good sign, haha. Just do it – you won’t regret it.

CGL: You’re touring with Ministry in the states – how familiar are you with their music, their recent album? They’ve got a lot of angst!
AW: Lewis (de Jong/guitar and vocals) and Henry (de Jong/drums) grew up listening to Ministry so they’re a big inspiration to the band. As far as their new album goes, we all think that it kicks ass! Psalm 69 is still our favorite though!

CGL: Alien Weaponry – are you into Sci-Fi films or am I way off the mark in the story behind the name?
AW: Yeah, we love our sci-fi films and did get the band name from District 9, which Lewis and Henry watched for the first time when they were 8 and 10 years old. It was cool then, and it’s still one of our favorite movies.

CGL: What’s the longest tour you’ve done and how do you keep yourselves entertained?
AW: Our longest tour so far was a three-month tour through Europe earlier in 2018. It wasn’t too hard to stay entertained because we’re all a bunch of clowns! We often sing along to NZ music as it blasts through the van or play hackey sack to pass the time.

CGL: You’re all underage, do you have chaperone’s? Are you all drop outs?
AW: Hahaha, yeah, we are all underage (in the US at least) so we do have to bring one of our parents with us to be able to play in a lot of venues. As for being dropouts, that’s just Lewis. Henry actually finished school last year; and Ethan (Trembath/bass) is still planning on finishing his education (it might take a while though – we keep dragging him off on tour).

CGL: Who are you currently listening too? Do you listen to any music that differs greatly from your own sound?
AW: We all listen to a vast selection of music genres that is very different from our own. We take inspiration from musicians like Bob Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sticky Fingers to name a few. Of course, we all listen to metal as well! We’re all really into Twelve Foot Ninja from Australia; and Jinjer who are another amazing Napalm band.

CGL: What’s one of your favorite songs to play live and why?
AW: “Kai Tangata” is definitely our favorite song to play live. It’s really fun to play on the instruments for all of us, and we all have vocal parts during the chorus. It’s a pretty challenging song, so it’s really satisfying to nail when playing live. Also, not to forget, it’s our ‘wall of death’ song!

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go onstage?
AW: We always hype each other up right before we go on stage which is usually us running around or doing pressups or something weird. Sometimes we’ll sing popular Māori waiata (songs), like “Tutira Mai nga Iwi,” which practically everyone from New Zealand knows.

CGL: Any good road stories? Any funny or interesting situations happen while on the road?
AW: When we were driving from Metaldays in Slovenia up to Wacken, we had a tire blow out on our caravan on the autobahn in Austria. That was bad enough, but when it happened, it had just got dark and a huge thunderstorm had just started, so there was rain and hail and thunder, and forked lightening everywhere, which was lighting up the forest all around us. We had to get out of the van for safety, so we were all standing huddled on the side of the road. It felt like we were in a horror movie, and we were going to get struck by lightning or something was going to come out of the woods. That was pretty surreal.

CGL: What’s behind the decision to use the Maori language in your songs?
AW: Henry and Lewis both have Maori ancestry and grew up speaking the language – they went to a kura kaupapa Māori (total immersion Māori school) when they were younger. In New Zealand, there is a school competition called Smokefree Rockquest, which we entered five times and eventually won; and there was also another competition which ran alongside it call Smokefree Pacifica Beats, where at least 25% of the lyrics had to be in Te Reo Māori, so we thought we’d give that a go, too and ended up winning that as well in the same year. Henry and Lewis were at a mainstream school by then and they had lost quite a lot of their language, so incorporating it into our songs was a great way of getting back into it. And, Te Reo Māori just works so well with metal, so we kept doing it.

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