Te Ahi Top 10 | Saint Peter’s Thursday
Written by Sam Dunlay on 3 September 2021
Taking out the top spot on this week’s Te Ahi Top 10 is local three-piece rock band Saint Peter’s Thursday with their electric new track Fisherman.
We caught up with the band to chat about how they got started, the process of recording Fisherman, their songwriting process and future plans.
Check out the interview below.
Kia Ora! Congrats on taking out the top spot on this week’s Te Ahi Top 10 with your track Fisherman! Can you tell me a little bit more about who you are and what you do?
Aaron: Hello! Thank you so much! So stoked to top the chart we’ve seen so many of our mentors and inspirations atop over time. Anyway, we’re Saint Peter’s Thursday and things people have described us as are as follows. Underground, heavy, bluesy, loud someone even said we’ve got a cult following. We like that.
Sam: Hey! Thanks heaps for placing us, it’s such a privilege to be part of this community. We’re a 3 piece rock band complete with me on the drums, Aaron on the bass and Anand singing/screaming and shredding the guitar. Our shows get pretty out the gate and we certainly focus more on the performance side of things.
Anand: Hello! Yay fun! I think Aaron sums it up very well! We do like cult following, not in a BJM kind of way, albeit, I do like the band…. People say we sound like Clutch, that’s pretty cool! I haven’t given them a proper listen until this year! Oh, and add, cathartic, wild and raw, to Aaron’s list of descriptors!
So, Fisherman acts as your debut single. Can you tell me about how Saint Peter’s Thursday came to be?
Aaron: I joined the band when Sam and Anand invited me into a practice room at jazz school in 2014. We enter those same practice rooms 8 years on some something must be going right…
Sam: We all met at Ara Music Arts (Formerly CPIT Jazz School) during our first-year course in 2014. I teamed up with Anand in the practice room as we both had a hunger for filthy rock music that couldn’t be satisfied whilst studying the jazz course. After a couple of jams, we were seriously missing that low end, so we hit up Aaron for a jam and we’ve been this way since.
Anand: Sam and I wanted to make a psychedelic blues band. I soon realized I don’t know how to play the blues, so we did more grungy stuff. So we prayed to Lord Gaben and he brought Aaron into our lives and that’s pretty much how it’s been.
Fisherman is a hard-hitting rock song, can you tell me a bit more about the meaning of the track?
Aaron: It changes for Anand about once every two years so I guess it’s as much up for interpretation as it is for him as the lyricist and for Sam and I.
Sam: It can be interpreted however you like! The great thing about music. I’ve always thought of it as a protagonist struggling with mental illness since a lot of the metaphors involve darkness or unpleasant scenarios. There could also be a recurring theme of refusing help which adds to the whole meaning of the track.
Anand: It’s not about fishing, I’ll tell ya that right off the bat. Aaron is right, it adapts and changes, twists and moulds on whatever narrative I have going on in my life. It started off as a song about depression and how it’s hard to find the catalyst to find help. Later, it evolved into a narrative about how religion was used as a tool for colonialism. I reckon both topics go hand in hand, like a jackhammer.
‘Fisherman’ was first conceived back in 2014 with a demo recorded at the CPIT Jazz School. Can you tell me about the process of taking that demo and turning it into a fully fleshed out recording?
Aaron: Well we first recorded it to fulfil a class project in Sound 1. We tried recording our first album by ourselves in various bootleg locations; sleepout, garage, with little success. We decided this year to spend a whole bunch of money to do this thing properly and with the help of Thom O’Connor, Jack Lanham, Kabyn Walley and Chris Chetland at Kog we finally made a project we are happy to release.
Sam: After a couple of jam sessions together, we’d fleshed out this song that we were all happy with. Immediately after we’d finished writing it, our teacher for one of our classes asked us to record it and mix it as an assignment. This was our first time in a recording studio and we didn’t know how anything worked so we just played the track as best we could. Can’t say we were too happy with the end result, having been mixed by us with no experience. We sort of chucked it on the back burner and focussed on writing more material before eventually having enough for an album. Since then we’ve had numerous attempts to record our sound on a budget but it never turned out the way we were hoping. That’s when we decided to get it all together and head down to Orange Studio and get our album recorded professionally. We decided it was fitting for Fisherman to be the first release, as it was 7 years ago.
Anand: This was the first thing Sam and I jammed together, then we had to record and mix a song for an assignment at ara. I remember the tutor saying “hmm, a three-piece? We should add some keyboards and a saxophone to it for the assignment.” … whack…..
Talk to me about your songwriting process? How do you guys go about putting a track together?
