Favourite sons


Kiwi roots reggae six-piece Sons of Zion make their Queenstown debut this weekend.

Singer and keyboard player Joel Latimer says they aren’t a traditional reggae band.

Think more of a rhythm and blues sound, some soul and a touch of hip-hop.
Latimer will be joined on stage by Rio Panapa and Sam Eriwata, whom he started the band with about 10 years ago.

Three other original members quit after having kiddies, leaving Matt Sadgrove, Caleb Haapu and Zane Graham to fill the gap.

Latimer met Panapa and Eriwata growing up in Auckland.

The trio went to the same church and started hanging out together.

It’s where he had his reluctant piano debut.

“I ended up on keyboard by default. There was no one to play so I ended up having to jump on and learn … I thought I would give it a go.”

Working with your childhood besties isn’t always easy.

“We may be mates but we have different opinions on things.

“There will always be clashes in terms of opinions or maybe even business decisions. But it isn’t a regular occurrence or anything.

“But it is good we are mates as we don’t take things too personally when it is to do with the band. At the end of the day we all want the band to succeed.”

They plan to release a yet-to-be-named album before Christmas.
Latimer isn’t sure how many tracks will make the cut.

Most of the recording is done — they just need to be polished.

While recording sessions and studio time are fun, nothing beats performing on stage, he says.

His favourite track to play live is Fill Me Up as it “goes off”.

Sons of Zion have also done a number of collaborations with mates in the industry including Tomorrow People, Pieter T, Israel Starr and Hazadus.
Latimer has been a wee bit surprised by success.

They performed Superman on X Factor New Zealand in 2013 and were nominated for best song by a Maori artist and best song writer at the Waiata Music Awards last year.

“When you start out you always have hopes and ambitions — but I don’t think you ever believe it will 100 per cent happen until step-by-step things start taking off a bit more.”

While he says the boys “wing it” at times, they have no intention of giving up the dream of recording, producing and performing.

Catch Sons of Zion, Saturday, Loco Cantina, 9pm. Tickets $30