Fuzen turns 18!

Fuzen has always, and continues to, played a major role in building, creating and shaping New Zealand’s always evolving music scene. Fuzen currently stands as one of New Zealand’s most successful event promotions and production companies. They bring us our favourite club shows, international artists and their highly hyped (for good reason!) flagship new years festival, Northern Bass.

Incase you’re not clued up, Fuzen Entertainment was developed from the original Fu Bar, Queen Street’s (and later Albert St) DnB hot spot that closed six years ago. The team moved into management after the closure of Fur Bar and Zen, and it seems they haven’t stopped working since. This week marks 18 years of Fuzen, which means a party! Before the party this Sunday, we thought we would take the opportunity to talk to Fuzen director Gareth about the last 18 years; his mistakes, successes, highlights and stories. 

First of all, congrats on 18 years of Fuzen! How does it feel to get to this point?

Thank you! Makes me feel old! haha..It’s strange to think that people that have just turned 18 can now come to our shows, and were just being born when we started!  My 19 year old brother Max has just started coming to Fuzen shows which is pretty cool though! It actually feels great as Fuzen is busier than ever and we’re always setting new challenges/goals for ourselves so never gets boring!

Above: Fuzen's Northern Bass festival

Above: Fuzen's Northern Bass festival

Fuzen is behind a huge amount of New Zealand’s best club shows, international artist tours and of course your flagship new years festival - Northern Bass. If you had to create a highlights reel of the last 18 years, what performances who be on it and why?

Wow that’s a really hard question, how long have you got?? haha..Fu Bar and Zen were open for 12 years altogether and it’s been 6 years since we closed them both, and we have probably done 2000+ shows in that time, so it’s really hard to pick favourites. Some that pop into my mind though are:

I know it’s not a performance but opening Fu Bar on Queen Street at the age of 26 years old with a bunch of my best mates has to be at the top of the list. It was a very special time in Auckland nightlife and we went against the grain, just did what we wanted...no rules. We followed our passion and luckily a bunch of people seemed to connect with that.

Second would be the first time we toured a member of the Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killa. I’ve been a huge fan for years and when I was younger I never even dreamed that I would tour him once, let alone 4 times. 

I can’t even pick a drum and bass favourite. It would def be the genre that we have done the most local shows and international tours so picking some favourites would be very hard!

Definitely starting Northern Bass….again not a particular performance but over the last 6yrs we have booked over 300+ acts that’s been a huge challenge and just makes us really happy that people seem to like what we’re doing. Probably the best moment with Northern Bass was selling it out in the 4th year for the first time!

Lastly it hasn’t happened yet but putting together the Salmonella Dub 25th Anniversary feat the Return Of Tiki Tane has been a highlight for me. I have been working on it for about two and a half years and as I never got to see a show myself back when they were together…..I’m not only excited as the promoter but as a fan as well!

Above from left to right: Gareth with Chali2na, MF DOOM and Pharoah Monch.

Above from left to right: Gareth with Chali2na, MF DOOM and Pharoah Monch.

Over the 18 years what are some of the most significant changes, both good and bad, you have noticed in local music and entertainment industry?

When we first started 18 years ago our parties were mostly a combination local DJ’s playing music produced overseas. Over the years its been great to see local bedroom producers flourishing to a point where some of our local acts are on the same level as some of the biggest acts in the world! The one thing that has been tough over the years is the changes in compliance needed for events/clubs to operate…anything from closing times, alcohol laws, health and safety, Police, Council etc. Don’t get me wrong some are needed but there has a been a few over the years that make running an event or club extremely hard!

With years of experience, with both Fu Bar and Fuzen Entertainment, what advice would you give to up and coming promoters, event producers and artists?

For promoters/event producers……do it for the right reasons. If you're getting into this just to make money it will be an uphill battle! I often get asked what I do for a job and my answer is I don’t have one. I wake up everyday and work on things that I love so it doesn’t feel like work. But in saying that it is a very stressful way to make a living as it’s a very competitive and ruthless industry so isn’t for the faint hearted…if that makes sense? Above all though, be honest and pay your bills! Our ethos has always been…if your a promoter your taking the risk, not the DJ’s, sound companies etc so make sure you pay everyone even if you lose money on a show. 

For DJ’s/acts/performers……work really hard to perfect your craft whatever it may be. Even if you're super talented there are so many people in this world that are just as talented and over the years I’ve seen some really talented people never make it because they treat it like a hobby…if you treat it that way that’s all it will ever be! Unless your someone like Prince or Jimi Hendrix! lol

Above: The original Fu Bar Queen Street

Above: The original Fu Bar Queen Street

A lot of us cut our DnB teeth at Fu-Bar. Now a new generation is getting introduced to drum n bass through Northern Bass and the shows Fuzen puts on at various venues round town. What have been the pros and cons of moving Fuzen from having a fixed physical space to what it is now?

I really miss having Fu Bar and Zen for a bunch of reasons, mostly as it felt like a place for a bunch of like minded people to hang out and catch up. I used to watch the TV program Cheers when I was younger (probably showing my age here), and Fu Bar and Zen had that feel. The feeling where everyone knew everyone and were all there for the love of music and good company. It was pretty taxing to have a nightclub for 12 years as it never stops! We used to be open 6 nights a week for the first few years on Queen Street, then slowed down to 4 nights a week but it’s pretty hard to keep the energy levels up. Just as one weekend was finishing you're having to think about the next. 

Now that we don’t have the fixed physical space I feel like we have been able to put more into each show that we do and focus on the promoting side of the business rather than running a venue and trying to promote shows. It has given us more time to actually sit down and strategise where we want to be in 5 years time. As we have a small team and are all very hands on with everything we do, something like Northern Bass would have been impossible to do while we had the clubs as it literally takes 11 months to organise, so once one finishes we’re already working on the next. 

I wouldn’t change a thing though! There have def been some really tough times over the past 18 years, but everything that has happened has made Fuzen into the company it is today.

 

Join us tonight for Bad Company UK Fuzen 18th Party!

The Grow Room Sessions goes live.

Giving us a more intimate and accessible peek into the sound of some of our favourite local musicians and artists, The Grow Room Sessions is an ongoing web series created by The Grow Room team. The series features sessions with almost every artist and musician associated with their space and community, from Bailey Wiley and MELOWDOWNZ to Rackets and ENO X DIRTY. 

This Saturday we welcome Bailey Wiley, ThirdEye and Heavy to Neck of the Woods as part of the 'The Grow Room Live Sessions'. We caught up with Larsen from The Grow Room to ask a few questions about their new ongoing event.

The Grow Room sessions has been a series of videos you have created successfully over the last year, what originally pushed you and your team to create these videos? 

The Grow Room sessions came about early last year after the addition of videographers Jasper Jay and Bryce Tobin to the team. They came into this with an enthusiastic vision to capture performances of artists within The Grow Room family as soon as they jumped on with us. It’s also something I think we were considering for a while as well, but they came into it with strength and they’re still going strong today.

Moving from an online series to a live experience, The Grow Room Sessions Live debuted last Thursday, and the second event will be this weekend at Neck of The Woods with Bailey, Heavy and Third3ye. Was having a live version of the sessions always an idea, or has it been more of a spontaneous progression? 

We’ve toyed with the idea for a while but not in an explicit ‘live’ conversion of the series. Previously we’d just looked at including sessions artists into our Exhibition lineups, which are the events that we’ve become know for. It only just clicked recently to transfer the series into a live setting, the concept was already there and people have become familiar with the presence of the online video series, so everything just connected naturally.

Can we expect the Grow Rooms Sessions Live to continue throughout the year?

We’ve got a few more shows lined up, including a show with some of the remaining artists from our first two seasons of The Grow Room Sessions. Following on from that we have something special lined up, which will surface eventually. Stay tuned for details on our

Two words; THE BOOG!

Tonight we bring you THE BOOG; four local DJ's / producers bringing the best of boogie and disco to the dance floor. Good vibes assured. For the first time ever we are bringing together two DJs that are already well known for their love of that good 70s stuff, with two DJs that are better known for making some of the best hiphop on these shores, to all share their love of disco and boogie.

We caught up with Frank Booker, Hudge, Lucky Lance and Eno to ask them a few questions about what boogie means to them, the relationship between hiphop and disco, and even get a few tune recommendations.

FRANK BOOKER

Although Boogie was given birth by Disco Music in the early ’80’s, the influence has carried through into a lot of other genres like Hiphop, House, Techno and even Pop right up to present day. What do you think it is about Disco that continues to inspire and stay relevant now? 

