Radio BurgerFuel

Interview: Dillastrate

Posted by Lee Densem

Anthem for Ōtautahi

Out of the ashes of Aaron Tokona's Ahoribuzz comes New Zealand's only five-piece duo. Dillastrate are Henare 'H' Kaa (lead vocals/drums) and Tim Driver (keys/bass/vocals), and they've returned with a track for Waiata Anthems in 2023. H was kind enought to answer some questions.

RBF: So firstly, Dillastrate… I’ve seen you described as a duo/five piece/three piece. What’s that about?

H: Dillastrate is a 5 piece duo. I (H) play drums and sing, and Tim plays keys, bass, and sings and we do it all at the same time. Tim also plays synth and runs our tracks.

RBF: Being an ex Christchurch boy, do people still ask what high school, or have they moved passed that yet? (I’m Burnside High BTW!)

H: Tim is a Cashmere boys and I am a Atown (Aranui High) boy!

"It hits the heart and home with nothing but mana, joy and pride"

RBF: So this track 'Ko Tātou Te Ahi' – where did it come from? What’s it about?

H: 'Ko Tātou Te Ahi' means We Are The Fire. It is a song written for Ōtautahi/Christchurch. We've been dealt a pretty rough hand this past decade but we always seem to push on through. The song pays tribute to mana whenua who have kept the home fires burning and it our job to keep them burning for generations to come.

RBF: And what does being released for Waiata Anthems week mean to you?

H: This means everything to us! Being part of a Kaupapa like this hits different. It hits the heart and home with nothing but mana, joy and pride.

“he is humble and makes everyone feel tino pai”

RBF: This whole track (both audio and video) was recorded at Ngā Hau E Whā National Marae in Ōtautahi/Christchurch right?

H: Yes it was recorded at Nga Hau E Wha where the journey began for me (H). It is where I found my love for Te Ao Maori and it was a safe place for all us rangatahi growing up and going to school in Aranui.

RBF: What are the acoustics inside the wharenui like?

H: The acoustics are Beautiful and welcoming.

RBF: And back collaborating with the man Tiki Taane?

H: There isn’t a day that passes where we don’t pinch ourselves for working with Tiki. He is an icon, a mentor, an inspiration, but most of all he is humble and makes everyone feel tino pai in the work space. We love him!

RBF: I believe there's a new album on the way soon. What can you share about that?

H: We are currently in the process of recording a full body of work which includes this waiata and the two other singles we have already released this year!

RBF: And finally, is there much touring coming up soon? You guys always throw down a fire live show.

H: We aren’t touring as much this year as we are working hard in the studio but we have an awesome show in Wanaka on the 15th of Spet that we are headlining and we are also playing at The Coroglen on NYE with CHAII and The Blackseeds. All promoted by the amazing team at Nikau Rhythm.

'Ko Tātou Te Ahi' is out now. It's Dillastrate's contribution to Waiata Anthems 2023. Watch the short doco about this track to fnd out more. You can find this and all their other tracks on Spotify and other streaming services.