Six60 and Sony Music NZ launch Massive Records, hoping it will 'help everybody'

Six60's Ji Fraser and Matiu Walters on stage.
Six60 have joined forces with Sony New Zealand to launch new record label Massive Records. Photo credit: Getty Images

Six60's guitarist Ji Fraser says the band's new record label is all part of their "giving back" mantra.

Massive Records was launched by the 'Don't Give Up' hitmakers in partnership with Sony Music New Zealand with the intention of working to sign up local artists to a growing roster.

The label already has three acts signed - one of whom will be familiar to Aotearoa music fans after their song hit number one in the New Zealand charts and became a mainstay on the radio.

Coterie's 'Cool It Down' has been a platinum-seller and they're the first act on the label to release an album - their self-titled debut came out on Friday December 9. The Aussie-based band, who're made up of four Māori brothers, has already toured with Six60 and will play again with the group at its Dunedin homecoming in 2023.

Fraser told Newshub the idea of starting a label "had been brewing for quite a long time". 

"As a group, we've always been pretty interested, once we got to a certain position to start helping acts reach their potential as well. We always wanted to give back," he said.

"It was just another way that we could help some artists that were coming up, you know, jump over a few of the hurdles we ran into as we were coming out as a band."

Band Coterie.
The Australian-based band Coterie are one of the new label's signings. Photo credit: Supplied

Coterie guitarist Conrad Fisher told Newshub the label idea was born out of just hanging out with the band.

"It's probably sped everything up for us. We've had the best blueprint just handed to us from the boys. They're good lads as well, you know, we play golf, we jam, we have barbecues. So just more than music as well - it's been sort of a brotherhood."

Fisher says it's a natural progression for the West Australia-based band to expand in Aotearoa.

"'Cool It Down' sort of just took off in Aotearoa. The Australian music scene seems a little bit odd as well. Sometimes it's very sort of niche, and [national Australian radio station] Triple J sort of runs a lot of the scene as well."

Massive Records has also signed Spencer Coyle and female artist HINA (Ngāti Raukawa). 

When asked by Newshub if they'll be trying to increase the roster of female acts across Aotearoa's music scene - and the industry as a whole - Fraser said they're looking primarily at the talent rather than trying to fill a representation quota.

"We have HINA signed under us as well who is super talented," he said.

"We're just in the final talks with another female act as well. It is front of mind, because we want to be helping everybody. Not only different sexes, just different types of people. We want to help everyone. 

"We do go talent first, but we have got a few female acts in the pipeline as well, so that's super exciting."

Massive Records' new signings HINA and Spencer Coyle.
Massive Records' new signings HINA and Spencer Coyle. Photo credit: Supplied

Both tell Newshub they're serious about being open to all kinds of music and acts - but acknowledge it will be hard to turn down acts that aren't quite right or ready.

"I think it's a matter of scaling. Like it's been a real eye opener taking this on with Six60 in motion as well. That was a big learning curve for us. But we're growing at the moment. The labels are growing, the team is growing," Fraser said.

"I think it is going to be hard, but I think we're up to the challenge. We're learning all the time."

While the label's primarily about fostering Aotearoa talent and whanau, Fisher says we shouldn't be expecting them all to band together and produce a Christmas collaboration.

"With due respect, I don't think that would ever happen! [But] I mean, we just released the song with the [Six60] boys called 'Always Beside You'. So working together for sure."

It's at this point Fraser interrupts his new labelmate.

"You guys are working on a Christmas album now, right?" he said, laughing.

Espousing the reality the bands on Massive Records are primarily friends, not rivals, Fisher gamely played along.

"We just wrapped," he said.

"You heard it here first," Fraser laughed.

Coterie will be embarking on a nationwide tour of New Zealand in March 2023, with dates in Christchurch, Raglan, Wellington and Auckland.

Six60's Castle St album is out now and the band concludes its current tour in Dunedin at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, March 4.