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INTERVIEW: Say goodbye to Battle of the Bands and hello to Bring the Noise

16 August 2019

This year marks the 23rd iteration of OUSA’s Battle of the Bands competition - and it also marks the first (hopefully of many) under the new name “Bring the Noise”. To get the low down on the what and the why I spoke to Jason Schroeder, OUSA Events Manager.

“Battle of the Bands” vs “Bring the Noise”… What was the reason behind the name change?

The name Bring the Noise comes from the infamous crossover collaboration by legendary hip hop group Public Enemy and heavy thrash metal band Anthrax. This crossover of disparate music styles is what we want at the event and the title of the song is a nod to one of the major changes with the competition. We want people to bring any noise they have.

The music industry has evolved. So in essence this competition will begin to evolve too. Acts that aren’t traditional ‘bands’ have entered the competition over the years, but the name change was to solidify that any variety of musical act were invited and to open it up to any forms of original music.

How’s the enthusiasm and number of entries for the competition this year?

Last year there was 4 heats penciled in as usual, but that was cut down to 2 due to a decline in the number of entries. So we decided we will book in 2 heats with a max of 16 entries, however we ended up actually hitting 18. The quality of entries is high with a lot of hungry up and coming artists from different experience levels and genres involved.

Have you noticed any changes in the types of entries? For example genre demographics, gender demographics…

Definitely greater female representation and a diverse mix of genres

In an age where it seems like musical success is decided by whether your music pleases Spotify’s playlist algorithms, what role do you think competitions like Bring the Noise have?

Spotify and music streaming have definitely changed the landscape of the industry, however live performances are never going to die and are the main form of income for the majority of musicians.

So we are still giving our students an avenue to get some crucial experience playing live. And with the heavy algorithms in music streaming, this is a way for unheard artists to cut through the system and deliver a live performance that may (or may not) make music consumers want to look them up online.

It seemed like the prize pools had sort of stagnated a bit, for example some of the previous winners I talked to never used their free studio time because it’s so cheap and easy to just record stuff yourself now. Does the new name come with a refreshed set of prizes?

We have kept prizes in line with previous requests. And hope through this years refreshed event to attract more sponsors next year!

You’ve just announced Millie Lovelock (Astro Children, Repulsive Woman) as a guest judge which is awesome. Can you reveal any of the other judges yet?

Millie will be judging every night of Bring the Noise alongside Simon Wallace, a former Radio One 91fm Music Director and one of the minds behind ‘Friendly Potential’, a group who curate open, inclusive dance parties and a weekly radio show. And he’s an amazing genre-spanning DJ in his own right.

Every night we will have a guest judge to round out the panel;

This Friday they will be joined by Eden Burns, a prolific music producer who first exploded on to the New Zealand music scene as ‘Gasp’ at the age of 16, and now as one half of House duo ‘Sandboards’ has released music through UK label Feel My Bicep and DJ’d throughout the world.

Heat 2’s guest judge is Hennessey Griffiths, a judge from the 2018 Battle of the Bands. Hennessey is a former Radio One Drive Show host and the current Culture Editor for Critic magazine.

The Final’s guest judge is Dunedin music legend Robert Scott. A key member of The Clean and The Bats.


Obscure and unofficial media from gigs in Dunedin, New Zealand since 2014. More Info