Don’t fooled by the nickname Peti Crime.
Guitarist and singer Peti Seiuli, who performs around Queenstown as a soloist under the moniker, says it arose from trying to get people to pronounce his first name correctly.
“People didn’t know how to say my name. I used to explain to people that you pronounce it the same as ‘petty criminal’. It gives the wrong impression, but from there people always wanted to call me Peti Crime,” Seiuli explains.
Seiuli, who arrived in Queenstown from his hometown Invercargill in June last year, has been quietly building his profile on the local music scene.
The performer of Samoan and English descent has started playing regularly as Peti Crime, but also joins guitarist Matt Eddy, drummer Jeremy Wynyard and bassist Matt Godono in funk reggae foursome Ghettoblaster for regular gigs around town. The band are also in the line-up for outdoor New Year’s concert EarthTonz in Gibbston.
As Peti Crime, Seiuli dishes out originals and covers spanning the genres of reggae and what he calls psychedelic rock. He also throws in a few punk covers for the punters, though he’s not a fan.
“I can’t stand them but people ask for them. I will play it if I can or will at least give it a crack. Half the time I can’t stand it. But it’s entertainment for them – that’s my job, to entertain.”
Seiuli says Peti Crime gives him a chance to show people his style and he also uses it to promote upcoming Ghettoblaster gigs.
“People can see me and check out what I do and I tell them to come and see the band – so it’s kind of an advertising thing.”
Between those two mainstays, he fits in a bit of busking downtown and makes enough to survive as a fulltime musician.
“I’ve had one proper job in Queenstown, working for security for a while. Lately, I’ve just wanted to make a go of playing music for a living.”
Seiuli says that’s a lot easier to do in Queenstown than Invercargill.
“I can make a living being a musician here. And that’s my goal, to say ‘Right, I’m a muso’.”
He and Ghettoblaster’s Eddy share the bulk of the lyric and song-writing.
“Matt’s a wicked lyricist, he’s really fun to work with. We just clicked. We’re very similar in the way we think about things.
“We both like lyrics to mean something, we don’t like bollocks lyrics – even though we’ve both written some pretty bollocks lyrics,” Seiuli says.
From there, Wynyard puts in his own drum lines, Seiuli says.
Seiuli got his start in music young – his father played in a country and western band Bob Mason and the Apaches and from the age of seven got his son up on stage.
“I used to watch him quite a bit – he’d drag me along to sing.”
Seiuli also joined the school choir and has studied some acting.
“As soon as I performed on stage once I wanted to do it again. I knew from then that I wanted to be a performer.”
Catch Peti Crime at Boiler Room tonight at 10pm and see Ghettoblaster at the World Bar on Sunday from 5pm