Wax Chattels (NZ)
Wax Chattels create darkly hypnotic and frenetic music that’s both rhythmically
complex and sinister. If that paints any sort of aural picture, it comes as no surprise
that “Gillian,” their homage to X-Files star Gillian Anderson, was roundly endorsed by
the ex-punk actress herself on social media before the band had even played shows
outside of their home country or received any support from larger press outlets.
Peter Ruddell (26, keyboards/vocals), Amanda Cheng (26, bass/vocals) and Tom
Leggett (22, drums) met studying Jazz Performance at the University of Auckland, and
started Wax Chattels a few years later. Since that time they have honed their live-
shows into something that is not to be missed – it was after a particularly insane live
performance that they were signed by both Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records
on the spot. The band say “we want to play shows that make people feel
uncomfortable. The goal is to leave the audience feeling slightly altered, like they have
experienced, not just heard or seen something.”
From novels to tweets, bassist Amanda is drawn to art and writing that addresses
adversity. Her post-punk informed bass lines provide the backbone for most of the
band’s tracks. Initially, Peter and Amanda started Wax Chattels by writing tracks with
a drum machine before realizing the band would be more exciting with a live drummer.
With the addition of Tom the line-up was complete.
Composing together, Wax Chattels worked up their material for a year prior to
recording. “We tracked the songs as a live band to capture the energy of the live
show, restricting ourselves to instruments which we play live and keeping all
production to a minimum to focus on the band sound itself.” The band “come from”
and “go to” different places on stage and in their heads when they write, record and
perform, largely because they aren’t the kind of band with homogeneous interests
outside of music.
Wax Chattels recalls the other side of Kiwi underground rock history that’s a bit less
sunny and jangly. The small, yet constantly groundbreaking nation has put forth a new
act and album that demands your attention.