The unique combination of Te Reo Maori and heavy metal has won a high school metal band with a Kaipara connection the number one spot on the New Zealand Music Chart with their debut album Tu.
The band, named Alien Weaponry and made up of Bream Bay College students 17-year-old Henry de Jong on guitar/vocals, 15-year-old Lewis de Jong on drums and Otamatea High School student 15-year-old Ethan Trembath on bass, says it feels ‘amazing’ to be at the top of the charts. “It’s really weird to see yourself at that number one spot when you’re used to seeing all these bands you look up to there and then suddenly ‘boom’ it’s you, and you’re the ones who other people are now looking up to,” Henry says.
The de Jong brothers are of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Tuara descent, and Ethan is also of Maori descent. Henry says performing in Te Reo Maori gives them the ability to sing about things that are personal to them and their family.
“That’s something we always want to make sure we have. As for what we hope our audience takes away from it; I feel that if our audience goes home feeling like they want to know more and want to understand more about New Zealand’s history, that’s a huge part of our goal complete. We also hope to connect with our audience on a personal level, because we have a passion for everything we write about, so we want our audience to share those passions and feel connected to what we’re doing.”
The band will set off on their first international tour in July, which will see them perform at some of the world’s largest metal festivals and will be the first time out of New Zealand for Ethan and Henry.
“It’s such an honour to be able to go out there and not only show the world our music — but also to be representing Maori culture and New Zealand as well.”
Manager and father of Henry and Lewis, Niel De Jong, says he is very proud of the band’s achievements.
“It’s been a pleasure to have been part of the early journey. We now have a whole team working around the band here and in Europe. It’s been a steep learning curve but an exciting one. Lewis particularly has had his eye on this since he was eight years old, so it’s in some ways, not a surprise it’s happening. It is, however, a pleasant surprise to see the world passionately embracing their debut album. We are so grateful for the love and acceptance from everyone.”