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On a musical mission: Drummer and DJ Jeremy Wynyard is on a quest to reinstate Queenstown's original music scene

By LUCY WORMALD

Jeremy Wynyard has been a patron saint of Queenstown’s original music scene for the past 10 years — and he’s not out of energy yet.

A lover of punk, hip-hop and reggae, Wynyard is devoted to the energy and attitude of live original music and is absolutely buzzing to see such a scene reinvigorated in the resort.

‘‘I love seeing people being creative with their music,’’ he says.

Arriving in Queenstown in 2010 after immersing himself in Invercargill’s punk scene for a couple of years, Wynyard fell in love with ‘‘the pulse’’ of Queenstown.

‘‘I came up here with my reggae band, Jahfire, and we played here, cut two gigs, and I loved it so much I decided to stay.

‘‘I got myself a duty manager’s licence and it was right in the prime of the night scene.

“So I kept my ear to the ground to see what was going on because at that time there were so many cool bands — original bands as well as the cover scene.’’

But after four years of jamming and performing original material with like-minded musos like Peti Seiuli, Wynyard felt a shift in the zeitgeist and the original music scene ‘‘really died out’’.

‘‘From my side of things, I didn’t really see that much going on.

‘‘I wasn’t finding enough gigs or platforms and I couldn’t find that many people to jam with as well.’’

In an effort to kickstart things, Wynyard launched JezzaFest in 2019, a music event encouraging bands to perform their own tracks for audiences who were keen to hear something new.

‘‘I wanted to have more bands coming through [Queenstown] and they could use JezzaFest as an opportunity to come play here.’’

Hoping to bring it back this year for a third iteration, Wynyard says it’s still difficult to find bands to flesh out the line-up.

‘‘So I’m just making bands for myself,’’ he laughs.

Wynward’s gritty reggae band, Ghetto Blaster, an evolution of Jahfire, released two albums in the 2010s before he switched focus to drumming for punk band Mince on Toast.

‘‘We’re all old guys now, I’ve been doing Mince on Toast for 10 years and we’ve just recently done some recording.’’

He also sings and drums for Bye Paora – named after a member named Paul departed – which tinkers in a bit of everything.

‘‘We’re building momentum at the moment with our songs and I think you’d call our sound quite bipolar-ish, we do funk, we do rock, we do punk.

‘‘And we’ve got seven original songs, so I really want to get out and play in front of people.’’

Originally from South Auckland, and with a background in audio production, Wynyard is also a constant on the Queenstown DJ scene, doing every Saturday night at 1876.

‘‘I love DJing, man … you can read the room and I’m an open format kind of DJ, though my specialty is R&B, hip-hop, ’90s, 2000s … that’s my steez, I love that kind of stuff.’’

And while the DJ circuit and cover band scene continues to thrive in Queenstown, Wynyard believes the original music scene still needs a shot in the arm and calls for new spaces where musicians can share ideas and network.

‘‘I’d love to start a movement … something that will get people’s juices going, get a musos club going.’’

Once a hub is established, Wynyard hopes more and more bands will come out of the woodwork.

‘‘They’re out there somewhere, man.

“I’ve just got to find them and I’m just on my pilgrimage of doing that at the moment.’’

lucy.wormald@scene.co.nz