Meet our October artist, Samara Wooldridge!

For the month of Halloween we invite K Road local Samara Wooldrige to create our artwork. Samara is one of those multi talented  creatives who does a bit of everything, and it all comes together to create magic.

She is a qualified goldsmith, which lead her into making hats, jewellery and accessories (alongside designing clothing) for her family business, Dmonic Intent. The clothing brand is a core part of the Karangahape Rd creative scene. Until very recently, the Domnic Intent retail store had spent five years located in St Kevin's Arcade. Samara's art has trickled through Dmonic Intent’s ranges and branding, and now into ours for the month of October. 

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You have been heavy on the Auckland creative scene for some time now, both with Dmonic Intent and your personal art endeavours. What are a few of your first creative memories?

I was obsessed with play dough as a kid and I would get my mum to make it all of the time, I was super fussy about the colour too, it had to be the perfect mix of blue with a tiny bit of yellow or I wouldn’t play with it haha! The first stand out memory of painting was when I was 5 or 6, I painted a picture of me and the kids in my class. I remember the teacher telling my mum that I spent ages mixing up all of the different skin tones when all of the other kids just drew each other all the same, to be honest she probably thought I was a little freak.

You are a qualified Goldsmith, as well as a designer, stylist and artist. Do you think as a creative having many endeavours is beneficial? How do you balance them all?

I think it is beneficial but also a bit of a burden. I always want to do a million things at once. Sometimes I wish I was only interested in one thing so I could put all of my energy into it but I'm always working on a tonne of things at once. I suppose its better than having no interests or hobbies but it can be a bit frantic.

Dmonic Intent was launched seven years ago and is run by your two sisters, brother and yourself. Do you think the family business aspect helped shaped the community and following of the brand?

Totally! The number one rule apparently is never go into business with family. For us though, it’s the best. We live and work together and the great thing with family is that you can tell each other when you're not happy with something and you have an argument, someone gets upset but you cant hold onto those feelings because you’ve got to cook dinner together later. Also our mum and dad are involved heaps, Dad helped with building all of the counters, changing rooms, shelving, and racks in our shops. Mum and Dad are our biggest fans and come to every event.  Mum was in the shop with us everyday. Some people would come to see her and not us haha! I think our customers and friends could see we were a tight family. It wasn’t pushing sales and paying rent, we built relationships with everyone that came into our shop and they became part of our family.

Above: Dmonic Intent on the runway at various events.

Above: Dmonic Intent on the runway at various events.

Dmonic Intent has been a big presence in the K Road community for many years, with the K Road Space only recently closing after 5 years of business. What’s next for Dmonic Intent? 

We are taking a small break. We were on K Road seven days a week, every public holiday and Christmas Eve. We are currently thinking about taking part in a show with other designers in China in November after having missed the cut off date to show at World Fashion Week in Paris, due to complications with our lease in St Kevin’s Arcade. I’m excited to design again and come up with some new Dmonic designs with the family.

Your creative work covers a lot of different mediums; jewellery, painting, drawing and clothing design. Has this always been the case or have they developed along the way?

My brother in law and me studied at Peter Minturn Goldsmith school to learn how to make jewellery by hand the traditional way but besides that I think my family and I have always been creative. We would design stuff too achieve a certain look, even if it wasn’t something we were skilled at doing we would give it a good go until we got it right. For example if we needed belts to go with the clothing we wouldn’t buy them we’d figure out how to make them.

Above: The recently closed Dmonic Intent St Kevin's Arcade store.

Above: The recently closed Dmonic Intent St Kevin's Arcade store.

What are some of biggest changes you have noticed in the Auckland creative communities over the last 10 years?

I've noticed younger people are doing real cool stuff creatively. I mean, I’m 31 - which is not old compared to the earth but I feel a million years old compared to these young people and the stuff they’re doing with art and fashion. I suppose social media has had a big impact on that because there is so much going on creatively that's in your face everyday and that's inspiring. When I went to high school I had to go to the library to do my homework haha! Now everything is so accessible. 

Locally and internationally, what artists, designers and creatives do you admire?

Okay well, when I was younger my parents weren’t artistic and never really encouraged me in that area or realised how much I loved being creative, so my brother in law is my biggest artistic inspiration. He’s an amazing artist and he’s known me since I was a kid. He would sit down with me and teach me stuff and buy me art supplies for birthdays and Christmases. I think without his support and telling me to carry on with what I love to do I may have lost it a long time ago. He still shows me new things today :)

Locally Elliot Frances Stewart is also someone I really admire. Not only is he amazing and such a skilled artist, he doesn’t bullshit and you can really see it in his work. It's real and it means something. I spend most nights drawing bananas with cowboy boots, they may or may not change the world but I’m not holding out for that haha!

Internationally, would have to be Marina Abramovic, she has shaped the world of performance art for many years. I admire her determination. After years and years of being under appreciated in the art world and being told what she was doing wasn’t "art", she carried on and now she is one of the most influential artists in the world. 

Above: Elliot Frances Stewart for THE BOOG

Above: Elliot Frances Stewart for THE BOOG

Dream Client?

Marilyn Manson! It would be my dream to design him an album cover. 

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

A woman trying to perform CPR on a pigeon and she thought she had revived it and picks it up and it's head flops down again because it was way too dead.  

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

The Doors - People are strange

WASP - Heaven’s Hung In Black

Nick Cave - Higgs Boson Blues

Marilyn Manson - Fundamentally Loathsome

The Black Keys - Too Afraid To Love You

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

The Doors (if Jim wasn’t dead haha!), Tupac (R.I.P!) and Marilyn Manson.

Can you doodle us a pic of you!

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Follow Samara over at @pale_vein

KNOW AN ARTIST WE SHOULD WORK WITH? PLEASE REACH OUT!

The rise of K2K

Opening for Kevin Saunderson this Friday at Neck of the Woods, is local electronic wonder K2K. Recently relocated to Auckland, K2K has been heavy on the electronic scene for a few years now playing at the likes of Laneways, Red Bull Sound Selects, Inky Waves and 121 events, just to name a few. Releasing her new EP titled Sugar two weeks ago, we caught up with Katherine to chat about being a female producer, opening for Kevin Saunderson this weekend and some of her new projects.

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First of all, we'd love to know how you're finding Auckland! You moved here at the start of the year, and were based in Wellington before that, right?

Yeah I was living in Wellington for the past few years and moved up in March. It's been a really nice change so far, the winter has been way less gnarly and it's been good to spend more time with my Auckland pals. I love Wellington but it was starting to feel a bit too small. Auckland feels like it has more potential right now for me.

Do you personally think basing yourself in Auckland as an NZ musician, at some point, is important? 

Well it's the biggest city so it inherently has more opportunities than other cities around NZ. There are more opportunities for gigs, meeting musicians and just getting your name out there. It really depends what your dreams as a musician are, but I think any NZ musicians who want to make it internationally should probably use Auckland as a stepping stone.

Let’s talk about Kevin Sanderson, you're opening for him this coming weekend! How are you feeling about that?

I've been looking forward to it for ages, Friendly Potential always draws good crowds and this gig in particular looks like it will go off as Kevin's such a legend. It's always a great time playing to crowds that are pumped and ready to dance all night. 

Kevin Saunderson is constantly titled as one of the three main architects of Techno, pioneering the sound in Detroit with The Belleville Three. Saunderson is still consistently active in the international techno scene; whether he's playing his own shows worldwide or managing other artists over at his label, KMS records. His career has proved to have incredible longevity. As a producer (and vocalist) in 2017, do you often think or strategise about the longevity of your career?

Yeah I mean most of the producers/DJs you see are pretty young, very few seem to make a long career out of it. Especially females - I see so few older women DJing which is really sad. I think this is changing but it's still incredibly disproportionate. I'd like to keep DJing, making more tunes and maybe one day get to travel the world doing this, but I don't have some long term plan. I just want to keep on doing it as long as it's fun :)

You just realeased your first EP titled Sugar via Margins ; how long have you been working on this EP? How long does it usually take you to develop and finish a single track?

That EP was recorded over about 8 months, pretty infrequently though. I work full time so I have to fit music making around that. A track can take between a few weeks and a few months.

With the likes of Inky Waves and 121 (along with many other collectives) organising and curating shows, raves and parties around the country over the last year, it seems electronic music has really taken off, people want to dance! Which local producers, DJs and musicians do you rate?

Yeah, the scene for electronic music here has gotten pretty exciting over the last year for sure. A couple of my fav DJs and producers are Aw B, Borrowed CS, DJ Kush Boogie, Peach Milk, Hugo Jay, Mongo Skato, Sports Crew and Sandboards. 

We've just heard about Night Pottery; a new ongoing project and label from the Inky Waves team. Can you shed some light on this and who's involved? Will the direction be the same as Inky Waves?

Yeah for sure. Night Pottery is myself, Oliver Johnson, Bryn Fenemor and Dirk Peterson. Inky Waves had started out initially as an offshoot of Inky Palms (a riso studio on K Rd) and was started with some people who are no longer involved in the project. We thought it would be good to start fresh, with a clear idea of what we were gonna do and what it was gonna look like. Night Pottery is going to be a party series, an online mix series and (in early 2018) a record label. We've got our first gig on October 6th with Chaos In The CBD and we're pretty excited about what's in store for 2018 for the label. 

Haven't got your Kevin Saunderson tickets?! Buy them here.

Meet our September artist: Bryson Naik

Second up for the Neck Of The Woods Monthly Artist programme is local legend, Bryson Naik. Bryson’s work has ended up in a diverse range of spaces around Auckland, including the vaults of renowned art collector Sir James Wallace. Bryson is most commonly known for his electric colours, pop-culture references, Vai Lima patronage and strong link to his home suburb Onehunga.

He’s previously described his work as a “jump from hyperrealism to Manga to 17th century Baroque paintings, then to pixel art" (What’s Good blog, 2015). A frequent collaborator with Onehunga’s SWIDT, Bryson is one of the artists who created Olly Cafe’s huge indoor mural. Get to know Bryson a bit better in our exclusive interview below.

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Electric colours, incredible attention to detail and strong pop-culture references are a few stand out characteristics of your signature style. Is this style of work always been ingrained in your mind when producing art?

Not consciously, I guess it just developed from a young age like even in primary I was always the kid everyone came up to screaming draw this, draw that and I was terrible at the time so im guessing they just asked me cause I was so driven. With those experiences the focus of pop culture as the subject matter came naturally, all the kids wanted pictures of Goku or whoever they idolized and it took an entire year of life drawing once I hit uni to unlearn Akira Toriyama's rules of anatomy lol. When it comes to style I get bored easily so I've never placed restrictions on myself and I feel like I can do it all, there's no harm in being multi-faceted and I'm constantly pushing myself to learn new things.

You have been producing poster artwork for gigs for years, creating graphics for clothing and also working on mural pieces. What has been some of your highlight projects to date and why?

One of two things that come to mind would be my first exhibition ever back in 2013, I was fresh outta high school and it was curated by Chloe Swarbrick (was her first exhibition also), I got to show alongside my all time favourite illustrator Vincent Fasi and thanks to Chloe we managed to sell a few works to the OG Sir James Wallace which was huge for a bunch of alcoholic 18 year olds. The second would be the wrestling tee I designed for SWIDT which was inspired
by a studio called Pen & Pixel who were responsible for my favourite era of rap album art, an era which is still massively influential to this day and it was an honour for me to pay homage to something that I've admired for so long.

Above: Bryson's t-shirt design for SWIDT. Photo by Brendon Kitto.

Above: Bryson's t-shirt design for SWIDT. Photo by Brendon Kitto.

You take photos as well, all on film. How long have you been doing this?

Since film was cost efficient, my family didn't have a digital camera till 2006 so film was pretty much all I knew until I got my own first proper DLSR in 2011.  I'd love to shoot film more often these days but it's too time consuming (and expensive) for me to get things developed.

You rep Onehunga pretty hard, which is cool. Would you say Onehunga has had a big influence on your ideas and aesthetic? 

Everything I do is Onehunga.

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Locally and internationally, what artists, photographers and designers do you admire or rate heavily?

I've honestly got too many to list especially international inspirations but I hold the locals closer to my heart. We live in a country densely populated with the most talented people in the world and it's a shame we don't have the infrastructure to support them and they have to run off and be mad successful elsewhere.

Dream Client?

Vailima, it's gonna happen one day since I'm the only Samoan graphic designer in the world.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

THIS.

Top five tracks to work/draw to?

Future - Codeine Crazy
Gangsta Blac - Tire Shop
Doe B ft. Project Pat - Return Of Da Mac (Remix)
DJ Screw - Chapter 16: Late Night Fuckin Yo' Bitch
Creed - With Arms Wide Open

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

All of these artists I would love to have seen in their prime or while every member was alive:
Three 6 Mafia, DMX, Hall & Oates.

Can you doodle us a pic of you eating your favourite meal?

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Follow Bryson at @naik2g

Know an artist we should work with? Please reach out!

Meet our August artist, Logan Smith!

Art is something we appreciate hugely at Neck of the Woods (along with music and good vibes of course!) and we have made it one of the foundations of our venue since day one. This August we are excited to launch our new local artist programme; a monthly collaboration between a local artist, illustrator or designer, handpicked by the Neck of the Woods team every four weeks. We will collaborate with each artist on our weekly and monthly poster artwork, as well as a handful of limited edition stickers.

