Friday Release Roundup Theia Rita Mae deepState AndWahn Ebb More

Chris Cudby / Image: Theia
/ Friday 27th January, 2023 6:18PM

  
  

It’s not only been pouring down with rain but also excellent musical releases on this wet ‘n’ wild Friday. I’ll be stepping away from UTR’s Tāmaki Makaurau office for the next two weeks due to my apartment being taken over by tradespeople (maybe these guys?), but readers will be in safe hands as none other than Annabel Kean (Sports Team) is returning to the site for a fortnight as Acting Editor! Check out this week’s news coverage of Roy Irwin, Leaping Tiger, DARTZ, Soft Plastics and Surf Friends, and let’s walk through even more significant selected local tunes / videos from the last seven days together — fresh releases by Theia, Rita Mae, Ebb, deepState, Andwahn, Polaroids of Polarbears, Dub Asylum and METHCHRIST

Following a breakout 2022 for her reo Māori project TE KAAHU, Theia (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Tīpa) unveiled gloriously emotive pop ballad ‘Pray 4 Me’ with a visualiser directed and edited by Frances Carter (Wellness) — made with support from NZ On Air.

Playing this Saturday’s Small Waves Mini-Fest at Leigh Sawmill Cafe with Heavy Chest, Casual Healing (performing solo), O & The Mo and more [tickets HERE], Rita Mae dropped soul-infused new pop anthem ‘Superfeeling’.

Ōtautahi-based dance facilitators HAVEN launched their new black label series "which will be focused on the combination of UK bass flavours with the hard techno vibes we usually push" with a scorching track by Aotearoa producer Ebb — from the forthcoming Vague Weight Vol. 1 compilation launching on 24th February (vinyl orders via the Bandcamp link).

Tāmaki Makaurau electronic artist deepState unveiled a cinematic breaks-driven track from forthcoming new EP Butterfly​/​Starfield (including a remix by Ultraviolet) via Canterbury’s Echo Train Records.

Speaking of Canterbury, the garden city’s irrepressible The Big Fresh Collective kick off the year with considerable panache with four 160bpm heaters from AndWahn.

Fielding’s Polaroids of Polarbears have no right to be so consistently catchy — hit play on their new fuzz-power-pop gem ‘January 2023 – And I know ya’.

When all this wet weather goes away you can get your summer sizzling again with Dub Asylum‘s new rework of Savage’s monster hit ‘Swing’.

Munt your ears with ‘Hate Commands’ by Dunedin’s Methchrist, the punishing lead track from the "Dissonant Bestial Black Death" crew’s forthcoming debut album Pestilential Warfare of the Black Flame, launching on 23rd February (vinyl orders via the Bandcamp link).

UTRs 2022 Favourite Music Moments

UTR Team and Contributors
/ Friday 23rd December, 2022 10:54AM

  
  

Give yourself a well-deserved round of applause, because we’ve nearly made it to the end of 2022. Before we bounce away from the UTR office for a summer beach break, it’s time to celebrate a crazy past twelve months with our annual Favourite Music Moments round up feature. We’ve invited contributors to the site this year to share five of their personal favourite and most notable memories, plus some suitably spicy takes thrown in the mix [note: all opinions expressed below are the writers’ own].

A massive heartfelt thank you to all the artists, gig-goers, event organisers, readers, contributors and everyone who supported UTR in one way or another in 2022. Tuck into our mega-stacked End Of Year Playlist HERE and catch you back right here in 2023!

ANNABEL KEAN

SPORTS TEAM / UTR ASSISTANT EDITOR ’22

Dimmer at The Hollywood

Tbh when the I Believe You Are A Star tour was announced it felt like a special treat just for me. As is demonstrated by this groundbreaking short film my Dad made circa 1999, Dimmer heavily features in both the soundtracks for Molli Goes Missing and my childhood, meaning I was thrilled to attend the postponed show in late September. Knowing I would likely be crying throughout, I went alone and sat in the very back row with a couple of empty seats either side of me, allowing me to spam my family with dark, blurry photos and videos without bothering anyone in phone screen light distance. A special mention here goes to Louisa Nicklin on guitar. My hero.

Student Radio Network Awards

Christmas? Shmishmas! New Years? Who cares! The only annual celebration I look forward to is the Student Radio Network Awards, and 2022’s event was a real doozy. Watching the live broadcast from the comfort of a Wine Cellar front row seat and well quenched by a special Oatly boozy milk drink, I was blown away by a stunning spectrum of entertainment courtesy of bFM, Radio Control, Radio Active, RDU and Radio One. From the surreal visual delights of the Night Lunch Liams, to an adorable ‘Colourbox’ dance / cosplay by Amamelia and Madison Van Staden, there was not a dull moment in sight. I even had the unique joy of sitting next to the Hans Pucket Callums when they were announced as Favourite Group. I can’t wait to celebrate with another creative boozy milk drink in 2023!

Matariki

As is sometimes the way with a showbiz lifestyle, there’ll be times when a showbiz friend calls upon you for showbiz help. While it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, I had marvellous and sodden time back in June moonlighting as a rooftop crowd filler for TVNZ’s Matariki concert Purapura Whetū — Stars of Matariki. Despite the rain and the lacklustre catering (I ate approx 10 tiny bags of chips), this little drowned rat had a blast watching live performances from Hollie Smith, Drax Project and Rob Ruha, as the audience hype team did their best to keep us hyped for two hours in the rain.

Venus Is Home – Erny Belle

Not much beats the smugness of receiving your pre-ordered vinyl of a long awaited release! Since obsessing over Erny Belle’s first singles and getting my clammy little mitts on the Venus Is Home LP, it has been thoroughly thrashed as an any-occasion spin. The debut collection has proved equally rewarding as a solo deep repeat listen, or popped on as a charming folk backdrop to your fancy dinner party. There’s truly nothing quite like hearing the lyrics of ‘Nuclear Bombs’ floating across the room — “I’m gonna go and smoke some P and put my baby in a washing machine” – while serving your guests cacio e pepe and a green garden salad. Better living everyone.

‘Love Is More’ – Princess Chelsea

I don’t know if it’s a particularly classy move to include a video I directed as part of my highlights, but how could I not mention driving around Chelsea Nikkel atop a giant sheep in the back of a ute? In some sort of Little Bo Peep meets Game Of Thrones fever dream, Sports Team came to the sane conclusion that Princess Chelsea had to be riding an enormous sheep in the video for her delightful song ‘Love Is More’, so we hot glued foam and sheep skin mattress covers onto a large wooden box, biffed it into the bed of truck, and topped it with a striking ewe’s head — made by Callum Devlin. Thank you Chelsea for trusting my vision.

CALLUM DEVLIN

SPORTS TEAM / HANS PUCKET

SKILAA ‘I Never Knew’ Single Release Show

Sometimes, spoilers are good. For instance, I might have liked to know that Mr David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future (2022) was about people horny for surgery. I soon found out, and made a swift escape from the Civic Theatre about 15 minutes in, feeling embarrassed, shaken and mad. Lucky for me, I had also booked a ticket to SKILAA’s single release at the Wine Cellar that had just kicked off (also lucky, because when I arrived they were turning people away at the door!). SKILAA brought me back to life in truly celebratory fashion, performing the best set I’ve seen them play to a crowd FULLY on board… I do not know how they do the things they do, creating the deepest grooves that Should Not Work, and yet somehow. Add this band to your must-see live in 2023 list! Spoiler alert, they rule. Gig of the year, no competition.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

I knew from the first single that this was going to be my album of the year. I’ve never heard anything like Bananamelia! And I never will again. I’m done with music. Just play this cicada soaked bubble-breakbeat joy bomb over and over until I blow up. Some of the most densely layered, personal and iconically catchy electronic music I’ve ever heard. I am addicted to Bananamelia! It works for any occasion. I am so proud to have helped make a video for this record, and I will treasure the limited edition vinyl as a family heirloom.

Going bungy jumping with The Beths

2022 will be remembered as the year that Annabel and I got 8 days to move out of a flat, but that’s a much longer story than this one. On day 5 of 8 (a Sunday), we got a call from our friends The Beths who needed some “advice” about filming themselves going bungy jumping for a music video. This was their backup plan, as plan A had been interrupted by Covid (classic). Within the space of a 30 minute phone call, we had convinced ourselves we needed to film it. In exchange The Beths would help us move flats. And that’s exactly what happened. Monday we (read: they) went bungy jumping in the morning, filmed the rest of the video in the afternoon, Tuesday we packed up our flat, and by midday Wednesday we were in a new home. The Beths can add exceptional movers to their list of accolades, which makes sense when you think about it. 50% of touring as an indie band is packing and unpacking vans.

Cake of the year (tie): No Drama artwork by Buffy and Russell Devlin, and Big Red Car by Annabel Kean

Releasing an album feels really weird. You make this big important thing, and then release it into the world for people to enjoy mostly in private and with not much feedback. Which is great, and a massive relief, but can feel oddly anticlimactic at the same time. Last time my band Hans Pucket put out an album we sort of just hit upload and, boom there it was… released. This, in hindsight, was a mistake. This time, with the support of our label Carpark Records and a full team behind it, there was a huge energy and excitement and a true celebration! But nothing made me feel more proud of our work than the cakes. Organised separately, but with a shared sentiment, we had cakes given to us at both our album launch parties, which we cut up and shared to the audience after the show. It’s a small thing, but I had a non-awkward excuse to meet everyone and say thanks for coming and give them cake. So thank you mum and dad, and Annabel for that.

‘Drop Shadow’ – Eyeliner, animated by Simon Ward

Simon Ward knows how to make a music video. In ‘Drop Shadow’, he strikes this sweet formula that he has perfected, where it seems as though the video itself is making the music. Not in a didactic, illustrative way… but in a balanced, collaborative and inspiring sense that heightens the experience of listening to the song. Take that formula, and include imagery so iconic you can feel it buried in your memory somewhere (smiling pipe face I’m looking at you!), and you’ve got yourself the video of the year. Criminally under-viewed, let’s make June 7th Drop Shadow by Eyeliner Day.

CHRIS CUDBY

UTR EDITOR

Outlier Festival

My personal favourite local live event of the year, Outlier Festival was a three day "multi-modal project platforming new electronic music from Aotearoa’s experimental and exploratory practitioners" in spaces throughout central Tāmaki Makaurau. Highlights for me included P.H.F and Big Flip The Massive’s hyperactive live performances, Current Bias’ body-moving compositions and huge mysterious monitor on stage, E/N/T + M4URI M4STA’s transcendent scent / sound experience, Mr Sic’s brain-mashing techno-noise, and Flo Wilson’s moving and masterful vocal / dance performance. Mad props to artistic directors Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij for curating such an inspiring weekend with the Audio Foundation — open your ears to the accompanying compilation HERE.

Chernobyl original soundtrack performance – Hildur Guðnadóttir

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to book a flight (now borders are open again) and check out this year’s edition of Dark Mofo in Tasmania. Amongst the festival’s many highlights (including live sets by Cate Le Bon, Kim Gordon and claire rousay) Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Chernobyl original soundtrack event left a lasting impression. Standing in the centre of a massive warehouse in mid-winter Hobart’s shipbuilding district (attendees needed to arrive via ferry), Guðnadóttir with Chris Watson and others performed their spine-chilling hour long sound work, surrounded by speakers and buzzing sequenced strobe lighting installed across the entire ceiling. An all-engulfing, discombobulating experience.

DARTZ – Crate Day ’22

It’s been a smashing year for Pōneke’s DARTZ, whose debut album The Band from Wellington, New Zealand (Flying Nun) reached the number one spot on the official top 20 NZ albums chart. Amongst the team’s many achievements in 2022 — including their deliciously catchy cover of ‘Dominion Road‘ by The Mutton Birds and DARTZATHON livestream — probably the most iconic was DARTZ’s Crate Day National Tour of New Zealand, when they hit the headlines playing four cities in less than 24 hours in grand celebration of our boozy Crate Day tradition.

‘Streetlights’ – Mokotron

Mokotron’s ‘Streetlights’ is an electro-funk love letter to Karangahape Road’s late night party district, and is to these ears Aotearoa’s hottest dance track of 2022, featured on Pōneke imprint Strange Behaviour’s Uneasy Clubbing compilation. It’s been a breakout year for Mokotron, who took away SRN Award for Te Tohu Hopunga Puoro Mariu (Favourite EP / Mixtape) for March’s TAWHITO EP — "DARK PROBLEMATIC TRAUMA-DRIVEN MĀORI ELECTRO BASS STRAIGHT OUTTA TĀMAKI MAKAURAU".

Big Earth Energy – Cool Maritime

Santa Cruz-raised electronic explorer Cool Maritime’s new (age) album Big Earth Energy has been on high rotate on my home office stereo in ’22. Vast and evocative in scope, the record soundtracks an imaginary ecologically-themed video game: "The player assumes the perspective of a treefrog sixty five million years ago, hopping epochs with each new level, forming a comprehensive picture of the massive changes the planet has gone through over the eons. The ultimate goal of the game is not to amass resources, defeat enemies, or gain power, but to fully witness the unfolding of one of the biggest systems of energy imaginable or as the album’s creator puts it "to explore the incomprehensibly vast energetic expression and mystery that is Earth"".

DANZ
CARTOONIST / CHART-TOPPING MUSICIAN

Dumb For My Age – Dateline

Look, being in a band in Aotearoa is hard when this country pops out such great music monthly and you are left green with envy and respect. Dateline and the album Dumb For My Age encapsulates that feeling. Maybe it’s because Katie Everingham and her band of local legends make it all look so easy, this album is filled with indie pop hits from start to finish. I was not at all surprised to find the title track and ‘Love Hertz’ in my Spotify wrapped this year.

Hang Low – Elliot Dawson

The DARTZ boys were driving through the Desert Road when we listened to this for the first time, and what a fitting landscape for this album to score. On Hang Low, Elliot has perfectly blended stressful but groovy compositions with some of the most clever, snarky, and downright hilarious lyrics I’ve heard this past year. If this has somehow flown under your radar (heh) then chuck it on during Christmas lunch with some rich uncles in the room.

Last Place Bar, Kirikiriroa / Hamilton

If I’m being honest, the biggest highlight in music locally for me has been the opening of Last Place bar in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton. John Moughan has curated a space that is incredibly supportive of artists, has hired the friendliest staff imaginable, and the best chef in the country (shout out Connor Moore). Hamilton rarely seems to be talked about when it comes to local music, but Kirikiriroa love their music (the three times DARTZ has played it’s been packed), and I’m grateful that John and the team are proving that with Last Place.

Rich men acting like villains form an ’80s movie and trying to shut down the music

First was property mogul and drummer for band-who-buys-likes-and-views Paul Reid who left negative reviews on the Whammy Bar Facebook, a venue for which he is the landlord of, simply because they cared about patron safety. Then late last week, Scrooge enthusiast Sid McAuley made the news for threatening local venues around the inner-city apartment HE MOVED INTO RECENTLY because of live music with lawyers and calling the venues “hick bars”.

Save Our Venues

But every story has a hero, and in the case of battling the music Scrooges, this year our heroes are Taylor MacGregor and the Save Our Venues team has been absolutely crucial this year. It seems a lot of councils across the country are content in letting our amazing local live music scene die a slow death, from the mighty Crown in Ōtepoti / Dunedin, the St Asaph St venues in Ōtautahi / Christchurch, and Wine Cellar all having their own moments of potentially facing closure. The Save Our Venues team have an uphill battle on their hands, but watching them and the local music-loving community rally round them gives me faith.

HENESSEY GRIFFITHS

UTR CONTRIBUTOR / PUBLIC HENEMY NUMBER ONE

Power Nap live on NYE

What better way to kick in the new year than seeing the Pizza Man himself, Power Nap performing live in an apartment on Cuba St. It was my first time seeing Chris actually play live, and I must admit that my memory of that evening is a little bit hazy. But you best believe we were boogieing the night away in and out of the pit to ‘Club Dinos‘!


Solar Eclipse – Clear Path Ensemble

I stumbled across Clear Path Ensemble’s latest album Solar Eclipse on accident through the powers of Bandcamp’s New Zealand tag, and I was hooked on first listen. All of the tracks from start to finish blend together so well to the point where you get lost in it. It’s become my soundtrack for doing anything and everything, and started my latest obsession with nu-jazz. It’s just so good.

Hans Pucket live at Great Sounds Great festival

I hadn’t seen Hans Pucket play in a hot minute, and they played towards the end of the night at Eyegum’s Great Sounds Great gig. My friend Holly is moving overseas soon (rude), and one of our favourite songs is ‘Fuck My Life’. They played it last and we lost our minds, jumping and screaming all the words. It was some of the most fun I’ve had a gig all year, and now a core memory in our friendship that I’ll always cherish.

Renaissance – Beyoncé

There’s not much to say about this album other than I absolutely adore it. It makes me feel like I’m in the club during summer, getting respectfully wasted on G&T’s and living my best life. If you ever need to be reminded that you are That Bitch, then listen to Renaissance.

Break! EP – Fazerdaze

I’ve always loved Fazerdaze from my early days on Radio One, so I was so stoked to find out that they were releasing a new EP this year. The lyricism reflecting the struggles and eventual catharsis from overcoming burnout mixed with the fuzzy guitars all work so well together, and serves as a nice reminder that it’s okay to let down your guard to embrace what’s really important to you.

INDIRA NEVILLE

MOTHER / POLICY ANALYST / MAKES STUFF / OCCASIONAL UTR CONTRIBUTOR

The evening I went to Hello Noisy and then saw Somme

This was one of the first evenings post-2021 lockdown that I went out and didn’t feel anxious and managed to stay up late. It felt so great! The Hello Noisy show was the culmination of the 2022 Māpura Studios / Audio Foundation collaboration. Musicians from Māpura Studios played alongside established sound artists resulting in an intense and glorious experience which led me through at least three different kinds of consciousness.

Then I went to the 2021 demos tape release of drony, doom – always reliable – metal band Somme. They sounded so big and the sound was enveloping; tight and deep yet also somehow sparkly and humble.

Seeing Shepherd’s Reign at The Others Way festival

Wow. Just wow.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Top five of 14

This live show featured the top five queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, series 14 (Angeria, Bosco, Daya Betty, Lady Camden and Willow Pill ). The show was extreme glamour with weird dance remixes of classic hits, amazing dancing and top quality lip-syncing; a proper show. The best bit though was when my 12 year-old superfan child went up on stage and — to the cheers of 1000 audience members — completely slayed the RuPaul trivia quiz. They won signed photos of the queens, all now framed and proudly displayed in their bedroom.

When Ruby Tui led Eden Park in a singalong after the Black Ferns won the World Cup

Whatever your opinion of rugby, what the Black Ferns did was incredible and Ruby Tui leading a 42,579-strong Eden Park crowd in ‘Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi‘ was the perfect, joyous end to their World Cup Campaign. And Tūtira Mai was the perfect waiata. It speaks of unity and everyone who went to school in Aotearoa knows it. It’s special.

Top Gear LP – Stef Animal

I actually only just got a physical copy of this. I found it in the JB HiFi at LynnMall, next to the Bruce Springsteens. It was a glorious niche underground / middle NZ culture clash moment. It’s just a great album; fun and cracking tunes made by someone with rules and unlikely technology.

LUKAS MAYO

PICKLE DARLING / BEDROOM POP

Forever Music – Katie Dey

I feel like I recommend this album on Twitter every week, but it’s my favourite album of the year. Please listen to it! Here is the closing track:

Touring with Lucy Dacus and watching the shows from side of stage <3

At the last show in Wellington, we got to watch the show from the stage and it was one of the loveliest musical experiences of my life! Her band and crew were incredibly nice to us too!

Tiny Ruins & David Mitchell’s show If I Were A Story And You Were a Song

I am a fan of both Tiny Ruins and the author David Mitchell, and as part of Christchurch’s WORD Festival they did a show where Hollie reimagined some of David’s stories as songs, and David reimagined some of Hollie’s songs as short stories. I am not sure we will ever hear some of these songs ever again which is what made the experience so special! Every time I tell people about the show they think I mean the comedian/Peep Show actor David Mitchell, who I would also like to see collaborate with Tiny Ruins.

My co-worker putting on the new Nickelback album at work

Imagine going into a record store and hearing Nickelback. Also, that album has easily the worst album cover of the year.

Me finishing my third album

Can’t say anything about it but the title has 10 letters and people should try guess what it is.

RACHEL ASHBY

HOST OF THE 95BFM BREAKFAST SHOW


Student Radio Network Awards in person

Back for its second year, and the first time in-person for Auckland and Palmy, the Student Radio Network Awards were a suitably wholesome, chaotic and joyful “For the Community, By The Community” celebration of music. The 95bFM contingent packed into the mighty Wine Cellar (love u Rohan) to watch the Dunedin-hosted action on a projector and give out some Auckland awards. Big highlights included Amamelia’s live recreation of Simon Ward’s excellent music video for ‘Colourbox’, the "Hands Pocket" Night Lunch gag that lives rent free in my brain, and the after party at Whammy featuring the likes of Te Kaahu, Baby Zionov and Imugi.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

Created in chronological track order and designed to flow seamlessly from start to finish (and then back again), Bananamelia! is a galaxy-brain masterpiece. A waking dreamscape populated with cicadas, perfectly placed breaks and balearic synth pads: the album manages to be both elegantly ethereal and winkingly goofy at the same time. Vocals from Madison Van Staden (Moody V) will break your heart and leave you with a nostalgic sense of déjà vu, while field recordings subtly situate this record in humid Auckland City. Give me half a glass of Christmas Bubbles and I will talk in hyperbole about this record for hours — it’s pure magic.

95bFM Halloween Party at Whammy Bar

2022 was the year of being reminded how great it is to get a bit silly with your mates in a sweaty room, listening to some excellent live music. The 95bFM Halloween party at Whammy Bar was a great excuse to shake off some cobwebs (no pun intended), although I’m still nursing a hot glue gun scar from constructing a giant piece of toast out of felt and bamboo. Many excellent costumes abounded, but Grecco Romank surely cemented themselves as The Spookiest Band In Auckland with their performance art piece involving two cops beating up a Teletubby — truly harrowing stuff.

Girls Rock! Aotearoa / To The Front

If you’re ever feeling a bit jaded or burnt out on the state of the music industry, I highly suggest getting involved with Girls Rock! Aotearoa. There’s nothing like watching a bunch of enthusiastic and awesome kids come out of their shells and write some killer tunes to make you believe in the power of music again. With successful To The Front school holiday camps happening again in Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke this year — it was also so exciting to see the introduction of a brand new programme in Te Papaioea. If you have some spare coin to throw about, consider hitting up the Givealittle page!

Cate Le Bon

Pompeii by Cate le Bon has to be up there for my fave international releases of the year, so it was fitting that she was my first return to international gigging. Resplendent in magisterial robes she tore up the stage at the Hollywood Avondale with her indie all-star band and custom fluro-orange gat. Brb, off to grow back my mullet.

SAMANTHA CHEONG

UTR ASSISTANT / GUITARIST

Dragon New Warm Mountain, I Believe In You – Big Thief

This album was a bit of a slow burn pull for me (though is usually the longest lasting), but ‘Simulation Swarm’ certainly stuck in my head for months. Live, Big Thief brought most of the album into a different plane of existence for me just two weeks ago. I witnessed magic within the mosh swarm myself, plus the endless talent of Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek. Lenker was scrawny only in spoken demeanour, before she’d transform immensely into a raging folkster of rock who could shred for five solid minutes. Meek was someone I had no idea ever what chords he was playing, though it worked like a charm. Big Thief stole our breath despite the crowd — as my partner would say — being “fucking dead” in the nasty-dance department.

Taite Music Prize 2022 Ceremony

Although there were less performances this year (as I’ve been told), it being my first Taites negated any disappointment. The best parts about the awards for me was seeing Reb Fountain live and finally being able to put countless faces to artists that I’ve been listening to and writing about or helping to promote. Our country’s artists really are just a bunch of people who love music and work tirelessly at it.

Thabani Gapara at Ponsonby Social Club

I’ve been really getting more into jazz this year — in my playing and in my listening. Thabani’s sax is a definite extension of his voice in his ode to his homeland. His craft sweats into his sax, just as his band sweats out their passion. I just had to go to two of Thabani’s shows — and also get enamoured by his fellow guitarist Nathan James’s own show at PSC. PSC really showcases the best musicians in Auckland, every single week and churns out the best mix of classic genres.

Wallows at Auckland Town Hall

I never thought I’d get to see one of my favourite alt-rock trios here in Aotearoa, and they did not disappoint. It’s always crazy finally seeing songs you’ve sang and played in your room come to life — or the people in your bedroom poster too. One of my favourite little moments was watching Braeden Lemasters scale the outer steps of the stage in his classic serenade of ‘1980s Horror Film II’, but it was really all about the rock energy that reverberated around the place that made me feel alive.

Georgia Lines at Auckland Museum

This grand space — of placed cushions and couches on pristine marble afoot a sculpture above the museum lobby — entranced me just as much as Lines’ tender charm and magnetic voice did. Apart from the sick costume changes (I want a lime green suit now), her anecdotes of stalking her now-husband post-breakup and the support of the APO solidified my admiration of well-written pop. Anyway, the museum really needs to put on more shows there, if not for us, maybe the dinosaurs.

SAM DENNE

LOCAL EVIL-DOER / HAPLESS HACK


Outlier Festival

The fervent energy and passion Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij invested into Outlier makes most ‘labours of love’ look like a council road worker’s smoko. They wrangled an outstanding lineup of experimental electronic musicians from around the motu to perform across four shows (one of which was in a gorgeous church, stained glass and all). Far from just a weekend full of bleeps, bloops & breaks — Outlier brought ‘The Community’ together in a way that felt like receiving a warm hug from your nana. A rare Sunday sighting of i.e. crazy at Artspace wrapped up one of my most treasured experiences as an audience member ever.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

Sample me like one of your French girls… I’ve been driving around listening to this album, grinning ear to ear til my face hurts. Amelia “Dusty Old Bones, Full Of Green Dust” Berry has injected every song with her down-home brand of romantic wistfulness, coloured by her extensive sample library of exhumed vintage synthesizers. And naturally it’s chocka with breakbeats. Every time the cicadas start at the beginning of ‘Colourbox’, I feel them rattling in my heart.

LEAO live at Achos

David Feauai-Afaese is the walking definition of a humble skuxxx. Whilst their compositions which blend traditional Samoan songs and post-punk are worthy of a dissertation (I’m serious), it’s their presence on stage which has inspired me most this year. They radiate love and kindness which fills any room they perform within in a manner that touches something deep inside of me that might just be a soul.

Cryer – Grey Lynn Church gig

Gorgeous, gorgeous church full of gorgeous, gorgeous people. Watching Charlie play their haunting set of funereal dirges whilst the sun dipped through the stained glass broke me. If you haven’t seen Cryer, change that in 2023. Their music is best accompanied by a certain activity which I’ll leave you to guess at. Hint: it’s in the name.

tHe cOMmUnItY

I’m going to be a big old sap and just say that this year I’ve felt so privileged to share the company of the people that make Tāmaki Makaurau’s music scene feel like home. It’s quite frankly been a shit year, but I’ve been immeasurably lucky to have spent it amongst such an inspiring, loving and superfluously talented collection of people. Thanks for tolerating me — I love you all. Keep creating, keep supporting each other, hardcore will never die and so on.

STEVE MATHIESON
LUNAVELA

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes

Absolutely flawless production from the king and next level zero fucks rapping.

Danger Mouse · Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Strangers (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels)

Racing + Lunavela at Auckland’s The Powerstation

We were really grateful to play with Racing at The Powerstation and stoked on their new album. It was really cool to reconnect with old friends from back in the day.

This is a bit of a throwback… but I was telling a friend the other day, how my all time favourite New Zealand musical moment, more than any song was Home Brew taking a goat to the Music Awards. A+.

Imposter Syndrome & Mostly Instrumentals – Lunavela

Lunavela album three will be out next year, then I’m moving back to London.

‘Sometimes’ – Princess Chelsea, Mattyeux

All the right feels.

TAYLOR MACGREGOR

SAVE OUR VENUES / FREAK THE SHEEP HOST

Half Hexagon

Promoters, journalists and publicists of Aotearoa rejoice. The coveted "SUPERGROUP" moniker was set to be unleashed yet again. Yolanda Fagan, Julien Dyne and James Milne possessed by the spirit of Giorgio Moroder. We all knew it would be good but that first Half Hexagon show at Wine Cellar was special along with everything they’ve done since. Let it be known that this tweet was approx. 60 secs into their first song and you heard it here first.

Dimmer at Hollywood Avondale

After delays on delays we finally got to see Shayne P. Carter and his all star band play as Dimmer in its full incredible form at The Hollywood Avondale. It knocked my little socks off and to make it an extra special occasion, I seduced the elusive Rohan Evans away from his Wine Cellar habitat to join me on a date. I got to chat to Shayne for UTR before the show and was pleased to confirm with the man himself that he very much is a Rock Star.

Dochdwy Road – Grown Downz

Grown Downz are an unbelievable band live and what a bloody joy to cop their first album on vinyl this year. Ripping punk two piece family band that goes so goddamn hard and honestly Joel and Ellie are just the best. Tauranga’s finest and the best Welsh musical export since Tom Jones.

Best new friend – Jones Chin of Dunedin’s Crown Hotel

This year I joined the team at Save Our Venues and in my travels working with our grassroots venue community I finally got to spend some time with the living legend that is Jones Chin of Dunedin’s Crown Hotel. Jones has the most incredible first hand stories of the history of music in Dunedin and the best post-gig snack game in the country. A New Zealand icon. And a special shout out to Save Dunedin Live Music for everyone they are doing to protect the future of The Crown.

‘Lost Memories’ – Vanessa Worm

I’m a sucker for production values and the music video for Vanessa Worm’s ‘Lost Memories’ gave me my cinematic music video fix for the year. Proper banger too.

Give yourself a well-deserved round of applause, because we’ve nearly made it to the end of 2022. Before we bounce away from the UTR office for a summer beach break, it’s time to celebrate a crazy past twelve months with our annual Favourite Music Moments round up feature. We’ve invited contributors to the site this year to share five of their personal favourite and most notable memories, plus some suitably spicy takes thrown in the mix [note: all opinions expressed below are the writers’ own].

A massive heartfelt thank you to all the artists, gig-goers, event organisers, readers, contributors and everyone who supported UTR in one way or another in 2022. Tuck into our mega-stacked End Of Year Playlist HERE and catch you back right here in 2023!

ANNABEL KEAN

SPORTS TEAM / UTR ASSISTANT EDITOR ’22

Dimmer at The Hollywood

Tbh when the I Believe You Are A Star tour was announced it felt like a special treat just for me. As is demonstrated by this groundbreaking short film my Dad made circa 1999, Dimmer heavily features in both the soundtracks for Molli Goes Missing and my childhood, meaning I was thrilled to attend the postponed show in late September. Knowing I would likely be crying throughout, I went alone and sat in the very back row with a couple of empty seats either side of me, allowing me to spam my family with dark, blurry photos and videos without bothering anyone in phone screen light distance. A special mention here goes to Louisa Nicklin on guitar. My hero.

Student Radio Network Awards

Christmas? Shmishmas! New Years? Who cares! The only annual celebration I look forward to is the Student Radio Network Awards, and 2022’s event was a real doozy. Watching the live broadcast from the comfort of a Wine Cellar front row seat and well quenched by a special Oatly boozy milk drink, I was blown away by a stunning spectrum of entertainment courtesy of bFM, Radio Control, Radio Active, RDU and Radio One. From the surreal visual delights of the Night Lunch Liams, to an adorable ‘Colourbox’ dance / cosplay by Amamelia and Madison Van Staden, there was not a dull moment in sight. I even had the unique joy of sitting next to the Hans Pucket Callums when they were announced as Favourite Group. I can’t wait to celebrate with another creative boozy milk drink in 2023!

Matariki

As is sometimes the way with a showbiz lifestyle, there’ll be times when a showbiz friend calls upon you for showbiz help. While it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, I had marvellous and sodden time back in June moonlighting as a rooftop crowd filler for TVNZ’s Matariki concert Purapura Whetū — Stars of Matariki. Despite the rain and the lacklustre catering (I ate approx 10 tiny bags of chips), this little drowned rat had a blast watching live performances from Hollie Smith, Drax Project and Rob Ruha, as the audience hype team did their best to keep us hyped for two hours in the rain.

Venus Is Home – Erny Belle

Not much beats the smugness of receiving your pre-ordered vinyl of a long awaited release! Since obsessing over Erny Belle’s first singles and getting my clammy little mitts on the Venus Is Home LP, it has been thoroughly thrashed as an any-occasion spin. The debut collection has proved equally rewarding as a solo deep repeat listen, or popped on as a charming folk backdrop to your fancy dinner party. There’s truly nothing quite like hearing the lyrics of ‘Nuclear Bombs’ floating across the room — “I’m gonna go and smoke some P and put my baby in a washing machine” – while serving your guests cacio e pepe and a green garden salad. Better living everyone.

‘Love Is More’ – Princess Chelsea

I don’t know if it’s a particularly classy move to include a video I directed as part of my highlights, but how could I not mention driving around Chelsea Nikkel atop a giant sheep in the back of a ute? In some sort of Little Bo Peep meets Game Of Thrones fever dream, Sports Team came to the sane conclusion that Princess Chelsea had to be riding an enormous sheep in the video for her delightful song ‘Love Is More’, so we hot glued foam and sheep skin mattress covers onto a large wooden box, biffed it into the bed of truck, and topped it with a striking ewe’s head — made by Callum Devlin. Thank you Chelsea for trusting my vision.

CALLUM DEVLIN

SPORTS TEAM / HANS PUCKET

SKILAA ‘I Never Knew’ Single Release Show

Sometimes, spoilers are good. For instance, I might have liked to know that Mr David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future (2022) was about people horny for surgery. I soon found out, and made a swift escape from the Civic Theatre about 15 minutes in, feeling embarrassed, shaken and mad. Lucky for me, I had also booked a ticket to SKILAA’s single release at the Wine Cellar that had just kicked off (also lucky, because when I arrived they were turning people away at the door!). SKILAA brought me back to life in truly celebratory fashion, performing the best set I’ve seen them play to a crowd FULLY on board… I do not know how they do the things they do, creating the deepest grooves that Should Not Work, and yet somehow. Add this band to your must-see live in 2023 list! Spoiler alert, they rule. Gig of the year, no competition.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

I knew from the first single that this was going to be my album of the year. I’ve never heard anything like Bananamelia! And I never will again. I’m done with music. Just play this cicada soaked bubble-breakbeat joy bomb over and over until I blow up. Some of the most densely layered, personal and iconically catchy electronic music I’ve ever heard. I am addicted to Bananamelia! It works for any occasion. I am so proud to have helped make a video for this record, and I will treasure the limited edition vinyl as a family heirloom.

Going bungy jumping with The Beths

2022 will be remembered as the year that Annabel and I got 8 days to move out of a flat, but that’s a much longer story than this one. On day 5 of 8 (a Sunday), we got a call from our friends The Beths who needed some “advice” about filming themselves going bungy jumping for a music video. This was their backup plan, as plan A had been interrupted by Covid (classic). Within the space of a 30 minute phone call, we had convinced ourselves we needed to film it. In exchange The Beths would help us move flats. And that’s exactly what happened. Monday we (read: they) went bungy jumping in the morning, filmed the rest of the video in the afternoon, Tuesday we packed up our flat, and by midday Wednesday we were in a new home. The Beths can add exceptional movers to their list of accolades, which makes sense when you think about it. 50% of touring as an indie band is packing and unpacking vans.

Cake of the year (tie): No Drama artwork by Buffy and Russell Devlin, and Big Red Car by Annabel Kean

Releasing an album feels really weird. You make this big important thing, and then release it into the world for people to enjoy mostly in private and with not much feedback. Which is great, and a massive relief, but can feel oddly anticlimactic at the same time. Last time my band Hans Pucket put out an album we sort of just hit upload and, boom there it was… released. This, in hindsight, was a mistake. This time, with the support of our label Carpark Records and a full team behind it, there was a huge energy and excitement and a true celebration! But nothing made me feel more proud of our work than the cakes. Organised separately, but with a shared sentiment, we had cakes given to us at both our album launch parties, which we cut up and shared to the audience after the show. It’s a small thing, but I had a non-awkward excuse to meet everyone and say thanks for coming and give them cake. So thank you mum and dad, and Annabel for that.

‘Drop Shadow’ – Eyeliner, animated by Simon Ward

Simon Ward knows how to make a music video. In ‘Drop Shadow’, he strikes this sweet formula that he has perfected, where it seems as though the video itself is making the music. Not in a didactic, illustrative way… but in a balanced, collaborative and inspiring sense that heightens the experience of listening to the song. Take that formula, and include imagery so iconic you can feel it buried in your memory somewhere (smiling pipe face I’m looking at you!), and you’ve got yourself the video of the year. Criminally under-viewed, let’s make June 7th Drop Shadow by Eyeliner Day.

CHRIS CUDBY

UTR EDITOR

Outlier Festival

My personal favourite local live event of the year, Outlier Festival was a three day "multi-modal project platforming new electronic music from Aotearoa’s experimental and exploratory practitioners" in spaces throughout central Tāmaki Makaurau. Highlights for me included P.H.F and Big Flip The Massive’s hyperactive live performances, Current Bias’ body-moving compositions and huge mysterious monitor on stage, E/N/T + M4URI M4STA’s transcendent scent / sound experience, Mr Sic’s brain-mashing techno-noise, and Flo Wilson’s moving and masterful vocal / dance performance. Mad props to artistic directors Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij for curating such an inspiring weekend with the Audio Foundation — open your ears to the accompanying compilation HERE.

Chernobyl original soundtrack performance – Hildur Guðnadóttir

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to book a flight (now borders are open again) and check out this year’s edition of Dark Mofo in Tasmania. Amongst the festival’s many highlights (including live sets by Cate Le Bon, Kim Gordon and claire rousay) Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Chernobyl original soundtrack event left a lasting impression. Standing in the centre of a massive warehouse in mid-winter Hobart’s shipbuilding district (attendees needed to arrive via ferry), Guðnadóttir with Chris Watson and others performed their spine-chilling hour long sound work, surrounded by speakers and buzzing sequenced strobe lighting installed across the entire ceiling. An all-engulfing, discombobulating experience.

DARTZ – Crate Day ’22

It’s been a smashing year for Pōneke’s DARTZ, whose debut album The Band from Wellington, New Zealand (Flying Nun) reached number one on the official top 20 NZ albums chart. Amongst the team’s many achievements in 2022 — including their deliciously catchy cover of ‘Dominion Road‘ by The Mutton Birds and DARTZATHON livestream — probably the most iconic was DARTZ’s Crate Day National Tour of New Zealand, when they hit the headlines playing four cities in less than 24 hours in grand celebration of our boozy Crate Day tradition.

‘Streetlights’ – Mokotron

Mokotron’s ‘Streetlights’ is an electro-funk love letter to Karangahape Road’s late night party district, and is to these ears Aotearoa’s hottest dance track of 2022, featured on Pōneke imprint Strange Behaviour’s Uneasy Clubbing compilation. It’s been a breakout year for Mokotron, who took away SRN Award for Te Tohu Hopunga Puoro Mariu (Favourite EP / Mixtape) for March’s TAWHITO EP — "DARK PROBLEMATIC TRAUMA-DRIVEN MĀORI ELECTRO BASS STRAIGHT OUTTA TĀMAKI MAKAURAU".

Big Earth Energy – Cool Maritime

Santa Cruz-raised electronic explorer Cool Maritime’s new (age) album Big Earth Energy has been on high rotate on my home office stereo in ’22. Vast and evocative in scope, the record soundtracks an imaginary ecologically-themed video game: "The player assumes the perspective of a treefrog sixty five million years ago, hopping epochs with each new level, forming a comprehensive picture of the massive changes the planet has gone through over the eons. The ultimate goal of the game is not to amass resources, defeat enemies, or gain power, but to fully witness the unfolding of one of the biggest systems of energy imaginable or as the album’s creator puts it "to explore the incomprehensibly vast energetic expression and mystery that is Earth"".

DANZ
CARTOONIST / CHART-TOPPING MUSICIAN

Dumb For My Age – Dateline

Look, being in a band in Aotearoa is hard when this country pops out such great music monthly and you are left green with envy and respect. Dateline and the album Dumb For My Age encapsulates that feeling. Maybe it’s because Katie Everingham and her band of local legends make it all look so easy, this album is filled with indie pop hits from start to finish. I was not at all surprised to find the title track and ‘Love Hertz’ in my Spotify wrapped this year.

Hang Low – Elliot Dawson

The DARTZ boys were driving through the Desert Road when we listened to this for the first time, and what a fitting landscape for this album to score. On Hang Low, Elliot has perfectly blended stressful but groovy compositions with some of the most clever, snarky, and downright hilarious lyrics I’ve heard this past year. If this has somehow flown under your radar (heh) then chuck it on during Christmas lunch with some rich uncles in the room.

Last Place Bar, Kirikiriroa / Hamilton

If I’m being honest, the biggest highlight in music locally for me has been the opening of Last Place bar in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton. John Moughan has curated a space that is incredibly supportive of artists, has hired the friendliest staff imaginable, and the best chef in the country (shout out Connor Moore). Hamilton rarely seems to be talked about when it comes to local music, but Kirikiriroa love their music (the three times DARTZ has played it’s been packed), and I’m grateful that John and the team are proving that with Last Place.

Rich men acting like villains form an ’80s movie and trying to shut down the music

First was property mogul and drummer for band-who-buys-likes-and-views Paul Reid who left negative reviews on the Whammy Bar Facebook, a venue for which he is the landlord of, simply because they cared about patron safety. Then late last week, Scrooge enthusiast Sid McAuley made the news for threatening local venues around the inner-city apartment HE MOVED INTO RECENTLY because of live music with lawyers and calling the venues “hick bars”.

Save Our Venues

But every story has a hero, and in the case of battling the music Scrooges, this year our heroes are Taylor MacGregor and the Save Our Venues team has been absolutely crucial this year. It seems a lot of councils across the country are content in letting our amazing local live music scene die a slow death, from the mighty Crown in Ōtepoti / Dunedin, the St Asaph St venues in Ōtautahi / Christchurch, and Wine Cellar all having their own moments of potentially facing closure. The Save Our Venues team have an uphill battle on their hands, but watching them and the local music-loving community rally round them gives me faith.

HENESSEY GRIFFITHS

UTR CONTRIBUTOR / PUBLIC HENEMY NUMBER ONE

Power Nap live on NYE

What better way to kick in the new year than seeing the Pizza Man himself, Power Nap performing live in an apartment on Cuba St. It was my first time seeing Chris actually play live, and I must admit that my memory of that evening is a little bit hazy. But you best believe we were boogieing the night away in and out of the pit to ‘Club Dinos‘!


Solar Eclipse – Clear Path Ensemble

I stumbled across Clear Path Ensemble’s latest album Solar Eclipse on accident through the powers of Bandcamp’s New Zealand tag, and I was hooked on first listen. All of the tracks from start to finish blend together so well to the point where you get lost in it. It’s become my soundtrack for doing anything and everything, and started my latest obsession with nu-jazz. It’s just so good.

Hans Pucket live at Great Sounds Great festival

I hadn’t seen Hans Pucket play in a hot minute, and they played towards the end of the night at Eyegum’s Great Sounds Great gig. My friend Holly is moving overseas soon (rude), and one of our favourite songs is ‘Fuck My Life’. They played it last and we lost our minds, jumping and screaming all the words. It was some of the most fun I’ve had a gig all year, and now a core memory in our friendship that I’ll always cherish.

Renaissance – Beyoncé

There’s not much to say about this album other than I absolutely adore it. It makes me feel like I’m in the club during summer, getting respectfully wasted on G&T’s and living my best life. If you ever need to be reminded that you are That Bitch, then listen to Renaissance.

Break! EP – Fazerdaze

I’ve always loved Fazerdaze from my early days on Radio One, so I was so stoked to find out that they were releasing a new EP this year. The lyricism reflecting the struggles and eventual catharsis from overcoming burnout mixed with the fuzzy guitars all work so well together, and serves as a nice reminder that it’s okay to let down your guard to embrace what’s really important to you.

INDIRA NEVILLE

MOTHER / POLICY ANALYST / MAKES STUFF / OCCASIONAL UTR CONTRIBUTOR

The evening I went to Hello Noisy and then saw Somme

This was one of the first evenings post-2021 lockdown that I went out and didn’t feel anxious and managed to stay up late. It felt so great! The Hello Noisy show was the culmination of the 2022 Māpura Studios / Audio Foundation collaboration. Musicians from Māpura Studios played alongside established sound artists resulting in an intense and glorious experience which led me through at least three different kinds of consciousness.

Then I went to the 2021 demos tape release of drony, doom – always reliable – metal band Somme. They sounded so big and the sound was enveloping; tight and deep yet also somehow sparkly and humble.

Seeing Shepherd’s Reign at The Others Way festival

Wow. Just wow.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Top five of 14

This live show featured the top five queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, series 14 (Angeria, Bosco, Daya Betty, Lady Camden and Willow Pill ). The show was extreme glamour with weird dance remixes of classic hits, amazing dancing and top quality lip-syncing; a proper show. The best bit though was when my 12 year-old superfan child went up on stage and — to the cheers of 1000 audience members — completely slayed the RuPaul trivia quiz. They won signed photos of the queens, all now framed and proudly displayed in their bedroom.

When Ruby Tui led Eden Park in a singalong after the Black Ferns won the World Cup

Whatever your opinion of rugby, what the Black Ferns did was incredible and Ruby Tui leading a 42,579-strong Eden Park crowd in ‘Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi‘ was the perfect, joyous end to their World Cup Campaign. And Tūtira Mai was the perfect waiata. It speaks of unity and everyone who went to school in Aotearoa knows it. It’s special.

Top Gear LP – Stef Animal

I actually only just got a physical copy of this. I found it in the JB HiFi at LynnMall, next to the Bruce Springsteens. It was a glorious niche underground / middle NZ culture clash moment. It’s just a great album; fun and cracking tunes made by someone with rules and unlikely technology.

LUKAS MAYO

PICKLE DARLING / BEDROOM POP

Forever Music – Katie Dey

I feel like I recommend this album on Twitter every week, but it’s my favourite album of the year. Please listen to it! Here is the closing track:

Touring with Lucy Dacus and watching the shows from side of stage <3

At the last show in Wellington, we got to watch the show from the stage and it was one of the loveliest musical experiences of my life! Her band and crew were incredibly nice to us too!

Tiny Ruins & David Mitchell’s show If I Were A Story And You Were a Song

I am a fan of both Tiny Ruins and the author David Mitchell, and as part of Christchurch’s WORD Festival they did a show where Hollie reimagined some of David’s stories as songs, and David reimagined some of Hollie’s songs as short stories. I am not sure we will ever hear some of these songs ever again which is what made the experience so special! Every time I tell people about the show they think I mean the comedian/Peep Show actor David Mitchell, who I would also like to see collaborate with Tiny Ruins.

My co-worker putting on the new Nickelback album at work

Imagine going into a record store and hearing Nickelback. Also, that album has easily the worst album cover of the year.

Me finishing my third album

Can’t say anything about it but the title has 10 letters and people should try guess what it is.

RACHEL ASHBY

HOST OF THE 95BFM BREAKFAST SHOW


Student Radio Network Awards in person

Back for its second year, and the first time in-person for Auckland and Palmy, the Student Radio Network Awards were a suitably wholesome, chaotic and joyful “For the Community, By The Community” celebration of music. The 95bFM contingent packed into the mighty Wine Cellar (love u Rohan) to watch the Dunedin-hosted action on a projector and give out some Auckland awards. Big highlights included Amamelia’s live recreation of Simon Ward’s excellent music video for ‘Colourbox’, the "Hands Pocket" Night Lunch gag that lives rent free in my brain, and the after party at Whammy featuring the likes of Te Kaahu, Baby Zionov and Imugi.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

Created in chronological track order and designed to flow seamlessly from start to finish (and then back again), Bananamelia! is a galaxy-brain masterpiece. A waking dreamscape populated with cicadas, perfectly placed breaks and balearic synth pads: the album manages to be both elegantly ethereal and winkingly goofy at the same time. Vocals from Madison Van Staden (Moody V) will break your heart and leave you with a nostalgic sense of déjà vu, while field recordings subtly situate this record in humid Auckland City. Give me half a glass of Christmas Bubbles and I will talk in hyperbole about this record for hours — it’s pure magic.

95bFM Halloween Party at Whammy Bar

2022 was the year of being reminded how great it is to get a bit silly with your mates in a sweaty room, listening to some excellent live music. The 95bFM Halloween party at Whammy Bar was a great excuse to shake off some cobwebs (no pun intended), although I’m still nursing a hot glue gun scar from constructing a giant piece of toast out of felt and bamboo. Many excellent costumes abounded, but Grecco Romank surely cemented themselves as The Spookiest Band In Auckland with their performance art piece involving two cops beating up a Teletubby — truly harrowing stuff.

Girls Rock! Aotearoa / To The Front

If you’re ever feeling a bit jaded or burnt out on the state of the music industry, I highly suggest getting involved with Girls Rock! Aotearoa. There’s nothing like watching a bunch of enthusiastic and awesome kids come out of their shells and write some killer tunes to make you believe in the power of music again. With successful To The Front school holiday camps happening again in Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke this year — it was also so exciting to see the introduction of a brand new programme in Te Papaioea. If you have some spare coin to throw about, consider hitting up the Givealittle page!

Cate Le Bon

Pompeii by Cate le Bon has to be up there for my fave international releases of the year, so it was fitting that she was my first return to international gigging. Resplendent in magisterial robes she tore up the stage at the Hollywood Avondale with her indie all-star band and custom fluro-orange gat. Brb, off to grow back my mullet.

SAMANTHA CHEONG

UTR ASSISTANT / GUITARIST

Dragon New Warm Mountain, I Believe In You – Big Thief

This album was a bit of a slow burn pull for me (though is usually the longest lasting), but ‘Simulation Swarm’ certainly stuck in my head for months. Live, Big Thief brought most of the album into a different plane of existence for me just two weeks ago. I witnessed magic within the mosh swarm myself, plus the endless talent of Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek. Lenker was scrawny only in spoken demeanour, before she’d transform immensely into a raging folkster of rock who could shred for five solid minutes. Meek was someone I had no idea ever what chords he was playing, though it worked like a charm. Big Thief stole our breath despite the crowd — as my partner would say — being “fucking dead” in the nasty-dance department.

Taite Music Prize 2022 Ceremony

Although there were less performances this year (as I’ve been told), it being my first Taites negated any disappointment. The best parts about the awards for me was seeing Reb Fountain live and finally being able to put countless faces to artists that I’ve been listening to and writing about or helping to promote. Our country’s artists really are just a bunch of people who love music and work tirelessly at it.

Thabani Gapara at Ponsonby Social Club

I’ve been really getting more into jazz this year — in my playing and in my listening. Thabani’s sax is a definite extension of his voice in his ode to his homeland. His craft sweats into his sax, just as his band sweats out their passion. I just had to go to two of Thabani’s shows — and also get enamoured by his fellow guitarist Nathan James’s own show at PSC. PSC really showcases the best musicians in Auckland, every single week and churns out the best mix of classic genres.

Wallows at Auckland Town Hall

I never thought I’d get to see one of my favourite alt-rock trios here in Aotearoa, and they did not disappoint. It’s always crazy finally seeing songs you’ve sang and played in your room come to life — or the people in your bedroom poster too. One of my favourite little moments was watching Braeden Lemasters scale the outer steps of the stage in his classic serenade of ‘1980s Horror Film II’, but it was really all about the rock energy that reverberated around the place that made me feel alive.

Georgia Lines at Auckland Museum

This grand space — of placed cushions and couches on pristine marble afoot a sculpture above the museum lobby — entranced me just as much as Lines’ tender charm and magnetic voice did. Apart from the sick costume changes (I want a lime green suit now), her anecdotes of stalking her now-husband post-breakup and the support of the APO solidified my admiration of well-written pop. Anyway, the museum really needs to put on more shows there, if not for us, maybe the dinosaurs.

SAM DENNE

LOCAL EVIL-DOER / HAPLESS HACK


Outlier Festival

The fervent energy and passion Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij invested into Outlier makes most ‘labours of love’ look like a council road worker’s smoko. They wrangled an outstanding lineup of experimental electronic musicians from around the motu to perform across four shows (one of which was in a gorgeous church, stained glass and all). Far from just a weekend full of bleeps, bloops & breaks — Outlier brought ‘The Community’ together in a way that felt like receiving a warm hug from your nana. A rare Sunday sighting of i.e. crazy at Artspace wrapped up one of my most treasured experiences as an audience member ever.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

Sample me like one of your French girls… I’ve been driving around listening to this album, grinning ear to ear til my face hurts. Amelia “Dusty Old Bones, Full Of Green Dust” Berry has injected every song with her down-home brand of romantic wistfulness, coloured by her extensive sample library of exhumed vintage synthesizers. And naturally it’s chocka with breakbeats. Every time the cicadas start at the beginning of ‘Colourbox’, I feel them rattling in my heart.

LEAO live at Achos

David Feauai-Afaese is the walking definition of a humble skuxxx. Whilst their compositions which blend traditional Samoan songs and post-punk are worthy of a dissertation (I’m serious), it’s their presence on stage which has inspired me most this year. They radiate love and kindness which fills any room they perform within in a manner that touches something deep inside of me that might just be a soul.

Cryer – Grey Lynn Church gig

Gorgeous, gorgeous church full of gorgeous, gorgeous people. Watching Charlie play their haunting set of funereal dirges whilst the sun dipped through the stained glass broke me. If you haven’t seen Cryer, change that in 2023. Their music is best accompanied by a certain activity which I’ll leave you to guess at. Hint: it’s in the name.

tHe cOMmUnItY

I’m going to be a big old sap and just say that this year I’ve felt so privileged to share the company of the people that make Tāmaki Makaurau’s music scene feel like home. It’s quite frankly been a shit year, but I’ve been immeasurably lucky to have spent it amongst such an inspiring, loving and superfluously talented collection of people. Thanks for tolerating me — I love you all. Keep creating, keep supporting each other, hardcore will never die and so on.

STEVE MATHIESON
LUNAVELA

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes

Absolutely flawless production from the king and next level zero fucks rapping.

Danger Mouse · Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Strangers (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels)

Racing + Lunavela at Auckland’s The Powerstation

We were really grateful to play with Racing at The Powerstation and stoked on their new album. It was really cool to reconnect with old friends from back in the day.

This is a bit of a throwback… but I was telling a friend the other day, how my all time favourite New Zealand musical moment, more than any song was Home Brew taking a goat to the Music Awards. A+.

Imposter Syndrome & Mostly Instrumentals – Lunavela

Lunavela album three will be out next year, then I’m moving back to London.

‘Sometimes’ – Princess Chelsea, Mattyeux

All the right feels.

TAYLOR MACGREGOR

SAVE OUR VENUES / FREAK THE SHEEP HOST

Half Hexagon

Promoters, journalists and publicists of Aotearoa rejoice. The coveted "SUPERGROUP" moniker was set to be unleashed yet again. Yolanda Fagan, Julien Dyne and James Milne possessed by the spirit of Giorgio Moroder. We all knew it would be good but that first Half Hexagon show at Wine Cellar was special along with everything they’ve done since. Let it be known that this tweet was approx. 60 secs into their first song and you heard it here first.

Dimmer at Hollywood Avondale

After delays on delays we finally got to see Shayne P. Carter and his all star band play as Dimmer in its full incredible form at The Hollywood Avondale. It knocked my little socks off and to make it an extra special occasion, I seduced the elusive Rohan Evans away from his Wine Cellar habitat to join me on a date. I got to chat to Shayne for UTR before the show and was pleased to confirm with the man himself that he very much is a Rock Star.

Dochdwy Road – Grown Downz

Grown Downz are an unbelievable band live and what a bloody joy to cop their first album on vinyl this year. Ripping punk two piece family band that goes so goddamn hard and honestly Joel and Ellie are just the best. Tauranga’s finest and the best Welsh musical export since Tom Jones.

Best new friend – Jones Chin of Dunedin’s Crown Hotel

This year I joined the team at Save Our Venues and in my travels working with our grassroots venue community I finally got to spend some time with the living legend that is Jones Chin of Dunedin’s Crown Hotel. Jones has the most incredible first hand stories of the history of music in Dunedin and the best post-gig snack game in the country. A New Zealand icon. And a special shout out to Save Dunedin Live Music for everyone they are doing to protect the future of The Crown.

‘Lost Memories’ – Vanessa Worm

I’m a sucker for production values and the music video for Vanessa Worm’s ‘Lost Memories’ gave me my cinematic music video fix for the year. Proper banger too.

Amamelia Shares New Album Bananamelia!

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Frances Carter
/ Thursday 3rd November, 2022 9:58AM

  
  

Finalist in the 2022 SRN Awards for Te Tohu Kaipuoro Toa (Favourite Solo Act) and Te Tōtahi Toa (Favourite Single), Amamelia‘s hungrily anticipated second album Bananamelia! is now out in the world via the gang at Sunreturn. The project of Tāmaki Makaurau producer Amelia Berry (Van Staden & Böhm, Fimo, The Forbin Project), Amamelia’s new eight track collection leads listeners on a sonic joyride through realms of breakbeat-driven electronica, swoony trip hop exotica, YMO-esque synth-pop, dreamily emotive balladry and much more, joined on a few tunes by vocalists Madison van Staden (VSB) and Hannah Renwick. A fruitful, vividly detailed collection that comfortably sits amongst this year’s best Aotearoa releases, Bananamelia! draws upon pre-millennial futurism (the artist has cited ’90s works by Cornelius and Soichi Terada amongst the record’s wide range of inspirations) to paint refreshingly new, sometimes almost storybook-like images in sound using a strictly limited palette. Read the Trash Recital star’s own words on the album, smash that play button and watch director Annabel Kean‘s beautiful stop-motion animated clip for ‘C’est Chic‘ below, made with support from NZ On Air

"After my friend Reuben [Winter] died in 2020, I found it really hard to keep making music… Bananamelia! has been my way back in, just trying to go back and recapture what made me want to start making electronic music in the first place, way back in 2015 when Reuben taught me the ropes of Ableton and showed me how to cut breaks. A lot of the record reflects the music I was listening to back then, heaps of Shibuya-Kei, a bit of Ninja Tune, a bunch of Margo Guryan type 60s music, and loads of YMO.

… One big thing for Bananamelia! was that I wanted to limit the sound palette. Partly because I thought it would force me to be clever with the writing, rather than just the design, and also to tie the whole thing together, making it feel more cohesive. At the core of the album is this really simple combo of piano, strings, sub bass, and lots of Think Breaks. I’m a bit of a natural contrarian so I also just wanted to get as far away from the kinds of sounds I was hearing in other people’s music, no wavetable synths, no big stabs, I mean…the record barely has any kick drums in it! Was this a good idea? Probably not! But I love how much it makes it its own weird little island.

I really poured my heart out for this one – so I hope that people feel comforted by it, feel happy listening to it."

‘Bananamelia!’ is out today via Sunreturn — limited vinyl LP orders available HERE.

Linksamamelia.bandcamp.com/album/bananamelia
instagram.com/extravagant_pudding/
facebook.com/amamelianz

Interview End Boss Talk About Debut Album They Seek My Head

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: David James / Thursday 16th June, 2022 2:13PM

  
  

With one of three album release shows done and dusted, They Seek My Head debuting on the Official New Zealand Top 40 Albums chart, and two major shows ahead of them this weekend, shiny new Pōneke metal group End Boss are absolutely thrashing the roll out of their very first LP. The trio hit Ōtautahi tomorrow night before ripping up to Auckland’s Whammy Backroom for the final stop in their tour. Despite the busy riffing, End Boss front person and vocalist E.J. Thorpe found a moment to respond to a few email questions from yours truly, revealing the delightful term ‘Friend Bosses’, who she’s been listening to lately, and the band’s odorous jam space woes…


End Boss
They Seek My Head album release tour

Friday 17th June – Darkroom, Christchurch w/ Borer, Old Haven

Saturday 18th June – Whammy Backroom, Auckland w/ Demons of Noon, Slumbug

Tickets available HERE via UTR


Annabel Kean: How has End Boss been preparing for the tour?

E.J. Thorpe: To be honest it’s been business as usual for us Friend Bosses! We’re all pretty busy with our day to day lives and getting everyone together for practices can be tricky. We have a sweet wee jam space that is possibly haunted by a poo monster (long story) but we’ve managed to brave the smell and get our proverbial shit together!


What song from the album are you most excited about performing live?

I say this to the guys a lot but the end riff in Heart of The Sickle gets me every single time. Whenever we play that song I feel like I’m standing in front of a huge machine and in that moment I feel so grateful to be in a band that can make such a powerful sound.


You’re high in the charts, the LP sold out, and you’re racking up the positive reviews. Did you have any clue that They Seek My Head would have the response it’s had?

It’s such a privilege to be able to make music with others, to have it professionally recorded is another level of privilege again. It still blows me away that we got to have the experience we did with James Goldsmith at The Surgery. We make music because it’s fun and something we love to do and having it archived so to speak is really special. To have other people dig it is another level again, it’s such a radical bonus to me. You create this stuff without wondering if others will like it, if anything, assuming they won’t – haha! I still feel kinda shocked when people come up to us at shows and say they enjoyed it, so it’s a total buzz that the album has been received as well as it has.


What New Zealand music are you excited about at the moment?

I recently saw the Pōneke based band BODYSIEGE and was absolutely blown away. They play industrial, doomy sludge with a killer bass tone and savage vocals. It’s the most amped a live band has made me in a long time and I’m excited for their release which comes out this month on Deadboy Records. Check them out!

I saw a picture of Greg on your social media literally bleeding from the head from headbanging! Has the band had much in the way of injuries from rocking too hard?

I’m sure the guys have some stories to tell in regards to injuries at gigs over the years! Personally I’ve just had your classic run-of-the-mill close calls in mosh pits. Earrings getting caught on a bogan’s hair, head banging ya face into a spikey, studded jacket – it’s all just part of the fun eh!


Favourite video game End Boss?

I’m not a gamer these days, but Final Fantasy 8 will forever hold a special place in my heart ?

Linksend-boss.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/EndBossBand/
instagram.com/endboss.band/

Troy Kingi Performs Shake That Skinny Ass UTR Trash Recital

Sports Team / C.C. / Image credit: Sports Team
/ Wednesday 11th May, 2022 8:53AM

  
  

We’re over the moon to share the first episode of UTR presents Trash Recital Season 2 — starring Troy Kingi and created by Sports Team!

Releasing online fortnightly from today onwards, our 2022 season of Trash Recital features even more stars from throughout Aotearoa’s diverse music community, reimagining their songs using objects from Sports Team‘s expertly curated collection of recycled junk. Viewers can enjoy an even trashier set than last year, a dazzling new claymation opening sequence by Annabel Kean (finalist for the 2022 Outstanding Music Journalism Award), and more outstanding banter throughout the new ten episode series, made with support from NZ On Air.

For each episode of Trash Recital we’ve invited some of our favourite Aotearoa artists into the UTR studios to perform one of their signature songs, re-created using everyday items selected from Sports Team’s stockpile of trash. Trash Recital not only provides a launchpad for stunning reimaginings of recent classic tunes, but also the perfect opportunity for a chinwag with our local musical heroes.

Our first episode stars Silver Scroll winner Troy Kingi (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), reinventing his song ‘Shake That Skinny Ass‘ from 2020’s The Ghost of Freddie Cesar with trusty "fix it man" The Amazon Forest (Forrest Thorp). Touring his 2021 album Black Sea Golden Ladder with Delaney Davidson nationwide in August, Kingi chatted candidly with Sports Team about his famously ambitious 10 10 10 project (ten albums, ten genres, ten years) while transforming trash into musical treasure.

DOP: Callum Devlin

Editor: Callum Devlin

Title Animator: Annabel Kean

Sound Engineer: Ruby Walsh

Sound Mix: Ruby Walsh

Assistant Camera: Tash van Schaardenburg

Theme Tune: Callum Devlin

Project Manager: Annabel Kean
Production Team: Sports Team

UTR Production Team: Daryl Fincham & Chris Cudby

Special thanks to Bob Frisbee and Tim Batt

Made with support from NZ On Air

Linksinstagram.com/teamsportsteam/
troykingi.com/

Heres Five Annabel Kean Features For UTR

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Callum Devlin
/ Tuesday 15th February, 2022 11:50AM

  
  

Whether typing up a storm in the UTR news room, cooking up cutting edge feature ideas or throwing interview curveballs at Aotearoa’s brightest musical talents, Annabel Kean has been a key member of our team for the past three years. It’s a tearful occasion as we wave goodbye to Annabel, who’s going full time with her mega-prolific video production crew Sports Team (co-founded with Callum Devlin) and continues to co-host the 95bFM Top 10. Happily we’ll still be working with Annabel on the forthcoming Trash Recital season 2 (filmed in our offices), but in appreciation and thanks for her boundless energy during particularly turbulent times for our music community, we’ve picked out a few highlights from her tenure as UTR Assistant Editor plus some related activities…

Pickle Darling‘s ten favourite pickles is a feature deserving of the inaugural NZ On Air Outstanding Music Journalism Award — read HERE.

• Annabel’s 2020 interview with Bic Runga "about the absolutely shit storm of a year we are all having" is an insightful chat with the multiple award-winning member of King Sweeties and Opossom, touching on the issue of environmentally sustainable touring — read HERE

• Annabel’s highly caffeinated Marlon Williams interview is an enjoyably casual and informative chinwag with the "Lyttelton dreamboat" — read HERE.

• Annabel’s conversation with Sit Down In Front singer Cory Newman, who uses a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy, highlights ongoing issues surrounding accessibility in Aotearoa’s music venues — read HERE.

• As co-founder of Sports Team, their UTR Trash Recital video series has been a consistently inventive joy to behold. 2021’s concluding episode starring The Beths was the icing on the cake…

Bonus picks:

• Asking various celebs at the 2021 Taite Music Prize ceremony to "rotate for the Taites" will stand out in my mind as completely ridiculous, fun and totally worked as an Instagram video feed idea — watch HERE.

• Not for UTR, but who couldn’t be inspired by Annabel Kean eating eight cheeseburgers in one go while dressed as burger icon J. Wellington Wimpy, to celebrate Sports Team reaching 100 subscribers (subscribe HERE)…

Linksyoutube.com/channel/UCulzNxyb5-x09TBRC9MbrTw
instagram.com/teamsportsteam/

Weekly Roundup Gigs For Waitangi Weekend

Chris Cudby / Photography by Bruce Mackay / Image: Into Orbit
/ Friday 4th February, 2022 2:44PM

  
  

Next week will be exciting times in the UTR office, as Annabel Kean will be official Acting Editor while I skive away from the hurly burly to Waiheke Island for a few days. While it’s certainly quieter on the live gig front than usual under Red, there’s still a small variety of limited capacity (100 maximum) shows happening throughout Aotearoa this Waitangi weekend. Head along and help support our live music community — secure your spot by grabbing presale tickets (where available) while you can, plus don’t forget to bring your vaccine pass and photo ID…

WEEKEND GIG PICKS:

Friday 4th February

Graeme Jefferies, DKYT (Dick Whyte), Marxophone Orchestra – The Wine Cellar [tickets HERE]

Skram – Smash Palace, Gisborne [tickets HERE]

Into Orbit, Mammuthus, Drunk With Power – Valhalla [tickets HERE]

Diablos Caravan – The Victoria Arms Hotel, Cromwell [tickets HERE]

Saturday 5th February

The Ideas, Melanie, Scantily Clad, Senarius – The Thirsty, Auckland [tickets HERE]
Diablos Caravan – Alexandra Community House, Alexandra [tickets HERE]

Your Face, Silly Drunken Bastards – Southland Musicians Club, Invercargill, Southland [tickets HERE]

Sunday 6th February

Diablos Caravan – Austin Club, Christchurch [tickets HERE]

Head over to our GIG GUIDE for more listings!

NEW TRACKS:

Interview Erny Belle Venus Is Home Album Release Show

Interview by Annabel Kean / C.C.
/ Wednesday 2nd February, 2022 10:38AM

  
  

Erny Belle, the musical nom de plume of Aimee Renata (Ngāpuhi), made a massive impact on our student radio airwaves last year with singles ‘Hell Hole’ and ‘Burning Heaven’, and has just announced her keenly awaited album release show is proceeding this month at Auckland Polish Association. Originally set to perform at The Others Way festival, Annabel Kean caught up with the fast rising Tāmaki Makaurau / Maungaturoto songwriter for a snappy yet insightful conversation via the magic of the internet. They chatted about the ten year road towards the launch of Venus Is Home, the origins of Belle’s visually striking videos, family inspirations for the new record, plus hints of what punters can look forward to on 19th February…


UPDATE 3/02/22:
Erny Belle’s ‘Venus Is Home’ album release show on 19th February is now sold out — to join the waitlist for extra tickets head along HERE.

 

Erny Belle ‘Venus Is Home’ Album Release Show 
Saturday 19th February – Auckland Polish Association, Auckland [new location]

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Vaccine passes will be required on entry

You will have the option to sit at a table or stand to watch the show, however food and beverages must be served to your table

Annabel Kean: Hello Aimee! We first met approximately 4 years ago at a karaoke NYE party, so let’s start with a *fun* question. What are your go-to karaoke songs?

Erny Belle: Yes we did and what a memorable night that was! Last I was at Charlie’s bar I did ‘Stumblin’ In‘ by Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman.


When did you first dip your toe into songwriting and performance?

I started singing and playing drums when I was 17, with my father on bass and my current guitarist Tiare Kelly on electric guitar. The song writing started in collaboration with them. After that, I learnt basic chords on the guitar and starting writing alone.

Have you always leaned towards a folk sound? Where did that come from?

It feels natural to lean towards a folk sound when writing alone at home with an acoustic. I need more to say how I feel in words, over the need to be turned on by complex chord progressions. I think where I am now, stemmed from growing up around country music.


You moved away from Auckland nearly a decade ago with the plan to write and record your own music, yeah? What was the catalyst for Venus Is Home getting made and released in 2021/2022?

Yeah it was. I made a clear decision ten years ago that I was going to make a record. I just didn’t know what was to be of it and how long it would take me.

Re: your music videos for ‘Hell Hole’ and ‘Burning Heaven’ — are there any specific visual references you drew from for those? They’re cinematic as hell.

I didn’t really have any references, the visual side is another creative outlet for me that I’m passionate about. I worked closely with Matthew Hunter whom shot both videos, we worked things out together, he co directed with me, we edited together and I owe a lot of what came out of it to him. I’ve worked in film doing costume for many years and come from a film family. We shot the videos during Covid restrictions so only had two to three on the crew and had to use what was already in my wardrobe and the locations available to me.

When you’re not writing songs and shooting music videos, what does one do for fun out in Maungaturoto?

Eat fresh Kaimoana, drink wine, raid Dad’s book collection, go to the beach.

Where did the title ‘Venus Is Home’ come from? Are you Venus??? Where is Home??!

Venus is the name of my Grandmother from Maunagturoto, whom passed away not long before I finished the album. Home is where the heart is.

How much did you plan ahead for the visual side of the album? Will we see that carried through into your live shows too? Will chaps be worn?

I definitely think about the visual aspect of performing live, whether it be set dressing, projection of visuals, location and the vibe I want to create for people watching. Not sure if I’ll be pulling out the chaps again anytime soon though. Will you still come though?

Who’s playing with you live?

Tiare Kelly, William Jackson, Dave Khan, Rewi McLay and Navakatoa Tekela-Pule. Dream team.

Also can you please give us a hint to who the special guest is? Cryptic clues accepted.

Loves a hangi.

Linksinstagram.com/erny.belle/
linktr.ee/ernybelle

Live Photos The Beths Dateline Whammy Bar Auckland

C.C. / Photography by Annabel Kean
/ Friday 14th January, 2022 1:18PM

  
  

Tāmaki power pop stars The Beths are currently in the end zone of of a historic five night Whammy Bar residency, surpassing King Gizzard’s epic four night run from back in 2017. Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair and Tristan Deck will be taking care of business in the super city tonight and on Saturday, hot on the heels of a similarly triumphant two night jaunt at Wellington’s San Fran last weekend. Co-creator of many of our favourite Beths music videos and last year’s Auckland, New Zealand, 2020 concert film, UTR’s Annabel Kean (Sports Team) leapt into the pit to deliver snaps from last night’s gig, including vibey images of supports Dateline (of whom Stokes was once a member) — click on the thumbnail images below to view the full gallery…

View all photos
Linksthebeths.com/
instagram.com/dateline2.0/

Interview Half Queen Rhythm Alps Festival 2021

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Liam Brown / Thursday 23rd December, 2021 1:02PM

  
  

One rite of passage upon moving to Tāmaki Makaurau, along with receiving a Caker birthday cake and spending a night at a Whammy lock-in, is getting a big ol’ crush on DJ Half Queen, the co-founder of club collective FILTH and one of the acts billed for this year’s Rhythm & Alps Festival in Cardrona Valley. You might have caught them spinning tracks at the To The Front fundraiser show last week, or making Aotearoa DJ history as part of the country’s debut Boiler Room earlier this year, but despite their busy schedule of summer festival appearances, Half Queen aka Shaquille Wasasala squeezed in a quick messenger chat last night with yours truly. Touching on festival tips, FILTH plans for 2022 and Christmas music picks, catch up with Half Queen in our short and sweet Q & A below…

RHYTHM & ALPS AOTEAROA 2021

Wednesday 29th December to Friday 31st December 2021
Cardrona Valley, Wanaka

Featuring… ANDYHEARTTHROB, ANTIX, AW B, AZIFM, BECCIE B, BENTHAMISM, BOMB DYLAN, BOOMBOX DJS, BOZNICH, BYTE SIZE, C:SHE, CARNIVOROUS PLANT SOCIETY, CHICCORELI, CIVIL DIN, CONCORD DAWN, CULTURE SHOCK, DIMENSION DJ SET, DOM DOLLA, EDEN BURNS, ELLIOT TIERNEY, FILTH FEAT. BBYFACEKILLA, DIESEL, HALFQUEEN & ZEKI, FINN, FOXTROT, FRICTION, HARRY CHARLES, HURRICANE EMILY, ISAAC CHAMBERS, JAKE RATTLER, KORA, KRAVIS, L.A.B, LEE MVTTHEWS, MAMADAFUNK, MAMII, MINTIE, MISS B, MOLLY & THE CHROMATICS, MONTELL2099, MUROKI, NICE GIRL, PAIGE JULIA, PASH JAMS, PINO, ROULSTON, SALMONELLA DUB, SANOI, SCRIBE & P-MONEY WITH THE HARMONY & RHYTHM BRASS BAND, SHAPESHIFTER, SIN, SOPHIA, STATE OF MIND FEAT. JABZ, TALI LIVE, TEXTURE, THE UPBEATS, TYLIE, WATTSSON, 40K

Tickets on sale now via rhythmandalps.co.nz

Annabel Kean: How are you feeling atm about your filth set at R&A?

Half Queen: I’m feeling good about it. I haven’t played anything of that scale in a long time nor have I linked with the extended FILTH gang, so I’m nervous but really excited. We have the coveted 10-2 slot on the 31st…so that’ll be interesting. Hopefully we remember the countdown hahahahaha.

What do you and the other filth DJs do to prepare for a festival show like that? Do you approach it differently to shows with a smaller audience?

Generally we try have a kanikani to the set before us, drink some liquid courage + gas ourselves. I’d say one of the few differences is maybe the content of our sets. Smaller shows have less random people/more ~fans~ of us, so with big festivals, I guess one of our goals is enticing a new audience.

Top 3 acts at R&A you want to see?

Salmonella Dub and our pals Aw B + Hurricane Emily.

Do you have any personal festival ‘hacks’? Like tricks or tips for having a good time – both as an artist and a punter.

Ooooh I have a couple hacks:

1. Research acts before you attend, so you get your money’s worth.

2. Keep your wits about you.

Besides DJ sets, are you planning on spending much time working on mixes over the festive season? Or are you wanting to have some downtime?

Hopefully playing to an audience again will spark some inspiration for some mixes!!!!!!!!


Are you into mixing Christmassy / new years songs into your sets? If yes, what tracks? This is me asking if you have a favourite Christmas song without asking if you have a favourite Christmas song.

I absolutely do not mix Christmas songs but my fav would have to be any Boney M or 2 Fat Bitches + A Bag of Weed by Nadia Nympho.

Who or what do you have on repeat rn?

Currently, I have Dinamarca’s Barcelona Boiler Room set on repeat.

What is the dream for FILTH in 2022?/What’s the next big goal?

Our next FILTH clubnight is vol.10, so you’ll have to wait + see.

Aaand is there anything else you want to plug?

If you’re not around for R&A, you can catch the FILTH crew at Northern Bass, That Weekend + Splore, as well as our individual sets over Summer which you can catch on our socials :~)

Linksrhythmandalps.co.nz/
instagram.com/half.queen/
instagram.com/filthakl/

UTR 2021 New Zealand Music Video Highlights

Chris Cudby & Annabel Kean
/ Tuesday 14th December, 2021 1:59PM

  
  

Let the UTR end of year lists for 2021 begin! First up is our editorial team’s favourite Aotearoa music videos of the year — read Chris Cudby and Annabel Kean‘s personal selections below and stay tuned for our whopping end of year playlist, plus even more festive treats. Special thanks to NZ On Air for helping support our local music video coverage in 2021.

Aldous Harding – ‘Old Peel’

A god damn renaissance painting come to life, Aldous Harding’s self-directed video for stand alone single ‘Old Peel’ has burned itself into my brain since it dropped in June. With each watch you notice a different element that makes this deceptively simple concept shine — the lighting! The textures! Each performer’s movement! Can’t wait to see what visual delights Harding will dream up next year. — A.K.


DARTZ – ‘Pray for Prey’

Pōneke’s DARTZ sum up some of the absolute madness that went down locally in 2021 with their self-directed video for ‘Pray for Prey’, created with support from NZ On Air. Starring lead singer Danz in a role inspired by Destiny Church leader and ("in my opinion") public menace Bishop Brian Tamaki, the clip feels like one of the frontman’s savagely satirical comic strips brought to life, gleefully upping the ante to such a manic degree the band reportedly had to get legal advice before being able to release. If it’s all too absurd then that’s the point — this is one of those vids you imagine whenever you hear the song. — C.C.

Emmanuelle – ‘Mouthfeel’ Prod. franc015

Emmanuelle’s zero budget video for ‘Mouthfeel’ (produced by franc05) is one of the only local artworks I’ve experienced to convey the spooky lawless feeling of Tāmaki Makaurau’s empty city streets during 2021’s four months of lockdown. Expressing the song’s high wire emotions in a poetic DIY vid filmed by and featuring the artist, Emmanuelle ventures into a construction site and scales the dizzying heights of a crane for a (probably quite dangerous) spot of undercover urban stargazing. — C.C.


KITA – ‘Every Day’

Having dived straight into the deep end of music video making myself over the past couple years, I have a particular level of awe reserved for people who pull off a one-shotter. Directed by KITA frontwoman Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant, choreographed by Kia Jewell and with expert projection work from Erica Sklenars, the video for ‘Every Day’ is bursting with life and charm, made all the more impressive knowing they probably shot this approx 50 times. — A.K.

Mousey – ‘The Bench’

Usually folk songwriters don’t get to play the part of outlandish, stage-struttin’ rock star, so I’m stoked with what Martin Sagadin and Mousey aka Sarena Close came up with for upbeat banger ‘The Bench’ — made with support from NZ On Air. The video excels at enhancing rather than just reinforcing the track, and simultaneously flaunts Close’s electric stage presence (with help from movement coach Robyn Jordaan) and matches the track’s infectious high energy. I would very much like to see Sarena do karaoke. — A.K.

Night Lunch – ‘House Full Of Shit’

No video summed up NZ’s home-obsessed hellscape better than Ōtepoti duo Liam Hoffman and Liam Clune aka Night Lunch’s ‘House Full Of Shit’. Instantly gaining a devoted nationwide fanbase for the pair when it dropped in March, they scream "Live Laugh Love" while lamenting our collective domestic garbage reality in their eye-popping and explosive DIY animated clip. Also a primo showcase for Night Lunch’s inventive electric diddly bow / drums setup, ‘House Full Of Shit’ is inarguably one of Aotearoa’s breakout videos in 2021. — C.C.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘That Life’

Unknown Mortal Orchestra skewers high end luxury holiday lifestyles with his slyly infectious single and deceptively cute puppet vid ‘That Life’, directed by Lydia Fine and Tony Blahd. Coincidentally launched while US social satire series The White Lotus (which explores similar themes) was at the height of popularity, here’s what UMO mastermind Ruban Nielson had to say about ‘That Life’: "I saw this painting by Hieronymus Bosch called The Garden of Earthly Delights and in the painting there was a mixture of crazy stuff going on, representing heaven, earth, and hell. When I was writing this song, ‘That Life,’ I was imaging the same kind of ‘Where’s Waldo’ (or ‘Where’s Wally’ as we call it in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK) of contrasting scenes and multiple characters all engaged in that same perverse mixture of luxury, reverie, damnation, in the landscape of America. Somewhere on holiday under a vengeful sun." — C.C.

Van Staden & Böhm – ‘Spirit Level (Official Video)’

A joy to behold, the official video for electronic duo Madison Van Staden and Amelia Berry (Amamelia) aka Van Staden & Böhm’s ‘Spirit Level’ activates the gritty streets of overcast Tāmaki Makaurau with a hyper-energising dose of dance mania. Directed by Van Staden and starring Oscar Perress, the clip feels like the ghost of rave-era UK has materialised in the super city, depicting a dance-loving individual breathing fresh life into urban spaces both familiar and sometimes straight up barren. That it’s also a tacit advertisement for the pair’s t-shirts is the icing on the cake (they say "Buy our shirts!" HERE) — if VSB are Aotearoa’s queer happy hardcore equivalent to Prodigy I’m all for it. — C.C.

Vera Ellen – ‘I Want To Be Boy’

Full disclosure, Vera Ellen’s It’s Your Birthday is one of my favourite albums of the year and that may have affected my decision to include ‘I Want 2 B Boy’ in my favourite videos list. Also full disclosure, when I wrote about this clip in July I spent an embarrassingly long time trying to find where co-creaters Randy Kaufman and Vera Ellen had sourced the footage, Googling shit like ‘shirtless man hit by hot dogs’, assuming it was a viral relic of early YouTube. It is actually Kaufman himself and it is a masterpiece. — A.K.

WHO SHOT SCOTT – ‘LOVE WE’LL NEVER KNOW’

This pick is really for all of WHO SHOT SCOTT’s videos so far. ‘LOVE WE’LL NEVER KNOW’ is the Tāmaki rapper’s seventh, each one directed by Connor Pritchard and each captured in a single shot — a super challenging feat to start, let alone coming up with eight ways to do it. Specials mentions go to Pritchard’s lighting genius, and to WSS’s aerobic fitness. — A.K.

Linksinstagram.com/smokedartz/
instagram.com/emmanuelleacademy/
instagram.com/_night_lunch_ffs/
unknownmortalorchestra.com/
vsbhardcore.bandcamp.com/merch/hardcore-longsleeve
mouseymusic.com/
aldousharding.com/
instagram.com/whoshotscott/
instagram.com/veraellen_/
kita.co.nz/

Interview Paige Julia Rhythm Alps Festival

Annabel Kean / Image credit: Tracy Chawan / Tuesday 7th December, 2021 1:41PM

  
  

Having this year landed an Aotearoa Music Award nomination and a compilation spot with major international platform Drum&BassArena, Paige Julia is easily one of the country’s most exciting electronic acts right now. Following the release of her Dreams EP for Unchained Recording and her debut album Morphling, the drum and bass dynamo is facing a massive season of shows, including Rhythm & Alps and an opening set for Shapeshifter. When she’s not hitting *checks notes* eight summer festivals and eight more nationwide shows, Paige Julia is also a production and DJ mentor for music makers looking to get their foot in the door in a male-dominated industry, with plans to expand her curriculum in the coming year. Clearly in hot demand, Undertheradar was lucky enough to snag an email Q & A with her before her schedule explodes. Paige Julia talks accolades, mentoring and more in our chat below…

RHYTHM & ALPS AOTEAROA 2021

Wednesday 29th December to Friday 31st December 2021
Cardrona Valley, Wanaka

Tickets on sale now via rhythmandalps.co.nz


Annabel Kean: Congratulations on ‘Compassion’ on the Drum&BassArena 25th anniversary compilation! What did you take into consideration when creating a track for a publication with 25 years of DnB history?

Paige Julia: Thank you, this particular composition actually wasn’t made in intention for this label when I first wrote it, it began as a much slower tempo track as I was feeling really inspired by breakbeat and techno and wanted to create this melodic vibe-y slow-rolling kind of track. As I was playing it in my sets earlier in the year I was finding myself increasing the tempo of it to use it as an introduction to a jungle section of my DJ sets until it was at the speed it was now and it felt like it was hitting more with NZ audiences. When DnBArena asked if I had any music I’d like to submit they latched on to this one and put it through on the spot. Because I had the time to play it across the country I already felt comfortable about the tune so it was an easy fit! Now hearing it alongside all of the other amazing music on the compilation it feels like it fits in its own niche and I think that was the vision from DnBArena for the compilation.

Drum&BassArena · Paige Julia – Compassion


And you’re one of the electronic finalists for the Aotearoa Music Awards — was this all part of the Paige Julia grand plan?

Not at all. My grand plan is to take each day to create art and enjoy this short and strange life, the specifics of things like the financials, accolades and other particular things that we look to as representations of success are nice in that they allow me to have more time and access in my life to do the central act of creating, sharing and enjoying music with others but are by no means part of the plan or anything I expected. The nomination is a nice reminder that I am being heard and received, I am very grateful for it and grateful to my close friends that compelled me to submit my work for a chance at having this nomination because I originally didn’t feel like it was something I could be in contention for and yet here I am.


How do you feel about being nominated alongside a name as big as Shapeshifter, who you’re opening for at their Matakana show in February?

Once I saw the other nominations I took the time to absorb the new work they had been nominated for and I feel like the albums from Sola Rosa and Shapeshifter speak to the experience and expertise they have in their music. I feel blessed to be even considered in the same bracket as these acts, Shapeshifter are at a level of recognition that is really quite unmatched and I have been a big fan of their work since before I even knew what ‘Drum and Bass’ was. I’ll get to meet them in February and say thank you to them for all the years of inspiration, I hope!


You’ve also released an EP and an album this year. What is the connection between Dreams and Morphling? Did one prompt the other?

I wanted my debut album, Morphling, to be a statement of artistic intent. I did everything besides the artwork by myself: the album was written, produced, mixed, mastered, published and marketed solo. I felt like it was important for the world to know and understand what I meant when I said I was an “electronic artist”. Prior to making this album, I was often referred to as a “Drum and Bass DJ” which for the first 5 years of my career was very true! However, I had these important listening experiences overseas, hearing American and UK bass music where the tempo especially can be so much more varied and this started a trend in my music-making from about 2016 onwards. So I wanted to showcase the full range of my capabilities as an artist influenced by the world of electronic music.

Dreams came about in the few months after the release of Morphling and was directed by the sound palette of the label it lives on: Unchained, a blueprint of jungle, halftime and DnB music. Working with them was amazing, Lyndon Jarr heard music he liked and knew it was going to hit and we have seen especially ‘Live and Direct’ and the title track ‘Dreams’ make some moves in the industry. A cool thing with working with an established label like Unchained was having access to their promo list, it was next level to me seeing acts around the world downloading, rating and commenting on my music.


What can Rhythm & Alps attendees expect from your set this year?

I have written a half dozen new pieces of music for the summer and I still love to play my favourites out from Morphling and Dreams. The genre blueprint for my set is usually UK dubstep – Jungle – Drum and Bass.

I read about your involvement in music production courses for women and femmes. How have those been for you this year?

I’m six years deep into teaching and mentoring DJing and music production, and this work is incredibly important to me. I self taught all of my own musicianship but I would have loved to have had this kind of program available when I got started. I have seen the results of our work in this field, whether it’s teaching groups or individual mentoring for people of all genders, watching as they enter the festival circuit, play their first club gigs, and release their first pieces of music. I believe creative communities lead to so much social good and I’m so happy to be a part of helping to create and maintain these creative spaces.


Do you have more plans in the works to tutor and mentor?

For the group sessions this is determined as we receive the necessary funding through Creative NZ, NZ Music Commission or local council grants. Since we massively discount it to increase the accessibility it is only feasible to have the level of equipment and expertise necessary with this crucial funding. In 2022 we have plans to continue and expand on the curriculum.

I’m always available to anyone wanting 1 on 1 tutoring any time on the topics of DJing and music production. Anyone can get in touch with me to organise, either online or at my studio.

Linkspaigejulia.bandcamp.com/
instagram.com/paigejulia.music/

Hollie Smith Shares New Album Coming In From The Dark Interview

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Steve Dykes / Friday 22nd October, 2021 9:03AM

  
  

Five years, countless tours, collaborations, and a Shortland Street cameo later, Aotearoa powerhouse Hollie Smith returns with her fourth album Coming In From The Dark. Although her last solo outing was with 2016 collection Water Or Gold, Smith has been chipping away at the new album since before the last one was even released, giving the eleven songs on LP number four room to breathe, evolve, and even be transformed into New Zealand Symphony Orchestra productions. In addition to her work with composer Jeremy Mayall and the NZSO on the title track, ‘What About‘ and ‘YOU’, Hollie Smith invited first-class local talents Raiza Biza, Teeks and Sol3 Mio to contribute to Coming In From The Dark, calling on them when she felt a song needed their voices. The album has all the trimmings of a chart-topping Smith release, with gospel, hip-hop, soul and RnB elements expertly balanced against her own massive vocals and heart-bearing lyrics.

Amid the chaos of an album release week, Smith took some time to answer a few email questions from us, touching on success, the recording process, and how Coming In From The Dark is like your friendly, deep-thinking uncle. Peep her new tour dates below, and listen to her latest offering while you peruse our email Q and A…


Hollie Smith – Coming In From The Dark Tour

Thursday 18th November — Black Barn, Hawkes Bay

Thursday 25th November — The Playhouse, Nelson

Friday 26th November — Yonder, Queenstown

Sunday 28th November — The Loons, Christchurch

Friday 3rd December — TSB Theatre Royal, New Plymouth*

Sunday 5th December – Totara Street, Tauranga*

Wednesday 8th December — Meow, Wellington*

Sunday 19th December— Hollywood Theatre, Auckland

Tickets on sale HERE via UTR

*Tickets available via holliesmith.co.nz


Annabel Kean: Firstly, what a gorgeous album you’ve created. It’s been a little while between solo records — what sparked you to start writing it?

Hollie Smith: I started writing before the last album Water Or Gold released! It wasn’t a conscious break from music by any means, I’m just getting good at procrastination! I was doing lots of shows, tours and collabs etc and to be honest between that, procrastinating, being a bit lazy, life and enter Covid, 5 years flashes by!

If each of your albums were a different family member, who would Coming In From The Dark be to you?

Good question! Im not sure if should relate it to my family specific cause mine are all nuts! First thing to mind is the calm uncle, a deep thinker but always has a friendly smile and shiny eyes. Likes good conversation over a glass of wine.

Which tracks evolved the most over the writing and recording process?

With the addition of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, it changed the overall production aesthetic really. Even though they’re just on the three songs, I wanted to create some continuity throughout the whole album. Using strings and featured artists has changed the dynamic of my writing and production style. They’ve added a different tone and texture.


How did you choose who to collaborate with on this album? How did you link up with Raiza Biza, Teeks, Sol3 Mio, and the NZ Symphony Orchestra?

Very proud to say the the NZSO approached me after seeing me arranging some strings on a social media post! So was pretty amazing to see it come together with them. Teeks and I have worked together in the past and I adore his voice, so essentially just squeezed him in where I thought would work! When ‘What About’ was first "finished" I just thought it was missing something, I love Raiza’s flow & sent it through to see if he would dig. He did. Was stoked! Lastly Sol3 Mio – the final track is called ‘YOU’ and although some people might miss their parts (background vocals) I just wanted their big man voices on the outro, it’s like a medieval orgy mashup. It’s great.

How on earth did you write songs with an orchestra??? That’s too many people to jam on a track with.

Well I would love to say I have got to the point of writing symphonies, but alas. I had the songs established and came up with loose melodic ideas and from then I was incredibly lucky to have a friend and colleague Jeremy Mayall come on board to take on the mammoth task of arranging the orchestra parts to fit. He did so amazing. He also did the subsequent string quartet arrangements which I linked throughout some of the rest of album also.


I saw you posting about hearing yourself on hold music. How do you personally measure success? What will it take for you to feel like Coming In From The Dark is a "success" – or do you feel it already is?

Depends. Really cliché sounding but success is relevant to where you place it. I think it is a great piece of work which is a success. To see it as successful outside of that? I hope that people enjoy it, that they can relate to it & they listen and not push skip!
Success as a musician is a very ‘Chasing the Dragon’ situation.

Do you have a favourite song on Coming In From The Dark at the moment?

I can’t choose between by children, they are all equally beautiful and ugly. To be honest I haven’t listened for a while. It will change again then.

I love your openness and authenticity on social media. Do you enjoy that side of being an artist? I know some musicians find it really hard.

Nope. Super hard. I’ve been pretty lucky to be fair, in that I haven’t been attacked severely over anything, but then I am also super careful to avoid the topics where it can get ugly. I might tip toe around but I just don’t have the energy for the hate and it’s a crazy time — I understand the complexities of the subjects but I ain’t gonna ironically use Facebook as the soapbox.

Hollie Smith’s fourth solo album ‘Coming In From The Dark’ is out now on marbled green vinyl, CD, and streaming services.

Linksholliesmith.co.nz/

Georgia Lines Shares Single Video Call Me By My Name

Annabel Kean / Friday 23rd July, 2021 9:00AM

  
  

Fast flourishing Tauranga songwriter Georgia Lines has gifted us new song ‘Call Me By My Name’ along with a skew-whiff self-directed video ahead of her single release show this Saturday. Off the back of sold out double header shows with LAIIKA, performing at Ria Hall’s Tuawahine concert, and just weeks out from embarking on Deva Mahal’s countrywide Kinship tour, Georgia Lines is holding her 2021 winning streak steady with slick beats and clever lyricism on ‘Call Me By My Name’. Directed by Georgia Lines’ "inner bossy 12 year old self" and made with support from NZ On Air, the video grew from catching candid behind the scenes moments during a photoshoot, and Georgia was inspired to wade into icy cold waters and splice together each tableau. Somewhere in her busy schedule she squeezed in a quick email interview with yours truly — scroll down for video shoot fun facts, Tauranga secret spots and more…

Georgia Lines

Saturday 24th July — Anthology Lounge, Auckland w/ Tijay, Brody Leigh

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Deva Mahal ‘Kinship’ Tour w/ Georgia Lines

Saturday 7th August – Loons, Lyttelton*

Sunday 8th August – The Shelter, Selwyn District

Thursday 12th August – San Fran, Wellington*

Friday 20th August – Totara St, Mount Maunganui

Saturday 21st August – The Hollywood Avondale, Auckland*
Friday 27th August – Black Barn, Havelock North*

Sunday 29th August – Sherwood, Queenstown*

*Tickets available HERE via UTR


Annabel Kean: What’s the first song you learnt on guitar?

Georgia Lines: Aside from smoke on the water… the first song I learnt to sing and play that I remember was “You’ve got a friend” by Carol King. My guitar teacher at the time I guess really liked the song and thought I would enjoy playing it. I still remember it now and love the song so much!


Most memorable concert you’ve attended?

As a kid my first concert was a Brooke Fraser show in Hamilton. I think it was one of the most memorable because I was so wide eyed and in awe of her. I also remember buying one of her T-shirts and being so fascinated at how you could make a T-shirt for a certain price and sell it for so much more. I came home from that show as a 12yr old and decided to make my own T-Shirt brand.


Favourite places in Tauranga that no one knows about?

Spongedrop is my favourite café in the mount… and they have the best cheese scones in the world that I always order “heated with jam & butter”. I’m addicted. There is also an amazing sourdough pizza place at the bowling alley in Tauranga called Avenue Pizza. I’m all about the food!

Who are your favourite NZ musicians right now?

Favourite NZ Musicians right now would be Teeks, Merk, Antony Jeffares, and Paige.


How close were you to hypothermia shooting the ‘Call Me By My Name’ video?

The initial plan for the concept was to just be close to the water on the white plinth (which you also see in the video), but the tide wasn’t out far enough to do what we initially had in mind…. Hence why I ended up in the water in the middle of winter. It was so cold, but after a while my legs were numb to how cold it was until a slight wave would come and I would feel how icy the water was again. So I guess you could say.. pretty close to hypothermia.

Linksgeorgialinesmusic.com/

Interview Wax Chattels Clot Album Release Tour

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz / Thursday 17th June, 2021 1:39PM

  
  

Starting this weekend Wax Chattels will be barreling down the country with their sophomore album Clot, crashing through Pōneke, Tāmaki, Ōtepoti and Ōtautahi this month and next. Clot is the trio’s second album in a row to be nominated for a Taite Music Prize, and it created waves through the Aotearoa music scene for its inimitable, electrifying gnarliness and undeniable fury. Co-vocalist and bass feedback wrangler of the band, Amanda Cheng, took a bit of time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of my prying questions. Why will this tour be Wax Chattels’ last for a while? What musical influences lead her to find the hypnotising, noisy factor she adds to the band? What’s the best drink pairing to a Wax Chattels gig? All that and more revealed in the interview below…

Undertheradar proudly presents…

Wax Chattels Clot Album Release Tour


Friday 18th June – San Fran, Wellington w/ Dateline, Soft Plastics*

Friday 25th June – Galatos, Auckland w/ Hans Pucket, Babyteeth

Friday 30th July – Dive, Dunedin*

Saturday 31st July – Wunderbar, Christchurch*


*Tickets on sale HERE via UTR

Annabel Kean: When and how did you get into playing ‘Wax Chattels style’ bass?

Amanda Cheng: I actually played bass with a pick for the first time for Wax Chattels! Prior to that I just played with hands or upright bass at jazz school. In the early 2000s I was obsessed with a bass / drums duo that had DISTORTED BASS driven songs and thought, I will find the right pedal for this one day…

What music were you listening to as a teen?

Pre-teen: Elemeno P

Early teen Yeah Yeah Yeahs, In Flames

Mid teens: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Metric

Late teens: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raveonettes, everything Kim Gordon, The Kills

Very late teens: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Portishead, Wild Nothing, Warpaint, Animal Collective


What sort of music had you written pre-Wax Chattels?

Thankfully, it’s a secret!


Where does the title ‘Clot’ come from?

It was actually the name of one of the songs but we thought it would make a great album title. We didn’t want a titular track, so had to change the song’s name, though. Similar to how we named the band, we wanted something that sounded angular.


How does Wax Chattels choose which bands to play support? And can you tell me yet who the supports are for this tour?

Tomorrow at San Fran we will be joined by female-driven powerhouses Dateline and Soft Plastics. Next week at Galatos we get to play with (one of my favourite musicians, Amelia’s) Babyteeth and bffs Hans Pucket! South Island supports to be announced 😉

We like to play with bands whose music we are into and think would be a good "vibe" fit. If we haven’t seen the bands personally before, we ask around for good live reviews.

These shows will be the last for Wax Chattels for a while. What are the three of you doing after the tour?

Giving each other a hug! Tom will continue to get straight As on the second degree he is currently pursuing at uni. Peter has a little (huge) something something for your ears soon. I will be heading to New York to do a one-year Masters in Law.

Can you please provide a drink pairing suggestion for Wax Chattels gig attendees?

Peter reckons filter coffee (get jittery for the gig, ya know). If you must drink coffee, I reckon a piccolo followed by Live+ followed by a beverage starting with Pil, ending with Ner. Unsure if I would actually drink these in succession.

‘Clot’ is out now via Captured Tracks & Flying Nun Records.

Linksfacebook.com/waxchattels/
waxchattels.bandcamp.com/
instagram.com/waxchattels/

Interview Estre Archetypes Tour of Aotearoa

Annabel Kean / Monday 3rd May, 2021 1:10PM

  
  

Estère has been flat out since releasing her third album Archetypes in January, curating her live performance, navigating tour postponements, and featuring in music videos. In the last two months alone she’s been a part of a few massive line ups; Splore, the Wanaka Festival of Colour, and Pōneke’s always stacked Newtown Festival. With five stops left on the tour to-do list, Estère put aside a slice of her downtime to answer a few questions from myself, so I could check in on how the album tour’s been so far and how the Archetypes release cycle ticking along. Turns out, it’s included hours of icy, underwater sunset shoots, and channelling the onstage Estère persona the audience has seen on every night of her tour. Here are the remaining dates and tickets for the Archetypes tour, with the full Q & A below…


Estère – Archetypes Tour

Wednesday 5th May – DIVE Music Bar, Dunedin *

Thursday 6th May – Wunderbar, Lyttelton*

Friday 7th May – The Plant, Blenheim (all ages)*

Saturday 8th May – East St Café, Nelson*

Sunday 9th May – Roots Bar, Takaka*

Tickets available HERE via UTR


Annabel Kean: How’s the Archetypes tour going so far?

Estère: It’s been a delight. I feel super privileged to be able to do each and every show. The audiences have been so lovely and supportive.

Would you say you have a musical persona? Is there a line between the artist Estère and the person Estère?

Yes there is a big line I think. In real life I’m quite reserved, a bit shy at first – not an extravert. When I perform, I need a ritual — I need to get into a costume, walk onto the stage, access a type of channeled energy that allows for me to transform into a performer that can give a big performance.


What’s your relationship with astrology?

I love astrology! I like how it deals with archetypal personality types. I think it can offer anyone food for thought, regardless of whether they are into it or not.

Can you tell me about the ‘Into The Belly Of Capricorn’ music video? How did you find underwater filming?

It was in Taputeranga Marine Reserve in Pōneke. Paascalino Schaller and I went in with an underwater camera and were in the water at sunset for hours. Anyone that knows that area knows how freeeeezing it is. We were shaking. But dancing in the water like a mermaid spurred me on!

How did you link up with Stew Jackson? Are you a Massive Attack fan?

I met Stew via email, through a mutual friend of ours that I had worked with in Brighton. I love Massive Attack, I love the vibe of their music – they have such a distinctive feeling – it’s so ambient and melancholic, but very street and a real reflection of Bristol.

What is the Pōneke neo-soul community like?

I don’t know if there is a neo-soul community specifically in Pōneke, there are artists that are definitely influenced by neo-soul amidst other genres, and I think it can be quite an innovative scene. Most musicians here know each other and are mates, it’s pretty cool!

How do you feel about potentially touring in Australia and further abroad?

I am a bit of a nomad at heart, I love travelling and going new places — I don’t think I’ve ever felt properly home sick, so the prospect of travel is exciting — I’ll have to see about Australia, I’m still waiting and watching.

‘Archetypes’ is out now on Blue Riot Records / Rough Peel Records.

Linksesteremusic.com/
instagram.com/esterelola/

Bub Unveil Debut Single Video King Of Wands

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 21st April, 2021 1:30PM

  
  

Now the 2021 Taite Prize is done and dusted, it’s time to clear the decks because Tāmaki Makaurau all-stars Bub are coming through. Fronted by Priya Sami (Sami Sisters, Trip Pony, Dateline), Bub’s membership includes Alex Freer (A.C. Freazy, Tiny Ruins), Daniel Barrett (Racing, Sherpa) and UTR’s Annabel Kean (Sports Team) on Cars-style keys, who is no doubt having a much deserved snooze after interviewing local musical celebs on the red carpet last night. Announcing themselves to the world today with their fuzzy and pretty dang catchy debut single ‘King of Wands‘, Bub bring the good times from the get-go while consulting their Tarot pack for guidance through life’s crazy labyrinth of love and heartbreak. Whatever the capricious hand of fate dictates, you’re sure to be bopping along to Bub in no time — tuck into the ace karaoke video for ‘King of Wands’ right here [watch out for that goose Priya!]…

Linksfacebook.com/thatbandbub

Mermgrown Auckland 2021 Second Lineup Announced Interview

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Paige Warton / Monday 8th March, 2021 6:21PM

  
  

The Mermaidens‘ ‘Soft Energy‘ philosophy clearly gets shit done, as the Merms have wrapped up a wildly successful Mermgrown Festival Pōneke, are embarking on an Aotearoa-wide tour this week, and have just announced the second wave of acts for Mermgrown Auckland. Topping up the already dazzling lineup are locally grown talents Louisa Nicklin, Power Nap, LudusCharlie (OPI), DJs Party Dad and Ez Ra, and Pōneke creator Samara Alofa. The festival is on Saturday the 20th of March and is the only way you can say you attended the very first Tāmaki Mermgrown, and a second chance for you dummies who slept on the Wellington edition when it blew minds last month.

Mermaidens songwriter and Mermgrown co-ordinator Gussie Larkin found some time in her hectic schedule to fill us in on how the festival started, throwing shade at Homegrown, and why on earth she wanted to launch not one, but two Mermgrowns in one year. Get up to date with all the Mermaidens goings on below, and scroll down for a full run down from Larkin herself…

Undertheradar proudly presents…

Mermgrown Festival Tāmaki Makaurau 2021

Saturday 20th March – Whammy Bar, Wine Cellar & Backroom

Featuring… Kane Strang (with band), Mermaidens, Leaping Tiger, Phoebe Rings, LEAO, K M T P, Louisa Nicklin, Samara Alofa, Power Nap, Charlie (OPI), Ludus, Party Dad & Ez Ra


Tickets available HERE via UTR

Undertheradar and 100% Good Present…


Mermaidens ‘Soft Energy’ Tour

Thursday 11th March – Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch

Friday 12th March – Dive, Dunedin, Dive

Saturday 13th March – Settler Theatre, Oamaru

Saturday 20th March – Mermgrown Festival, Auckland*

Saturday 3rd April – Napier, Paisley Stage

Tickets on sale HERE via UTR

Annabel Kean: Tell me, how did Mermgrown come to be?

Gussie Larkin: Well, I love music festivals and have found myself working for a few of them over the past couple of years, so I guess it was the combination of wanting to go to a music festival where I got to choose everything that happened, all the bands that played, and also having the experience and confidence with working on bigger events. I was also really inspired by King Gizzard’s festival Gizzfest. Which is a kinda similar model, where they always play and they just bring together all the bands that they really like and it’s just a big one day thing.

What other festivals have you worked on?

I worked for Coastella, that was the first one. Then through the guy who put that on I had a lot of ongoing background work for events that he programmed the music for like Wine And Food Festival and Beers At The Basin, all these wholesome little Wellington festivals, and then leading up to Mermgrown last year I was the festival coordinator for Cuba Dupa. So I was working there and planning Mermgrown at the same time and then they both got cancelled. It was supposed to be one week after another, and that was very hard.

 
So the name’s based off Homegrown right? Is that a bit shady?

Yeah yeah yeah. Coz last year the first one was supposed to be on the same day as Homegrown, and to be honest I just got sick of Homegrown putting on the same lineup every year with less than a handful of women on the line up, so it was a little dig and I wanted to show how you put on a festival with an interesting, balanced line up with local and emerging bands.

That’s great motivation.

I know it’s a stupid name and people are very confused by it, but I kind of love that it’s awkward to say and sounds really dorky, but the story behind it is quite funny. We had so many alternative names, like Merming Man, Mermway, Big Merm Out. We had heaps of fun coming up with these stupid names.

Honestly I don’t think you need to worry about it coz think about the other festivals that exist. There’s a festival called Kiwiburn which goes OFF, and that is not a good name imo.

True! I’ve never thought about it. It’s like band names, they just become invisible. You sort of accept it as reality?

How was the Wellington Mermgrown? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.

I’m sorry for you too because it was really good. There was a stressful lead-up to it and then the actual day was just really chill and we were organised, so it was good.

Have you always been quite an organised person?

Nah I don’t think so. But I’ve become a psycho organised person.

I think that happens to a lot of people as you get a bit older, is you just stop being able to put up with the bullshit of disorganisation.

We had an amazing team. All the people that worked on it were my first picks. My first pick for sound engineer, first pick for person doing merch. I didn’t have to explain too much to them because they were just pros.

How big was the crew?

Including the bands, volunteers, vendors and the crew, I think we had about 70. But the core crew was pretty small, it was mostly the band and Ben Jones who did an amazing job. He was amazing because he did all the jobs everyone hates like getting portaloos and dealing with all the rubbish. He’s just really happy to do it. Love him.

What was the venue like? It was at a bowls club yeah?

It’s amazing. I’d played there with Mermaidens maybe seven years ago at an Eyegum Christmas party and we played inside the club, and I think that was probably the first time I went there and I thought it would be an amazing festival spot, and it’s really close to where we practise in Newtown. I got talking to the guy Glen, who owns the place because I saw that one of the bowling greens was not for bowling and the grass was really munched up and in a bit of a state, and he let us have the stage on that green because it’s not used for bowls.

Oh yeah I was gonna ask if there’d be an issue ruining the beautiful green.

They’ve tried to get it to sprout the proper grass, but it keeps not working. So I’m really hoping they keep it shitty so we can keep using it.

Is there a reason other than the fact you’re living in Auckland now that you wanted to put on an Auckland Mermgrown? Seems like quite an undertaking, going from having the first one cancelled to doing two.

I just love planning parties and gigs and it’s just really fun. We wanted to do something different to make this tour a bit more noticeable and for it not to be completely about us.

Do you have plans to make it even bigger?

Yeah, like I’ve already got 19th of February 2022 pencilled in my diary for the Wellington one next year, and I’d really like to do an outdoor festival in Auckland but I just feel very unfamiliar with what sort of spaces you could do it. And I think you can get away with a lot of stuff in Wellington in terms of noise and sort of DIY events, I don’t know if Aucklanders would be so forgiving.

Someone will read this an go ‘Oh I know a spot!’.

I guess Wellington’s got the cool factor, like Newtown Festival is a community thing and it’s very family friendly but… it’s cool.

For people going to Mermgrown: Auckland Edition, what should they prepare for?

I think people should get really hyped and drink plenty of water. Plan who you’re going to see, I think there’s gonna be clashes. We’re gonna announce double the amount of acts that have already been announced [done today — see above].

I wrote up a Quick Fire Q&A, just to spice things up. This is kind of relevant. But barely. Alright are you ready?

Yep, ready.

Favourite mermaid?

Oh god. I don’t have one. Favourite mermaid… I immediately thought of Ariel but that’s really boring and obvious.

Favourite Spice Girl?

When I was a kid I was always Baby, cos blond, pigtails. But I think Geri’s pretty cool. She’s who I’d wanna be now. Ginger Spice.

Favourite spice?

Smoked paprika.

What is the spice of life?

Having a good sleep.

Have you ever milked a cow?

Yes. Just at Lindale Farm, which is on the Kapiti Coast. It’s a place where you go and buy delicious cheese and also go feed llamas, milk a cow and feed chickens and stuff.

Have you ever ridden a horse?

Yeah. Again, this is some childhood stuff. You have that one friend that’s really into horses and they take you horse-riding for their birthday party.

One last Quick Fire question. In a fight to the death, would you rather be facing a horse or a cow.

Umm. I think cow would be easier. Less aggressive. But still, I hope that circumstance never presents itself to me.

Fingers crossed eh, touch wood.

Cool, that was quite hard. I think that was the most stressful part of the interview.

Linksfacebook.com/mermaidensband/
mermaidens.co.nz
instagram.com/mermaidensband/

Interview Marlon Williams Talks About His New Album With Kacy Clayton NZ Tour

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Janelle Wallace / Friday 11th December, 2020 10:37AM

  
  

Wash the sleep from your eyes and pop the kettle on, Christmas has come early and you’ve got a brand new Marlon Williams album to listen to. Written and recorded in the wild Canadian tundra of Saskatoon, Plastic Bouquet is Williams’ first collaborative album with Saskatchewan locals, folk artists and second cousins Kacy & Clayton. Ten months on from releasing his multi-award winning sophomore album Make Way For Love in 2018, Williams flew thousands of kilometres from a dry Ōtautahi summer to a sprawling white, negative 25° C landscape. The three hunkered down and each brought their own half-formed, home-spun songs to the table, with Williams drawing from sketches begun as far back as 2016, and tying in “the Māori strum in a pretty big way” to songs like ‘I Wonder Why’. In between announcing *checks notes* twenty eight New Zealand shows for 2021, I managed to get the Lyttelton dreamboat on the line while he dipped in and out of reception, and he dished on his Spotify Wrapped, canine actors, and Sardinian dreams. Crack those eyes open as wide as they’ll go to get your lids around this mammoth tour, listen to the wistful folk of Plastic Bouquet, and please enjoy my conversation with Marlon Williams…

Undertheradar proudly presents…

An Evening With Marlon Williams

Thursday 25th February – James Hay Theatre, Christchurch*

Friday 26th February – James Hay Theatre, Christchurch* SOLD OUT

Saturday 27th February – James Hay Theatre, Christchurch* SOLD OUT

Tuesday 2nd March – Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin∞

Wednesday 3rd March – Oamaru Opera House, Oamaru∞

Friday 5th March – Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin∞ SOLD OUT

Saturday 6th March – Civic Theatre, Invercargill*

Sunday 7th March – Athenaeuem Hall, Arrowtown△

Monday 8th March – Athenaeuem Hall, Arrowtown△ SOLD OUT

Wednesday 10th March – Regent Theatre, Greymouth^

Thursday 11th March – Theatre Royal, Nelson△ SOLD OUT

Friday 12th March – Theatre Royal, Nelson△ SOLD OUT

Sunday 14th March – Opera House, Wellington∞ SOLD OUT

Monday 15th March – Whanganui Opera House, Whanganui*

Tuesday 16th March – TSB Theatre Royal, New Plymouth*

Thursday 18th March – Municipal Theatre, Napier* VENUE CHANGE

Friday 19th March – War Memorial Theatre, Gisborne*

Saturday 20th March – Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga*

Sunday 21st March – Leigh Sawmill, Leigh∞ SOLD OUT

Tuesday 23rd March – Concert Chamber at the Town Hall, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Wednesday 24th March – Concert Chamber at the Town Hall, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Thursday 25th March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Friday 26th March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Saturday 27th March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Sunday 28th March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞ SOLD OUT

Tuesday 30th March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞

Wednesday 31st March – The Hollywood Cinema, Auckland∞

Saturday 3rd April – Opera House, Wellington∞

All shows reserve seating, except for the new Leigh show which is standing GA. All shows all ages.

Tickets available via www.ticketek.co.nz*

Tickets available via www.ticketmaster.co.nz

Tickets available via www.eventfinda.co.nz

Greymouth tickets available at venue^


Annabel Kean: Hi Marlon!

Marlon Williams: Hey Annabel, how you going?

Good! How are you?

I’m pretty good. Just trying to find a not windy spot. I’m living in Diamond Harbour now and I have to go walking to find reception, but where there’s reception there’s a lot of wind. But I’m hiding behind a tree now.

How’s your day going?

Good. I only woke up half an hour ago, had a late night. Went to Wunderbar and had a jam at Al Park’s jam night. How are you?

I’m good. I’m highly caffeinated, I’ve had two coffees.

Same. I’ve had two too.


In half an hour?

Oh yeah, a double. Well I had to go chat to you so I have to wake up in a hurry.

Thank you. I actually made the enormous mistake of listening to your Kim Hill interview this morning, and now I feel like I have to do better than that.

[laughs] She didn’t come at me very hard, for a Kim Hill interview it was pretty gentle.

One thing I can’t believe she didn’t ask was, who’s your favourite: Kacy or Clayton?

I can’t believe she didn’t ask that either. If I’m at the end of the world and aliens come and they request a guitar player then I’m giving them Clayton. But if they’re requesting a wonderful singer then I’m giving them Kacy. That’s the most diplomatic answer I’m going to give you for that.

I think that’s totally fair. Great answer. Have you done your Spotify Wrap Up?

I have! Well, my number one artist is the Brothers Grimm, because I listen to fairy tales when I fall asleep. That was number one, and I think number two was St Joseph’s Māori Girls College. Bit random, but there you go. Then it might be Kanye third I think.

I watched your ‘Minds Walking Out’ video. Who’d you make that with?

It was Zac Beckett-Knight. I went to him and said we need to make a dog video. We’d been talking about it for a while, so I just wrote up a little Lady And The Tramp story. We didn’t have the budget to get proper acting dogs, so we just used his dogs. They did pretty well considering. But we shot about eight hours of footage for a two and a half minute video. So Zac did a lot of editing on that one. That’s where the work was.

It looks pretty magic. You watch it thinking ‘wow how’d they get the dog to do that!’ but actually you just filmed the dog for ages until it did something.

Exactly. Eventually. What do they say? If you leave a monkey alone for an eternity with a typewriter he’ll write all of Shakespeare. It’s the same vibe with the video.

I think someone actually tested that out. Left a typewriter in a monkey enclosure and they ended up doing just nothing at all, barely even touching it.

You gotta lead them to it, you gotta make them want to write.

Gotta inspire them.

Yeah. That’s a really tricky problem that we’re gonna have to sort out as the human race in the next wee while. How to get our monkeys properly making art.

Did you try to get the dogs to eat a spaghetti at the same time?

No! Na we didn’t go for that obvious a reference. We thought about it but — I think we just forgot and ran out of time.

How did you split up the songwriting with Kacy and Clayton?

We just sort of privately worked away and squirrelled away at songs, and then we’d throw them to each other, pretty much in a rough shape. Then normally the other person would be like ‘okay that’s done, that’s a cool song’, because they’re Canadian and I’m a Kiwi so we’re like ‘Yep that’s great! Yep’. We were just upping each other’s work. They had written a couple more songs than I had so I had to go into my back catalogue and find ‘Arahura’ and songs like that that I wrote a while ago to make up the numbers.


How long’s a while ago?

‘Anahura’ I wrote in early 2016 I think. Far out that’s four years ago. Jesus.

Did you just play guitar?

I did a little bit of guitar, I wanted to bring a bit of the Pacific vibes, like on our first single ‘I Wonder Why’ I locked into the Māori strum in a pretty big way. There were little moments where I wanted to put my imprint on it. But largely I wanted to explore what they were doing with their band and sort of go into their world. And just sing my bits.

What was it like there? In Saskatoon.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Saskatoon’s the city and Saskatchewan’s the province. It was minus 25 degrees and like an empty tundra. It was one of the most shocking transformations of weather I’ve done. I’d come from super hot Christchurch in early December, it was about now actually two years ago I went over there, and it was just absolutely freezing. There was just so much space. Empty, white space.


Scary.

Yeah, I used to be scared of those ads for the Antarctic Centre on television. I used to have to hide my eyes because I was scared of the emptiness. It reminded me of that.

Did you ever go to the Antarctic Centre? Did that prepare you?

Oh yeah, that sort of did. I loved the blizzard room, the blizzard room I was into. However, you know how there’s that awesome wind machine in the blizzard room? They didn’t have one of those. Well, they did, but it was just the wind. Just actual wind.


Did you get quite homesick?

Yeah sort of! It sort of just turned into a weird sort of dream state for me. I had to suspend belief, and live in that world to be able to be not too deranged by it. And when I got home it felt like I’d woken up from a really bizarre and lucid dream.

Have you been playing any of the Plastic Bouquet songs live?

Yeah, well, I’m pretty limited with what I can do without them, especially as I said, I didn’t do a lot of the instrumentation on the album. There’s a few moments. I’m trying to figure out different ways of presenting it, without just sounding like an idiot. When I go on tour in February / March there’ll be some moments for sure.

So what’s the deal with all of these shows? It’s just silly. Did you genuinely not think that they’d all sell out?

Well, we weren’t sure. These are bizarre times and because we’re doing little theatre shows, and we always wanted, if it got to that point, to be able to do a whole run of Auckland shows, and do like an old school residency type thing. The way the show is going to play out and the vibe we want, it just made sense to do smaller rooms. So it looks pretty silly on paper, but it’s not like I’m playing to thousands of people every night. They’ll be nice intimate shows.

It’s created such a buzz as well. People are like ‘Ah, I didn’t get tickets, maybe there’ll be another drop!’.

Yeah! Just the tension and release. It becomes a game. A capitalist game. Just another Black Friday.

Oh god. The Marlon Williams Black Friday sale.

Tickets here! Everything must go! General admission! Gold seats!

What’s the deal with the Leigh show? You doing something special?

The whole tour’s really going to be quite proper and choreographed, so the Leigh show is to have a show to cleanse the palette, and I’ll get some mates up to play and it’ll just be a far more relaxed affair.

Is it a secret who you’re gonna have playing?

It’s a secret to me still. Yeah, I haven’t jumped on that yet. I’ll find some mates and they’ll be awesome whoever they are.

Now, you’ve been working on a Te Reo album right?

Āe!

Fuck that must be hard.

[laughs] Yeah, it is in some ways. And sort of refreshing in a lot of ways too. I mean, my Reo’s not much chop, but I’m working with an amazing co-writer in Kommi Tamati-Elliffe, who’s got the Reo down wonderfully and he just helps me, and we find our way there. It’s nice having a limited grasp of the language in a lot of ways, because it just simplifies my lyrics. Which is nice. You have to sort of make the metaphors work for you. It’s like a real nice refresh button to work in Māori.

So you’re not translating, you’re starting in Te Reo and finding the words that way?

Trying to as much as possible. Starting with a few key words or a couple of key concepts and then building up from there.

I imagine you could spend more time on the sounds of the words.

Exactly. When you’ve been speaking English your whole life you close off to the sounds of the word. You don’t have the naive, child-like idea of the language anymore. I think you lose something in that.


Okay, last question. Pretending there’s no pandemic, that doesn’t exist. If you could live anywhere in the world outside of New Zealand where would it be?

If I could live anywhere. No pandemic. Uhhhh. Okay, I’ve actually never been here, but I have a real fantasy about going here and learning how to sing the way these people sing, and I’d love to live on the island of Sardinia in Northern Italy. I only know a few people who’ve been there. They do this amazing singing, which is the best singing on the planet. So I would just go there and try to get them to help me learn how to do that.

Marlon Williams’ collaborative album with Kacy & Clayton ‘Plastic Bouquet’ is out now via New West Records.

Linksmarlonwilliams.co.nz/

Interview Glass Vaults Sounds That Sound Like Music Album Release Tour

Annabel Kean / Wednesday 2nd December, 2020 11:43AM

  
  

Polish your dancing shoes, Aotearoa’s favourite ‘Flat White Boys’ Glass Vaults are taking their new LP Sounds That Sound Like Music on tour this month, and they’re on a mission to make your feet move. This is the third studio album from Glass Vaults crew Richard Larsen (aka Richard Dada), Bevan Smith (aka Introverted Dancefloor) and Rowan Pierce, and they’ve cranked up the tempo and maxed out the melodies — in collaboration with friends including Borrowed csInstant Fantasy and Charlotte Forrester of Womb. It makes a lot of sense when Larsen says they’ve "mostly been listening to 70s/ 80s post-punk, new-wave and post-disco bangers", and have even been working on "a banger of a Carly Simon" cover as a special tour treat. All this and more in the below interview with Larsen, who lifts the lid on the disaster-turned-success of the Sounds That Sound Like Music cover shoot, and what sparked their foray into viral TikTok dances. Scroll down for the hot goss, and get the low down on the tour here…


UTR proudly presents…

Glass Vaults – Sounds That Sound Like Music album release tour

Friday 4th December – Space Academy, Christchurch
Saturday 5th December – Dive, Dunedin
Friday 11th December – Meow, Wellington
Saturday 12th December – Whammy, Auckland

Tickets available via Banished Music

Annabel Kean: Kia ora Glass Vaults, long-time no interview! The last was in 2010. I guess this is the 10 year anniversary. Happy anniversary!

Richard Larsen: Hey Annabel! Great to catch up a decade later!… Where has the time gone?

In that interview we asked you what was the best concert you’d ever been to and Richard listed Bright Eyes, The Polyphonic Spree, Seth Frightening and Ragamuffin Children. Any updates on that?

Cuuuute! That Polyphonic Spree show at the 2004 Big Day Out was amazing, I still think about it a lot. I was lucky enough to catch The Flaming Lips in Berlin a few years ago which was also incredible, with a similarly outrageous production! But also, take me back to Camp A Low Hum and Puppies… nothing compares!

Who are your current favourite pop musicians?

Phoaaarrr, hard question. In terms of New Zealand "pop" music, I’m really into what Chelsea Jade is doing. She’s an incredible songwriter, artist and performer. Her album Personal Best is jammed full of pop bangers and the Personal Best tour was BEYOND!

Not exactly pop music but, M T Hadley has been a favourite of mine for the past couple of years. His off-kilter ballads are beautifully pessimistic. Other than that, we’ve mostly been listening to 70s / 80s post-punk, new-wave and post-disco bangers.

The album title ‘Sounds That Sounds Like Music’ could be philosophical, funny, or self-deprecating. Does it sit in any or all of those categories?

All of the above! It should be taken with a sideways smile and a healthy amount of self-deprecation.

Can you tell me about the photoshoot for the album cover? Did you guys get to play with the helium after?

Ha! Yeah, so Rowan designed that one. The golden letter balloons spell out the album title, Sounds That Sound Like Music, and we’d hoped that we could suspend them in space to read that way. In reality they floated around awkwardly… But in the end we’re really happy with the vibe of it, and it kinda suits the surreal / self- deprecation nature of it.

Whose idea was it to have a viral dance video for the ‘Oils and Perfume’ video?

Bevan and myself had become really curious about the resurgence of dance culture among teenagers, with the rise of Tiktok and Fortnite, which we witnessed as both of us work with children in our day jobs. Cultural movements and phenomena are really interesting to us. We’d written the song ‘Oils and Perfume’ as a kind of action song / ode to the Macarena in which the lyrics would direct and provoke a dance.

Rowan works as a performance designer, mostly in the realms of contemporary dance so contacted Melissa Sripromma a friend, choreographer and Tiktok-er who choreographed the dance for us during the first lock-down. We then sent her dance, which she filmed on her cell phone, to a bunch of dancer friends (both professional and DIY) to learn, and film it on their cellphones from within their bubble. These were then edited together to form the music video. It was a really joyous way of connecting during a super isolating/ weird time.


Does the band have any connections to Taupō and Arthur’s Pass before recording in those places? I have very fond memories of snowy train rides to Arthur’s Pass and freezing dips in Taupō.

Not specifically, other than going on holiday there as kids. More importantly we were just looking for neutral spaces, away from the routines of everyday life that we could set up and dedicate to writing and recording. Being away and isolated for a number of days was a really important aspect of the process, and meant we could dive deep into the project without the distractions of everyday life. The Taupō lake house came courtesy of my uncle who owned a great old A-frame house by the lake. The Arthur’s Pass cabin came courtesy of the wonderful Jessie Shanks (The Eastern). Both wonderful places which we are now connected to. We’re always on the lookout for retreat spots to make music…hint hint 😉

What tour rituals or traditions do Glass Vaults have?

When we’re together on tour or in the "studio" we enjoy daily flat white coffees and breakfast muffins. We love them so much we wrote a song about it called ‘Flat White Boy’.

Got any fun treats for the tour? Surprise guests, wacky covers?

We do have some surprise guests joining us on stage, and a much humbler version of the Polyphonic Spree / Flaming Lips style stage production which we love so much. We’ve also been learning a banger of a Carly Simon tune too. It’s going to be a wild party!

Whose ears are on that ears t-shirt?

I drew them!

‘Sounds That Sound Like Music’ is out now digitally and on vinyl LP.

Linksfacebook.com/glassvaults/
tiktok.com/@glass_vaults

Interview Anna Coddington Chats About New Album Beams

Annabel Kean / Tuesday 24th November, 2020 2:06PM

  
  

The stunning Anna Coddington has her fourth studio album Beams out in full this Friday, which will mark the third of three massive achievements in just seven days: an album drop, a full marathon, and an exclusive interview with UTR. Coddington kindly chatted to us about the imminent release, as well as the strong themes of motherhood that emerged as the Māori songwriter compiled four years worth of material since album Luck/Time in 2016. As someone who was apparently "actually a lazy kid", she’s also begun something of a tradition of huge, physical challenges coinciding with each collection, from earning her black belt in karate, to literally giving birth. Get to know Anna Coddington a little better below…


Annabel Kean: There’s this gorgeous lyric in the first song on Beams that goes "I’m not a god, I’m just your mother". Did you always expect you’d one day write an album with these themes of motherhood running through it?

Anna Coddington: I never expected that. What happened with this album is that I stepped back one day to take an overview of what songs I had written in the 4 years since my last album and motherhood emerged as the thread throughout them. Even through songs which I didn’t originally conceive of as having any connection to being a mum. Like Pirouette which is about my climate anxiety- but that anxiety really is for my children and their children. Or Night Class which is about learning te reo Māori at kura pō, but really I’m doing that because my kids are in Māori medium education. And I think that lyric you picked out sums up a lot of what’s behind some of these songs. It’s like the ultimate imposter syndrome — I want to be a good mother more than anything else and it’s easy to fall short of your own expectations with anything but with something like parenting it can be a real time.


What do your kids think of you being a famous musician?

They don’t think I’m famous. I also don’t think I’m famous. I’m not famous lol. They were in the video for the song Stay which I was part of over lock down and I think my eldest got some props for that? But they tell me to stop every time I start singing. Every. Time.


Tell me about the album title ‘Beams’. Beams of light? Building beams?

Honestly I don’t like naming albums. I’m always so focused on making the music then I come out the other end of that and have to get into a totally different headspace to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s of releasing an album- titles, art, videos, bios, promo and all that. I was going to call it Do I Exist? but then thought that was a bit too heavy and up it’s own arse for an album that, although it’s sometimes on the heavier side kaupapa-wise, is actually quite an enjoyable listen. So Beams felt like it could represent all of the things here. Light, buildings, thoughts, wairua, energy, what have you. Once I settled on it it felt right. I often conceptualise things in terms of connections or relationships and think of lines between people and things- like a whakapapa chart or something. So those connections are like beams too, and there’s some kind of beam that runs through these songs.

What’s something you’ve learnt through this album process that you wish you’d figured out in the past?

I think making this album has been a time of intense personal growth for me, so most of the things I learned in the process that I wish I’d figured out earlier are to do with that- that I can just be who I am and not care what people think. Be a woman in a room full of men, be a Māori in a room full of Pākeha, be a 39 year old mum in a room full of young, carefree musicians and be ok with those aspects of myself. I’ve been those things many times in my life and it’s only now I can see how it has at times made me tailor myself to suit a situation and blend in more for whatever reason. Now I don’t think about that stuff really. But again a lot of that comes back to parenting — when you’re a working mum you quickly run out of time to think about what someone else is thinking about you.

So, you’re running a marathon and releasing an album in the space of one week. Have you always had this drive? Where’s that come from?

I was actually a lazy kid. I never did any sports. I’m still lazy in my heart but exercise is so important for me. It’s a mental health thing and I didn’t really realise that until recently. Before running it was karate. The year I made my first album I did my black belt grading and the year I made my second album I did my second dan. Having a big physical goal when I have a big creative goal seems like a conflict and I didn’t plan it to go like that, but what I realise now is the big physical goal keeps me moving forward in all aspects of my life. Training for that marathon has felt like the thing that’s held this crazy year together for me. If I felt shit about music or lockdown or anything else, eventually I’d have to go for a run no matter how I felt and it gets me out of my mind and into my body and the real world. But I still have a moment of the lazy kid in my heart going "do I haaaave to?" before every run. Before I committed to the marathon I was trying out being relaxed and just go running when I felt like it. I run with my bass player Mike and we call this "soul running" lol. But I ended up feeling unmotivated and bored of irregular short runs so somehow I decided the answer to that was running a marathon. My friend Anika entered the half marathon and that’s what inspired me really because she wasn’t a runner before that. So I said I’d go with her and do the full and it would be a big challenge for both of us and jesus was it ever.

(In case anyone wonders about my third album — I had a baby at the end of making that which I count as a big physical goal).

By the time you read these you’ll have probably done the big run. What on earth goes through your head while you run 42kms???

I did it! My legs hurt and I’m tired but I feel great. Podcasts are the key. Podcasts about interesting things and then I had a playlist of power tunes for the last 10km. My band have been segueing into Rage Against The Machine songs at our rehearsals for lols so there was some of that on there and other standard bangers like WAP, Savage, etc. They really helped but in my head there was definitely a lot of chat about pace- "don’t go too fast" at the start, and "pick it up" at the end. A lot of scenery appreciation. But I think the reason I love running is because of the not-thinking thinking mind-state it induces. I know I thought a lot of thoughts but I can’t remember what they were- it’s like subconscious stuff. It’s important and helpful but it happens without your active involvement.

Have you delved into writing children’s music at all? Is that something you’d like to do?

I did a couple of songs for a kids TV show a while back (before I had kids) but other than that not really. I have lots of musical projects on the go at any given time but children’s music hasn’t appealed to me so far. I think because I do lots of kid stuff with my kids and it’s not what I feel like doing when I finally get to go into my studio to make music. Also my kids have never been big into kids music like The Wiggles and that. I don’t think I liked it as a kid either. They’ve enjoyed a few of Aunty Neeka’s (Anika Moa’s) songs over the years- her kids albums are brilliant- but it’s not for me at this stage. Never say never though!

Anna Coddington’s album ‘Beams’ is out Friday 27th November via Loop Recordings.

Linksfacebook.com/AnnaCoddingtonMusic/
annacoddington.com/

Interview Alien Weaponry Level One Tour

Annabel Kean / Wednesday 18th November, 2020 11:12AM

  
  

Brain-blasting Waipu trio Alien Weaponry take their killer brand of Te Reo heavy metal on the road this month and next, celebrating the rare privilege of Aotearoa’s Level One lifestyle. Recent additions to the same management roster as Slayer and Gojira (RSE Group), siblings Henry and Lewis de Jong and new bassist Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds haven’t quit soaring since dropping their award winning debut album in 2018. Rightly saving his voice for the tour, vocalist Lewis de Jong joined me for a chat via email and dished the goss on all things Alien Weaponry in 2020. Wander down the page for the interview, and wrap your eyes around the full tour run down here…


UTR proudly presents…

Alien Weaponry – Level One Tour

Friday 20th November – Totara St, Tauranga

Saturday 21st November – The Factory, Hamilton

Friday 27th November – Ngaio Marsh Theatre, Christchurch

Saturday 28th November – Starters Bar, Dunedin

Thursday 3rd December – San Fran, Wellington

Saturday 5th December – Powerstation, Auckland (all ages)

Tickets on sale now via alienweaponry.com

Annabel Kean: So cool that you recently performed at the Auckland Town Hall. How did you find playing your music in such a big venue? It can be pretty echoey in there.

Lewis de Jong: The Auckland Town Hall is one of the venues I’ve always loved. I went there for a couple of shows as a kid and always imagined myself playing on that stage so it was a surreal experience being able to play there. It is such a beautiful venue and the huge pipe organ looked awesome in the background of us playing. As for the echoes, well our FoH guy Hammerhead always makes us sound good.

 

Awesome cover of Troy Kingi’s ‘Mighty Invader’. Can you talk me through your process for that? Did you try out any other versions?

When we first started working on the song, we tried to find something that worked well without sounding the same as the original or just forced. Eventually we decided to take a different approach by using an already existing song of ours and working it into Troy Kingi’s Mighty Invader. It worked better than we could’ve expected.

What have you been up to during lockdowns?

I watched all of the last Air Bender with my partner Lexi, attempted to play saxophone, got my dreadlocks done, went skating almost every day.

What’s it like working with management who are based all the way in LA? Has it changed the culture of the band?

It’s been pretty smooth so far. We have still been doing what we are doing, writing the album and being Kiwis. Our new management doesn’t want to change the culture of the band, they like us the way we are, and I think that’s one of the things that made them want to take us on, because our culture – both Māori and NZ – is a bit different and unique. We won’t really be able to truly gauge the impact of the new management until we are able to tour overseas again, but wherever we are in the world, we have always aimed to be 100% professional, so nothing has changed in that respect.


Was this the first year you were all old enough to vote? How did you find that process? Reckon you’ll be writing any songs about the new government?

This is the first year that I have been able to vote. Henry my brother is two years older than me, so he was eligible to vote but there were no elections, so it was his first time voting too. As far as new songs go, we don’t know at this point what we are going to write about next, so you will have to wait and find out.

How have you found transitioning into life at level one? Do you have any fears around travelling?

It’s been great going back into level one, as I turned 18 during lockdown and didn’t get the chance to celebrate, so it’s nice to be able to go out with my friends. I feel pretty safe in New Zealand, but would definitely feel a little nervous if we were to go overseas right now.

I see you’ve already got a bunch of festivals lined up for next year. What are you looking forward to out of those? Which bands are you most excited to see and why?

I’m really looking forward to Nova Rock and seeing System of a Down, Killswitch Engage and Jinjer. Really excited to see Gojira at Mystic Festival. Also looking forward to seeing Metallica and Mastodon at Aftershock Festival. Most of these bands I’ve seen live before and they have been really good, but I’m especially excited to see Metallica and Killswitch Engage as I’ve never seen them live before.

Linksalienweaponry.com/

Interview Marlins Dreaming Talk Dunedin Life Releasing Music During Lockdown

Annabel Kean / Thursday 22nd October, 2020 1:33PM

  
  

Ōtepoti crew Marlin’s Dreaming have had a bit of a wild ride the last two years, with band members going every which way, albums delayed, huge tours done and dusted, and new sounds discovered. Getting their start with New Band Jackpot, they found themselves featured on a handful of popular Spotify playlists, and have since played support for the likes of Kirin J Callinan, The Chills and Ocean Alley. Earlier this year the band managed to squeezed in a massive New Zealand wide tour before frontman Semisi Maiai jetted off overseas for a no-plans Europe trip, which didn’t last too long before he ditched his car and returned home to Aotearoa lockdown.

In April, Marlin’s Dreaming pushed ahead rolling out their latest album Quotodian on a gut feeling Covid wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. Seventh months on the group have four out of five album release shows done, with the big finale this Friday as part of the Elemental Nights concert series, with support from new Tāmaki Makaurau favourites Phoebe Rings. Maiai took a break from latte art and fluffies to chat about Marlin’s Dreaming’s year so far, his miserable Auckland stint, and the parking fines he’s got stacking up somewhere in Amsterdam…

Elemental Nights & Elemental Nights: Hopetoun Alpha Series

Friday 23rd October – Marlin’s Dreaming, Hopetoun Alpha

Friday 23rd October – Avantdale Bowling Club, Hollywood Avondale

Saturday 24th October – Troy Kingi & The Clutch, Hollywood Avondale

Friday 30th October – Friendly Potential : Catacombs, Wintergarden

Saturday 31St October – Friendly Potential: Catacombs, Wintergarden

Elemental Nights tickets via Live Nation

Annabel Kean: Kia ora, it’s Annabel.

Semisi Maiai: Hey!

How you doing?

Pretty good, just on a break at work.

Okay, I’ll try to keep this snappy [SPOILER: I did not keep it snappy]. Where do you work?

In Dunedin at a cafe doing coffees.

For some reason I thought you’d moved up to Auckland.

I did! Last year I was living in Auckland. Yeah, but I moved back down. I actually went away to Europe, then everywhere started shutting down, and I was like, there’s not much else I can do. My family’s from Dunedin so I just came back.

I think that was probably a good choice.

Yeah. Heaps of people are going back to their OG homes which is quite funny.

Fair enough! How was your weekend? Did you get to go to The Beths?

No, well, my dad went, but I didn’t go. I probably could have gone, but that was the same night as election night eh? I was at an election party watching the live results come in. It was actually the day after we’d done two back-to-back shows in Wellington and I was pretty knackered, don’t know if I could have done another gig.

I was thinking that. You were in Wellington, then back to Dunedin, and then you’re going back up to Auckland for this Elemental Nights show.

I’ve gotta do like 25 hours at the cafe between it so, a bit of flying. Not the most environmentally friendly option.

You kind of don’t really get given a choice. But yeah, that sucks. Will you just be busy working this week, or resting?

Working this week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, then we go up on Thursday. Then we run through a rehearsal up there, then play the show on Friday then boost to Tauranga and play a little mini vegan festival [Vegan Vibes 2020] there. Then come back to Dunedin after that.

You grew up in Dunedin yeah? Did the whole band grow up there?

When we recorded our recent album we had this guy called Leith Towers (Charlie Freak), who’s from Auckland, in the band, but he had to say his goodbyes because he’s studying a pretty intense degree and he couldn’t commit to moving to Dunedin where we are, or coming down every other weekend to practise. We’ve got a new guy called De Stevens, he was living in Christchurch and he’s moved to Dunedin, living with the drummer Hamish Morgan. It’s been cool. De’s from Dunedin too funnily enough, I didn’t actually know him before this but we were the same age going through school and stuff.

That’s bizarre that you both grew up in Dunedin and don’t know each other.

I know! It’s random.

How much does growing up in Dunedin and living there play into your music?

I dunno, I think a decent amount. I’d like to think that no matter where I am it’s more about — it’s definitely an influence wherever I am, how my songwriting is just changes completely. It’s the architecture, it’s who you’re with at the time, how many different landscapes you’re getting to see. Being by the sea or not being by the sea to be honest is a bit of a thing for me. It sounds pretty cliche but it’s quite different. I feel like being next to the sea, for me it feels like a big open space. As opposed to anywhere else really, if you look out to the horizon it’s endless, it feels less claustrophobic. Whereas living in Auckland last year was really quite claustrophobic feeling in the city. I was living on Karangahape Road and it’d never done that before. That definitely influenced the music a different way as well. I’d say Dunedin does influence, and a lot of the old Dunedin bands as well that I’ve come to listen to. I’m not sure if that’s directly because I’m from Dunedin that I listen to those bands, I think it would have happened anyway. But you can see a certain sound that has evolved in Dunedin and I’d say that in some way can be attributed to the layout of the city and the people who live here and the lifestyle for sure.

I’ve been saying to people the last couple of years that there’s this new ‘Dunedin sound’ that’s come up. There was the old one in the ‘80s, ‘90s, whatever, and now it’s like you guys and Soaked Oats and Mild Orange.

Yeah I agree for sure. I mean, with our mates we kind of came up together as bands playing together, in the same way that an Auckland or Christchurch or Wellington scene comes up with maybe three or four bands, getting some good crowds and being able to inspire each other. That’s definitely happened to us with the likes of Mild Orange and Soaked Oats. I mean, as well as being really influenced by each other we kind of hate the idea of being pigeon-holed into a sound that just sounds like each other. It’s hard to get away from that though. I’m definitely at a point where I can acknowledge that there’s some similar soundscapes and we were hanging out a lot living down here, so it’s undeniable really.

And when people talk about the old ‘Dunedin sound’ and Flying Nun and stuff, they’re linking those bands together but they’re not saying they sound the same. So would you still say there’s this ‘Dunedin-ness’ in Quotodian?

I think so. Last year in particular actually I listened to a lot of Flying Nun stuff, the likes of Shayne Carter and The Verlaines. Bands that have actually really influenced me, especially in my songwriting. So yeah, for sure. With songs like ‘Alike’ on that album I think really pay homage to some of the older bands in Dunedin, as well as probably the UK to be honest. I love a lot of that stuff. I love ‘80s, ‘90s rock’n’roll music.

For sure. And you feel a bit proud of it coming from Dunedin or Christchurch. Have you listened to Dimmer much?

Yeah! That wasn’t a big influence on this recent stuff, but I’ve listened to a lot of Dimmer since I was growing up. And actually the guy, Justyn Pilbrow (Elemeno P.), who mixed Quotidian, he was in Dimmer. So maybe there is some sort of flow on effect.

Was it a bit of a bummer to release your album during lockdown? Did you consider pushing it back?

Well we did delay it. We were gonna release it at the top of the year, but we just had some issues with like — it sounds stupid, but just getting the artwork together and getting the right audio files.

That stuff takes way longer than you think.

And we were touring at the time and it was kind of hard to fit it all in. As soon as we finished touring I was away to Europe. We ended up just doing a slow release, where we released a few singles then the album, but we were thinking about delaying but it got to a point where I just knew in my head that this Covid situation was gonna be a bit of a long haul thing. By the time we released the album, it was very much a thing. Which was completely coincidental that a lot of the album’s themes were centred around an air of despondency through getting stuck in the same cycle, and people being stuck inside for weeks on end. We were probably feeling the same way, similarly detached from the real world. It’s funny how it worked out like that.

Cos you were living in Auckland and feeling very stuck yourself.

You know, songs are whatever people take from them, but for me it was more of a feeling I was writing down in Auckland when I was living in a city apartment. But by the time we actually released it, it was almost a year on from that.

What did you do in Europe?

It was me and my friend, we were just kind of bumming around really. We went over without any purpose at all, we were just like ‘I wanna go to Europe’ and we did it. We bought a car over there in Berlin, and ended up doing a lot of driving, just circling. We drove from Berlin to Belgium, then down to France, then decided we were going to leave for New Zealand all within about four days. Bought a car, drove like 3000 kilometres, all within four or five days. And then left the car parked up in Amsterdam somewhere, and haven’t thought about it since.

Did you just leave it?

Yeah, I’m just thinking about that now and it’s kind of stressful.

If it was going to be an issue surely you would have heard about it by now.

Apparently not eh, they just stack up fines and apparently next time you go over you’ve just got huge fines.

Oh no! Don’t think about it. Just don’t go back.

Exactly. They probably bank on the fact that if someone’s going to buy a car over there, they’ve probably got enough money to go back over again at some point.

You should find someone who’s living there to find it and take a photo.

That actually reminds me… I might write a little note to myself.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Marlin’s Dreaming sort of got their ‘big break’ through being playlisted on popular Spotify playlists, right?

Yeah yeah.


How do you do that? I think there are so many artists at a total loss on how to sell their music, get their music heard, it’s seemingly impossible. What’s your advice?

My advice is just to go hard on emailing everyone you can when you’re releasing music, and don’t think it’s just going to get picked up. Behind all of the Spotify listings that we have is a lot of nights of endless emailing to pretty anyone and everyone who works at Spotify, who works at iTunes, who works anywhere, and we’d hardly ever get replies, but sometimes we do and sometimes it’s great. I mean it’s definitely circumstantial to a lot of different peoples’ situations but for me it was like, ‘I’m just gonna email anyone that I know’, and just try tee up meetings and get to the bottom of how to do it. It’s just emailing and hounding people, hounding reporters to listen to our music, post our music on blogs, people to share it on social media, ya know? We’re definitely a product of a lot of help from friends and from people seeing my emails and being like ‘Okay, I’ll listen to them’, and ‘Okay I’ll chuck it on an editorial playlist’, and we’re just so thankful and stoked that that was able to happen for us so early on.

And of course you’ve got to make good music and have the confidence to push it, then it can work out.

Yeah. I think it’s just luck. A lot of it’s luck. Not with who’s gonna end up listening to your music and really love it and connect with it, and who’s gonna really connect with your live shows, I don’t think that’s luck, but I think there’s definitely some luck that comes down to getting in an editorial playlist on Spotify. It doesn’t seem like there’s any right or wrong way to go about it, it’s a hard one.

Linksfacebook.com/marlinsdreaming/
livenation.co.nz/festival/elemental-nights-tickets

The Bats Unveil Single Video Gone To Ground

Chris Cudby / Friday 16th October, 2020 2:25PM

  
  

Ōtautahi icons The Bats have today shared the third single from their forthcoming tenth studio album Foothills, launching in mid-November via the champs at Flying Nun Records. The assured work of a group that have incredibly spent 38 years making music together, ‘Gone To Ground‘ was written before 2020 sent everyone home for an enforced staycation, yet presciently conveys those all-to-familiar, oceanic feelings of time spent cloistered away. Ever-productive video crew Sports Team, aka Callum Devlin (Hans Pucket) and Annabel Kean (assistant editor of this very website, and daughter of The Bats’ Kaye Woodward and Paul Kean), activate household objects / foodstuffs and channel their inner Hendrix to whip up flaming excellent visuals for the moody single, with a surprise stop motion twist, created with the support of NZ On Air.

Robert Scott opened up about The Bats’ latest song: “Hide and seek, do we want to be found…. maybe not. Many people have gone to ground in these tricky times. A slight sense of unease pervades the song with the spooky strains of an E bow filtering through the trees. You could walk the marshes and go far. It’s funny how you can draw connections between fictitious tales and present day life.”

Co-director Annabel Kean noted: “This is by far the longest we’ve spent on a video. We started about a year ago when we heard an early mix of the song, but the discovery of perpetual motion by way of spinning veges really opened a can of worms. Then it took us three attempts to pluck up the courage to light a guitar on fire.”

‘Foothills’ releases on Friday 13th November via Flying Nun Records, preorders are available now.

Linksthebats.co.nz/
instagram.com/teamsportsteam/

Artisan Awards 2020 Finalists Announced

Chris Cudby / Image: The Beths ‘I’m Not Getting Excited’ video
/ Monday 28th September, 2020 12:15PM

  
  

Celebrating the less visible but no less crucial heroes of Aotearoa’s music community, the finalists have been revealed for the 2020 Artisan Awards, as part of this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards. Keeping safe and sensible during our uncertain Covid-19 era, the awards presentation will be pre-recorded at Massey University’s School of Music and Creative Media Production in Wellington and other key locations around nga motu, and broadcast on THREE at 11pm, Friday 13th November.

Amongst the notable names on this year’s uber-talented shortlist is none other than UTR Assistant Editor Annabel Kean, recognised for her visually dazzling and internationally acclaimed video work with Callum Devlin (as Sports Team) for The Beths. Congratulations to all the finalists — while we keep lobbying for long overdue ‘Best Poster Artwork’ and ‘Best Short News Story’ categories here’s the full rundown of who’s in the running for 2020…

Te Kaiwhakaputa Toa | Massey University Best Producer

Brad Kora – L.A.B III (L.A.B)

CHAII & Frank Keys – Lightswitch (CHAII)

Josh Fountain

Te Kaipukaha Toa | Best Engineer

Lee Prebble – Manawa Wera (Ria Hall)

Lee Prebble & Ara Adams-Tamatea – L.A.B III (L.A.B)

Simon Gooding – Reb Fountain (Reb Fountain)

Te Puoro Ataata Toa | NZ On Air Best Music Video

AnaheraParata – ‘Bunga’ (SWIDT)

Callum Devlin & Annabel Kean – ‘I’m Not Getting Excited’ (The Beths)

Connor Pritchard – ‘All Your Ships Have Sailed’ (Troy Kingi)

Te Toi Ataata Pukaemi Toa | Best Album Artwork

Karin Canzek – Reb Fountain (Reb Fountain)

Lily Paris West – Look Me In The Eye (Mermaidens)

Mike Braid – The Brightest Flame (Jeremy Redmore)

Kaiwhakahaere Puoro o te Tau | Recorded Music NZ Manager of the Year

Dan Woolston (Richmond Music) – Montell2099, MELODOWNZ, SACHI, SmokeyGotBeatz, Trey Bond

Nicole Thomas & Paula Yeoman (NicNak Media Ltd) – Theia, Chores, Paige, Abby Wolfe, & Neko

Paul McKessar (CRS Management) – BENEE

Check out Callum Devlin and Annabel Kean’s mind-melting video for ‘I’m Not Getting Excited’ by The Beths…

Experience AnaheraParata’s groundbreaking video for Swidt’s ‘BUNGA’…

Watch Connor Pritchard’s cinematic clip for Troy Kingi’s ‘All Your Ships Have Sailed’…

Linksaotearoamusicawards.nz/announcing-the-finalists-for-2020-ama-artisan-awards/

Wax Chattels Share Hard Hitting Single Video Cede

Chris Cudby / Ebru Yildiz
/ Thursday 3rd September, 2020 10:21AM

  
  

Impossible to pin down Tāmaki Makaurau trio Wax Chattels hold nothing back on ‘Cede‘, the furious third single revealed from Amanda Cheng, Peter Ruddell (Sulfate) and Tom Leggett‘s hugely anticipated second album Clot. An "indignant confrontation about Cross-Strait relations and self-determination", sung in Cheng’s native language Taiwanese Hokkien as well as English, the singer / bassist also directed the cacophonous single’s discombobulating domestic visuals in collaboration with Annabel Kean (also assistant editor of this website) and Callum Devlin of Sports Team which you can experience below. Viewers are advised the video features strobe effects.

Amanda Cheng opened up about the urgent themes of ‘Cede’: “I am angry. Saying “you don’t know who I am” in Taiwanese Hokkien is to say “you don’t get to tell me who I am”. You don’t just scream like this to put on an album — you scream like this because it’s the only thing you can do.

This song is an affront to the near-silent cultural genocide that’s taking place — the censorship, the militant threats — and the international community’s insistence on practicing diplomacy with economics at the front of mind. If it takes a loud song that’s half in an unfamiliar language for people to ask, “what’s that about?”, then so be it.”

I set out to make a video that was unenjoyable to watch; unhinging a domestic, ‘safe’ setting. To contrast the blunt lyrics, the thematic statements in the video are more subtle — there’s a geopolitical narrative there, but you’ll miss it.”

‘Clot’ is out on Friday 25th September via Captured Tracks & Flying Nun Records, preorders are now available here.

Linksfacebook.com/waxchattels/
instagram.com/teamsportsteam/

Weekly Roundup Friday 21st August

Chris Cudby / Image: Sports Dreams
/ Friday 21st August, 2020 4:38PM

  
  

2020 continues to be a wild one, that’s for sure. While Aucklanders are sequestered at home / going for endless jogs around the block during Alert Level 3, the rest of Aotearoa’s live music community thankfully continues to deliver the goods under somewhat restricted Alert Level 2 conditions. We encourage punters to keep supporting live venues by securing your spot at a seated show – scope out our shorter than usual gig picks below for a snapshot of what’s happening in NZ outside of the super city this weekend.

Looking forward to brighter times ahead – announcement highlights for the weekend included Don McGlashan revealed a five date tour of Aotearoa this spring backed by The Others, an all-star trio featuring Shayne P. Carter, Chris O’Connor and James Duncan, NZ music icon Bic Runga announced a very special run of North Island shows this October and November with her own mega-group feat. Kody Nielson, Michael Logie and Cass Mitchell, and Flying Nun legends The Subliminals will be playing a mid-September headline event at Auckland’s The Wine Cellar following their appearance at The Others Way 2020. Soaked Oats announced their chonkin’ Say Hey And Play Some New Ones nationwide spring tour, Lyttelton dream-pop songwriter Kate Owen revealed fresh dates for her Not A Proper Girl album launch tour, Ōtepoti’s Jack Berry has two stacked North Island shows lined up for September, and veteran indie groovers Cut Off Your Hands are playing a triumphant final pair of headline events this October, celebrating the long-awaited release of their third studio album HLLH (Higher Lows and Lower Highs) in Auckland and Wellington.

One of the weird unforeseen side-effects of Covid-19 has been bots descending upon NZ-based Facebook event listings, offering to sell fake tickets to unsuspecting punters (due to the downturn in live events in other parts of the globe). UTR assistant editor Annabel Kean surveyed the scene and put together a handy guide helping you navigate safely through cyberspace – read our UTR Guide To Avoiding Ticket Scammers right here. This week we also presented a spotlight feature on the fab new album from Pōneke MIDI pop magnate (and Toyota Prius lover) Eyeliner aka Luke Rowell (Disasteradio), who selected and spoke about six images from his virtual ‘mood board’ for Drop Shadow – check out Eyeliner’s Mood Board along with inarguably the world’s greatest promo photo over here.

WEEKEND GIG PICKS:

Friday 21st August

Wellington: Kokoa Nashi – Valhalla

Wellington: King Oyster – Hashigo Zake

Dunedin: FriYAY w/ Joshua Saint Clair, Lara Rose, Kansas & The Rye – Dog With Two Tails

Saturday 22nd August

Hawkes Bay: The Drams w/ Special Guests – Paisley Stage

Hawkes Bay: Alternative Indie Folk Fest – The Urban Winery

Palmerston North: Sports Dreams, Persimmon, Nic Mason, Focus – The Stomach

Wellington: Rumballs Guilliane Barre Support Group Fundraiser – Valhalla

Wellington: Ingrid And The Ministers Album Release – Meow

Wellington: Little Symphony Sax Trio – The Third Eye

Oamaru: Julia Deans – Grainstore Gallery

Dunedin: Kāhu Rōpū, Human Susan, The Fabulists – Dive

Dunedin: Bill Martin Trio – Dog With Two Tails

Head over to our Gig Guide for more listings!!

NEW TRACKS:

Weekly Roundup Friday 31st July

Chris Cudby / Image: Same Name Confusion
/ Friday 31st July, 2020 4:49PM

  
  

It was a breakneck week of significant music news and announcements, including an absolute doozy of a lineup revealed for The Other’s Way 2020, taking over Tāmaki Makaurau’s central city Karangahape Road district this September – find out who’s among the forty plus acts playing at the fourteen venue mega-fest here. More announcement highlights included Aotearoa songwriting superstars Nadia Reid and Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins unveiled a pair of extra double headline ‘Reid & Ruins‘ events for lucky punters in Christchurch and Paekakariki, Nigerian-Kiwi rapper and producer Mazbou Q (fka Unchained XL) is traversing the country with his band for the Icon Status Tour this September, metal festival Impalerfest is bringing the brutality to Miramar’s DVB Brewery also in September, and a second all-star Aaron Tokona Tribute Buzz event has been announced for Mount Maunganui’s Totara Street in October. We also shared the news about an awesome triple venue exhibition named From The Pit, celebrating "the craft and art of live music photography" and taking over the walls of Tāmaki Makaurau creative hub Monster Valley, Christchurch’s Penny Lane Records and Wellington’s Newtown Social Club from September to October.

We were absolutely stoked to feature a freewheeling and candid conversation between kiwi music legend Jordan Luck and plucky Pōneke songwriter / multi-media sensation Finn Johansson. Dive into their epic chinwag here and catch Jordan Luck Band playing all the classic hits of The Exponents plus more in September, October and November. We also had the opportunity to touch base with rising Gisborne teen punks Sit Down in Front, read Annabel Kean‘s chat with singer and frontman Cory Newman over here. Review / photography super duo Ali Nicholls and Connor Crawford took in the sights and sensations of Tāmaki’s Deep Dive Festival 2020 – head over here to read Nicholls’ insightful reflections about the triple venue event and gaze at Crawford’s gallery of images, along with a special bonus review of Chris Knox‘s performance by Daniel Smith.


WEEKEND GIG PICKS:


Friday 31st July

Auckland: Dark Divinity, Graves, Soul Void, Into Orbit – Thirsty Dog

Auckland: Isaac Levi Tucker – Ponsonby Social Club

Auckland: Greg Malcolm, Stefan Neville and Jenny Ward, Jenny and Jade – Audio Foundation

Wellington: Villette + Friends – Parrotdog Bar

Christchurch: Mel Parsons – Cassels Blue Smoke

Dunedin: Same Name Confusion – Starters Bar

Saturday 1st August

Auckland: KITA – Whammy Bar

Auckland: NO SCRUBS: 90s + Early 00s Party – Neck Of The Woods

Napier: You Should Be Dancing – The Cabana

Wellington: Lovers In Monaco, Once You Know, Waterfalls – MOON

Christchurch: Oscar Ladell, Hoot – Wunderbar

Christchurch: Same Name Confusion – Space Academy

Head over to our Gig Guide for more listings!!


NEW TRACKS:

Interview Sit Down In Front Talk Jimmy Barnes Accessibility More

Annabel Kean
/ Thursday 30th July, 2020 11:57AM

  
  

Sit Down In Front are masters of the punk-rock sentiment, big on crunchy guitars and cheeky lyrics. Most recently the teen Gisborne force of four are celebrating a single sitting in the Official NZ Music Charts, and landing themselves NZ On Air funding for ‘Don’t Push The Button’, one of the standout tracks on their latest album Confessions Of A Pie Thief. Between high school, swimming lessons and earning St John Ambulance Cadets badges, singer and frontman Cory Newman is already busy writing new music with his band for a third album. Newman, who uses a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy, generously pulled himself away from a jam session the other day to have a yarn with UTR assistant editor Annabel Kean. They chat touring with Jimmy Barnes, favourite classic bands, and navigating the San Fran stairs with a wheelchair…


Annabel Kean: How was your day? Have you been at school?

Cory Newman: Good! Yeah I have, I came home about an hour ago. Wednesday is our band practice day and they’ve just thrown me out of the practice shed and locked me in another room.

Thank you for taking a break from practice to talk to me.

We were just getting started, but we’re a bit behind schedule anyway today so it doesn’t matter.

How’ve you been returning to playing after lockdown? Were you a bit rusty?

A little bit I guess. We hadn’t done much. Believe it or not, don’t want to sound like a douchebag here, but I’m one of those singers who does listen to his own music.

Haha, I think that’s a good practice!

Yeah, so I wasn’t that rusty because I’d listened to a lot of my own music over lockdown.

How do you balance all the band stuff, practices and writing songs with school? High school is a lot of work.

Yeah it is, it’s not easy. Particularly as I’m getting older it is getting more challenging, but I’ll manage. I’ve got a few other things on the side as well, you know, after school stuff like trips to the pool, St. Johns ambulance cadets in my case.

Oh cool, what do you do for that?

It’s on hold at the moment, but back in its heyday I used to go down to the local ambo base and hang out with some of the other young cadet guys and get badges and stuff. It’s almost like a scout thing.

Do you study music as a subject at school?

Yes I do, this year I have done at least. Last year I got my level one credits, well actually I got them two years ago, by doing it on Fridays during project time and in my lunch hour. I’m in the music room regularly, I’m wasting a lot of my free time in there.

Do you think you’ll study music after high school?

I might do a couple of elective papers, but I’ll probably go down the business degree track actually. But I’ll probably do a couple of music papers if I can fit them in, that might be fun.


Is the idea to learn how to run a successful band? And have the business knowledge for that?

More so I can run my own company you know, life after band, because, you know, it might not always be like this. Of course we’re gonna enjoy it like this while it lasts, but I’m too aware of young bands who never made it out of the pub circuit.

Who are some bands you’re listening to at the moment?

I’m a fairly mixed bag actually. Personal favourites include singers like Jimmy Barnes, who I’ve actually gone on the road with. Before I met him I loved his music. Airbourne, Hoodoo Gurus, The Cockroaches – who you’ve probably never heard of. A fairly mixed bag. I’m also into a lot of older stuff like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and I’ve been an AC/DC fan since I was about 12. I’ve always liked a lot of the older Kiwi performers, you know, we all grew up loving bands like Villainy and Shihad and Alien Weaponry. And I’ve discovered some of the older performers like Johnny Devlin and Max Merritt & The Meteors, both of whom I enjoy listening to.


I was gonna say, Sit Down In Front actually reminds me a bit of Stereogram. Are you a fan of them?

Yeah I like a few of their songs, they’ve got some good ones actually. ‘White Trash‘ is a really good one.


What’s the live music scene like in Gisborne for people under 18 like yourself?

It’s really good in the sense that we’ve got one local venue that’s really looked after us, Smash Palace. Daryl the owner is a really nice guy and he gives us heaps of opportunities and he’s been in our corner pretty much from day one. The only thing is that his license is a little bit limiting, we do have to be out by 10pm. Being under 18 does have its challenges, but it’s still pretty good. As good as you can get for a small town anyway.

That’s great! There are lots of towns where there’s barely the option. I’d be really interested to hear about your experiences with accessibility in New Zealand venues. You’ve toured a bit, what’s that like as someone who uses a wheelchair?

It depends on the venue. When we toured with Jimmy Barnes it was really good, a lot of the venues were really well set up. Spark Arena in Auckland was really well done with their accessibility. I haven’t toured a lot in the South Island so I can’t really speak for that, it was just that one trip to Dunedin and Christchurch with Jimmy Barnes.

Most of the North Island venues we visited had quite good accessibility.

How was it in Christchurch and Dunedin?

Pretty good for the most part, there were a couple of missing ramps but nothing too major. The odd lift up a set of stairs can be managed.

Do you think that the lack of accessibility in smaller venues is a bit of a hurdle for people with disabilities?

Yeah, I think it is. I can’t really speak for a lot of those venues, because we haven’t been to them yet, but a couple that stand out to me there are San Fran in Wellington, they have about three flights of stairs – that was an interesting one! We left the wheelchair at the bottom, a buddy walked me up the stairs and someone would have to follow behind with the chair, and then we had to do it all again at the end of the night. Nivara Lounge was quite similar. Definitely not easy. For some people it can be managed, but for others it can suck. I can imagine if you had a big power wheelchair, which weighs a few hundred kilos, I could see how that could be a real problem.

And not everyone would even feel comfortable being picked up.

The logistics of getting a 200kg piece of steel up the stairs, that too!

Do you have preferred language when talking about disability? For me to think about when I write this out? I know it varies from person to person.

Not really. There’s one thing that annoys me though, is when people try to be too politically correct and refer to it as ‘differently abled’ and stuff, just call it what it is! You don’t have to be too soft about it. But yeah, it’s pretty good with the accessibility, and I realise in a lot of ways we’ve been really lucky, and there’s a lot of places we haven’t visited yet that we don’t know about.

So what’s next for Sit Down In Front? What’s coming up?

Good question. We’ve got some various interviews coming up, radio and possibly TV. We’re going to keep trying to get more gigs and keep it all going, and get back into it after all the disruptions cause by Covid-19. And we’re going to write a few more songs. We’re working on a third album at the moment, just in the very early stages of development.

Will this album be the same kind of sound?

It will probably be very similar to the last two, no distinct style changes or anything.

Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Too soon to tell, we’re still writing most of that one.

For people who haven’t listened to your band before, what song should they start with?

Ohhh that’s a tough one. I would strongly recommend starting with our song ‘Rain’ and also our song ‘How Mean Would It Be’ from our first album. Those are the songs from each album I’d recommend they start with. And then just go from there. It’s good old fashioned punk music and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. If you’re into that sort of stuff, you will love us.

Sit Down In Front’s ‘Confessions Of A Pie Thief’ is out now online.

Linksinstagram.com/sitdowninfrontband/
facebook.com/sitdowninfront/

Weekly Roundup Friday 17th July

Chris Cudby / Image: Giantess
/ Friday 17th July, 2020 4:04PM

  
  

It was all hustle and bustle in the UTR offices, while our editor absconded to Wellington to lark about and Annabel Kean took over the controls as acting editor. This week brought the musical revelation of the Top 20 shortlist of songwriters in the running for 2020’s coveted APRA Silver Scroll Award, whittled down by an all-star judging panel from a longlist of over 200 artists – we’ll keep you posted when finalists are announced.

Announcement highlights included the champs at Flying Out revealed the multi-venue The Others Way festival is returning to take over Tāmaki Makaurau’s Karangahape Road district in September, featuring over forty acts and fourteen venues, including a new all-ages district. Wax Chattels announced their very first post-lockdown live event, a single release party with Na Noise and Memory Foam at Whammy Bar on 24th July, Ōtepoti guitar troupe Mild Orange are playing two massive North Island shows in celebration of their new self-titled album, Julia Deans has an intimate run of South Island headline events lined up for late August and early September, Dunedin guitar-pop crew Marlin’s Dreaming will tour the hazy sounds of their second studio album Quotidian in September and November, Pōneke heavy hitters Spook The Horses are gearing up for a four date nationwide tour in celebration of their new long player Empty Body, and the Home Alone Music team invite you to attend a special End Of Winter Fest this August, featuring Mystery Waitress, Fraser Ross, Mali Mali, Wiri Donna and Lake South.

WEEKEND GIG PICKS:

Friday 17th July

Auckland: Owlpine Presents: Goodspace + Bat Face Girl + Keeley Shade – Wine Cellar

Auckland: Guardian Singles – Whammy Bar

Auckland: Slumbug, Warm Leather and Hagseed – Whammy Backroom

Wellington: Racing: The Flashbacks Tour – Moon1

Wellington: Insomnia II – Valhalla

Christchurch: twominds Project – Vol I – Dux Central

Dunedin: Tim Allen – The Last Bastion Of A Lad Album Release Tour – Dog With Two Tails

Dunedin: The Dead C – Port Chalmers Pioneer Hall

Saturday 18th July

Auckland: Henrique Morales Performs Djavan – Ponsonby Social Club

Auckland: Miss Used, Ripship, Late To Chelsea – Whammy Bar

Auckland: Michael Barker and Finn Scholes – Freida Margolis

Wellington: Tidal Rave, Giantess & Solo Ono – Moon1

Wellington: KITA: Try To Find A Way NZ Tour – San Fran

Wellington:
Yolk Cherry Blossoms and The Moon Album Release w/ Mystery Waitress – Newtown Social Club


Christchurch: The Convincers: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preachers – Wunderbar
 

Head over to our Gig Guide for more listings!!

NEW TRACKS: