Six60 have come a long way since they cemented their place in the New Zealand music scene in 2011. From small beginnings playing at college parties, word got around and before the boys knew it, they had produced their self-titled debut album and sent it to the top of the charts. This earned them platinum awards and since then, everything has been a bit of a whirlwind.
Catching up with humble bass player Chris Mac, he reminds us that he will always be a Darwin boy, despite the Kiwis trying to claim him as their own. Now back in Auckland, he is “enjoying life” in between writing and preparing for the band’s upcoming tours through Australasia.
Stepping up their game as the band gained more recognition, Six60 moved to Berlin for six months as they signed with label Four Music, part of Sony. Their growing reputation became evident in the number of shows they have been doing throughout Europe and the United States.
“The most memorable for me was probably playing in Berlin, it was great because we feel like we are a little bit at home there so it feels like a bit of a hometown. We just love it there and we’ve got some great fans,” says Chris.
Reminiscing, he talks fondly of Six60 fans in Brooklyn, who he made sure to have a drink with after the show, and explains what it was like playing at Glastonbury Festival.
“Glastonbury is massive, it’s such a big festival that you feel like you are getting lost in the moment because there’s just so much going on, like I got to see one of my personal heroes, Nick Cave, I got to go watch his set which was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I had never seen him live before that.
“I actually met him briefly in Berlin,” Chirs adds, “he was walking down the street while I was trying on shoes in a shop and I ran out of the shop in the shoes I was trying on to meet him and got chased down by the guys who were trying to sell me the shoes, so I got in a bit of trouble about that, but he’s such a hero and we played in the same festival as him.”
Even if Chris hadn’t met his hero in stolen shoes in Berlin, for him the city would still be one of the highlights of his life, as he describes the feel of the city by comparing it to the way people describe New York in the ’70s.
“I love Germany. I could live in Berlin easily and yeah, probably the greatest time of my life living in Berlin. It’s such a cool community, very artistic, very forward-thinking, it’s such a cool place,” he explains.
Watch: Six60 – Don’t Forget Your Roots
It appears the band’s love for Germany is mutual, as Matiu (vocals, guitar) and Ji (lead guitar) stayed behind in Berlin to do the “promo thing,” following the inclusion of the band’s track Forever on the soundtrack for the new German movie, Vaterfreuden, starring Matthias Schweighöfer.
“Mat and Ji went to the premiere which was very exciting except they had to go see a movie that was entirely in German and what they relayed to us was that it was something about sperm donation… which is an interesting concept for a movie,” says Chris.
“Matthius who is the star of the movie, is a huge star in Germany and is a big fan of new music and likes to find new artists and musicians so yeah it’s a big deal for us and we are really happy about it,” he adds, speaking on how they got involved with the film.
While Chris’ five-year-old daughter has learnt some German, he confesses to knowing only one phrase and that is asking for a beer. “I can order a beer and as soon as they ask me the follow-up questions I have to say ‘Nah, just jokes.’ Gets me every time. We all got pretty good at it,” he says.
This admission is the first hint at the band’s love of partying, which is expected of a band that they allegedly began making music to fund their drinking habits. “We take touring and we take our job really seriously. We love to play great shows, we pride ourselves on having one of the best live shows around but at the same time if we can have a party, we will find the party,” says Chris.
“But personally I love talking to fans and finding out where they are going after the show and meeting up with them ’cause that’s really where you get life experiences. Playing the live show is only about eighty percent and the other twenty is just making sure you can have a party.”
And it looks like the party is only just getting started as Six60 play a few New Zealand shows before heading to Oz to play at the “main centres”, which unfortunately for Chris doesn’t include his hometown. While his booking agent assures him it will happen, in the meantime this Aussie from the “top-end” is happy performing for any Aussie crowd.
“Every single time we come to Australia we are blown away. I’m from Australia originally. I’m the Aussie boy, don’t tell the New Zealanders. So for me it’s one of the most exciting things to have a packed-out Australian show.”
Anticipating what’s coming up next for the band, Chris lets us in on what we can expect. “We are so close to recording the next album, we had at least an album’s worth of demos that we threw out last year because we just didn’t think that they were quite good enough. We could’ve easily produced an album maybe even a year ago but we’re striving to do something a little better.”
“So if you come out to the tour you are going to see a few brand new songs and we are going to work in new songs every single show, so people might get a taste of something they’ve never seen before so it’s definitely worth coming out,” he adds.
He also lets us in on another little secret as he speaks of his other love in life, comedy. When asked to tell a joke, this undercover stand-up comedian had this to say: “You should talk with the other boys about that, I should get on the mic more and tell a couple of jokes on stage. Hey look, maybe this tour I’ll get one joke per show, that might be my goal.” We sure hope so.
Check out Six60 on their upcoming Australian tour – details below. Their self-titled debut album is out now.
Watch: Six60 – Lost (Unplugged At Music Feeds Studio)
Six60 2014 Australian Tour
Friday, 28th February 2014
The Hi-Fi, Sydney
Tix: Via The Hi-Fi
Saturday, 1st March 2014
The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
Tix: Via The Hi-Fi
Sunday, 2nd March 2014
The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Tix: Via The Hi-Fi