Racing ahead


Marilyn Manson and Motown may not seem likely bedfellows, but Auckland band Racing fuses their styles together to create their own brand of hazy rock ‘n roll.

The four-piece, comprising of former The Checks members Ed Knowles (vocals) and Sven Pettersen (guitar), alongside Daniel Barrett (bass) and Izaak Houston (drums), are playing Queenstown’s Yonder tomorrow.

After a couple of successful EPs, they released their debut full-length album, Real Dancing, on November 9.

Knowles says the Manson/Motown mix is about “soul power and straight up power”.

“There’s also a lot of other things, we’ve politely borrowed stuff from dance music, it all fits under the Racing banner.”

It’s something of a coming-of-age for Knowles and Pettersen, who found fame with The Checks as teens.

“I don’t think people realise how young and inexperienced we were as a band.

“We were just doing what we could do, what we literally could play and could sing.”

That didn’t stop them from releasing three albums, being personally selected by R.E.M to open for them on their 2005 NZ tour, and being invited by NME editor Conor McNicholas to join the NME New Music Tour of the UK in 2005.

Racing was formed post-The Checks, after the band ended amicably in 2012.

“We’ve got a firmer grasp, we’re delivering what we want to deliver,” Knowles says.

Knowles and Pettersen had written some songs, but weren’t sure what they wanted to do with them.

After a jam session with Barrett and Houston, they decided to use them for an album.

“We were like, ‘yip, it’s supposed to be a band,” Knowles says.

“It’s just been an upwards trajectory of coming together, feeling each other out, and now we’re stronger than we’ve ever been.”

Knowles says he finds inspiration for his lyrics in the abstract.

“It’s the little moments, seeing people interact.

“It’s that time you were on a deck at a party.

“It’s little moments, rather than telling an overarching story.”

He calls the new record “a late-night joyride”.

“Real Dancing has lyrics that I gleaned or picked up from all over Auckland. The city is in this record somehow.

“I’m looking forward to people hearing the track Sweet Bedlam. It’s got the type of lyrical atmosphere and musical groove that we have been trying to marry together for a while.”

To catch Racing, head along to Yonder, tomorrow, 8.30pm