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Up-And-Coming Aotearoa Artists: Borderline

In this Rolling Stone AU/NZ series, we get to know Borderline, the teen indie pop quartet from Tāmaki Makaurau opening for ZED on tour



Tāmaki Makaurau’s Borderline are onto a winning indie pop formula.

Armed with their sparkling debut EP, Perfect Movie Scene, and gearing up to open for iconic Kiwi band ZED at their North Island shows later this month (more information here), the tight-knit quartet are headed for a rousing end to the year (and a bright future). 

Released in September, Perfect Movie Scene serves up an energetic mix of catchy tunes, with pop-oriented tracks occasionally taking a rockier or funkier turn, as clear influence the 1975 are prone to doing. Think bright guitars and synth lines, swirling chorus hooks, all brought to life by lead vocalist Ben Glanfield’s scorching, festival-ready vocals. 

The rest of the lineup, featuring Matthew McFadden on lead guitar, Jackson Boswell on drums/BVs (longtime collaborators for 10 years), and newcomer Max Harries on bass, reflects not just a band but a rock-solid childhood connection.

The EP includes previously released hits like “Divine” and “Jealous”, alongside fresh tracks, marking the band’s evolution from high school to national tours.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ caught up with the Borderline boys ahead of their ZED support slot to find out more about their lives and music, which you can read below.

Borderline’s Perfect Movie Scene is out now. 

How did music influence you in your early life?

Music for each and every one of us really consumed our early lives. It’s amazing how engrossed you can get in 12 black and white notes on a piano. I think we were all very lucky we found our passions at such a young age and even luckier we found each other to share it with. Music had such an impact early on for us that it would probably be easier to list the ways music didn’t influence our early lives rather than the ways it did.

What artists influenced you growing up?

We all had a wide range of inspirations growing up including bands such as Coldplay, the 1975, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pantera, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. We all brought our individual tastes together to create a blend of everyone’s over the years, which has now helped us develop our own unique sound. I think this really shows in our music – you can hear the inspiration from all of our favourite artists coming together to create the ‘Borderline sound’.

What are some career highlights so far?

We’ve had some pretty fun moments so far, but Soundsplash last year has definitely gotta be up there. It was super sick going up there and seeing a crowd of people we’ve never seen before singing the lyrics to all our songs. There’s this really cool moment in our song “Jealous” where the crowd sings a big “woahh woahh woahh” before the last chorus, which sounded insane. We love Soundsplash and are so stoked to be coming back again in 2024!

What kind of personality traits and values do you believe it takes to succeed in the music industry?

You’ve got to be super passionate about what you’re doing, that way all the hard work you have to do to go forward will come a lot more easily. We all absolutely love music, which makes what we do feel like we’re just mates hanging out, rather than “work”. You’ve also gotta be pretty self-assured and incredibly resilient, but at the same time really eager and open to learn from the amazing people that you get to meet and the experience that they bring. 

How would you describe your music to a potential fan?

We get asked this question a lot and there’s not one answer. Our music is so diverse – while we stick to an indie pop core, we’ve got songs that lean more towards rock, or even disco funk vibes on our song “This Is Not Love”. When it comes down to it, it’s just good music.

What are your goals for 2023 and beyond?

We don’t really put a limit on what we want to achieve. It might sound a bit far-fetched to say we want to eventually be selling out stadiums across the world but that’s what we’re working towards. We’re just enjoying the journey and excited to see how far we can take the band. For now, our main goals are sharing our music and connecting with wider audiences.

Are you looking forward to supporting the one and only ZED around the North Island? How exciting was it to get the call?

ZED are such a sick band so it felt great that we were thought of to open for them on the tour. They’re all such nice guys, so we’re super excited to hang with them on the road and get to watch one of the biggest rock bands to come from NZ play every night after us. We’re really excited to get back out on the road to share some more new music with everyone and to play in some venues that we haven’t played before like The Yard in Raglan. 

How did your own South Island tour go last month?

So great! It was the first time going to the South Island for most of the band, so it was really great that we got to do some sightseeing as well as playing the shows. We played in the snow, saw Baldwin Street (steepest street in the world) in Dunedin, the Cookie Time Bar in Queenstown and heaps more. It was awesome that we got to have Becca Caffyn open all the shows, who is not only an incredible artist but a really good friend of ours too. Heaps of people showed up and seemed to love the songs and the live show, which was really rewarding.

Does it feel good having your debut EP out in the world? How have fans reacted to the record?

It feels awesome! We worked on this EP for a little under two years, we put heaps of time and energy into making it awesome, so it’s really great to see it pay off with such a great response from people. It’s done really well here in NZ but also over in the States, where we’ve managed to get on a bunch of college radio stations and charted in the North American College & Community Radio Chart over there with it.

What themes did you explore in Perfect Movie Scene?

Perfect Movie Scene really felt like the first chapter for us. It’s an amalgamation of all the songs we’d written exploring new styles and ideas, as we finished high school and moved into the next stage of life as a band. To be honest, there is no specific theme and I think that’s what makes it so special. It’s a group of stories that have little to no relation to each other. I guess, thinking about it now, the name ‘Perfect Movie Scene’ represents some kind of conclusion to that chapter, where everything finally comes together. Sort of like a Quentin Tarantino movie, a perfect ending.