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In celebration of NZ Music Month we thought we would reach out to the winners of our 2018 Sennheiser & Rubber Monkey music competition and find out what they have been working on over the past 2 years. We also wanted to know how their sound has evolved and where their love for music came from. In first place, electronic minimalism meets pop, with Christchurch based duo, The Response who won with their song ‘Tallest Walls’. The Response is made up of Andy and Victoria Knopp. The pair first met while studying at the Jazz School in Christchurch and have been playing in all sorts of groups since then. They started ‘The Response’ as a way to have their own thing together, rather than only playing as session musicians for other bands. Andy’s love of music began with piano, although growing up in Rarotonga, it was compulsory for him to learn ukelele. Victoria on the other hand started playing bass for various bars at the age of 14. When they first started The Response, their sound was quite indie-folk and used a variety of instruments, which wasn’t very sustainable in the long run. Their biggest change soundwise was in 2015 when they moved to Canada. “Over there we were living in a tiny shoebox apartment with neighbours on four sides so we couldn't make a lot of noise like we used to. It resulted in a more electronic sound and a live set up that was more portable for travelling around on transit.” Since winning our competition, the duo has been very active, releasing their album 'Escaping This Cold Rotation' and touring New Zealand. “We were unbelievably lucky to have completed our tour before the Covid-19 lockdown... We took the opportunity during lockdown to release music for a different project that had been brewing for a while called Imperial April. A small bite of our first single 'Peachy' made it to the TV show 'The Project' which was pretty surreal. We also released an EP of original Christmas songs that lent into our garage rock sounds with some tongue in cheek lyrics.” While continuing to work on those projects, they’ve also gotten into producing and recording local bands in Christchurch. “It's been really cool to help other people realise their musical visions. One of those is children's music artist, Music With Michal, who is a finalist in two categories for the Aotearoa Music Awards this month. Crazy!” Their latest singles have been a bit of a blend of the old and new, with the guitar taking a lead role again, while still incorporating the sample-based electronic sounds. They have always recorded, mixed and mastered everything themselves and make their own music videos, so they are about as DIY as you can get! “During this time the prizes we won from Sennheiser and Rubber Monkey have been so helpful. Particularly the MK4 microphone which has become our go-to mic for pretty much all acoustic instruments when we record.” The Response will be releasing a new song on the 26th May 2021, so keep an eye out for that! #nzmusicmonth #sennheiser #nzmusic #christchurch #music #altpo
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