Collaborating with these creatives on a monthly basis is about celebrating the talented creatives around us, and having refreshing artwork for your eyes and ours.

This month we have handpicked Logan Smith to get on board, or ‘Smiddy’ a some of you may know him. Logan has recently relocated to Auckland after a year of working remotely from NYC and Copenhagen. Before that Logan was Wellington based, which explains why he is behind some of the best branding and design work in the capital.

His hand drawn, humorous characters and doodle designs are his signature style. He is a design favourite to restaurants such as Five & Dime and Five Boroughs, retail legend Good as Gold, NZ’s only skate magazine MANUAL, and is in constant collaboration with NZ streetwear label Shark Week. Meet Smiddy!

Smiddy Bacall! How you get the nickname?

It's not even really a nickname. It's from Django Unchained, the Quentin Tarantino movie. Smitty Bacall is the leader of the murdering gang of stagecoach robbers The Bacall Gang. 

You only relocated to Auckland this year, how are you finding it? What are your favourite local spots so far?

I'm loving Auckland. It's full on, but it's great. After living in Welly for so long - which I love (and miss) - I think AK gets a bad wrap. It's a big city -  there's something for everyone. Weather's usually good, it's warm. People complain about stuff like traffic and other shit but it's all good. I choose to live central so I can skate and walk everywhere so it's about whatever works for you I guess. There's money for creativity and the people are awesome. 

I love Karangahape Road. I know it's all changing and stuff for better or worse but it's cool. As a newbie to Auckland it's the part I guess I thought Auckland didn't have. Lots of character, not all polished and perfect but still lots of weirdos and a good creative scene. It's fun. Still discovering new places all the time too, Auckland's massive and there's so much around to discover. 

Above: Logan's designs for Shark Week

Above: Logan's designs for Shark Week

A huge part of your work ties back into streetwear and skateboarding, including your heavy involvement with Shark Week. Was this direction always what you had in mind when studying? How did it come about?

Nah not necessarily but I guess they've always been interests. I've just been doing what I enjoy and naturally that's become something that's steered in that direction. I guess the on streetwear side a lot of it has been due to doing all the Shark Week graphics which has been a cool way to get work into the world. Tom always wants to make new and exciting stuff so it's a dream project really. We can do whatever we want which is when the best work gets done. 

I know it takes a while for most creatives of any field to find their niche and develop their own style, wether it’s art, music, photography, fashion, filming…etc. Then front that point they don’t change their style much, it becomes theirs. Can you remember the time when this happened to you?

I like to think my style's still developing/hopefully always developing. Really don't want to be limited to a colour palette or a line style or anything. It's hard though sometimes deadlines and budgets mean you've got to work fast so you end up doing what comes most natural. Can't really remember a definitive time but I've always drawn and doodled and I guess that's become my style. 

The collaboration with Cathedral Cove Water Taxi’s was pretty cool. How did that come about?

My brother runs the Cathedral Cove Water Taxi with his girlfriend. He's a diver, marine biologist, surfer, ocean baby. He was pearl diving in Australia and bought the business when he came back. I've done some branding work for him and we're going to do limited run tee shirts every year as part of it. Working on the next one now. 

                  Above: Logan's Cathedral Cove Water Taxi t-shirt design

                  Above: Logan's Cathedral Cove Water Taxi t-shirt design

What are you working on at the moment? I know you are busy as! Anything exciting?

Working on some cool stuff. Just did a tee for the Green party. My girlfriend Georgia and I just combined powers to start our own design studio - Sunday Best. We've just moved in with Motion Sickness so quite a lot of projects in the works with them. Lots of work with Elie Assaf and Bryn Thomas (Five Boroughs, Five & Dime etc.) - 'Sexi Boi Yakitori' their stall for Beervana. Obviously doing the posters and stickers with you guys has been fun. Doing new cider cans with Three Wise Birds and slowly rebranding their stuff. New stuff with Sharkweek in the works. 

Handrawn or digital?

Both. Couldn't have one without the other. Handrawn if I had to choose.

Dream client?

Vans would be sick. Steinlager classic. All Blacks. 

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

Anderson Paak wearing a Sharkweek shirt I drew. 

Best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Don't sweat the small stuff. Remember, it's all small stuff. - banger from Mum. 

Top five tracks to draw to?

Currently in heavy rotation - J Boog - Ganja farmer, Drake and Young Thug - Ice Melts, Sza and Travis Scott - Love Galore, Andreson .Paak and Schoolboy Q - Am I wrong, Giggs - Whippin Excursion, Dej Loaf - No Fear. Notable mention - King Louie - Banana Boat Ft LeekeLeek 

Favourite local artist/band/musician right now?

