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Masaya — the second coming

Smooth, jazzy, funk soul weaves through Raglan band Masaya’s sound.

Their single Soda Dreams is a pop-based, summery song threaded with jazz guitar grooves but Masaya like to mix up their oeuvre a little, says lead vocalist Reiki Ruawai.

“Most of our songs were written for the summer vibe but our intent is to get all different kinds of genres in there. We have a lead guitarist who likes jazz so we went to Wellington to learn his jazz chords and instrumentation. He has a melodic style to his playing.”

Ruawai’s own melodic guitar style with a hint of jingajik can be heard in Soda Dreams, a song he wrote while in lockdown.

“My dad has a studio set up away from the house so when we went into the four-week lockdown, every day we got into the studio and I wrote songs.”

Ruawai’s parents are part of the band Cornerstone, as is Ruawai. Hence the studio.

“When I wrote Soda Dreams I thought of how summer had just gone and how sick it was we had gone down into this hole and dreamed about sunny days and hanging out with friends and going to concerts.”

Masaya began life as an overdue assignment while Ruawai was studying towards a Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University in Wellington in 2019.

“I had an assignment due and needed band members. I hit up my sister Kaea, who is on drums, and Muroki Pearsall, on bass, for a 15-minute video performance. I had to write three songs and perform them in front of a live audience.”

Ruawai missed that deadline but was given the opportunity to submit a video recording of his three-piece in performance. When he saw the band’s potential he left his studies and focused on performance and recording.

“I felt we could make something out of the band,” he says.

“Now a few years down the track we’re still trucking along.”

The name Masaya came about when band members tossed ideas around and hit on the homophone for Messiah.

“It was meant to be my name but my parents said ‘nah’ so we hit on Masaya.”

There is no message in the word. They just liked the sound of it.

Joined by Jules Blewman (Tunes of I) on lead guitar and Joe Kaptein on keys, Masaya recorded their 2019 EP, Tongue & Groove, hit the road, rocked Rhythm and Vines’ Garden Stage last summer and on Saturday bring their summer sound to Smash Palace.

Masaya bring their fun vibes and catchy hooks, with guests Oceanspace and Dosage, to Smash Palace on Saturday, 8pm. Tickets $10-$20+bf from ticketfairy.com

SUMMER BEATS: Last in these parts to rock Rhythm and Vines’ Garden Stage over summer, Raglan groovers Masaya, made up of (from left) Joe Kaptein, Tiara Ruawai, Reiki Ruawai, Kaea Ruawai (back), Nat Hathaway, and Jules Blewman (not in picture) return to Gisborne on Saturday to bring their summer sound to Smash Palace. Picture supplied