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September 5, 2011 | by  | in Arts Music |
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“Young, willing and eager” – St. Rupertsberg

Even the most seasoned spin-doctors couldn’t come up with something like this. The genesis of the superband that is St Rupertsberg reads like a scene from one of Jane Austen’s most whimsical works. The picturesque dell that precedes the grand, decaying mansion in a Wellington suburb, forms the backdrop for the formation of Kate Whelen’s brainchild. Whelen set out with all intents and purposes to group together the most willing and able female musicians she knew into an “uber girl band” that would rival the best of them. After whittling away the original 12 members to only the most devoted eight, they have played to festival goers at Campus A Low Hum, made appearances at several Wellington bars and even donned bowties in the style of cabaret mademoiselles, to serenade the crowd at one of their fundraising ventures.

Despite this and the obvious potential they hold for success outside of the Wellington music scene, they exhibit a healthy awareness of the trappings of the superstar ambitions that many a New Zealand band hold. They are well aware of the fine balance that must be maintained between aspirations and appreciating their present situation, acknowledging that it’s “important not to place all your energy and focus on distant ideas of success in the future, because you can have goals in your mind but if you spent all your time driving in one direction and really going for it, you cant have that pleasure…” that is to say the satisfaction from playing a really good show or having someone call you “the most joyous band” they’ve ever seen.

While this doesn’t rule out any future potential to showcase their abilities to an overseas market, they are adamant that it could only work if each and every one of them could commit to it. Certainly, underneath the diasporic element of St. Rupertsberg belies a mutual understanding and respect for each other, which aids their collaborative efforts, allowing them to pull together and add to each others existing material to nurture and coax out the gems that are embedded in their collective consciousness.
Manoeuvring their way in a largely male-dominated industry, they avoid any “gimmicky” semblances by overshadowing the fact that they are a girl band with their incredible musical prowess. They avoid any chance of a musical cacophony by seamlessly integrating every voice and instrument into the mix to create songs that are so sonically soothing they assert the necessity of each member of St. Rupertsberg.

They are one of the few bands that sound just as good, perhaps even better, live as they do on a polished recording, with the vigour they employ to whip the crowd and themselves “into an excitable frenzy”, clearly communicated through the five meticulous compositions that feature on their EP Seasonal Glimpse. From the upbeat ‘Summer Jams’ to the harmonic ‘So Way Oh’ the EP is their self-described “party mix”, which is complemented perfectly with the final track, ‘In Albania’ which is reminiscent of Beirut’s The Gulag Orkestar.

The diversity afforded by such a large group and the element of collaboration that permeates their ethos lends itself to the result of the exquisite musical kaleidoscope that is Seasonal Glimpse.

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