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Mild Orange to tour Europe, record in Riversdale

Mild Orange [from left] Josh Reid, Tom Kelk, Jack Ferguson and Josh Mehrtens. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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Mild Orange founding guitarist Josh Reid is about to move from Carterton to Riversdale at the end of the week, where he’ll join the rest of the band and record the follow-up to their huge debut album, Foreplay.

Reid and vocalist, Josh Mehrtens, had been friends at Wadestown Kindergarten in Wellington, but Reid’s parents moved to Carterton when he was three years old.

He then went to Greytown Primary School and Masterton’s Hadlow Preparatory School before boarding at Rathkeale until he was old enough to drive between Carterton and Masterton.

In 2016, around 20 years after they last saw each other, he filled the 10th spot in Mehrtens’ Dunedin flat.

Reid and Mehrtens playing at Havelock North’s Nest Fest in January this year.

The pair bonded over guitar playing and song writing, but only found out they had been friends 20 years before when Reid told his mum about his new flatmate, and she sent him a photo of the pair playing as kids.

That year, in that flat – dubbed ‘Boogie Nights’ and occupied by 10 boys, two lizards, two rabbits, and a chicken – they wrote the bones of Foreplay.

The album was recorded in the band’s practice room, produced and mixed by Mehrtens, and released in April 2018.

Ukranian music influencer Alona Chemerys, who posted two tracks from Foreplay – Some Feeling, and Mysight – on her YouTube channel four days after the band posted theirs, gave them enormous exposure.

Her uploads have, as of Tuesday, gained just under 10.3 million views.

Reid said Chemerys’ support, and the exposure they got from her, was “critical”.

“I don’t know how she found them, but she’s based in Ukraine, so if she’s got them . . . she’s got such a large following that the views just kept clocking up.”

Foreplay has had 4.5 million streams on Spotify. The band did a limited release of 150 vinyls, which sold out in two hours and were bought by people in 17 different countries.

Next week, the indie rock band will start recording their follow-up in Reid’s family bach in Riversdale, which will be converted into a studio.

Mehrtens said Reid’s parents had been “absolutely awesome and super supportive of us”.

The album would again be a completely self-produced effort.

“We’re doing it all ourselves again,” Mehrtens said.

This time, however, thanks to the Reids’ generosity, they would have a month, as opposed to a week, to record the album.

“This time, we’re going out there with so much time, we’ll be living there, living and breathing the music,” Reid said.

Their Los Angeles-based manager Dom Prieto – part of Coachella organisers Goldenvoice – will also be staying with them in Riversdale while they record.

Reid described the as-yet-unnamed album as a more ‘band-based’ effort than Foreplay, which was mostly written by the two Joshes – ‘Jah’ Reid, and ‘Mehrt’ Mehrtens – in 2016, before the full band had formed.

Reid can’t wait to bring the band to Riversdale, where he has spent every summer of his life – the ‘studio’ was his grandparents’ bach.

“I never ever thought I’d be recording an album here . . . it’ll be quite special,” he said.

They will be in Riversdale until they set off for their first tour outside New Zealand, which will be a 20-stop European tour, including playing London’s All Points East Festival on the same day as their heroes, The Strokes, and fellow-Kiwi, Connan Mockasin.

Much like Chemerys, the agent who discovered them, Belgian Guillaume Brevers, found them on Youtube.

The ramp-up of band activity was largely because it was the first time they were all out of university – Reid won’t finish his Masters in Sustainable Business, completed from Carterton, until the end of the week when they leave for Riversdale.

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