If rock ‘n’ roll, hypnotic grooves and a splash of Motown is your vibe, turn the volume up stat on local Kiwi band, Racing. What’s more, the indie-rock group are hitting the road this summer, playing all your favourite spots from The Mount through to Queenstown.
We caught up with lead singer Ed Knowles (formerly The Checks) to chat smashing Splore Festival, their recent video collaboration with Long White Vodka and their latest single “Run Wild”.
What’s your earliest memory of music?
My earliest memory of music would probably be the audiobook of ‘Peter and the Wolf’, a classical soundtrack that accompanied text. It was a scary story but the music created a really tense atmosphere. I don’t know why or how it was supposed to be a children's story, even when I hear that music today it gives me the chills a little bit.
Two of you were formerly members of The Checks. How did Racing come about?
The Checks came to a natural end in 2012 but Sven and I continued to write songs together. Eventually, we had so many songs that we felt should come out in some shape or form. We didn’t necessarily intend it to be in the format of a new ‘band’ but I guess we just gravitated to what we knew, and before long we were back on stage. We enlisted Dan (bass) and Izaak (drums) from their respective bands because both had toured in support acts for The Checks, we got a chance to watch them and we knew they could play.
What was it like recording again after being away from the music scene?
Being away from the music scene gave us a chance to reset and come at the recording process with a bit more focus. Personally, I think I became a music fan again, rather than viewing music as something I do. I had been in that mindset since high school, so a break—not that it was even that long—was definitely a good thing.
Tell us about your latest single and music video, what’s the story there?
We had just finished playing a show at Leigh Sawmill and a really lovely guy bought us a round of drinks after the show. It turned out that he worked for an advertising agency, and a few weeks later he hit us with the idea of collaborating with Long White Vodka to make a music video for our song “Run Wild”. We liked what he was suggesting and thought the format was fresh and different. So we pulled the trigger and shot the video a few weeks ago.
How would you describe the band’s sound and influences?
Racing’s influences are quite broad. I think the main thing we are attracted to is hypnotic grooves and melodies. At the moment, I’m listening to Groove Armada and Arctic Monkeys.
What has been your biggest ‘fuck yeah’ moment so far?
My biggest ‘fuck yeah’ moment with Racing would have to be at Splore Festival when 8,000 people all sat down on the ground during the build-up in one of our songs when the beat dropped back in, they all jumped simultaneously. That was pretty insane to watch from the stage. Then we packed down and opened up for Primal Scream the next day.
Artists or albums currently on repeat right now?
“The Philosopher’s Stone” by Van Morrison has been blowing my mind for about three years running.
What’s next for the band?
At the moment we’re in the studio working on our second album and we’re going on a national tour throughout December and January. We’re really looking forward to playing some summer gigs and having a few Long Whites.
Racing is hitting the road from mid-December through to January playing all over the country. Catch them in your city here. And there’s no denying they'll be on high rotation all summer long. Our advice? Rally the crew for an end of year get-together and add in a few Long White Vodkas while you’re at it—it’s literally the taste of summer.
Image Credit: Racing