By MATTHEW MCKEW
Kiwi DJ sensations Lee Mvtthews return to Snow & Bass this year and can’t wait to experience the new and unique bungy setting.
Duo Tom Lee and Graham Matthews have catapulted to the top of their genre domestically and are beginning to catch the eye of Aussie, UK and other European musos.
They’ve been near-regulars at the usual sell-out Snow & Bass since its inception five years ago and they’re back on the bill next Saturday.
The two-day event’s normally hosted at Loco, but since they’ve closed their doors, event organiser Bryce Wrigley, of Shucka, says they’ve looked for a more unique venue with a similar-size capacity.
Friday night — with headliners Snake and Wolf — will be at The World Bar and Yonder, while Saturday’s heavy-hitting line-up’s a short bus trip to AJ Hackett’s Kawarau Bridge bungy site.
And one half of Lee Mvtthews is all over it, with Lee having already taken the plunge before and keen to do it again — pre and post set if possible, he says.
His raring enthusiasm’s matched only by an equal antipathy from Matthews, who says he’ll happily give his slot to his drum’n’bass partner.
‘‘I have a bit of a thing for playing in unique spaces or venues, so anything like this is exciting,’’ he says, despite ruling himself out of a jump.
‘‘We’ve played up the Sky Tower — that was pretty surreal — we’ve played in a forest, on a boat, we’ve played on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, we’ve performed in a lot of strange places.
‘‘We’ve played in Queenstown quite a number of times and it’s always such a treat because you never know what you’re going to get from the crowd, but they’re always passionate about drum’n’bass,’’ Matthews says.
‘‘Plus you can’t really go wrong with the beautiful scenery,’’ Lee adds.
The pair met at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand in Auckland, eavesdropping on each other’s projects as they took breathers from their own.
They have a remarkably similar background, both being drummers and coming to drum’n’bass via the dubstep of American DJ Skrillex, having previously been hooked on metal.
As students, they messed about with electronic music, honing their skills before eventually feeling confident to take on the notoriously difficult drum’n’bass scene, Lee says.
Fortunately they ‘‘decided to finally give it a crack’’ just as the genre took off nationally in New Zealand.
‘‘So we’re really, really lucky,’’ Lee explains, suggesting the planets aligned for them.
Covid-19 was a sort of mixed blessing, with the demand for homegrown and emerging talent stronger than ever, while the lockdown period meant they could build up a catalogue of new tracks.
Nonetheless, Lee says, they were both desperate to get back on stage and feel the energy of the crowd.
‘‘We both really enjoy being on tour together and to quote Graham in lockdown, he said ‘man, I can’t wait to be drunk with you in an airport again’, so yeah, we have fun.’’
Their journey has snowballed, with no sign of slowing, since they dropped album Bones in 2019, Matthews says.
‘‘The first memory of sort of hairs on the back of the neck standing up, was hearing the crowd singing back our song Let Me Go for the first time, and just being like, ‘wow, I never expected to get to this level’.
“Anything from here in is a win.’’
Lee says he remembers when his and Matthews’ main ambition was just to play Auckland nightclub Code (now Impala) once.
With festivals like Rhythm and Vines under their belt, 200,000 monthly Spotify listens and hit tracks Takeover and Let Me Go with millions of plays, it would seem Lee Mvtthews have more than surpassed their original goals.
Snow & Bass 2021, Friday, July 2, Yonder, 10pm, tickets $49; Saturday, July 3, from 4pm, AJ Hackett Kawarau, tickets from $85 (transport add-on available) via ticketfairy.com