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Interview with Cory Newman from Sit Down In Front

Gisborne's Punk Rocker Schoolboys Release New Album

Sam Smith

Teenage punks, Sit Down In Front from Gisborne release their Sophomore album Confessions Of A Pie Thief today. Built on the foundations of classic punk rock, they successfully capture the essence and energy of the old while creating their own, new, exciting, youthful sound. Collectively, the band are inspired by a wide range of genres from the 60s rock of the Rolling Stones and Beatles to punk bands like Sex Pistols and Green Day to the modern-day rock of Foo Fighters and Rage Against The Machine. New Zealand artists, Villainy, Shihad, Devil Skin, and Alien Weaponry have also all had a huge influence on the band growing up. 

Check out First World Problems:

Here is my Q & A interview with lead singer Cory Newman:

Where did you guys meet and what made you want to form a band?

Sit Down In Front started out as a 3 piece, Rikki (drummer), Jack (guitarist) and myself. I’ve known Jack since we were babies (our Dads are mates) and knew Rikki for a few years before we put the band together. Roman (bass guitar) joined us about 6 months after the band initially formed. I met him at school through mutual friends. We invited him to jam with us, and the rest is history.

We formed the band for a few reasons. One was that I’d been to see AC/DC last time they were in NZ and I was blown away and thought it would be cool to be in a band. I remember the first time we practiced only Jack had an instrument, so we ended up just playing sing star on PlayStation!

How long have you been playing together as a band?

The band has been playing together for around 3 years. Our first gig was a fundraiser for one of our mates who needed surgery in U.S.A so we played a few songs to around 70 people on our back lawn. We raised around $850 and performed 2 original songs mixed in with some covers.

Why punk rock? What is it about this style of music that appeals to you?

Punk suits my voice and the style we like to play is hard and fast. We like that it has heaps of energy and there is nothing better than getting the crowd pumping when playing live.

Who influences your sound?

We are big fans of NZ music such as Villainy, Skinny Hobos  and Devil Skin. We have a wide range of tastes in the band and have introduced each other to all different types of music. My personal influences include the Divinyls, Cold Chisel and The Cockroaches. I also love 50’s/60’s rock performers like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Chuck Berry and British punk bands like TheClash, Sex Pistols and UK Subs. The other bands members are influenced by everything from classical music and rap to more 90’s-leaning tastes such as Green Day, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Nirvana.  Our guitarist Jack is a big fan of Jimi Hendrix.

What was it like placing third in rock quest? 

Great! It was cool to place 3rd and win some free gear. But in the lead-up to Nationals was when we reaped the real rewards.  During the lead-up phase, Rockquest gave us access to mentoring and ran workshops on the ins and outs of the music industry. All National finalists also got to have a day in the studio (at Parachute Studios in Auckland) with Chris Mac from Six60. He was a really nice guy who had a ton of good advice for young musos like us. Overall, during the Rockquest process, we learned heaps and had a ton of fun along the way. We also got to meet other young bands which was cool.

You have already toured with some big name acts such as Jimmy Barnes, The Chats, Head Like A Hole. How was that?

So much fun! Jimmy and his crew were good to us and gave us heaps of their time. It was amazing to be on a tour and see all the working parts. To wrap up the tour in Auckland at Spark arena was a real pinch me moment. The Chats were also great blokes, they were hilarious, and it was the first time we had played in Wellington. The crowd was full throttle! Head Like A Hole was a new experience again as we had our first stage invader who grabbed the mic off me halfway through the set!  

How have you been received in Gisborne? What has the support been like?

Amazing right from day one...our local venue Smash Palace has been so good to us and Darryl (owner) has always given us heaps of opportunities to play to a crowd. We’ve also had heaps of support from the community in the form of attendance at fundraisers and sponsorships from local businesses. Good on ya Gizzy...we love you for it!

Your second album is coming out. What was it like recording that? 

Mind blowing. Our first album was self-produced and recorded in an abandoned hotel in the small town of Wairoa. Now we’re recording in Neil Finn’s Roundhead studio in Auckland with international producer Greg Haver (and Jack’s stoked to use Neil’s Gibson SG when we’re there). The studio is world class and gives you the best opportunity to produce the best sound and learn in a highly professional environment. We feel very privileged to be working with the people we did on this album and we can’t wait to share it with the world.

How would you describe the sound of it?

Good old fashion punk rock music with a touch of youthfulness and fun.  

Really good music - hahaha. Nah, in all seriousness, this album is another progression from our first and we were able to use everything we have learnt since to make it sound great.  A good foot stomper that’ll hopefully get the crowds pumping!

Where to next for you guys? What are your future plans? 

We’ve all got school exams to get through at the end of this year, and we’re super keen to tour the album at some stage.  Although Covid 19 is making life a bit interesting we’re hoping we’ll hit the road later in the year. We’ve already started working on a third album.

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Check out Sit Down In Front online: 

Written By: Sam Smith When he is not writing for Radio 13 Sam works in media and journalism at 95bFM radio and the University of Auckland. He also has is own personal music blog Nowhere Bros.