drax project

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Drax Project

Drax Project are the New Zealand quartet who are making huge waves with their unique blend of pop, jazz, and RnB.

Made up of Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson, and Ben O’Leary, the four-piece band have a strong following in their home country, selling out their own shows and supporting the likes of Lorde and Ed Sheeran.

However, Drax Project have also gained a loyal fanbase which spans worldwide. They recently played overseas, supporting Camila Cabello on the European leg of her Never Be The Same tour, before performing their own shows in the US.

Earlier this year, Drax Project released a new EP called NOON, which has allowed them to reach even more music lovers. The EP includes the striking single ‘Woke Up Late’ which has already garnered over 10 million streams.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Drax Project to chat all about their EP, supporting Camila on tour, New Zealand’s influence on their sound and much more.

Hi Drax Project, welcome to CelebMix! Please introduce yourselves individually with an unusual fact about yourselves.

Hi I’m Shaan and I can solve a Rubik’s cube in under a minute.

Hey, I’m Ben and one time I peeled 10 potatoes in under a minute.

Hello, I’m Sam and I’ve broken my left collarbone 3 times.

Hey, I’m Matt and I have 2 miniature ponies and a bunch of sheep at my house

How did you all first get involved in music? Is being musicians something you’ve always wanted to do?

We started learning our instruments around the ages of 8-10 and played in various bands through high school. It’s safe to say that none of us have thought about doing anything else.

We must congratulate you on your single ‘Woke Up Late’, which has amassed over 10 million streams since its release. Can you tell us a bit about how the song came about?

Thank you! It’s crazy. It started with Shaan missing a late night bus from Ben’s house so had to return to Ben’s to sleep. They needed up writing the guitar part and first verse that night. Matt and Sam added their spice to it a few months later after we forgot that the song existed.

Your EP NOON came out in June. What’s the reaction to it been like?

It’s been awesome, we released NOON while on Tour with Camila Cabello in Europe and people were singing the lyrics back to us! When we got home, we played 2 shows in our hometown and the crowd were louder than us during each song on the EP!

I can imagine it’s hard to choose, but is there a particular song on the EP which stands out as a favourite of yours?

We obviously like all of them but we really love playing ‘Sidebit’ and ‘Woke Up Late’ live.

Are you currently working towards an album? If so, what can we expect from it?

At the moment we’re just working on finishing as many songs as possible and we’ll decide on how to release them later.

You’ve recently been busy touring across Europe, supporting Camila Cabello. How would you describe the experience?

Mind-blowing. It was basically our first experience seeing the world as a band, so to do that while playing sold out venues was incredible, and we’ll forever be grateful to Camila, her team and her fans for having us!

Looking back on the Never Be The Same Again tour, do you have a favourite show/city that sticks in your mind?

They were all special but there was a moment in Berlin where the whole crowd got their phone lights out during our song ‘Prefer’ without us even asking. That’s something we’ll never forget!

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You’ve also supported the likes of Ed Sheeran and Lorde. Have you been given any advice from these artists about the music industry?

Yes! Ed was very down to earth and we were lucky to pick his brains about how it all works. His journey is great inspiration for us especially starting off as a busker/street performer.

You started out as buskers – would you say that your experience as buskers has helped you when supporting other artists, in terms of trying to win over people who might not have heard of you before?

100%. We love playing to people that don’t know who we are. It’s a good buzz seeing people dancing by the end of the set.

You come from New Zealand, which is home to some incredible music success stories including Lorde. How would you describe the music scene in NZ and how has Wellington influenced you musically?

NZ has produced some amazing talent over the years and we’ve been very inspired by people like Lorde etc. We met at Jazz School in Wellington so the jazz scene has probably influenced our sound a little bit.

Speaking of Lorde, you actually broke her record for the fastest selling club show in Auckland history. How did it feel to achieve that?

We’re not sure how accurate that stat is but that’s pretty crazy! We’re just stoked that people want to come and see us play.


You’ll be performing at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Vegas in September. For those who have yet to see you live, what can they expect from your performance?

High energy! And a couple of little surprises. Playing live is definitely our favourite thing to do and we’re gonna be having a great time up there.

What would you like to achieve as Drax Project within the next few years?

We’d be pretty happy to see more of the world and play in a bunch of crazy places! We’re just excited to see where the journey takes us.

Are there any things in the pipeline for the rest of the year which you can tell us about?

More music and more good times.

Thank you to Drax Project for their time. Keep up to date with them via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

NOON is available now.

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Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina
Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com