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Auckland band Solomon crowned Smokefreerockquest 2007 champions


History has been made for another year, and after a gruelling audio obstacle course we have a winner! Despite a strong presence from two Christchurch bands, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Frankly Mauve, it was Solomon, a band way from Rangitoto College, weighing in at a combined total of 313 kilograms, that won the title. James McCully (drummer) shares the low down on how it feels to wear the Smokefreerockquest crown.

So tell us, what the hell do you think it was that Solomon had on the night of the SmokefreeRockquest National Final that all the other bands were missing?
Chicken fried rice for dinner topped off with lemon and barley cordial drink before hand. We usually have Dominos Pizza during the week but we find chicken fried rice to be the perfect performance enhancing food. But seriously, a home crowd helped us perform to our best and put on the best possible show.
Solomon guitarist You must have been shitting yourselves before going on stage. Did you think you were in with a good chance?
We didn't know what the judges were looking for so we just did our own thing and they seemed to like it. We had one sixth of a chance, just like a dice. We were nervous but also pumped. Nerves help us for some reason, we are all quite nervous people...no matter what gig we're playing.
What did it feel like when they announced your name in front of all those people as the winner? You guys must still think you're having a really good dream right?
It hasn't quite sunken in yet. We are renowned for our celebrations and our man-love moments. This was the biggest man-love moment we've had. We were stoked that our fans came on stage to celebrate with us, because we couldn't have won without their support. That was another benefit of having a home crowd.
One of the cool things about Solomon is the fact that you've got a mix of cultural backgrounds in the band. How did the band come together?
We reflect the bi-culture of our school being Korean and European. But we're all Kiwis through and through. We just have Korean Pride. We met in fourth form during an impromptu jam session in our school’s rock rooms. We had three guitarists and a drummer and we played Metallica covers without the singing. We added our keyboardist Phil in fifth form and Daniel changed to bass, and our current line up was born. We haven't changed since.
I have to say that you guys have a unique sound going on, how has the different cultures of the band influenced your sound?
It hasn't really - we don't play traditional Korean music or anything. Our sound is more an influence of the bands we listen to. A lot of people try to talk up our multicultural thing but we honestly never think about it.
So What’s the plan now boys? You've got ten grand of gear to buy, a single to record, and the potential of international superstardom, What’s your plan for making the most of this opportunity?
 We need a manager first - right now it’s just us. We've only got a few weeks left at school so making the most of that will be our main goal. As for the gear, we haven't thought about that at all. We actually haven't had any time to think about anything other than how we're gonna recover from this weekend! It’s been wild! We also have to decide what song we want to record.
Do you have any safeguards in place to ensure you don't get really big headed and avoid becoming rock star wankers?
Not really, we just try to be nice to other bands and treat people how we would want to be treated. Rock star wankers are a dying breed, no one likes them anymore. Mainly because they suck...like the singer for Rockstar: Supernova.
 You won the Rockquest Promotions best song award for your great tune, 'Grand Vocation'. Tell us what inspired that song? What’s it about? What makes it the best song of Smokefreerockquest 2007?
Hmm, it’s not really about much, just kind of about only being able to do one thing in life. That’s kind of like us - we're only good at being a rock band and nothing else. The sound is inspired by James' piano playing, and how we interpret it with the other instruments.
Your lead singer wears the coolest sunglasses on stage - What’s Solomons do’s and don'ts when it comes to fashion?
Michael likes wearing his glasses on stage- it’s just kind of a comfort thing. We just try to wear clothes that we can all look similar in and feel comfortable with. Cool clothes are too expensive - the clothes we wear are either second hand or are from our mums' wardrobes. People look at us funny at school...like the freaks that always get laughed at by the jocks.
Where do you guys hope to be in 5 years time? Is this band your life dream, or just a passing fancy and you're planning on all becoming yam farmers?
Yam farming sounds like a respectable job, but we honestly cannot foresee a time when we won't be Solomon. As we said before: this is the only thing we're good at. No, actually, Jae is pretty good at Maths...
Lastly, in Grammy Award style, any shout outs you'd like to give for Solomon’s success?
To our parents, thanks for being supportive. Especially James' parents for putting up with the noise. Peter Harwood from school for being a massive help with the media side of things and actually getting us known and respected by the Principal. The judge from the heats for giving us a bad score...you bastard (nah actually you're the man). Smokefreerockquest for doing this for young bands - Pete and Glenn, you are kings. The members of Microfiction: Andrew for being the number one backstage guy and Alex for producing our recordings. And Jono is cool too. Thanks again. Peter McCully for making our videos, filming all our performances and always being supportive. And last of all our fans for coming along to everything and for doing the chant. We luuurve you.

Other awards given out on the night included: