Songstars winner gears up for winter gigs

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The Killer Seas’ frontman Tai Forrester is having a year to remember.

The Queenstown-based singer songwriter won top-notch local song contest Songstars as a soloist back in March with original track Guilty.

And then a month later his fledgling band was plucked from obscurity to open the Queenstown Blues and Roots Festival.

The Stewart Islander, 27, is gigging both as a soloist and with The Killer Seas around the resort throughout the winter season.

“Songstars was real cool,” Forrester says.

“I thought it was going to be pretty cut-throat, but by the end we were all hanging out together, giving each other advice on songs.

“It was cool but you don’t ever get used to performing in front of people.

“It’s not really nerves though; it’s your body getting ready to do something awesome.”

Next up in April was the Blues and Roots Festival with The Killer Seas.

The rock band was formed late last year with Forrester, guitarist Joe Cowie, bassist Andy Paterson and drummer Joel Rowlands.

Just six months later they were opening on a bill that featured Elvis Costello and The Imposters, and The Doobies.

“The place was fairly empty when we played but it was a good experience,” Forrester says.

“And there were all sorts of people waiting on us – heaps of stage management.

“Joel started packing up his drums after we finished playing and an old mate comes over and goes ‘no, no, stop doing that – we do that’.”

Killer Seas released EP White Flag earlier this year and have picked up regular spots at The Find on Monday nights and Vinyl Underground this season, mostly playing covers.

Forrester also plays regular solo gigs at Pub on Wharf, with a catalogue of covers tracks from the 60s and 70s.

“I like the older stuff, the likes of JJ Cale, The Doors, The Beatles,” he says.

“Covers are always good – and it’s my job. I came here to work at Walter Peak but I’ve always been a bit of a muso.

“I wandered into a bar one night, some guy let me have a jam and that was it.” 

Catch Forrester solo at Pub on Wharf this Monday from 8.30pm and Vinyl Underground with The Killer Seas next Saturday from 10.30pm.