Aaron: Jam in a room for hours, see what riffs come out, try to remember said riffs, go from there! I like to think of it as a really natural process. Rarely anything we play regularly is a song that wasn’t written with us all in the room. Maybe the lyrics but we’ve started writing those together too. We just vibin.
Sam: It’s all very easy and natural. In terms of the musical side of things, one of us will have an idea and then we kind of build upon it. That’s when the creativity really starts to shine. We usually stick to writing our own parts, however, we love to take on suggestions from each other to see how something sounds or if it can be improved somehow. This really brings out the passion in the live performance, because we’re all playing something we’re happy with and something we’ve written together.
Anand: Get a bucket, jam til we sweat it out. The riffs we remember are the ones that get turned into songs. Sam and Aaron put it perfectly for musicality! As for lyrics, I try to vocalize a melody or sing a counter-melody to the riff. From that, I think about the theme based on the random collection of phrases and words I sing when jamming. Then, I think about it for ages. Until recently, I usually took them away and toiled away at verses. I like verses, there’s a lot of pictures there. Then I send them individually to Sam and Aaron. I love hearing what they both think, Sam either goes “I love it” or “How about we change this line here… “That doesn’t make sense” … “that image is cool”. Aaron goes “okay, you have an image, what was your thought process for this?”. Then once both sides are considered and edited, I send it to them for the final grade.
You guys have been gigging around Ōtautahi for a while now, tell me about some of your favourite gigs?
Aaron: I really enjoyed our gig with Mudbelly and Stomping Nick for Mudbelly’s EP release. Sam and I had a gig at 12 so we had around 30 mins to lay out a set. We just played song after song after song at full energy and full speed. It was hectic as hell. So much fun! Also the gig at Boo Radleys where I accidentally blew candle wax into my eyes.
Sam: When we played at the Winter Solstice festival at Dux Central/Dux Live the crowd was incredibly responsive. It was so easy to feed off the energy and play my heart out. There was an incredible moment we’re our mate Robbie from This Dog couldn’t get into the venue. Aaron saw this and we managed to get the entire crowd shouting “let Robbie in” while we had an improvised jam on stage.
Every gig we’ve played at Darkroom has been super slick and incredibly fun and rewarding. During our recent single release gig, we had our fans bouncing along to the beat of fisherman which was just amazing to witness.
Anand: There’s a few hahaha I enjoyed the one we played at Allen St Rock Club, we got to cover “I Want You” by Elvis Costello! The one at Space Academy last August was fun! I broke a string and Jack ran up and helped me restring it while we covered El Manana by Gorillaz. Oh! The show last August, the day before the Space Academy show, we did at Darkroom was a blast!!!
There has been an emergence of incredible bands from Christchurch over the last couple of years, what are your thoughts on the local scene here?
Aaron: I love how everyone has a great respect for all of the other scenes within the local scene. I can be at a hard, sweaty rock gig at the darkroom one night then be across the road getting lost in some neo-soul at Space Academy the next.
Sam: I think the scene here is incredibly supportive. There’s so much creativity from so many different sources and the venues are happy to provide a space for it. Everyone truly does respect each other and really just strives to make an awesome night for their peers. It’s really wholesome and lovely.
Anand: I love the music, songs, camaraderie and support beaming out from lil ol’ Otautahi! St Asaph St is the place to be! Tunesoc, Tombstone, Dark Room, RdU, Melted Ice Cream, Dust Up and 03 Sessions have the pillars of amazing music here! I love exploring what they showcase, it is so inspiring! What a time for live music! It’s super diverse, creative and inspiring!
Do you have any more music coming out soon?
Aaron: Hell yeah we do. Album inbound.
Sam: Absolutely, we’re still working on getting our album ready. We’ve also received funding from NZ on Air to work with local legend Sarena Close (Mousey) to polish up and record some brand spanking new material.
Anand: Yesh, an album.
What does the rest of 2021 have in store for the band?
Aaron: Overdubs then sending the goods over to audio wizard Thom O’Connor for a mix. So appreciative of his work and love how he’s bought our vision of what the band is to life into a recording. Love you Thom!
Sam: We were hoping to get a Lil mini-tour underway however the week of, we got sent into level 4 lockdown. For the album, we’ve just got guitar overdubs and vocals to go, which will then be sent to Thom O’Connor for mixing and most likely Chris at KOG for mastering. We’ll also work on writing new tunes, developing old ones and recording some demo’s at the Sitting Room in Lyttelton for more experimentation.
Anand: Recording guitar and vocals with Jack and Kabyn (love you lads), sending them to Thom “O for Owesome” O’Connor for mixing, eating chicken, playing, graduating and yeah, writing more tunes!
Check out the song below.
As well as the music video
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