The land of the rising sons

RISING STARS: Reborn as Son & Rise, Gisborne brothers Liam and Ronan Wallace, formerly known as Two and a Half Men, unleash their EP Son & Rise on the world tomorrow. Picture supplied

BRIGHT guitar chords, deconstructed reggae beats and love song lyrics with no one in them are part of Son & Rise’s single Windy Day, and Friday week the Gisborne duo unleash a new sound on the world. Formerly known as Two and a Half Men, on account of Ronan Wallace’s diminutive size when the brothers first performed in public, Liam Wallace and Ronan have grown, developed their sound, written their own songs, rebranded themselves, found a manager — well, their mum — and an international producer.

Son & Rise launch their EP of original music at Smash Palace Friday week. In the meantime, their single Windy Day can be streamed or downloaded for free on Soundcloud.

As Two and a Half Men, the Wallace brothers won the solo/duo section of the Smokefree Pacifica Beats nationals in 2015. They were both still at school when they performed at Rhythm and Vines in the same year — and in 2016 when they performed on the second and last days.

They have since changed the name of their act because it caused confusion when people searched for it online, says Ronan.

“It would come up as shoe sizes or the TV show.”

Their act was still called Two and a Half Men when Liam and Ronan discovered their producer. The young musicians were in Wairoa as part of the long river town’s Christmas lunchtime jam sessions. They were approached by Wairoa District Council’s chief executive.

“He said ‘you have to meet this guy’,” says Ronan.

Starkraving

This guy was American-born Zach Stark who has worked as an audio engineer with his family’s company, Starkraving, since he was 15 years old. The Stark family arrived in Wairoa in 2015 as an international film production company.

Before long, they had revolutionised the Gaiety Theatre’s technology and created a recording studio.

“Zach’s like the most happiest, energetic, down-to-earth man you could ever meet,” says Liam.

“It was crazy meeting him. We had tried to meet with other producers before but they didn’t catch on. Zach caught on straight away. It was meant to be a meet and greet but in one hour he produced a snapshot recording.”

That recording was Every Next Day. Within three days duo recorded the other songs that feature on their EP, Son & Rise Lite.

Zach and his father Eric “went a bit mental” over the duo’s single Puppet on a String, says Wendy.

“That was the beginning of the relationship with Zach Stark,” says Wendy.

While in Auckland promoting his artists, Stark met with Mediaworks and the Rhythm Group representatives.

“They said Liam and Ronan should rebrand themselves because they had grown up and their sound had changed.” The new name came about when Ronan’s girlfriend’s uncle suggested Son & Rise.

“In Gisborne we are the first city to see the light and we rise up to challenges,” says Ronan.

One of those challenges was when Ronan died during a surgical procedure and was resuscitated.

“So he rose again,” says Wendy.

Liam and Ronan began their music pathway independently of one another. As a 14 year old Liam busked outside Verve Cafe while Ronan put on a fedora hat and sung a cappella outside Dick Smith’s.

When Heart of Gisborne organised a street jam for buskers, the inner city advocates suggested Liam and Ronan perform together and Two and a Half Men was born.

The duo played covers that ranged from big band jazz to reggae, from Frank Sinatra to BB King. When they set their sights on the Smokefree Rockquest, they began to write their own songs, they found a voice.

“People wanted them to pick a genre but they don’t want to,” says Wendy. They have developed a sound.”

Windy Day

For Windy Day, Ronan wrote the words (inspired by a solitary walk to a hilltop behind his girlfriend’s place) and found a melody to suit.

Once upon a time on a pretty windy day
I was sitting on a hill watching the trees sway
The grass couldn’t be greener but the sky wasn’t blue
Although the view was grey
It was great from in my shoes.

Liam put together the unique musical arrangement. In the recording Liam plays piano, synthesiser, bass and acoustic guitar. The percussion is studio generated.

The EP’s songs are stripped back, easy listening, says Liam. It is called Son & Rise Lite because it is a way to introduce listeners to their sound.

From Friday week the duo will release on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes and Facebook a single each month for three months.

The days of working on an album for a year are well and truly gone, says manager-mum Wendy Wallace.

“Big companies now do tester drops online then collate the tracks and put them on an EP. It’s a drip-feed approach.”

“Our next goal is to secure Making Tracks funding so we can produce a full album,” says Liam.

Son & Rise will launch the single Puppet on a String tomorrow night when they open for reggae band Paua at the Tolaga Bay Inn. To be released on December 22, the third single, Only Me, will feature Stark and Wairoa man Ratima Hauraki as eclectic hip-hop act Rugged and Wylde.

“A lot of our music is cross-geared,” says Liam.


BRIGHT guitar chords, deconstructed reggae beats and love song lyrics with no one in them are part of Son & Rise’s single Windy Day, and Friday week the Gisborne duo unleash a new sound on the world. Formerly known as Two and a Half Men, on account of Ronan Wallace’s diminutive size when the brothers first performed in public, Liam Wallace and Ronan have grown, developed their sound, written their own songs, rebranded themselves, found a manager — well, their mum — and an international producer.

Son & Rise launch their EP of original music at Smash Palace Friday week. In the meantime, their single Windy Day can be streamed or downloaded for free on Soundcloud.

As Two and a Half Men, the Wallace brothers won the solo/duo section of the Smokefree Pacifica Beats nationals in 2015. They were both still at school when they performed at Rhythm and Vines in the same year — and in 2016 when they performed on the second and last days.

They have since changed the name of their act because it caused confusion when people searched for it online, says Ronan.

“It would come up as shoe sizes or the TV show.”

Their act was still called Two and a Half Men when Liam and Ronan discovered their producer. The young musicians were in Wairoa as part of the long river town’s Christmas lunchtime jam sessions. They were approached by Wairoa District Council’s chief executive.

“He said ‘you have to meet this guy’,” says Ronan.

Starkraving

This guy was American-born Zach Stark who has worked as an audio engineer with his family’s company, Starkraving, since he was 15 years old. The Stark family arrived in Wairoa in 2015 as an international film production company.

Before long, they had revolutionised the Gaiety Theatre’s technology and created a recording studio.

“Zach’s like the most happiest, energetic, down-to-earth man you could ever meet,” says Liam.

“It was crazy meeting him. We had tried to meet with other producers before but they didn’t catch on. Zach caught on straight away. It was meant to be a meet and greet but in one hour he produced a snapshot recording.”

That recording was Every Next Day. Within three days duo recorded the other songs that feature on their EP, Son & Rise Lite.

Zach and his father Eric “went a bit mental” over the duo’s single Puppet on a String, says Wendy.

“That was the beginning of the relationship with Zach Stark,” says Wendy.

While in Auckland promoting his artists, Stark met with Mediaworks and the Rhythm Group representatives.

“They said Liam and Ronan should rebrand themselves because they had grown up and their sound had changed.” The new name came about when Ronan’s girlfriend’s uncle suggested Son & Rise.

“In Gisborne we are the first city to see the light and we rise up to challenges,” says Ronan.

One of those challenges was when Ronan died during a surgical procedure and was resuscitated.

“So he rose again,” says Wendy.

Liam and Ronan began their music pathway independently of one another. As a 14 year old Liam busked outside Verve Cafe while Ronan put on a fedora hat and sung a cappella outside Dick Smith’s.

When Heart of Gisborne organised a street jam for buskers, the inner city advocates suggested Liam and Ronan perform together and Two and a Half Men was born.

The duo played covers that ranged from big band jazz to reggae, from Frank Sinatra to BB King. When they set their sights on the Smokefree Rockquest, they began to write their own songs, they found a voice.

“People wanted them to pick a genre but they don’t want to,” says Wendy. They have developed a sound.”

Windy Day

For Windy Day, Ronan wrote the words (inspired by a solitary walk to a hilltop behind his girlfriend’s place) and found a melody to suit.

Once upon a time on a pretty windy day
I was sitting on a hill watching the trees sway
The grass couldn’t be greener but the sky wasn’t blue
Although the view was grey
It was great from in my shoes.

Liam put together the unique musical arrangement. In the recording Liam plays piano, synthesiser, bass and acoustic guitar. The percussion is studio generated.

The EP’s songs are stripped back, easy listening, says Liam. It is called Son & Rise Lite because it is a way to introduce listeners to their sound.

From Friday week the duo will release on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes and Facebook a single each month for three months.

The days of working on an album for a year are well and truly gone, says manager-mum Wendy Wallace.

“Big companies now do tester drops online then collate the tracks and put them on an EP. It’s a drip-feed approach.”

“Our next goal is to secure Making Tracks funding so we can produce a full album,” says Liam.

Son & Rise will launch the single Puppet on a String tomorrow night when they open for reggae band Paua at the Tolaga Bay Inn. To be released on December 22, the third single, Only Me, will feature Stark and Wairoa man Ratima Hauraki as eclectic hip-hop act Rugged and Wylde.

“A lot of our music is cross-geared,” says Liam.


Son & Rise’s EP of original music will be launched at Smash Palace tomorrow.

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