Siren battles amplify sounds of Celine Dion, much to residents’ dismay

Celine Dion is a popular choice among those taking part in siren battles.

Celine Dion is a popular choice among those taking part in siren battles. Photo: Getty

Celine Dion’s biggest hits are now causing headaches in New Zealand, despite it being quite a wholesome movement.

Into the early hours of the morning, groups of people gather with their cars fitted with speakers or sirens and blast music, battling it out to see who can produce the loudest and clearest sound.

Among those taking part in the growing subculture is Paul Lesoa, one of the founders of SWAT Team.

Lesoa told NZ site The Spin Off last year there are about 20 clubs around Auckland, made up of roughly 5000 people.

These battles where people congregate and play loud music may sound like a recipe for trouble, but Lesoa said it is a way for people to stay out of strife, while doing what they love.

“We just love music, we love dancing, and doing this is better than night clubbing or drinking in a bar in the city, where there’s fights etc,” he told The Spin Off.

Not only that, but The Spin Off noted that it takes quite a bit of skill and technical knowledge to fit vehicles with the equipment.

The siren scene originated in Auckland, primarily among the Pasifika youth and as for the music played at these meets, Lesoa said people look for songs with “high treble … and not much bass”.

Funnily enough, Celine Dion’s music is something of a staple in siren community.

“We hold battles and compete for different titles and categories. The battle involves three rounds which are scored by judges and one of the main things judged is the clarity – so any distortion or reverberation will make you lose,” Lesoa told The Spin Off.

“Celine Dion is popular because it’s such a clear song – so we try to use music that has high treble, is clear and not much bass.

“Reggae is our go-to as it has nice beats and doesn’t sound distorted.”

Residents fume over siren battles

Suffice to say residents are not impressed by loud music being played until 2am.

Earlier this month, a petition was started by Wes Gaarkeuken and was directed at Porirua City Council, which is about 600 kilometres south of Auckland and another area where siren battles are taking place.

“Enough is enough. Porirua City Council must act and stop the gathering of car meets blasting music and emergency sirens noises at all hours of the night,” Gaarkeuken wrote.

“Ratepayers are tired of the inaction and dismissive attitude shown by the Council and the Mayor concerning this issue.

“Disturbances of the peace must be enforced and ratepayers deserve better from their council.”

According to RNZ, Anita Baker, the mayor of Porirua, said she was “sick to death of the siren battles”.

According to The Guardian, there was previously something of a truce in Porirua, where siren battles would take place in industrial areas, away from home.

However, more recently, the epic sound-offs have taken place in residential areas and near the city centre.

Lesoa told The Spin Off they were trying to get a permit from Auckland Council to see what their options are because they want to pursue what they love without getting in trouble.

He said there was camaraderie among those taking part and it “keeps guys off the streets” and “out of gangs”, plus many are realising they could make a career out of it.

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