SIX60 are a band who have been making headlines around the world for all the right reasons. The New Zealand five-piece currently hold the title for the largest headline show played in the world with 50,000 people since the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the start of last year. And they also became the first musical act to sell out Eden Park in Auckland, which is a huge and exciting feat.
With the Trans-Tasman bubble in full swing, they will be returning to Australia in November for their biggest run of dates here yet. With shows already sold out in Brisbane, Sydney, and Perth with new dates added because of the high demand, these shows are promised to be highly sweaty summer affairs.
I recently chatted to lead guitarist Ji Fraser from SIX60 about their upcoming Australian tour and what their record breaking New Zealand stadium tour taught them about themselves, as well as their recent singles ‘All She Wrote’ and ‘Fade Away’. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: You’re returning to Australia in November for a huge national run of dates. After your huge stadium New Zealand tour, what element of the new show are you most excited to adapt for the Australian crowd?
JI FRASER: For the most part we’re just excited to bring the show we built for the stadium tour to Australia. I’m actually really excited to show a lot of Australia all of the hard work we put in to make it a show that was worthy of that magnitude. In terms of elements we’re bringing in, we’re looking at a few different options like; we’ve had a lot of great feedback on using Maori elements and performing the Maori version of our song ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’. So maybe there’s a way to incorporate some Australian Indigenous culture into our music while we’re over there.
TB: From playing those recent record breaking stadium shows, what did that teach you as a band about who you want to be as a live act or what you can do?
JF: The first thing it really taught me was how much I missed being in that environment and how much I missed being on stage and doing that part of being a musician. I think we all realised that. We are very fortunate to live in a area where large shows of that size are still happening. We felt incredibly privileged. It taught me to be grateful for what I do and where I am in the world. It was a really appreciative moment.
TB: Is it crazy to know that you’ve played the biggest show in the world in the past year and a half *laughs*?
JF: *Laughs*, I knew we were going to do it eventually, it’s just funny how we got there *laugh*. It’s crazy to think about it, but it’s also really cool.
TB: You were last here in 2019 just before COVID wiped out the world. So what was one of your favourite memories from that run of dates because the shows were sweaty, energetic and a whole lot of fun?
JF: I really felt like a ground swell especially in Brisbane. I just started to feel like it was a place in the world that we could come and have true fans. I felt really connected to people there and felt a lot of reciprocal love from that part of Australia. So if anything, it was just how cool the crowds were there.
TB: It’s been 2 years since your third studio album was released. Since then you’ve done a lot of touring and got to intimately get to know these songs in a live context and see how fans connect with them. So what’s something you learnt about the album and maybe your connection with it through this process?
JF: I guess I learnt that I always finish any album with my preferred favourite song and through that process and playing it live, it almost always ends up a different track or a different moment in a song where I notice a cool reaction from the crowd or I notice people getting emotional. It’s just the process of growing with the album and learning to love it in all of its different parts. I’ve kinda gone through that whole album and all the songs we’ve played, and yeah I’ve now ended up where I am today.
TB: It’s funny you say that because I was going to ask you if there’s a song on the album that you’ve got dramatically different feelings to now since the release?
JF: Yeah! When we finished the album I really liked the song ‘Ghosts’ and I really felt like it had a really cool vibe and that it was something that people were going to love. ‘Never Enough’ was something I thought was going to be crazy live. And I really loved how stripped back and emotional ‘Bitter End’ was. But now I find myself loving songs like ‘Tomorrow’ and that happened towards the end of tour because I noticed how much people loved it. ‘Sundown’ was another one which has given the album these huge legs at the end of its cycle even though we didn’t get a chance to properly tour it.
TB: Chris and Marlon explained to me last time that the reason you’ve named all three albums as self-titled records was to allow the fans to make their own titles with the emotions on the record. The first one has become known as The Gold Album, the second as The Colourful Album, so with this third one being out for a while now, what has been its adapted name?
JF: The People’s Album! The image on the cover is actually a sea of people taken from our first Western Springs Stadium show. So it celebrates that, and I think there’s a song on that album for everybody. So quite rightly it should be called that. I think The People’s Album was probably the BIG moment where we took ownership of our music and the way we created it and how it became the property of New Zealand, Australia and everywhere we go.
TB: As the lead guitarist, what is the most fun song for you to play every night and the most challenging?
JF: ‘Sundown’ is probably the most fun at the moment. It depends how many dancers and performers we have on stage because that’s pretty fun too.
TB: Now I asked this question to Chris and Marlon in 2019, but with the high energy in your live shows and your passionate fanbase, what has been the craziest, funniest or weirdest thing you’ve seen when you’ve looked out into a crowd mid-show?
JF: I’ve seen everything man! I’ve seen people kissing which is always nice, and I’ve seen people fighting which isn’t great. One of the best things is that there are some songs that get this euphoric response from the crowd like ‘Only To Be’ from The Gold Album. When we start playing that the crowd feeling and energy just changes and everyone just suddenly becomes really happy and collective. Or there are deeply emotional songs like ‘Forever’ that people just spectate towards and just visually take it all in. .
TB: Your new single ‘All She Wrote’ is a playful upbeat song that has massive summer vibes. So can you explain the creative process behind this track?
JF: The creative process is always just starting from something really small and finding a feeling. And ‘All She Wrote’ is really just a reflection of a really fun feel and a guitar led song. Any idea we have just develops from these really small moments, and that was a guitar riff that one of the boys put together with this playful summer track and it was really just quite natural.
TB: ’Fade Away’ is a song you put out last year. What is a random or weird fact you have about this song or the creative process that people may not know?
JF: A cool fact that people might not know is that it was produced by Malay in LA who is the same producer who’s worked with Frank Ocean and a number of other high level artists. They are a really talented and amazing producer that we had the good fortune to work with in LA when we used to be able to go there *laughs*.
TB: The Six60 ‘Til The Lights Go Out’ documentary came out in November last year, and it was a film that’s been a long time in the making. This was a first for you as a band, so what was the biggest insight you had to making a film? Is there something that was left out of the film that you wish wasn’t?
JF: The biggest insight I had into making films is that I probably don’t want to make any more *laughs*. But I don’t think anything was left out. From the get-go we approached it quite honestly. It’s a hard thing to do because most people don’t have to sit down at the last ten years of their life in a film format. Some of that stuff is really hard to do; looking at our successes and our failures, and everything we’ve been through to get to where we are. You are right in saying that it was quite challenging, but it was also quite cathartic as well. It was a very interesting process and I’d say that nothing was really left off the table. So if you watched that then you know who we are and what we’ve been through.
‘All She Wrote’ is out now!
SIX60 Australian Tour
Wednesday 3 November – Odeon Theatre, Hobart
Thursday 4 November – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Friday 5 November – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney *SOLD OUT*
Saturday 6 November – The Riverstage, Brisbane *SOLD OUT*
Sunday 7 November – The Riverstage, Brisbane
Wednesday 10 November, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Friday 12 November – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Saturday 13 November – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth *SOLD OUT*
Sunday 14 November – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth