Bagels that make music

Bagels that make music

27 February 2023

The word bagel usually conjures thoughts of a delicious breakfast but at St Paul’s Collegiate School, the word bagel is all about music.

The Bagels is a band with Deputy Head Boy Jackson Mackwood (Year 13), Jackson Norris (Year 12) and Asher Downing (Year 12) – and they’re great friends.

The New Zealand-funk-reggae band (with a hint of indie) started making music together in 2020 when Jackson Mackwood overheard the other two talking about jamming in the Music Centre. He tagged along and they’ve been jamming ever since.

Before coming to St Paul’s, Asher played bass but the Jackson duo discovered music during the Year 9 compulsory music subject. Since then, the three have played together in the School productions and are proud of the work they did in Jesus Christ Superstar in 2021.

Jackson Mackwood is the lead singer but all three of the band members sing and share vocals between them. Jackson says, “It’s a very coordinated process to play the drums and sing at the same time. It’s like running and singing and I have to make sure I don’t sound puffed as I sing. I always use lyrics on a stand because it’s hard to remember the lyrics while drumming.”

The inspiration for the band’s name came from a bagel – literally. Jackson Mackwood, whose father is a baker, brought a homemade bagel to school. He says, “The boys were poking a bit of fun because I bought bagels to school to eat. Asher suggested the band should be the Bagels. At first we thought it was a bit strange but then we thought how the Beatles name would have been weird at that time but it works.”

The Spotify-listed band have recorded eight original songs and one acoustic version with the most popular song being Chasing Waves. The group recorded the songs in the studio at St Paul’s which is also their band practice venue. The song-writing routine usually involves Jackson Norris putting together a guitar progression and sharing it with the others. “We then get in the zone and put the music together and add the lyrics which we all help write.” A song will typically take them a few weeks to complete.

The Bagels competed at the 2022 Rockquest and came third in Waikato after performing the song Chasing Waves. They’ve also played at a few ‘gigs’ including recently performing during lunchtime at Waikato Dioceson School for Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The future for the band is unclear; there will be a forced ‘split’ next year when Jackson Mackwood moves away from Hamilton to study music production and audio engineering. “There’s always jamming by Zoom, there’s more music to come from the Bagels.”