The lofty dream of Battle of the Bands champs Pale Lady

In the space of a year, Wellington rockers Pale Lady have gone from students looking for a band to join, to national Battle of the Bands champions.

It was the first day of class when a chance encounter with a loud bug inspired guitarist Sam Minot and vocalist/bassist Conall Ryan to make some loud music.

"There was a cicada on the bus, which we talked about. And then pretty soon after I was like, 'Do you wanna make a rock band?" Minot told Newshub.

While many of their Bachelor of Commercial Music classmates at Massey University are into electronic production, Pale Lady's interests lie with rock music - though they're all fans of different sub-genres.

"We try and incorporate elements from all of our inspirations, to try and make it interesting I guess," says Ryan.

"If we all like it then hopefully everyone else likes it," says guitarist Jack Shalders Taylor.

And that seems to have worked. Just a year after forming, they won New Zealand's Battle of the Bands championship.

They say the experience was surreal and that winning was never the goal. Instead they wanted to perform a few years in a row to get some onstage experience and meet other bands.

And though they beat the other 119 bands, there's no hard feelings.

"A lot of those other bands we've kept in touch with," says Shalders Taylor. "The main thing new bands need to do is make connections with the other bands around them."

Since returning from their victory, the course tutors have made sure they stayed grounded.

"They were just like, 'Oh yeah, that's cool!'" says Ryan.

"As they have to, 'cause if they start treating us like celebrities then we'll all go crazy!" jokes Shalders Taylor.

In their final year of study, the challenge is now balancing their ambitions with their coursework.

"We can use the uni for our band stuff as well, which is what we're doing at the moment. So we can kind of merge it all together, and take all the credit," says Ryan.

Part of the prize is a fully funded month-long European tour in August, playing shows in Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, and Spain.

"I still can barely believe that," says Ryan.

And after Europe, they have dreams of loftier venues.

"Play on the moon," says Higham.

Shalders Taylor's goal is slightly more down to Earth.

"Maybe Wembley first. Like a lead-up, a pre-gig party."

Before that, they're hoping to release an EP this year - so fans at Wembley and the moon have a few more songs to get to know first.