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Under a rock and metal umbrella

In a sense, Gisborne heavy rock/metal band, Uni-Fi’s debut album has been seven years in the making — and it is set to be launched in a live show next week.

Uni-Fi’s vocalist Cory Garrett, guitarist Michael Shanks, bass guitarist/singer Gana Goldsmith and drummer Genesis Burgess have polished and added to their repertoire since they formed in 2013.

Their self-titled album is a consolidation of their oeuvre and comes with a fresh take in te reo Maori of an early song.

Recorded at The Porch in Hamilton, and in the band’s own recording studio, the album is a professional, polished production.

“These songs, we’ve been playing since day one,” says Garrett.

“Our audiences are familiar with them but the most recent one, which we haven’t played live before, is Whakapiripiri Mai.”

Performed in te reo Maori, the song is based on Unification, which features as a bonus track on the CD. Whakapiripiri Mai will have its first live airing at the launch.

Rising as remnants of local bands Dispark, Fyrestorm and The Remains, Uni-Fi’s musicians have mixed styles, thrown various influences into the pot and created their own sound. Uni-Fi lived up to its name when the foursome won the Battle of the Bands in 2014 — and off the back of that won a slot at Rhythm and Vines.

“The sound has grown and evolved but it still sounds like Uni-Fi,” says Garrett.

“The four of us are under the rock and metal umbrella. We have shared different things under that umbrella.”

Uni-Fi’s band members are known for their commitment and hard work. They even converted their rehearsal shed into a recording studio, complete with acoustic insulation and a singing room.

But as full-time working parents, the cost of living and raising children didn’t leave a lot of spare funds for their recording goals. They put their own funds into the recording and in April last year, set up a page on a crowdfunding platform for contributions that would help them record as many of their original songs as possible. To keep everyone up to speed, the band posted videos, pictures and updates.

The drum tracks were recorded at The Porch in Hamilton.

“We had to get a bit more funding to finish the rest of the album by the end of January this year,” says Garrett.

“That funding came from ourselves and generous donors.”

The band hired producer/engineer Dave Rhodes who recorded the album at Uni-Fi’s Studio 106, and mixed the tracks.

“It was a collaborative effort. In the studio he gave us useful, positive critique to boost the song from a production point of view. When we finished the recording session he sent us numerous mixes of each song until we were satisfied.”

One of the biggest challenges the band faced during the making of the album was getting everything done in the small window of time available.

“We had a week and got all the songs completed in that time. You have to be focused because time is precious. The good thing for us was we were really rehearsed. We knew our songs which made going into the studio to record easier.

“The focus for us is to bring together a body of work that will stand the test of time.”

Uni-Fi will launch their debut album in a live performance of the entire collection at Smash Palace on Friday, December 4 from 7pm. Tickets $10+bf from eventfinda.co.nz

Along with Kings of Kaiaua, 2k Rhythm & Ter3ign, merch (singlets/CDs) will be available on the night.

COME TOGETHER: It’s been a long time coming, but Gisborne’s heavy rock, groove metal band Uni-Fi will release their first self-titled album next week. Picture by Gana Goldsmith