28 May 2016

Trinity Roots This Road

From RNZ Music, 2:05 pm on 28 May 2016
Trinity Roots (L-to-R: Rio Hunuki-Hemopo, Ben Wood, Warren Maxwell)

Trinity Roots (L-to-R: Rio Hunuki-Hemopo, Ben Wood, Warren Maxwell Photo: Colin Gillen

Cramming in rehearsals before their first shows in China, Trinity Roots talk tactics and takeovers with Yadana Saw.

For nearly two decades Trinity Roots have been a well-loved mainstay of the local music scene with their distinctively soulful, reggae-tinged roots sound.

Despite the success on stage and in studio - with their platinum LPs True and Home Land and Sea - the business side of things proved more challenging.

By 2012 the band’s company was in liquidation, owing $100,000 in unpaid tax to IRD; and it was clear to the liquidator that they were "accomplished musicians. However these skills were not complemented with equivalent business application", the report concluded that it probably wasn't an experience uncommon to those in the entertainment industry.

Fast forward four years, and the schooled are now doing the teaching. Frontman Warren Maxwell is part of the teaching faculty at Massey University’s Commercial Music degree,

"Nobody knows about this stuff and they should!" he emphasises, "We've had to learn this stuff out at the coalface. The business side of being a musician, I think it's really important that artists realise they have to market themselves"

And though Warren's time with the band is having to be balanced by these work commitments, it has actually benefited Trinity Roots, as bassist and fellow founding member Rio Hemopo explains.

"A cool little by-product is that we've been able to bring into the business side of Trinity as well...it's helped us with little areas in our own business"

The newfound approach, or "real-world application" of Maxwell's course work has also allowed the band to function via distance now that Hemopo and family are based in Rotorua,

"We have weekly Skype meetings...and we have to report back on our tasks each week."

By their own admission they are nerds. But when it's time to get into the rehearsal room

"There's a good foundation.. its mainly just getting the cobwebs out and getting back into the groove."

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Music details

Artist: Trinity Roots
Song: This Road
Composer: Trinity Roots
Album: Citizen
Label: Trinity Roots

Artist: Trinity Roots
Song: El Kaptain
Composer: Trinity Roots
Album: RNZ Recording
Label: RNZ Recording