Last month when Sol3 Mio were over in the UK to support the release of ‘I See Fire’, the soundtrack to the New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup team. In amongst a busy schedule, they took the time to answer some more of my questions (see my first interview with Sol3 Mio from 2014). Unfortunately the video had some technical issues, but here is the interview for you all to enjoy and to find out some more about the powerful voices supporting the All Blacks in their Rugby World Cup campaign.
Nice to have you guys back in the UK. I know that myself and many others will have been disappointed not to have seen you live last year when Alfie Boe had to cancel the Brighton tour date due to illness. When is your next UK tour planned?
Pene: We’re definitely going to do one again but at the moment there’s nothing planned as we’re incredibly busy for about the next two years but I’m sure we’ll come back again.
Shooting the video, I get the feeling it will be used for years to come by the New Zealand tourist board. Did it feel more like you were shooting a film rather than a music video?
Moses: Yeah when we were recording the vocals we did envision the video while we singing because of the orchestra stuff and the Haka elements – it was like a film. And so when we actually put everything together it was almost like creating a short film. It was an epic little piece what with Amitai opening it and then leading into these different chants. It didn’t have a particular genre it was just cinematic.
What made you choose this song to cover as your first single from the new record? Do you think that this track will make your music accessible to a new audience who are not familiar with your operatic style?
Amitai: We definitely hope it opens the music up to a new audience as that’s one of our main goals. Not many people listen to opera so If we can open an audience to this song in particular and then they can look us up online and hopefully they will see all our other music as well. We hope we can help them to get over that barrier that they might have with opera and seeing it as an elitist genre of music. They can see that we can also do contemporary stuff and hopefully they’ll like the rest.
Did you feel the brotherly connection between the Dwarves in the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was something that you could connect with and use to connect with your audience to rally them in support of the NZ rugby team?
Pene: That’s a good one! I didn’t think of it that way but the brotherhood that goes over to defeat the dragon and take back the homeland…this is what New Zealand’s doing right!
The title of the new album ‘On Another Note’ seems to suggest that this is a move away from your debut record. How do you think the albums mainly differ?
Amitai: I guess you could look at it that way – it’s definitely a step-up. We’re staying true to our classic side but we’re taking it up to another level. People enjoyed what we did on the first album so we wanted to bring something different but also to do something portrayed us as both the group and individuals. Hopefully people will enjoy the diversity in it.
Pene: Yeah it’s not too different. People will instantly assume after listening to ‘I See Fire’ that we’ve swung that way but that’s not completely where we’re at. That song was put out first to coincide with the world cup but if they listen to the rest of the album there’s a lot of different stuff.
With such a wide range of styles, who do you imagine is your ideal listener and how do you think the album is best listened to?
Pene: We see our ideal listener as everyone which is a good and a bad thing. It’s that common saying of not focusing on just one audience but rather taking a risk and taking everyone on. But if you do pull it off you’ll have reached everyone!
When we last spoke, you said that your aim was to promote core opera as much as possible to new audience. To what level do you think you have done that with the new record?
Moses: We’ve absolutely seen the results! It has shown in everywhere that we’ve performed. When we first started our audience was little older which is normal for the kind of music that we do. But the proof is in the pudding and wherever we perform now we can have people as young as two years old coming to our concerts and absolutely loving it. And families loving it! A family will come and really enjoy what we do and they can all take something different away from whatever song and be inspired to do something.
Finally, having covered Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, is there anybody who has caught your eye/ear in the pop charts at the moment that you would like to cover?
Amitai: I’ve done a few pop covers but you probably wont hear them on this album. They’re shower songs! We’ve had a few ideas that have sprung to mind.
Pene: Yeah its not always ‘right-now’ pop; we really like those nostalgia pop songs that everybody knows but once you sing it people are like ‘oh I haven’t heard that in a long long time’. Stuff like ‘Something Stupid’ – it’s a popular song but it hasn’t been sung in a long long time.