Wow, big question! I guess Disco is at the roots of many styles (whether or not that is acknowledged!). Disco grew up alongside Hip Hop, and is the father of House obviously. The reason I think the best of it remains relevant is that it still works for dance floors and inspires that escapism that is at the root of all good parties.

Hiphop is riddled with Soul and Funk samples, but there's some pretty great tracks with Boogie samples. What's your favourite Disco/Boogie sample?

I'd go with Floating Points 'Love Me Like This' which samples and reworks Real to Reel 'Love me like this'

The BOOG will be our first jam dedicated solely to Disco and Boogie. What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm looking forward to partying with friends new and old, and hopefully giving some shine to some records that people maybe haven't heard before. 'Edutainment' as my man Recloose says!

Frank…Who is Lucia? Are you going to bring her?

Lucia is the source of all things good, and she is my secret weapon. She is always at my side. It's my mixer made by Medhi El Aquil at Condesa Electronics in Adelaide, Australia. He made me the first in the series, and has gone on to make almost 200 of them by hand. It sounds unbelievable. Let's dance!

Above: Floating Points 'Love Me Like This'; one of Frank Booker's favourite samples.

HUDGE

Although Boogie was given birth by Disco Music in the early ’80’s, the influence has carried through into a lot of other genres like Hiphop, House, Techno and even Pop right up to present day. What do you think it is about Disco that continues to inspire and stay relevant now?

It's a hard one to put your finger on really. Boogie has less of the cheese factor that Disco had so I think the groove, musicality and deep basslines resonated with producers across the board and still remains to today.

Hiphop is riddled with Soul and Funk samples, but there's some pretty great tracks with Boogie samples. What's your favourite Disco/Boogie sample?

Alicia Myers - I wanna thank you and Picked up by Busta’s Thank You

The BOOG will be our first jam dedicated solely to Disco and Boogie. What are you looking forward to the most?

I can not wait to hear the music…I’m a fan of all the guys playing and I know they all have exceptional taste so its gonna be a tune fest for sure. Chris Cox aka Frank Booker is the Disco Don too so he always has a couple of musical treats up his sleeves. I think we are all going to go” in” on Friday!

Hudge…How did you get into Boogie music?

I first started DJing at 15 with a group of friends from school. One of em was a fella called Bez and he had a crazy collection of Funk and Rare Groove records. We went on to form a crew called Take it 2 the Bridge with 4 other mates in ’98 which is actually still going strong today. It was just prior to this time, probably mid 90’s, that Bez went deep into the Boogie sound. I’ve been listening to his mixes and biting his tunes ever since hahaha.

Above: Hudge's sample pick, Alicia Myers - 'I want to thank you'

LUCKY LANCE

Although Boogie was given birth by Disco Music in the early ’80’s, the influence has carried through into a lot of other genres like Hiphop, House, Techno and even Pop right up to present day. What do you think it is about Disco that continues to inspire and stay relevant now?

People still love to dance .

Hiphop is riddled with Soul and Funk samples, but there's some pretty great tracks with Boogie samples. What's your favourite Disco/Boogie sample?

I don’t really have a favourite but off the top of my head, Biggie - mo money mo problems, and Diana Ross - I'm coming out.

The BOOG will be our first jam dedicated solely to Disco and Boogie. What are you looking forward to the most?

Apart from playing alongside the sweet line-up, the vibe. I've got a good feeling about this one.

Lucky…You're at a house party and for the last hour it's been straight Rap. You get your hands on the aux cord, what Disco/Boogie tune are you playing that'll turn it out?

S.O.S band - high hopes

Above: Lance's sample pick, Diana Ross - 'I'm coming out'

 

ENO

Although Boogie was given birth by Disco Music in the early ’80’s, the influence has carried through into a lot of other genres like Hiphop, House, Techno and even Pop right up to present day. What do you think it is about Disco that continues to inspire and stay relevant now?

The groove for sure, you cannot deny the bounce nor that warm fuzzy feeling it gives you that just makes you wanna dance

The BOOG will be our first jam dedicated solely to Disco and Boogie. What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm looking forward to smiles and the dancing but also keen to see if the younger generation will come out and get down to it

Eno…You're well known for your work as a Hiphop producer but your Boogie set beachside at Splore showed us a whole other side of Eno (you killed it by the way). Are you tempted to re-make/edit/release some Boogie yourself?

Definitely keen to get more hands with some re-edits and just making some more funky stuff as it resonates with people from all walks of life.

 

Coming along tonight....THE BOOG; Friday 31st March at Neck of the Woods. 10PM, $15 on the door! Head over to the Facebook event page to find out more.

 

 

Introducing Small Fortunes

This Saturday we welcome new NZ music collective Small Fortunes to Neck of the Woods. To properly introduce them to you we thought we would catch up with Bryan Anderson, one of the many artists behind this new creative label, to ask him exactly what Small Fortunes is all about.

Tell us a bit about your new collective Small Fortunes. 

Small Fortunes is a forward thinking and creative label, based out of Auckland. Predominately promoting and managing Hiphop based recording artists. A combination of talents, and a support network for our artists. We think of it like the principle of Captain Planet.

What do you hope to bring to the NZ music scene with Small Fortunes, that we are currently lacking?

We bring a diverse range of sounds, that can work together or separately on cohesive sounding releases. We have three of the best producer / rappers in the country. And a fresh outlook on music in NZ. It's nice to see artists coming together over a genuine love for music and and not for what they are going to gain out of the situation. We all care about the future of the team as much as our own.

What do you think is the most exciting thing about NZ music right now? 

The eclectic mix of genres and artists, labels and promoting networks gaining traction both here and overseas. 

Kiwi Hiphop getting noticed, our EDM acts touring and making HUGE waves online, and NZ reggae acts headlining overseas festivals. I think it's a pretty special time for NZ music right now.

It seems like a lot of musicians in NZ are part of one or many music collectives: YGB, Omni, Grow Room, Pastel, Swidt, Inky waves etc. Do you think being part of a collective is crucial for NZ artists?

I don't think it crucial, but I think the music game can be lonely out there by yourself. Having a support network and like-minded individuals to bounce off and work within such a creative field is always a good thing in our books.

Your line up so far is all male, do you have plans to add some female musicians to Small Fortunes? 

Definitely, this is a top priority of ours. Searching for the right female singer to join our roster is proving a hard task, there is a huge lack of independent female musicians especially in Hiphop, and we would love more and more women to come to the forefront of New Zealand music. 

Looking ahead - What can we expect from Small fortunes?

A collaborative project from the whole team, as well as solo projects from various members of the group will be coming out in the first half of 2017. Plenty of shows, curating the best local acts, and the most talented musicians and artists in Auckland and New Zealand getting the spotlight they deserve.

Come along this Saturday to see Small Fortunes for yourself. 

Tickets are available at Under The Radar, and door sales will be available too.

 

Five minutes with Stro Elliot

Tonight we welcome LA-based beat maker, musican and performer, Stro Elliot to Neck of the Woods. Stro has worked with the likes of The Roots, performed with the Wu-Tang Clan and just stepped off a stint at DJ Jazze Jeff’s All-Star Playlist Retreat. We caught up with Stro the day before his gig to ask him a bit more about himself, and his music.

Your heading down under  to play at Neck Of The Woods this Thursday, it’s your first time in New Zealand. What are you expecting New Zealand to be like?

I really don't know what to expect honestly. I'm hoping they have a good time. So far I've enjoyed just being around the people in this city.

What can the crowd this Thursday expect from you?

Some remixes, some unreleased tracks, some they might know if they are familiar with me. And maybe some that I just feel like hearing.

You are a multi-instrumentalist artist; we hear you play the trumpet, drums, guitar and piano, alongside producing. If you were to pick up a new instrument, what would it be?

I play a little guitar honestly. I would love to learn to play it more fluidly. There's nothing like real guitar in music.

Who are your all-time influences, and your new-age favourites?

Hard question to answer. I'll have to say Pete Rock, Dilla, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell to play it safe. New favorites would include Robert Glasper, Thundercat, Childish Gambino, Goldlink.

Which track of your own never gets old? No matter how many times you listen to it.

Ooh. Harder question to answer. Actually, it's impossible to answer. The track is old to me days after it's done. I hate going back to even fix things sometimes. Always looking forward to the next.

Tell us a bit about Chasing Goosebumps the album that was created and recorded at Jazzy Jeff's Playlist Retreat 2 weeks ago.?

Amazing experience. Learned a lot. Inspiring, to say the least. Also, it was too much fun. Taking on something of that magnitude would seem stressful. Being surrounded by those individuals makes the process ridiculously enjoyable. And they are the most talented people in the world.

After this tour, what’s next for Stro Elliot?

Hopefully more of the same. Creating music with awesome people. Peeking music for and with awesome people. In any location willing to have me.

Stro Elliot is playing at Neck of the Woods tonight, $10 on the door. Click here for more details.

The Genius of DILLA : Our favourite tracks

Tomorrow night we are teaming up with our good friends Grindin' over the ditch (now in their 8th year) to put on a special event, The Genius of DILLA. We caught up with P-Money, Lo-Key, Dylan C, Dan Paine, Gregg Harper and Hudge who are all playing tomorrow night, to ask about their all-time favourite Dilla tracks.

P-MONEY : Phat Kat - 'Don't Nobody'

"I have a whole lot of favourite Dilla joints; A Tribe Called Quest "Get A Hold", Slum Village "Fall In Love", Q-Tip "Move", the entire Jay Dee Donuts album...the list is endless. But for this moment I'm gonna highlight Phat Kat's "Don't Nobody Care About Us". This is the B-Side of his single "Dedicated to the Suckers" released in 1999 on Houseshoes records. 

I remember picking up this 12 inch and being completely mesmerized by the beat. The way the synth arpeggio goes around and around and the low strings creep up on the 3rd and 4th bar. It was hypnotic and like nothing I had ever heard before (or since). 

Years later when the original sample was revealed it only gave me a deeper appreciation for the record. I'm in awe of Jay Dee's ear for finding the illest samples and his skill in flipping the original record's 3/4 timing in to a never ending perfect 4/4 loop. 

Put this one on repeat and vibe out"

DYLAN C : Brother Jack McDuff - 'Oblighetto (Remix)'

"There's so many great Jay Dee / Dilla productions to choose from, but this one has always been a stand out for me. Jack McDuff's original version of "Oblighetto" begins with an upbeat swing feel to it, which Dilla has flipped into a classic boom-clap vibe. Dilla uses all the main ingredients: organ stabs, haunting vocal and wicked trumpet melody, but it's his drum programming which really gives this track that unmistakable Dilla feel to it. Essential listening for the heads." 

LO KEY : Phife Dwg - 'Dear Dilla'

"One of my favourite tributes for Jay Dee by the one and only Phife Dwg (R.I.P) in his words '' I had to shout it out to the big homie'". I am looking forward to getting down with homies on that Dilla sheeiitt and raising it up for Ma Dukes and the Jay Dee Foundation"

HUDGE :  A Tribe Called Quest - 'Keep It Moving '

"It's so hard to pick out a favourite Dilla tune, almost impossible, but if I had to pick the one I've played the most over the years it'd probably be A Tribe Called Quest's "Keep It Moving" released in '96 on the much-celebrated Beats, Rhymes and Life album. He produced this under the moniker The Ummah when he teamed up with Tribe's Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammed, and was Tribe's response to the East Coast/West Coast beef...this tune became an instant classic as did the album.

It samples a cheeky guitar hook from Howard Roberts's Roadwork and for me it's just an all round dope tune with a positive message released when shit was getting real bad in the States.

"I ain't got no time for schuckin and jivin' Keep it movin"

DAN PAINE : Steve Spacek - 'Eve' (J Dilla Remix) & Slum Village - 'Untitled/Fantastic'

"This is a tough question as there are too many to choose from but without overthinking it... so here's two.

Steve Spacek - 'Eve' (J Dilla Remix) - Heavy keyboard bass-line and drums with Spacek's voice floating over the top - so beautiful plus the great cameo from Frank N' Dank make this a top-5 Dilla tune for me.

Slum Village - 'Untitled/Fantastic' - Floaty sample interpolations contrasting with snapping snare-drums and some of my favourite verses from the Baatin, T3 & Dilla + production tricks on the vocals where Dilla cuts off the lyrics"

This show directly raises money for The Dilla Foundation and through that, his family. Come along tomorrow night from 9PM to hear the best "all Dilla no fill" DJ sets from NZ's best.

Click here to see the Official Facebook event page

Saying goodbye to Esther Stephens & The Means

This Wednesday we say goodbye to Esther Stephens & The Means. We're excited to host their final gig as our monthly For What It's Worth event. The band have previously played their “fusion of soul, fun, pop, jazz and psychedelia” music alongside the likes of Team Dynamite, Homebrew, Oddisee and The Flatbush Zombies. Their presence in the NZ music scene will be missed. 

We caught up with Esther days before the final gig to ask her a few questions about juggling music and acting, her highlights so far and why they have decided to call it quits.

This Wednesday is the final ever gig for Esther Stephens & The Means, how are you feeling about this?

Weird, but fine. Sad, but also like it's the right thing. It's time for all of us to put our energy into other things that may take us away from being able to make music together so closely in this particular musical incarnation, but as friends and musical peers I think we'll always collaborate in some form or another.

With changes, comes new projects and opportunities. What is next for you? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

At present I'm shooting Westside season 3, which is great fun, and also spending some time focusing on writing music, with the primary aim of honing my skills and breaking down some of my personal insecurities around the things I write. Hopefully some of the recent fruits will come together in the form of a fresh project, but it's too early to make any announcements!

You have juggled acting and music for a while now, what advice would you give young artists/creatives that want to also pursue multiple career paths at once?

Just do it and don't listen to anyone who tells you that you have to be a specialist. There is nothing wrong with being a jack-of-as-many-damn-trades-as-you-like, in fact in my experience, the more you can do, the more you can work. People will always want to define you and box you into one thing, you don't have to play that game or explain yourself. Do whatever the fuck you want.

What has been your most memorable Esther Stephens & The Means gig to date?

Our album release tour was pretty amazing. Especially Christchurch at Dux Live. The response was incredible and the gig was a blast.

What can people expect this Wednesday night?

We're gonna play like it's the last time we're ever gonna play. Then I'm probably going to cry. Marika might cry. Abe will definitely cry. Tom will cry on the inside. Then we'll probably get drunk and all sentimental and have lots of group hugs.

Make sure to come along this Wednesday to see this special final show. Remember For What It's Worth is free entry, koha exit ~ all the money goes back to the artists who play. SUPPORT NZ MUSIC!

 

Nathan Haines is bringing Bemsha! back to New Zealand

This Thursday we are excited to be hosting New Zealand's first Bemsha!, Nathan Haines' club night which he started in London back in the 90's. Nathan grew up in Auckland in a very musical family (his father Kevin was one of New Zealand's leading jazz bassists) and was performing at international jazz festivals with them by his early teens. In 1991 he moved to New York to study jazz, and then in 1994 moved to London - shortly after, Bemsha! was born.

Above: Nathan with DJ legend Paul-Trouble Anderson at the original "Bemsha!" at London's Notting Hill Arts Club circa 1999. 

Above: Nathan with DJ legend Paul-Trouble Anderson at the original "Bemsha!" at London's Notting Hill Arts Club circa 1999. 

Nathan, alongside Frank Booker, and a crew of live musicians will be bringing the same sound and vibes as the original Bemsha! to the club tomorrow night. Expect a mix of classic soul, jazz and boogie all on vinyl, as well as a live jam from Nathan and his band. 

To celebrate the Auckland Jazz Festival and learn more about Bemsha!, we caught up with Nathan to ask him a bit about the night and his love for vinyl.

This Thursday is New Zealand’s first Bemsha! gig. How do you feel about hosting Bemsha! in your hometown?

I’ve been wanting to do something for years, but Jaimie and I and Zoot only moved back to NZ in November last year ie. all my records and studio gear was in London! So, as soon as all that gear landed I’ve been formulating a plan. Doing it in conjunction with the Auckland Jazz Festival was also a good fit, as I wanted to attract both a club audience and a non-club/more listening audience who were passionate about real music, and not just a soundtrack to get wasted to haha! So I’m feeling nervous but also excited at finally putting a real club night together based around the music that Chris Cox and I cut our teeth on - the soundtrack of our lives so to speak.

There is a lot of excitement within the younger music community around the relaunch of Bemsha! and the debut gig this Thursday. Why do you think it is Bemsha! has as much appeal now as it did in late 90’s London?

I was lucky in that I got to know the owner of the Notting Hill Arts Club (incidentally a NZ’er) and he offered me the worst night of the week - a Tuesday. I felt I needed somewhere to play and experiment, and I was already a “don’t-miss-it-under-any-circumstances” attendee of the Fridays with Phil Asher and Patrick Forge and guests for their “Inspiration Information” night. With my night I didn’t realise it at the time, but there wasn’t really much like that going on in London. I was a musician running the night who was also hanging/working with a lot of DJs in different styles - from broken beat to Drum and Bass to proper dance floor jazz to House music and everything in between. I had to put effort into the programming of the night, I had to make sure I had a solid line-up week in week out, and over a period of years I think it created it’s own reputation. Plus I think a lot of Kiwi’s came to check it out - in saying that though, it was never an “ex-pat” night, but rather a melting pot for all types of club people and music lovers, and if you happened to be from New Zealand then all the better.

Above: Nathan (left) and Goldie (middle) at one of the original Bemsha gig's

Above: Nathan (left) and Goldie (middle) at one of the original Bemsha gig's

In a pre-Serato 1998, strictly vinyl was just how most DJs rolled. Why is it important to keep 2016 Bemsha! strictly vinyl?

Well record collecting is a big part of our lives - me and Chris I mean - because it acts as a direct conduit between the music and the DJ or collector. I mean people would come down to the Notting Hill Arts club to see Phil Asher and Patrick Forge do their thing on Friday nights and bring a notepad so they could write the records they played down! It was a MASSIVE learning experience for me. You had to learn about records, about producers, their sound, the history and the stories. There was scant information on-line at that time even. The records were WAY cheaper too. My head was bursting with ideas after every Friday night, so I tried to transplant that feeling into my own night - and of course I tried to do the same with the records I made and the gigs I would do.

Bemsha! is renowned for its guest DJs, who have been some highlights to date?

Well, there was a big list! Paul Trouble Anderson is one of my all time favourite DJs, plus Roy the Roach who got me away from “straight-ahead” jazz in the first place and listening to House music - these guys were like the building blocks of my musical experiences from the mid-90’s until I made Sound Travels in 2000. As I said Phil Asher and Patrick Forge have ridiculous record collections, plus they have an empathy with the crowd when the play and they know how to program their sets. I learnt about the real ‘art’ of DJ’ing listening to those 4 guys, night after night. Goldie, A-Sides, Peshay and Storm all played blinding drum and bass sets, plus guys like Diesel from X-Press 2, Shuya Okina from Kyoto Jazz Massive, Ashley Beedle (I played with him at the Arts Club in 2014 for a great night), Rich Medina who also did spoken word on some tracks on Squire for Hire and plays a blinder of a DJ set…there was so many I find it hard to remember... And of course I can’t forget that Manuel Bundy played there as well!! I guess I also really had to up my game as a DJ as I pretty much played every night as well. I would usually play the first set upon opening - a good chance to break out some serious jazz.

Above: Scanned photo from Bemsha in the 90's

Above: Scanned photo from Bemsha in the 90's

You’re playing with your live band this Thursday. how did the original Bemsha gigs help you develop your sound?

Well, in my band I had some great, great friends who I still play with like Vanessa Freeman on vocals, Mark de Clive Lowe, Kaidi Tatham, and Simon Colam on keys, Carl Orr on guitar (who bought drumming legend Billy Cobhan down to sit in TWICE), Daniel Crosby on drums who was there from the very start (!) and is still part of the UK band, Williams Cumberbache on percussion, bass players Miles Danso and Level Neville on bass and a load more. When myself and Phil started making Sound Travels then later Squire for Hire, I called on all the guys to record and do their thing. Both of those records did very well for us both, and really set me on the path. I mean within 6 months I had gone from playing the Notting Hill Arts Club to being flown around the world to clubs like the Tokyo Blue Note and the North Sea Jazz Festival based on the popularity of those albums. I’ll always be indebted to Phil for believing in me, and putting the time and effort into making those records and producing them. It was as much about learning about the great artists and producers through their albums (on vinyl of course) than it was about actually writing and recording the music. It was a whole lifestyle which I still eschew. That’s what “Bemsha!” is all about.

Come along to Bemsha tomorrow night, this is not one to be missed! Auckland Jazz Festival participants and ticket holders get a special $5 on the door ticket price. Doors open 9pm.

House Shoes launches Street Corner Music

Tonight at Neck of the Woods we are excited to host the legendary DJ House Shoes. Often labelled as 'Detroit's Hip-Hop Ambassador to the World', Shoes is known for being a huge part of the Motown Resurgence. He has toured with the likes of Guilty Simpson, Illa J, Exile and Aloe Blacc, as well as producing for names such as Danny Brown and the late J Dilla...just to name a few. He's been in the game for a while now but he isn't taking a break anytime soon. 

Shoes' back on tour and heading down under to celebrate the launch of his new record label, Street Corner Music. We caught up with him before he arrived to ask him a few questions about his new projects and his views on the ever-changing music industry.

You are touring in celebration for the launch of your new label, Street Corner Music. Tell us a bit about the new label and how it came about.

3 years ago, I decided to step back in to the record game. In the era of Soundcloud and Bandcamp domination, I wanted to let the new generation of producers know how important the physicality of music is. I chose the name Street Corner Music because that was the first record store that allowed me a budget to do what I wanted. They allowed me to create my own platform and sell what I deemed to be the best of our genre back in 1994-1996. 20 years later I am building records from scratch and having a damn good time doing it.

You have been producing and Dj'ing for years, what significant changes have you noticed (both good and bad) over the last 10 years within the music industry?

The vibrations of the product that the larger corporations have released is definitely a lower frequency, and there is really no balance in the industry. But with the advent of Soundcloud and Bandcamp you have artists like Knxwledge who have seized the power to release their music independently of any labels for the most part.

The internet has really changed most creative industries. Distribution of art, music, photographs internationally is easier than ever before however people still highly value something tangible like print magazine and vinyl records. You have produced limited edition vinyl’s in the past, as well as releasing music online. Will you continue to use both digital and analogue media to release your music? Why do you think the combination is important?

Digital is where the money comes. With limited vinyl releases, there is not a lot of money to be made, and at the end of the day I am trying to get as much for these kids as possible. So both formats will definitely be available. The physicals definitely are the most important to me personally. You can walk into a record store and have an incredible experience. You can't walk into the iTunes store.

You continue to tour worldwide throughout the U.S, urope and Australia. What one place would you love to tour to in the future, other than New Zealand of course!

I've got 3 spots left actually that I must reach before all is said and done. Africa, Brazil and Japan.... 

Come down to the Woods tonight for a night long celebration of hiphop with the Detroit raised, LA based DJ/producer, including a live screening of the LA beats scene documentary 'All Ears' earlier on in the night. 

Electric Wire Hustle return home with The 11th Sky

Local legends Electric Wire Hustle are returning home to New Zealand this week to play at Neck of the Woods to celebrate their new album, The 11th Sky. We caught up with EWH member Mara TK on his way back to NZ to ask him a bit about the new album and his plans to celebrate.

First of all, Welcome back to New Zealand. How long since you've been back?

We have been living in Wellington mostly since the birth of our first child, we had a stint living in Berlin, but we went there with the idea that it was finite; that I would use Berlin as a base to develop the band in Europe. I think you need about a decade there to break a band into their scene though!

What do you guys miss most about NZ?

There are no beaches in Berlin just a few lakes which you have to pay to get into.

The 11th Sky, how would you describe the new album? 

David Lynch meets Motown

How does it differ to your past albums?

This album contains a lot of surrealist and mystic references that you see in the poetry of Naruda, W.B Yeats and Walt Witman, they take you to another world where reality is in question or reality is amplified through a certain lens. My lens is a Māori/sci fi futurist/social narrative one...

Who were your musical influences growing up, compared to your musical influences now?

Growing up; Jimi Hendrix, MJ, Motown and some African groups such as Tinariwen from Mali 

Personally - How do you plan to celebrate the new album?

On the 1st October in AKL and 7th in my hometown of Welly. Then when it's all over I'mma chill at home to some Jim Jarmuch and get super blazed.

Come check out Electric Wire Hustle at Neck of the Woods this Saturday, supported by local legendary DJ crew The Turnaround. It will definitely be a night not to be missed. 

LICK; The growing community for girls who like girls

Since making Neck of the Woods their home in February, LICK has continued to create a growing safe space for girls who like girls. This Saturday night Natalie Zibung and her LICK crew are set to throw their 90's BLOCK PARTY and they are bringing special guest Danielle Cormack (actress, Wentworth). We caught up with Natalie briefly this week to chat about the growth in the LICK community and the importance of guest appearences. 

We interviewed you back in January, how has LICK evolved and grown since then? 

Lick has evolved from being just in Auckland to now Wellington and Christchurch. We are also planning a girls weekend type of getaway in Queenstown next year which we are really excited about. Moving Lick to Neck of the Woods on K Road also makes it more accessible for our guests especially over the Auckland Pride Parade weekend being in the heart of it all. We’ve remained consistent and true to what Lick is all about, and that’s a safe space where women in our rainbow community can come to and enjoy good music in good company in an awesome venue and meet other like-minded women! And of course, every now and then we have special guest artists like recently Jess B and Arcee, and someone very special this weekend!

We are very excited for this Saturday's LICK at NOTW. You have Danielle Cormack coming in as a special guest. Tell us a bit about your relationship with Danielle. 

My full time job and career is in the Australian Film & Television industry for the last 14 years, and I have close friends that work on Wentworth and have been offered to work on it myself. I didn’t have a relationship with Danielle prior to meeting her last weekend for my Australian parties, but we have a lot of mutual friends in the industry from the show and other shows. Danielle was always someone I hoped to reach out to one day and have her do a Meet&Greet at Lick in New Zealand, because it means so much to me to do in Auckland what I never had here when I was growing up and coming out. I never had a place like Lick. I had been in touch with Danielle’s management last year with regards to some event dates but schedules did not match unfortunately, and so when Danielle’s management came back to me a few months ago with a yes to three of my parties, I lost my shit. So happy that I could finally do this for my community. 

Special guest appearances aren't a regular thing at gigs in New Zealand (they totally should be!). Has this been something you have done from the beginning?

They definitely totally should be! It all comes down to schedule really. I’ve always had special guests because I know how much certain people mean to the women in my community. I’ve had Whitney Mixter, Sara Bettencourt, Lauren Bedford Russell, Kiyomi McCloskey, Romi Klinger and Rose Garcia from Showtime’s reality television show ‘The Real L Word’ come and party with me, Whitney and Sara toured with me two years in a row and Lauren and Kiyomi and I did a ‘rockstar tour’ and toured 6 cities including Auckland over two weekends for Lick, I’ve had Tigerlily play at a handful of my parties all around Australia, even Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious, Avatar) has done a Meet&Greet and even DJ’ed at Lick in Melbourne, I’ve had Ruby Rose four times at my parties in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and most recently I had Katrina Milosevic who plays ‘Boomer’ on Wentworth do a Meet&Greet last month at my new Saturday night party in Melbourne called The Girlfriend Society, which is also the same party that Danielle Cormack was and she even brought Kate Jenkinson (Allie from Wentworth) and people seriously lost their minds when they walked in the venue hand in hand, then kissed each other in front of thousands of girls watching live from all over the world. 

Who would be the ultimate LICK special guest? 

Oh boy. I would love to have Cara Delevingne! When Michelle Rodriguez came down to Melbourne in March 2014 she was dating Cara at the time and there was talk that she might be travelling over with her. She didn’t end up coming with Michelle to Lick, but she would definitely be my ultimate Lick guest. Her and Nicole Da Silva from Wentworth.  

You are constantly travelling around with LICK, hosting parties across Australasia. What has been your favourite LICK so far and why?

Every Lick has been fun! They’re all different, they have different themes but my favourite to date would have to be the first time I had Whitney Mixter & Sara Bettencourt from The Real L Word appear. They both came in to the venue riding a Chopper motorcycle, straight through the crowd. It was so loud but when the girls realised it was them on the motorcycles everyone started screaming! That night was also Sara’s birthday and we found out the following year that Whitney had actually planned on proposing to Sara in front of thousands of Lick girls there and then on stage, but the producers from The Real L Word show wanted Whitney to hold off and do it when they got back to the US and in front of the cameras. There’s a video of their entrance on YouTube, it’s pretty crazy :) 

Come check out the LICK 90's Block Party, this Saturday night at NOTW.  

Omni Potent is a lifestyle

Omni Potent opened for Mobb Deep in New Zealand early last year, this was their debut gig. Since then Franko and T.D of Omni, along with their extended Omni crew have been creating, performing and collaborating throughout the Auckland hip-hop and producing circles. Tonight they will perform at Neck of the Woods with Pastel Collective. We caught up with Frank and T.D to talk all things Omni.

How did you two meet? When did you start working together on music? When did Omni Potent become official?

Franko: I met T through one of my high school boys, Liam. I dropped out at the start of Year 13 and spent a lot of time with him and one of the first dudes who heard me rap, Locarno. So one day I was going to link with Liam near school, and we tryna score. Not far down the road we headed to this industrial studio type place and it trips me out people live there. We went up this long flight of stairs and I was greeted by this tall as lanky dude, I recognized him from this party out near Mission Bay like a year before. At this point I was just hanging out a lot, smoking weed type stuff. I had always known T rapped but just preferred hanging out as a pose to pushing the rap shit. One night I left some shitty drinks to go link with Locarno, but he was with some girl so I went to T's and it was just him there. So we just had a sesh and this rap shit came up. 10 minutes later we were in opposite corners writing a verse. We liked Omnipotent Poets at first but didn't realize the pronunciation of the word, we'd been saying omni-potent the whole time. Put out my first track in April 2013 I think and then came "Alter Ego".

T.D: In my high school days my brotherhood and me formed a clique called CBC (cornbeefclan). We were all about mischief and the culture of hip-hop, but mainly graffiti and m'cing. Liam (my day 1) kept on hitting me up about this n**** Mikyle, said he had flow and was on the same vibe. Eventually we met up and dayum the bro wasn't lying. I was about 16 when I met my long lost brother Frank O.G! Instantly we were on the same page. We shared the same morals and dreams, it was fucked. The universe always comes through with the connections, if ya know what I mean! At the time I had just got kicked out of school for some bullshit and Franko dropped out so we had plenty of time to spend our days vibing, ripping type beats off the net and spitting silly shit! After 2 years of practice, dropping singles here and there and a few lil EPs, we got asked to be one of the opening acts for Mobb Deep. Franko and I thought it was a dream, one of our dreams actually came true! From that day onwards Omni Potent was official to the public but the crew have always known from day 1 that this shit is destiny.

How would you guys describe Omni Potent?

Franko: Well for me, I'd say it was crew made out of a bunch of high potential delinquents, gravitated together by interests and weed that turned into young dudes really trying to make a difference out here. Definitely an aura of moral, pure, organic vibes that get put toward art, and helping others understand us, the lifestyle and maybe themselves through the music, and the images and other forms of media. Omni Potent the clique, Omni the lifestyle. One of being happy and fulfilled and pursuing whatever it is you want, and that you ain't gotta do it on ya own.

T.D: Omni is a lifestyle we all live. Life ain't fun alone so we all about putting each other on and positive vibes. It is also a platform to express ourselves whether it's personal, or about political beliefs. Like they say, it's better out than in . That's not it tho haha! Shit's gonna be clothing brand very soon. Omni is universal whatever we decide to do. It will always have a strong foundation backed up with morals and hard work . Shit sounds mad serious but we lit. 

Your first ever gig was opening for Mob Deep, a pretty big deal for a new act. How did that happen? 

Franko: This dude Kane Hawkins from Talk Later shout outs and reached out to the public asking for local acts to show interest to open for the Mobb. All the support was mega overwhelming. All in the thread was Omni, Omni, Omni - and I guess at that point it first hit me, we weren't just rapping to our boys and each other no more. 

Shat myself 6 bricks backstage before going on. That was literally the first time I would be rapping in front of someone other than T and Locarno and the boys. It was pretty packed out and a very crazy first experience. Once I put my foot on stage and felt the heat from the lights, I just blacked out. Inner Franko G came out and we murdered that. I love performing now, getting real live and loud and turning up with crowd. Feels more home than the booth. 

Locally and internationally, who in your opinion is killing it right now and why?

Franko: I'm a bass head, like literally. Of course Anderson Paak and couple others not really down my alley popping at the moment, but all I pretty much listen to is Atlanta. Also 21 Savage up right now cause of the Metro project, but there's Gucci, Future, Migos and Young Thug and those are just the big names. I fuck with Carti, Uno and Thouxandbands heavy, and anything HoodrichKeem be involved in. 

