Don't miss a beat: Train Surfers, from left, Ollie McLean, Cam Kennedy-Brown and Dillon Bouchier performing at King Beats in Kingston last month. PICTURE: KEVIN BOUCHIER


Young Whakatipu musos continue to punch above their weight.

Arrowtown rock band Train Surfers – one of six school bands performing this Saturday afternoon during three-day music festival Arrow Sounds – has been given the opportunity to record one of their songs in a Queenstown studio next month.

The band – Smokefreerockquest regional winners in 2019 – comprises Year 13 Wakatipu High students Ollie McLean, 17, on lead guitar and vocals, Dillon Bouchier, 17, on bass guitar, and Cam Kennedy-Brown, 16, on drums.

Arrowtown muso, Arrow Sounds co-organiser Kevin Murdoch, has organised the recording of their song, South Island, written by Ollie, and jacked up sponsorship from local internet provider LightSpeed.

Murdoch says Train Surfers “oozes potential, and puts on a show”.

“These kids are better than half the adults playing music in town.”

Asked why they’re going well, Dillon says: “When we’re performing I’m having a lot of fun, and the band’s having a lot of fun, and I think that energy kind of comes off from the stage and into the audience, and I think that’s quite enjoyable.”

Murdoch notes Ollie’s unique guitar-playing style – “he plays it upside down and back to front like Jimi Hendrix did”.

“It’s the way I learned,” Ollie says.

“My dad plays right-handed and, starting out, I just picked up his guitar and used it in a left-handed position.”

Ollie, who calls their music “bluesy”, also plays harmonica and Cam also plays sax.

Cam says early influences were Wakatipu High teacher Maryanne Ahern and caretaker/muso Gary Kernahan, while latterly music teacher Alison Price has been “really supportive”.

As for their name, Ollie says it goes back to his dad’s stag do.

“He fell asleep on a train journey and when he woke up all his friends were gone and they’d been arrested because they were train surfing.”

Tomorrow they’re being joined on stage by two other high school bands, two Arrowtown School bands, and one from Wanaka’s Mt Aspiring College.

Arrowtown School’s Paul Winders, who’s organising the session, says “it’s a pretty supportive community for supporting young musicians to get into it and have a go”.

“When we play with The Crown Rangers we always try and get one of the school bands to play with us.

“They’re good enough to play on their own, those high school bands.”

Young local musos are also supported by the local RockFormation trust.

Get amongst it

Here’s the programme for this year’s Arrow Sounds:

3-5pm:  Good Days, Postmasters Cottage Cafe
4-7pm:  Derek Smith, Bendix Stables
4.30-7pm:  Saxy Jazz with Alex Yevstifeev, The Winery
5-8pm:  The Cellar Doors, The Fork and Tap
6-9pm:  Jessie & Mathurin, Dorothy Browns
7-10pm:  Bourbon Sour, New Orleans
9-12.30am:  Tom Goes To The Mayor, Blue Door
9.30-late:  DJ Foz, Slow Cuts

2-5pm:  Trip Trio Jazz, Postmasters Cottage Cafe
3-6pm:  School Rock Bands, Bendix Stables & Buckingham Green
4-6pm:  Neil Chilton, Blue Door
4-6pm:  Danny Atkinson, New Orleans
5-8pm:  Tom Goes To The Mayor, The Fork and Tap
5.30-8.30pm:  Kate Blomfield, Dorothy Browns
6-9pm:  Sam Ross & Mark Hobbs, The Winery
6.30-8.30pm:  Brett Walker, New Orleans
7.30-10.30pm:  Lumsden Calling, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall
9-12.30am:  The Cellar Doors, Blue Door
9-late:  The Crown Rangers, New Orleans
9.30-late:  Selective Soundsystems, Slow Cuts

12-3pm:  Shay, New Orleans
12-3pm:  Paul Winders & Shane Woolridge, Provisions
12-3pm:  Pearly & Ned, Akarua
12-2pm:  Calico, The Dishery
1-4pm:  Rozzie & The Orchestra from Dunedin, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall
1-3pm:  Sam, Kev & Martin – Maxed Out, Bendix Stables
2-5pm:  Bourbon Sour, Millbrook’s Smithy’s Smoke House
2.30-5pm:  Kate B & Tony M, The Dishery
3-5pm:  The Killergrams, Wet Jacket
4-7pm:  Jessie, Mathurin & Noel Coutts, The Fork and Tap