Gig of the week: Clap Clap Riot

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It wasn’t exactly money for nothing but indie rockers Clap Clap Riot sure got a sweet deal from MTV New Zealand.

The high-energy four-piece, who play at the Dux tonight promoting debut EP TV Knows Better, won last year’s MTV Kickstart competition. Prizes worth $210,000-plus included a single recording and distribution deal, video grant, TV and radio airplay, publicity and a travel package.

Guitarist Dave Rowlands says the win helped “move things along a lot faster”.

“It was definitely a kick start in the sense that it put us ahead of where we’d planned to be, time-wise,” he says.

“But it’s not like we don’t feel we would have been successful without it.

“We were always totally committed to doing it anyway.”

The four high school friends got their start in Christchurch, originally playing under the moniker Band Theft Auto.

They moved to Auckland in February 2008 to be closer to the heart of the Kiwi music industry.

The band’s profile has been steadily rising since the Kickstart win, Rowlands says.

“It’s interesting to see the hits on your MySpace page double, triple and quadruple as it ramps up. It’s fantastic to know that the word is getting out across the country and that there are people who are genuinely interested who aren’t just our friends.”

Slots at this summer’s Rhythm & Vines and Big Day Out festivals were “huge milestones” for Clap Clap Riot, Rowlands says.

But neither show went off without a hitch. A missed cue saw a stagehand cut power to the band’s amps at the close of their Big Day Out set, and car troubles culminating in an engine fire plagued the Rhythm & Vines
appearance.

But all is well ahead of the EP release tour, Rowlands says.

“It’s our first really big tour and a chance to get to places we don’t normally go.

“We’re very much a live band so any option we have to play is something we’ll try to make the most of.”

Clap Clap Riot play the Dux tonight from 8pm with support from Knives At Noon