Locally I'm only fucking with my central homies at the moment. Eno & Dirty show love and that shit is enough for me. Them and T are the youngest artists really out here speaking with material and content thats putting the older dudes in the back seats. I'm not letting up either. My man Debris & Sole Tree. My boy Yancey, who made Galactus and a couple tracks on my new project on the way. I'm also fucking heavy with Baccyard from Wellington. Young young dude that's really making waves as a producer. I sent him a sample and he made some ill ill shit in like 3-4 minutes. Dudes just got a highly tuned ear. My man Chef Blacula who had a lot to do with early Omni and our early gigs, still making fire together. He made a banger for T that I'm sure we'll do on Wednesday and blow the place up. Shout outs my Welly DnB cats Loc and Jazz. Dirty motherfuckers.

T.D: Personally I get inspired by local artists Eno X Dirty, Liam Bree aka debris, FRANKO.G , BACCYARD, JORDAN aka LUCA and my fellow pairs. Internationally the bro Koder (but he's on the local side too), MAXO KREAM, Erykah Badu, Nas, Michael Jackson and the rest of the greats. There are too many to list!

What can we expect on Wednesday?

Franko: Fuck expectations. Just don't wear lots of gears, you are coming to see Omni. You definitely are not gonna be still, that's all I got I guess. 

Five minutes with Spell

Local legend DJ Spell is throwing one big fundraising gig this Saturday to get himself back to London for the DMC World Finals. Last year he came second, and we are keen to see him compete again. Spell will perform his 2015 DMC routine this Saturday night alongside sets from the likes of P Money, Team Dynamite and King Kapisi. 

Last year you came second in the 2015 DMC World DJ Championship, what have you been up to since then?

Watching wrestling (turns out it's actually real) and writing funny stories (I have one cat story, ask me when I see you).

You have played opening sets for the likes of KRS-ONE, Ghostface, Mos Def and Action Bronson. it’s pretty impressive. Ultimately who would be your dream to open for, or play alongside?

Mel Gibson

You have been part of DJ competitions for a while now and taken out some pretty major titles. How do you prepare yourself for these events? Do you get nervous?

I drink Ribena (antioxidants n shit)

What do you think the biggest misconception is about DJ’ing? It’s a status thrown around pretty casually these days.

That dj'ing is hard (it's actually not, 98% of the time we’re doing nothing)

The fundraiser gig this Saturday is to get you to London to compete in this year's DMC World Finals comp. The gig is going to be huge, the line up is so good. What can we expect? Any surprises?

Please keep your expectations low (surprises come a lot easier that way)

Come see Spell in the flesh this Saturday, NO MONEY IN THE BANK (DJ Spell Fundraiser). Doors open 9:00pm.

 

 

Jess B is coming in hot.

New on the scene and coming in hot is Jess B. She has performed a few times over the last month alongside some of our favourite local girls, Jane Deezy and Soraya. With her tomboy style, badass attitude and verses to match, Jess B is our new favourite. 

You are performing at the LICK gig this Saturday night at NOTW, what can we expect?

It's gonna be lit! High energy, good vibes, no scrubs. Lol.

How are you finding it as a female rapper who's come up through the local cypher scene?

In my opinion, the NZ Hiphop scene is popping off better now than it has in a long time. There are so many dope artists from around Auckland / NZ that I genuinely look up to and enjoy their music, so to be coming through as a newcomer in the scene and getting recognition from some of them has been awesome. Being a female rapper also gives me a point of difference! I believe that I am different to any other MC (female or male) that has come up in NZ before , and I am keen to show people what I am about, and that I can kick it with the boys just fine.

You produced seven clips as part of your ‘What you know about me?’ video series. This was awesome and an amazing marketing move as a newcomer. Tell us a bit about the idea behind the series and what you achieved from it.

I think that throughout my life, people have created pre-conceived ideas about who I am, whether it has been to do with my gender or my background. This series was about me finding myself, both as an artist and a person, and hopefully letting people know a little bit about me along the way. My background and being part Kenyan also made my experience growing up in New Zealand different to the people around me, so I wanted to share my stories and experiences with people who were interested. 

Initially the idea of the series and the 7 videos was to promote my most recent music to the hip-hop scene here in Auckland, and get to know some of the artists doing their thing here at the moment personally. I also wanted to build a following online - so releasing the videos primarily on Facebook seemed the best way to achieve this. As a whole I have been stoked with the reception of the videos as a starting point, and i am excited to move onwards and upwards from here.

What are you hoping to achieve in the next few months? Who are you working with, what’s next!?

In the next few months I am hoping to perform at gigs as much as possible and continue building a fan base. I am also in the very very early stages of planning and creating an EP - so I am looking to start working on this in the coming months. P-Money has been a friend and mentor of mine for several years now- I look to him for a lot of advice on things, so I will continue to work with him. I also hope to have a few dope collabs on the EP too. 

Check out Jess B at LICK this Saturday night at Neck of the Woods, 10pm.

Jane Deezy talks about AmmoNation and The Tron'

Jane Deezy is rapidly becoming one of the NZ music scenes most followed females. For good reason; she has awesome style, incredible stage prescene and her music kicks ass. We caught up with her to chat about AmmoNation, growing up in Hamilton and her creative process.

You’re based down in the Tron, and have found some of your people in AmmoNation, alongside the likes of Raiza Biza. First and foremost, how’s it popping in Hamilton?

Hamilton scene is pretty chill. We've got an extended semi dysfunctional creative family outside of AMMO out here and we get together and jam/eat and drink and support each other at local shows. It's a nice city to come home to after debaucherous shows in other cities.

What does AmmoNation mean to you, and what’s it like being part of such a strongly talented collective?

AMMO is family, its part of who I am. It existed before I started making music as a 10 year old back in South Africa watching my brother and his friends cypher, with the strength of him (Raiza), it has evolved into what it is today; a collective of uniquely individual creatives. I don't know a creative existence before it.

How did you find your sound, and what would you define it as?

My sound evolved as I did; I started off making the same type of music I liked listening to at like, 14, then as the angst set in and I was more aware of my “role” as a young African woman I rebelled and that was reflected in my music, saying provocative things and ‘doing too much’ so when I eventually calmed down I figured nothing I could say or do would shock anymore; creating space for leniency for my future self I guess.

I entered the crucial emotional development stage teen girls go through at 14, 15, 16 at about 18 or 19 after escaping some co-dependant shit and I started hanging out with people like me for the first time in my adult life, that's when I started pulling from their stories and writing shit based on the experiences I experienced vicariously through them.

Finally, at this stage there's nothing really I'm afraid to write about, I'm not scared about writing about personal experiences. It’s all sonically had similar flavour I think, dope beat selection, harmony heavy, tongue in cheek and feel inducing.

Your lyricism is a unique form of storytelling - your bars mean something. What headspace do you get in to write, and where do you draw inspiration from?

Ha I over answered the last question and kinda answered this one too. In terms of headspace I get into as I sit down to write (as opposed to time in my life) and it’s random af, I often listen back and think where tf did that come from/how did it happen so fast/was i possessed? I know I can't force it, I never “plan” to write which is why I can never plan studio sessions with non squad members, element of pressure clouds everything. Melodies and bars happen in random places and I’ll record them on my phone. I'll be in a doctors appointment, excuse myself then duck into the bathroom and record on my phone, then return to letting em check my boobs, random. The rest is a blur.

On that note, as a rapper, you’re a unicorn in the current musical landscape as a woman. Do you think this has had any impact on the way you’ve gone about doing things?

It doesn’t impact how I go about doing things, I’ve only ever done things as a woman. I have sometimes thought it impacts how others deal with me but I'm reminded time and time again my gender is the last thing that would have an impact on how I’m ‘handled’, I’ve got many other caution signs plastered all over my forehead. Like a wise man once said, at the end of the day “it's about who's whack and tight”!

What’s your daily playlist looking like at present?

Random af. Cat Stevens, Tory Lanez, Neil Diamond, Radiohead, Kendrick OBVIOUSLY, Simon & Garfunkel.. My cultural music. Loads of instrumentals, far more than not actually. I play the same songs from the same people for months on end and then pick a new lot to abuse. I would never accept the aux chord, would never wanna subject any of my friends to that cluster fuck.

If you haven't for some reason listened to Jane Deezy's music, check it out over on her Sound Cloud.

Berlin-based Emanuel Satie is taking on Australasia

This Saturday we invite AUDIO back to Neck of The Woods. This time round the crew has lined up Berlin-based producer and live act Emanuel Satie to play, with support from AUDIO's Resident DJS - Parry, Rob Martyn and Grant Marshall. This Saturday's gig will be Emanual's first and only New Zealand show. We caught up with him briefly mid-tour to ask him a few questions.

Via Emanuel Satie facebook

Via Emanuel Satie facebook

This is your first time touring throughout Australasia, what are you most excited about? 

Where do I start? There are so many things I’m looking forward to, but I’m always most excited about meeting new people. You guys have a reputation for being very friendly and funny, so definitely that. Also local food. I love trying new stuff. Travelling when playing doesn’t leave you too much time to check out many things, but one thing that you can definitely always grasp is the vibe and feel of a place. It’s totally different everywhere. This is something I’m looking forward to discovering as well.

You produce all your own music. What part of both your creative process' and performing process’ do you find most rewarding? 

There are a couple of moments that are extremely rewarding. The first one is the moment when it just clicks at the studio and you know you got something good cooking. It can happen so suddenly, you fiddle around pointlessly for hours and nothing happens and all of a sudden the muse decides you struggled enough and something in your brain connects and you got this wonderful idea and you got a party going on at the studio. The most rewarding part of the process although is definitely playing your new track to a crowd and seeing everyone go nuts to it. Or even better, seeing one of your favorite DJs playing it whilst everyone is going nuts. Sounds like making music is all fun and games now, but every minute of feeling rewarded is paid for in about an hour of being frustrated. lol.

You are playing at Neck of the Woods this Saturday, what can we expect?

It always depends on how the vibe is on the night, but you can be sure that we will end up having a blast to some wild, energetic house and techno music in the end.

A bunch of young NZ musicians have recently relocated to Berlin, how would you describe the music scene over there? Do you think it has helped with your growth and success being based in Berlin?

Berlin can be both a blessing or a curse. There is so much going on, especially party-wise, that it is easy to get lost. I think it’s very important to know exactly why you come here and then follow through on your plans. Enjoy the city, but don’t get carried away too much. It took me some months to learn this, but now that I did, Berlin is definitely helping me. There’s a big pool of like-minded producers, that you can talk and learn from and you can see a lot of great DJ's on a daily basis in the clubs here, so definitely a lot to draw inspiration from and also the quality of life here is very high, lots of young, open minded people, good restaurants, bars etc. Come and visit y’all!

Tickets for this gig are available at iticket.co.nz - get in quick!


 

Soraya lines up local legends for Black Lives Matter Fundraiser

This Thursday's Black Lives Matter gig at NOTW is definitely going to go down in NZ Music history. NZ-born, LA-based producer Soraya is the women behind it all. Soraya has pulled together a lineup that is not to be missed. We caught up with Soraya to ask her about the drive behind the gig, and what to expect.

Soraya via i-D AU/NZ

Soraya via i-D AU/NZ

As a musician, what pushed you in particular to organise the BLACK LIVES MATTER gig?

As a musician, producer, song writer, entertainer or DJ you have to put yourself in the shoes of others when you are trying to connect with an audience.  You have to pay attention to what affects the people. Even though I am a musician, I can still understand how it is to sit next to your partner, friend, mother, father, brother and for no reason at all they're unjustly taken away from you never to be seen or talked to again. This affects us all. 

When my friends from NZ who are not American or African American expressed the same feelings as mine about recent events in the states we decided to do a show together to bring awareness to inhumane, unjust prejudice and treatment around the world. I wouldn't of had the courage to do this without their support and help. 

As a musician I am fortunate enough to have friends in the industry that were willing and able to help me bring awareness to something that I think is an atrocity as do they. Music has an uncanny ability to heal and bring people together. This was a way that we could actually do something instead of just saying something.  

You grew up in New Zealand however you have family connections back to the U.S and have spent time in the U.S working as a producer. Do you think the people of New Zealand are fully aware of what's happening in the states right now?

Yeah, my Dad is African American from Alabama and I have been living in L.A for a while now. I really didn't understand what was going on in the states (even though my father educated me deeply on Black Civil Rights and our family’s struggles in life to do with race in America) until I lived there and it took a couple of years to really even begin to see the cracks. After i was pulled over and put in handcuffs a couple times I began to understand a little of what it might feel like to grow up knowing that people think of me as dangerous or untrustworthy because of my skin color. I don't think that New Zealanders are fully aware because we just don't have the same struggles as Americans do with violence and guns. Many New Zealanders haven't been exposed to that. After working with musicians in LA (especially rappers who grew up in areas like Inglewood and Crenshaw) I would ask questions that related to song lyrics because I just couldn't understand the aggression or the extremity of what they were saying, I thought it was a tough guy act. I wanted to understand what they had been through so I could communicate that in the music. That’s when I put myself in their shoes and began to understand that what’s happening in America has been going on for a very very long time. Over 500 years of damage can not be fixed overnight, the only difference is that people have cameras in their hands at all times now.

The line up for Thursday's gig is one of the strongest we have seen in a while. What can we expect?

I think people attending are going to see the magic of a collective of talented people doing what they are born to do with the passion of a strong message behind their performances. I truly believe it will be one of the best shows in Auckland music history. Leonard Charles, P-MONEY, ARCADE and LIT ENTERTAINMENT have all been a part of curating this event. So far we have the most amazing lineup including spoken word artists and professors of African American studies from America. As well as a huge raffle that people can buy tickets for. This has truly been a unifying experience organizing this show for all of us. 

Artists performing include: CHE FU, LEONARD CHARLES ALL STARS : TYRA HAMMOND , CHIP MATTHEWS , JULIEN DYNEand BJORN PETERSEN,  SWIDT, BAILEY WILEY, ENO X DIRTY, LOUIS KNUXX, THIRD3YE, TEAM DYNAMITE, RONALD LAPREAD (BASS PLAYER for the COMMODORES), SESH, P MONEY, ILL BAZ, DEBRIS, JESS B, T BAILEY, LMB GANG, KING KAPISI and SILVA MC.

As a fundraiser gig, where will the proceeds be donated?

On the night guests will pay for entry and be given a choice of one of the following causes and/or families affected in the recent shootings. The choice will be theirs because the message we really want to bring is awareness.  

The five charities are: BLACK LIVES MATTERALTON STERLING Family (Civilian shot and killed in Baton Rouge Louisiana by Police Officer), PHILANDO CASTILE Mother (Civilian shot and killed in Minnesota during a routine traffic stop), National Legal Guild (Lawyers who are working to maintain the rights of peaceful protestors and those who need protection from police) and United Negro College fund (Money raised to help African American students without financial support to attain university degrees).

BLACK LIVES MATTER (Fundraiser) is being held at Neck of the Woods this Thursday, doors open at 5:00pm and music starts at 8:00pm.

 

 

 

Shakaiah Perez' dance takeover

Considered a local legend in the New Zealand dance community, Shakaiah Perez is hosting her very own fundraising event this Saturday at Neck of the Woods.  Titled BRUK OUT, the genre-blending event includes an incredible line up of local talent handpicked by Shakaiah herself.  We caught up with her to talk about the idea behind BRUK OUT and her international pursuits. 

Photos by Amanda Billing

Photos by Amanda Billing

BRUK OUT this Saturday at NOTW is a fundraiser event for your international endeavours, tell us where you're planning to go and what are you aiming to achieve?

In the next few months I will be travelling around Europe capturing the stories of many different artists by using the language of dance and filmography as a way of telling stories. The goal is to travel across the globe capturing stories that inspire and empower others in one way shape or form. By doing this I hope to use what I have learnt to later on start a creative arts therapy programme working with indigenous youth and reconnecting them with culture and the arts.

Last year you were part of The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency in Canada, and now are heading back overseas. Do you think international travel and experience is crucial for NZ dancers?

There are so many opportunities and new adventures waiting out there for us to explore. Being a dancer in NZ I feel as though we are limited in terms of opportunities and dance as a full-time career is a lot harder to attain. I believe it is important to experience what the rest of the world has to offer and to pursue what it is that makes you most happy.

Photos by Amanda Billing

Photos by Amanda Billing

How does the international dance scene compare to the NZ dance scene?

Depending on whether you're planning to go down the commercial dance or artistic route there will be a lot of competition and a lot of trials one must face. I believe we are quite strong dancers here in Aotearoa and there is so much undiscovered talent that needs to be scooped up.

