Blood Harmony is how siblings Kaea and Reiki Ruawai describe playing together as the backbone of Raglan Masaya.
The band are one of LAB’s first acts at Hamilton’s Globox Arena on Saturday night, the other being JessB.
Formed in 2019 for the University Reiki Project, the band have pushed and are set to embark on a national tour after producing their debut album.
The brother and sister are no strangers to the scene, having spent more than 10 years with their parents’ band, Cornerstone Roots.
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“They know it’s our moment now, and I personally think our music is quite different from theirs. They completely backed off and said spread your wings which is awesome,” Kaea said.
Years on stage and being with family means they have a musical connection.
“There is also a level of respect. My weaknesses are his strengths, and his weaknesses are my strengths, so we work as a team. Sometimes being siblings is a bump in the neck, but it’s always going to be worked out,” Kaea said.
Reiki, 22, is the leader, vocals and guitarist, Kaea, 24, is the drummer and backing vocals, and Nat Hathaway, 21, is on bass.
“For the past three years we’ve done our series of summer gigs, festivals, winter tours, and now we’re thrilled to come on board with LAB at Claudelands,” Reiki said.
They don’t want to be pigeonholed when describing their sound, which Kaea calls funky, groovy and a mix of bands like Kora, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
While the duo largely writes the songs they adopted by collaborating with the rest of the group, especially since neither reads music.
“It’s good to get their input because they’re all different musicians, our bassist is a jazz student in his own right now, our other guitarist is also from a jazz background,” Reiki said.
Although they are now based in Auckland, they still have a strong connection to their hometown.
“The whole community of Raglan – it really takes a village to raise a child, in our case that’s definitely it. There’s the beach or going bombing from the bridge, we had a pretty relaxed childhood growing up in Raglan.
“And I think you can hear it in our songs, there are definitely a few songs that reflect Raglan,” Kaea said.
Now full-time musicians, they said it had been a struggle for a band to come in the face of two Covid-19 lockdowns.
“But that’s why we had the opportunity to make an album. Because we had a whole summer tour ready and then it was ripped away from us due to Covid,” Kaea said.
And while there will be some initial nerves when they hit the stage on Saturday, they tend to calm down after the first song.
Frontman Reiki can get nervous, “especially when I have to talk between songs, and especially gigs like LAB – or a festival like Bay Dreams or R&V, but I try to have fun anyway.”
For drummer Kaea, it’s all about keeping the timing and getting the setup right.
“Also, I have everyone behind, especially Reiki because he’s the leader. So when there’s a gig like LAB, that’s when I get nervous. Does the sound go be good can I still connect with Nat the bassist and Reiki hear the drums,” Kaea said.