Powder Chutes win Thrash More competition

3 minutes read
Posted 1 December, 2023
L R Powder Chutes bassist Otis Murphy 16 drummer Archie Orbell 18 lead vocalist Henry McConnell 18 and lead guitarist Clarke West 18

(From left) Powder Chutes bassist Otis Murphy (16), drummer Archie Orbell (18), lead vocalist Henry McConnell (18) and lead guitarist Clarke West (18)

International metal sensations Alien Weaponry have chosen Powder Chutes from Wānaka's Mount Aspiring College as the winners of a nationwide music competition that celebrates young homegrown talent.

The hard rock group caught the attention of Los Angeles-based te reo Māori metal band Alien Weaponry, who judged the inaugural AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand (AJHBNZ) Thrash More competition.

Beating fellow top-three finalists Rumpus Machine and Fan Club, Powder Chutes wins a $7000 cash prize allocated to music equipment, an album release or studio recording time, with an additional $3000 going towards their chosen secondary school music department or community music facility. With the prize funded by AJHBNZ, all three finalists also receive $1000 worth of AJHBNZ experiences.

Alien Weaponry band members say it was hard to decide the winner, with each group having their own unique sound.

“Massive congratulations to Powder Chutes for taking out the 2023 Thrash More Fear Less competition!!!” the band members say.

“While it was such a close call to judge the competition, we felt that Powder Chutes encapsulated "Live More Fear Less" to a T. We were blown away by their wicked technical ability and song writing as well as their energy and passion.

“It's so awesome to see young bands come up - as we did not so long ago - and we are excited to see what the boys in Powder Chutes have in store for us in the future! Kia mau te wehi kia koutou e Powder Chutes, ka titiro mātou ki tō koutou mahi ki mua!”

Alien Weaponry appears in AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand’s latest Fear Less campaign, which delves into the band’s determination to sing in te reo Māori despite the critics. Sticking to their principles has paid off, and the band now serves as a symbol of living fearlessly.

The month-long Thrash More competition was open to bands and musicians aged 13-25 from any music genre. Twenty bands submitted an original music video and the first round of judging that focused on musicality, performance, lyrics and an overall demonstration of ‘living fearlessly’ saw 20 reduced to 10 finalists. The top three were then selected by public vote.

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder and managing director Henry van Asch says every musician in the competition truly embodied the Live More, Fear Less mentality.

“I really enjoyed watching the entries and seeing each person take centre stage and truly put themselves out there,” he says.

“They were bold, talented and made it look effortless. A huge congratulations goes to Powder Chutes for being crowned winners of this competition. To have caught the eye of Alien Weaponry is a big deal and I have no doubt we will be seeing more from them in future.”

Powder Chutes comprises lead guitarist Clarke West (18), bassist Otis Murphy (16), lead vocalist Henry McConnell (18) and drummer Archie Orbell (18). They are half-way through recording their self-funded debut album and plan to spend the $7000 prize on completing the album production at Studio Sublime in Kurow in the Waitaki Valley. The band has nominated the $3000 cash prize to go to the Mount Aspiring College music department.

“We’re stoked to be selected by international music legends Alien Weaponry amongst such strong competition, in particular Rumpus Machine and Fan Club,” Clarke says.

“It’s sick because we genuinely look up to Alien Weaponry and have been following them when we were entering Smokefree Rockquest as 10-, 11-year-olds and they were winning Rockquest. We always jam out to them, it’s one of the first bands we put on. They also come from a high school in New Zealand and give us hope that there’s a pathway to breaking through to that level of success.”


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