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Charlie! Ryder! Bang! Bang! Eche!

Interviewed March 2009

Charlie RyderIn late March Christchurch band Bang! Bang! Eche! played one of the hottest tickets in the music industry, The South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. But before that they were playing at LYFE in Linwood Park. The Pulse was there and spoke to guitar/synth player Charlie Ryder.

According to Wikipedia the band met in Minsk at a live action role playing event while your Myspace page says you were approached by an old man in a park who invited you to a party. I suspect that neither of these stories is actually true. Willing to tell us how the band actually came to be?
It’s not a very interesting story actually. We just all knew each other, and the bands that we were in broke up so we decided to be in a band together.
How long after that was it that you competed in Rockquest?
Not very long. We got together in March (2007) and we only had one song when we played in the heats. By the time the finals came around we had a few more songs together and we did well enough to come third.
You’ve got a fairly hectic schedule at the moment. What have you been up to?
What’s coming up?
We’re doing some recording. We’re doing some singles and maybe later another EP (The band’s first EP was released in October last year). Next week we’re going to Wellington to do Homegrown and after that it’s SXSW in Texas.
Being invited to SXSW is pretty cool and only a handful of Kiwi bands get a look in (this year bands like The Brunettes, Cut of your hands and Ladyhawke are attending). What are you hoping to get out of the trip?
Yeah, we’re hoping to make some contacts. It’s really a big industry event so it’s a really good thing to be going to.
Bang!Bang!Eche!Will you get much of a chance to go and see any bands while you’re there?
Not really. We’ll be really busy playing ourselves which is a shame because there are some bands playing there that I’d really like to see. You fly all the way to Texas and you’re in the same town as these guys but you just don’t have the time to go and see them. It was the same when we went to the CMJ Festival in New York last year. But we get to play at the Kiwi BBQ at SXSW which is very cool. There are quite a few BBQs that happen at SXSW.
Making a living out of music alone is pretty tricky in New Zealand. Do you guys have day jobs and if so what? Would you consider moving to Australia where there’s a larger audience and it’s easier to be a muso full time?
Yeah, we have jobs. Working in cafés…that sort of thing. A couple of us were at uni but have taken this semester off so we can go to SXSW. It’s too great an opportunity to pass up really. I could still go back to uni next semester. We’ll just see what happens.
We’ve talked about the possibility of going to Australia, so maybe. But we don’t have that many contacts in Australia. We’ve actually got more in the States. Like, we had the number one most played song on alternative radio there in November of last year. So we’re better known there than we are in Australia. But we could still end up moving there in the future. There’s no plan to do that at the moment but we’ll see.
Is it weird to hear your songs on the radio?
I can’t actually remember when I first heard us on the radio. It would have been on RDU though. I saw our music video for the first time about a month ago and that was really cool.
What advice would you give to young up and coming bands who would one day like to get invited to SXSW?
Well, definitely they should get on to CHART, because if they like you and think you’re good then they can give you a lot of help.