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Hot Tubbin' at Hot Water Beach

Soaking It Up With Princess Chelsea And Pikachunes
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Κείμενο VICE New Zealand
27.3.12

Ever been to Hot Water Beach? That unfathomably paradisiacal stretch of Kiwi sand that sits over a spring of geothermally heated water? Where you can literally dig your own Jacuzzi and watch as waves of cold ocean rush up to ruin your vibe but fall short like little bitches? Miles from Pikachunes and Chelsea from Princess Chelsea have, but not for a long time. We decided to remedy that with a quick jaunt up to the Coromandel Peninsula, two and a bit hours of gorgeous forest road from Auckland.

Hot Water Beach itself is a well-travelled stop, but that didn’t stop us getting a bit lost. After parking across a driveway we headed down to the beach, spade in hand. In the thermal area, the water temperature can get up to 64 degrees. We picked a spot with only a medium amount of steam and settled in for a cider, a soak, and a chat about their music, travels and what’s not to be missed in their own backyard.

VICE: Hi. So we’re in a Hot Pool. You come here often?
Chelsea: I've been to Hot Water Beach a number of times. There are two low tides in a day, and I always prefer to dig my hole in the sand in the middle of the night so I can sit inside it under the stars singing Beatles songs.

That’s pretty great. How do you and Miles know each other?
Chelsea: Me and Miles met at a poker night a few years ago.  He had just moved up from Christchurch to Auckland. Now we are friends and label mates, and Miles drums in my live band.

And how are the bands going?
Chelsea: Pikachunes & Princess Chelsea went to New York for two months last year and we played a series of shows on the East Coast. The trip was very exciting and taught us a lot, providing both the highlights and lowlights for me of the past year.

Any highlights for you, Miles?
Miles: Playing at Le Poisson Rouge in New York for the NZ showcase at CMJ. All of the bands played exceptionally well to a highly impressed audience.

Nice. Where do you like to play when you’re at home?
Chelsea: Whammy bar and Wine cellar on K Road in Auckland always have an eclectic lineup of bands playing throughout the week, and are a breeding ground for new and interesting music.

Miles: Mighty Mighty in Wellington. The staff are amazing. The vibe there is really cool.

You guys must do a bit of driving with the bands. What are some good road trips?
Chelsea: I love driving from Auckland to Wellington, especially at night time with a good play list. Luke from Disasteradio introduced us to a road trip game called “baker’s dozen” - You have to listen to the same song 13 times in a row.  On a drive from Wellington to Auckland we listened to Four Non Blondes’ “What's Going On” 13 times until we were almost delirious with pleasure/pain.

What places would you recommend non-Kiwis check out?
Chelsea: The Abel Tasman national park in Nelson area is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  I also really love the West Coast beaches in New Zealand with black sand, because I am goth.

What's happening with your bands this year?
Chelsea: This year Princess Chelsea is going to tour Europe/UK. Miles is going to drum for me but he will also be touring with his own project Pikachunes. I'm pretty sure he has to play four shows in one day at some point. I'm working on a second album. Usually people grow beards for these and get quite earnest but I decided to instead cut my hair and get really into prog.

Miles: I’m touring Europe with the wonderful Princess Chelsea here, then heading to Australia for a little bit to see a girl and to play some shows. Then by that time my second album will be finished and I can continue touring for the later part of the year.

Will you miss anything in particular when you go away?
Chelsea: I always miss New Zealanders, how uptight and awkward we can be. And our self-deprecating sense of humour. Also, pies.

Miles: Definitely the people. Also the coffee. Some damn fine cafes all over New Zealand.

Last question. If you could be in a self made geothermal sand bath with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Chelsea: Townes Van Zandt.

Miles: Jean Michel Basquiat.

Yeah I wouldn’t have said you guys either.

It evidently doesn’t take much to tire these guys out, and after a few hours of light physical activity they slept most of the car ride home. Cute.

Words by Tim Barnett
Photos by Dylan Cherry

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