The line up for Saturday is killer good. What can we expect?

The line up this weekend is full of many amazing artists that range across the genres of Afrobeat (Africa), Dancehall (Jamaica), Reggaeton (South America) all the way to Hip Hop & R&B. The whole purpose of the event is to celebrate black culture and the beauty that exists within our music and way of life. The night will be filled with dope sounds and an energy like no other that will make you "Bruk Out"!

Gudgemin's on The Other Side

It’s the final days of The Grow Room as we’ve come to know it. The end of July signals the final day of their current residency, perched above the mouth to St Kevin’s Arcade. The crew assure us the public will be well informed as to where the creative, collaborative space will next unfurl - in due time.

Nick. Photography by Connor Crawford

Nick. Photography by Connor Crawford

 

For the immediate future, the focus for some of its members is The Other Side, a gig curated by Nick Gudgeon, finding its home at Neck of the Woods tomorrow night.

 

We met Nick on the indoor terrace outside The Grow Room, on the day of Locapinay’s exhibition - walls plastered with analogue prints of her stunning photography. Truly, talent’s grown here.

 

Sitting on the hand-me-down couch, Nick (or Gudgemin, a nickname picked up in his days studying in Dunedin, spurred by references to his doppelganger, Mac DeMarco) spills the beans on the concept of the evening to come.

 

With seven acts and two DJ sets lined up to take over the night, it’s a monstrous line-up of insane local talent and would appear an organisational nightmare - but, according to Nick, it just “feels natural to do it this way,” as in, his first introduction to the gig game was by way of the monolithic Grow Room orchestrations. It’s a process of “scooping up everyone who inspires you, and chucking ‘em in a room.”

 

Friends of All the World

Friends of All the World

Why ‘The Other Side’, then? As Nick puts it, the crew showcasing on Friday are a bunch who get their kicks “geeking out on footwork,” and an erratic, eclectic array of sounds that are yet to find a home in Auckland. Nick’s own ‘Friends of All the World’, a collab project with Seb Soto, founded off the back of an offer to play on bFM and a subsequent rush to create to fill the spot, will open the night with their own stylistic stamp of, “Improvised house and techno; somewhere between a DJ set and a jam.”

 

Alongside the colossal music efforts to be experienced, your eyes will be stuck for what to look at among the feast of visual exploration. Nick’s 'creative technologist' friend, David, is piecing together “whatever images the artists want to conjure up” and throwing them behind their performance, stitching and “patching, mixing the imagery together - live.” It’ll be interactive and reactive to the audience, in a sense throwing up the organic movement of the people present onto the stage with the performer.

In exchange for this experience, simply clip a ticket for $10 on the door. Get underground, and unlock Nick’s vision, “I just want people to know there’s really cool stuff happening in Auckland, and that it’s really thriving.

Past, Present and Future with Greg Churchill

This Saturday, The Story of Acid House takes over NOTW - a hugely anticipated night curated and pieced together by our mates at Friendly Potential, headlined by none other than the legendary DJ Pierre. 

In support are local champs, Greg Churchill, Rob Warner, and Oliver Gifford. It'll be a night of revelling in the acid house and dance-floor pioneers, it only made sense to have a chat to the man largely credited with drastically pushing forward our own scene across the last few decades: Greg Churchill.

You were studying towards a Masters in Politics at the University of Canterbury when you picked up your first radio slot, on RDU. How’d you get to this point? When did music become a thing for you?

It had all happened a few years prior in 1984.

I approached the station manager, Michael Higgins, about getting a radio show and this journey started right there.

I remember when I was about 15-16, hating most of the music the other kids were liking at school… The god-awful Eagles being the most obvious example.

Punk was happening, and I just loved everything about it. The music, fashion, and attitude. And, as many others have so often said, Punk opened the doors and minds for so many of us to reggae and soul music.

I loved the edginess and abrasives of punk, and at same time found I had this love for music that made you dance.
 

And then came a ‘trip’ to the UK… 

In late 1988 I bumped into a guy I kinda knew in Christchurch.

He was wearing a smiley face yellow t-shirt which I was pretty envious of.

He told me he had just spent the summer in the UK (the First Summer Of love).

Now, for the last 18 months, I had been importing in box loads of as much House Music and Hip Hop as I could afford with another friend of mine, Dave Ramsden, who happened to be about the only other person I knew who I could share this love of House music with.

This guy (can’t remember his name) said I should get myself to the UK for the next summer (1989).

So, early July 1989 I packed up and headed off to London, with the sole intention of just living and breathing as much of what was happening as possible.

I didn’t work a single day, pretty much went out every night, and endlessly shopped for records.

I lasted till mid November when the money ran out, and the prospect of a UK winter staring at me I then returned home full of inspiration, and over-enthusiasm.

After which you relocated up to Auckland, for what would unfold into a four-year residency at The Box. How do you think such a move impacted your career?

I arrived in Auckland in early 1996.

For years, I had come up to the Box to just soak up the club for a weekend from Christchurch.

There was simply nowhere else the compared to The Box in New Zealand.

The sound system was superb, and the tunes played were just on another level.

Simon and Tom, the owners, insisted on a no compromise musical policy.

Unlike today where so many Auckland venues will have you fired for not playing commercial enough, the exact opposite applied at The Box.

When Rob Salmon left for New York at the start of 1996, I had a call from Simon asking If I'd take over the residency.

Initially, I said no. However, two weeks later, I had change of heart and accepted.

Any move to a bigger city comes with it greater opportunities, contacts and exposure.

Christchurch was somewhat stunted and going nowhere when I left, even though a few months later it did come back to life.

Within 6 months of arriving in Auckland, I’d witnessed the likes of Jeff Mills, Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Ashley Beedle, and even hung out with Kevin Saunderson.

Every weekend it seemed some DJ of significance was playing in Auckland.

At The Box I was able to witness first hand, by pretty much being right there in the DJ booth, how these guys played, and trainspot the tunes being dropped.

Tips, tricks, subtle skills - I absorbed everything.
 

How does Auckland’s dance scene in 2016 compare?

Right now, Auckland is very fortunate to have the likes of Ink, Red, Whammy and NOTW.

The fundamental problem I see in 2016 is there aren’t enough venues run by genuine and passionate music lovers - niche, boutique type venues where there’s a greater emphasis and love for what’s happening in the world of music, rather than that almighty dollar.

Venues where DJs can develop THEIR sound with confidence and without the threat that some bar manager is going to tear them to shreds mid-set to replace them with someone who said they’ll do it for a bartab.

15 years ago, this city was alive with so many bars and clubs playing a huge variety of House, Trance, Techno and Drum N Bass.

Auckland was once a global hot-spot and a "must play" for International DJs. Sadly, we are no longer.
 

Over the years, you’ve gained a stellar international reputation alongside leading the local scene. What’s kept you here?

Quite simply, a love and passion for music and DJing.
 

What was your introduction to DJ Pierre?

I remember (vaguely) hearing Box Energy on a Trax compilation, and also Slam by Phuture Pfantasy Club around the same time in 1987/88.

I thought the drums were so big and hard sounding on those records, and just wanted to go out somewhere and hear these tracks being played in a club.

That was pretty much the reason I started DJing.
 

Do you think that technology, increased ease of production, dissemination and promotion has had a positive or negative impact on music?

Sure, the positives are ease of access. Anyone can write and release a track these days. And essentially anyone can DJ too. The DIY punk ethos… Of course I’d have to love it.

However, we do have a growing problem with quality control in both the DJ world, and especially within the production universe.

My greatest fear with DJing is the art of beat mixing being over-looked and potentially lost.

Ironically, this should be so easy these days with sync.

The fundamentals of what beat matching teaches you, aside from having a really fuckin' sharp ear, are frequency control and balance and most importantly and crucial to playing a club: rhythm.

There’s is nothing more beautiful to the body and the ear than tracks seamlessly blending and moving from one to the next. There is nothing more jarring than sharp changes in rhythm.

Beat matching is a pillar of Djing.

It’s also the most fun you can ever have, learning how to do it.
 

Who’s on your playlist this week?

Daco - A little More Volume

Jesse Perez - Boogie Down Brown

Mason - Let It Go

Kapote & Zhut - So Damn Hot (Kian T Remix)

Krankbrother - Obscure Vision

DJ Pierre - The Story of Acid House, this Saturday at Neck of the Woods.