By Wal Reid

Hipstamatics vocalist Dillon Riesterer is upbeat as we meet, his sartorial coolness matching his approachable demeanour. As we sit down to chat I can’t help but notice his distinct surname.

“My last name is Riesterer, it’s German but nobody can ever pronounce it, so I just say ‘Rooster.”

Hipstamatics are a dynamic eleven piece band with a distinct soul flavour.  The hardworking Kiwi band are about to head off on a nationwide tour, The Soul Revue Tour will be hitting all the favourite Kiwi Summer Hotspots including this years Soundsplash Music Festival in Raglan, which he admits is “looking forward to" 

“They’re all great Summer gig locations, Mussel Inn at Golden Bay is awesome, a little gem at the top of the South Island, some good people down there."

"We take a lot of our inspiration from the old Motown Soul era,” he relates.   “JamesBbrown, Stevie Wonder and all those guys had full on shows. It wasn’t about going to the gig and someone playing the song as per the CD, there’s a lot of showmanship with those artists, they were really soulful.  Having such a big band on stage the energy is really huge.  We try and do it like the greats; Michael Jackson, James Brown.”

The band will be playing their music in the vein of classic 70s and newer funk styles such as James Brown and Stevie Wonder. They have earned a ‘must see’ reputation for their energetic live performances which gets everyone on their feet and feeling funk.

“There’s three vocalists, myself included,” he says.  “I’m one of the vocalists and Carla James and Lou'ana Pereira-Dina.  We’re unique in the sense that there’s three lead vocalists so we’ll be showcasing those vocalists individually at the start of the show, then we’ll be doing our usual thing which is the three of us playing together."

“Not many bands have three lead vocalists so that means there’s a lot more ego on stage but that also means there’s also a lot more going on. It’s interesting to watch the interplay between all of us, it also means on stage it’s interesting to watch.”

The band is a who’s-who of the music world with most band members having worked with notable industry greats, as Dillon puts it, they are ‘the best’.  The band all gig for a living and he tells me they also get strange requests from the audience.  “We often get requested to play Wagon wheel, Its kind of weird considering we’re a Funk band, but there’s all sorts of strange requests.”

The band have released a new original single Stop.  The song was released with the announcement of the tour and was written by Carla Flavell and Moses Sulusi (bass player).  One trap of playing energetic originals is as Dillon tells ‘people don’t realise its original, because it’s so fitting of that style,” 

“Originals are something that’s new for us.” he says. “We’ve been working on it for about the last year now, there’s a lot of people in the band so it becomes hard to bring different songs in at times, ideas come in and slowly we’ve built up an EP’s worth of originals and more.  

“For this tour there’s going to be a decent amount of original material that we haven’t played live.  Half the set is a new show that we’re presenting as well as the classic stuff we’ve done at festivals over the years.”

The singer admits to growing up with his parents ‘listening to the Eagles, Elton John stuff of that era,’ preferring singers like Ray Charles, who he says “delivers a line like nobody else, something that’s deeper,”

“I was attracted to singers who are real” he tells.  “Anywhere you go or anywhere you listen to vocalists today, there’s a need for a 120% vocal performance on everything.  You’re at instant climax, its completely over the top, it’s the craziest licks which is great but its not really attractive.  I’m not attracted to it, I prefer people who can deliver things really well.” 

He also admits as a musician it’s hard work, its his ‘bread & butter’ while quoting the Nike maxim “Just do it.” He likens people’s dreams to making it big as “the “fast consumer-type lifestyle.”

“It’s hard, you have to be a hustler,” he says. “People don’t realise that. They’ll be in their bedroom practising their best licks, think they’re going to be great, thinking it’s going to be amazing, but really you have to be a hustler.  Look at people like James Brown or Marvin Gaye, they hustled really hard.”

It’s been a busy year for the band, a couple of months ago they played with artists Aaradhna, Estère and Tyra Hammond & the Tornadoes at the Powerstation, “That was great, an awesome soul night,” he says.  “It was good to see New Zealand Soul artists together on one bill and people coming out for it, because often there’s a lot of Reggae a few Rock bands happening but it’s a rarity to see a big soul funk billing.”

The singer confesses the genre is a “feel-good music perfect for Summer” and also lets slip a couple of surprises they’ll be doing before the upcoming Soul Revue Tour.

“We’ll revamp songs to be unique to our style,” he says.  “We’ll take songs that aren’t Funk Soul songs and they’ll sound Motown and be fitting of that genre. That’s what’s got us a lot of attention over the years, we’re about the only covers band that’s been doing songs of that era as well as other songs that people know in that Funk style, it grabs a lot of attention."

“There’s times where we have little scat battles on stage, someone will do something and the other one will like it, copyit, mimic it. We’ll learn from each other and play with other on stage, it makes it really exciting,”

“New Zealanders love it, they’re relaxed and chilled for a good time.” 

The Soul Revue Tour

Jan 5      Waihi Beach Hotel Summer Festival - Waihi

Jan 6      Totara Street - Mt Maunganui

Jan 7      The Dome - Gisborne

Jan 8      The Cabana - Napier

Jan 12   Rouge & Vagabond - Wellington

Jan 13    The Playhouse - Nelson

Jan 14   Mussel Inn - Onekaka

Jan 19   Ponsonby Social Club - Auckland

Jan 20   Soundsplash - Raglan

Jan 27    Opononi Hotel - Opononi

Jan 28   The Butter Factory – Whangarei

Tickets on sale now through Eventfinda  

Free entry for Waihi and Nelson gigs.