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The Good Sons

One of New Zealand’s hardest-working and epic live acts, Sons of Zion, are back on the road (again!) to spread the word on their new four-track EP, The Jukebox Suite. We caught up with vocalist Rio ahead of their CHCH gig.

Tell us about the new EP.
We’ve been working on those songs for a while – some of them one-and-a-half, two years. We’ve got a new album coming up at the end of the year, and the songs on The Jukebox Suite didn’t quite fit with the album – we were experimenting a bit with them, trying that sort of Motown sound a little bit. So we thought instead of just flagging them, why not put these out separately? The reception’s been really good, so I’m really glad we did!

It seems like you guys are always on tour. Does that get tough sometimes?
For me and the other boys who do vocals, the toughest thing is looking after your voice. We’re just back from Australia, and touring over there you spend a lot of time on planes and in hotels and the air conditioning is really not great for your voice, so you’ve got to look after it. But we’re still loving it – at the end of the day it’s awesome to be able to get up there on stage and do your thing for a couple of hours.

Sons of Zion is huge in the digital music realm (12 million streams on Spotify, more than 10 million views on YouTube). Is that something you put a lot of effort into?
We do put a lot of effort into it. We actually just did a gig at Auckland Airport for Air New Zealand to launch their Spotify profile. To be honest, with streaming and so on, the return is financially not that great. Most of the money is in gigging, and we’re really primarily a live band. But we think anything that gets the music out there and more people hearing it is awesome. However people get to listen to our music, it’s all good!

Do you think that these digital channels help to spread the music further? Sons of Zion have popped up on the charts in Hawaii, for example.
Perhaps … we’ve been touring to Hawaii for 4 or 5 years now and I think what’s really helped us over there are some great Kiwi groups like Katchafire who toured over there a lot and really helped to open up a local appreciation for that New Zealand sort of sound, which is great.

What can we expect from your Christchurch gig?
Christchurch always seems to produce epic gigs for us. The people are really friendly and always seem to appreciate us getting down there. It can be quite expensive getting a band down to Christchurch and I think people know that and just seem to really enjoy that we can make it down. It’s obviously been tough times for the city as well after the quakes and so on and we’ve seen people really taking the chance to unwind and forget about things a bit and really get into it at the shows. So I love playing Christchurch.

What’s on the cards for your summer?
We tour a lot during the year but we always make sure we’re back here then because, man, there is nothing better than that New Zealand summer! That whole period from Boxing Day through to about March is just epic. We’ll have heaps more festival gigs and shows all through then again this summer, and I’m massively looking forward to it as usual!

Sons of Zion
Winnie Bagoes City, Sep 15
www.sonsofzion.co.nz

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