Anything It Takes

26 February 2014 | 8:16 am | Benny Doyle

"It’s always a risk, the second album, but it’s the place where you maybe lose a few to gain many."

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"Dude... We left New Zealand and it was hot as, the sun was out,” sighs guitarist and vocalist Matiu Walters. “We went through New York on the way over here and that was like -15, snowing, and then you come to this concrete jungle.”

Berlin's a long way from Dunedin, but it was a change Six60 needed to grow as a band. Forming almost as an afterthought while studying at university in 2008, the five-piece used positive word-of-mouth and an always-say-gig attitude to generate the kind of buzz that publicists salivate over. A huge success in their home country, the five friends enjoyed multi-platinum sales via their self-titled debut, but realised that if they were going to make a fist of this music game, they had to head north.

Even though they've been in Berlin roughly a year, Walters still admits Six60 are out of their comfort zone. However, they're enjoying some huge opportunities, including one which recently found them walking the red carpet. “Our song Forever is the feature track for this movie called Vaterfreuden, this German rom-com,” he tells. “So we had to go down to Munich and attend the red carpet with all the famous people. [But] we don't even speak German so we didn't know what the movie was about – we [just] had to sit through it.”

As much as they might personally be at odds with their current base though, Six60's fluid blend of soul, groove, rock and dub seems to soundtrack the ideas of an urban bohemian location perfectly. And although Walters doesn't think Berlin is affecting their new music, he's adamant that the ability to travel more freely and enjoy so many foreign experiences has helped the band grow. “[We're] really taking our time with this second album because despite what we've achieved we're really green in this game; there's so much to learn and to prove,” he admits. “It's not too far removed from what we did before, but it's a lot better, a lot smarter; the hooks are better, the melodies are better, the energy is still there. We're giving ourselves the best chance because we're experienced now, so when we do get the opportunity to drop our stuff we're ready.”

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Fans can expect that to happen in the second half of the year, with the band currently enlisting some famed production names including David Kahne (Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney) and Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas), as well as, “flexing their own producer muscle”, to get the most of now. “We pride ourselves on our diversity, and we're not going to lose that, but it's going to be pro,” Walters enthuses. “We made [our debut] raw, because that's what we were feeling at the time, that's what we were at the time. This time we've got big names that we trust on board, we've got a system we trust. It's always a risk, the second album, but it's the place where you maybe lose a few to gain many.”