Beach Boy and the boys down in Wellington. Finn's an amazing producer. They're just doing it and having fun. SWIDT are good - only just got onto them. YGB, Passed Curfew, Soaked Oats, Cheeky kids! 

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck on a G-Unit Beg for Mercy reunion tour. 

Can you doodle us a pic of yourself eating your favourite meal?

Follow Logan over @smiddybacall and smiddysstudio.com

Martyn Pepperell on Japanese Boogie, freelancing and New Zealand's creative scenes

Martyn Pepperell is a name a lot of you will know, and if not chances are high you would have definitely read his writing or heard him DJ. Martyn is one of New Zealand’s most active freelance journalists, broadcasters, DJs and concert promoters. His work has been published and presented by the likes of Dazed & Confused, Dummy Mag, i-D, Noisey, Red Bull Studios and The Spinoff, just to name few. He has DJed alongside an endless list of the best local and international acts, such as Le1f, Lontalius, The Internet, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Vince Staples. He is a local legend. This Friday we are excited to have him DJ at our third instalment of The BOOG. At THE BOOG, Martyn will be drawing deep from his crates, with an emphasis on Japanese Boogie. 

Hey Martyn! While you’re usually the one doing the interviewing, we thought as you’re DJing at The BOOG this Friday, we would flip the tables and ask you some questions. You are a man with a million roles, working as a freelance writer, musician, DJ, copywriter and creative arts consultant. What are you currently working on today? And in coming months? (Notes of any special projects is great!)

Hi Imogen, thanks for having me. Today is a fairly standard working day for me. Generally, those involve meetings, work calls, research time, transcribing interviews, and actual writing. I'm trying to get about four features off to editors before the end of the week, so it's all systems go. Upcoming projects, well, obviously I'm excited to play at The BOOG this weekend. Next weekend I'm headed down to Dunedin and Christchurch to play a few DJ gigs and join the judging panel at RDU 98.5 FM's annual Round-Up band contest. After that, I'm off to Singapore, Helsinki, Paris, Berlin, London, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles for a holiday. 

Having multiple jobs is a juggling act, I was talking to Chloe Swarbrick about this last week. You have been doing it for a while now, what’s your approach to having multiple things on the go? What keeps you organised and onto it?

The main thing is really just making lists and deadlines, ensuring you cross a few things off your list every day, and meeting your deadlines. When you're a freelancer, if you don't work, you might not eat, so paying the bills and expenses is always a good motivation. With that being said, when you're doing creative work, sometimes you really do have to wait until you're in the right headspace to get it done and dusted, and sometimes that right headspace doesn't arrive until 1 am. It's far from ideal.

When someone has multiple jobs, like Chloe and like many of us at Neck of the Woods, I love asking; What do you write as your job title on your customs forms when leaving or coming back to NZ?

Heh. Boring answer time. I generally just put down administrator, cause, in all honesty, I do a lot of admin. NEXT QUESTION!

Let’s chat about music. You play as both a radio DJ and tour around the country playing gigs. Personally, do you think the combination of both radio work and gigs helped you establish yourself as a DJ? Would your advice young local DJ’s to do the same?

Well, a lot of the time I play in lounge bar environments, or places that are sympathetic to hearing a bit more than just the Top40 or whatever the current trap, rap and RnB hits are. Generally speaking, the kinds of people who run or book for these sorts of places usually have a level of engagement with local music culture and media. I say that to say this, if they've seen your name in print or on websites, or heard your voice on the radio or on a podcast, chances are they might give what you're doing a second look.

Name recognition and branding never hurts, but you also have to have something to offer that makes sense in the context of where you're playing. If you're interested in broadcasting on radio or podcasting, and DJing, you should 100% try mixing it up and see where it leads you. A lot of DJ's in Auckland have been involved with stations like Base FM, George FM, bFM, and kFM over the years, so in a lot of ways, it's a well-worn path.

Above: Hitomi Tohyama - 'Exotic Yokogao', our Tuesday Tune picked by Martyn.

The BOOG this Friday; what can we expect from you? What tracks have you already got lined up?

Over the last few years, I've been particularly interested in Caribbean, Japanese, and South African boogie, disco, and funk, so that's generally where I try to kick things off. That being said, like a lot of us, I'm a sucker for the original US and UK boogie sounds, especially the likes of Loose Ends and Five Star. Between the music, vibe, and their outfits, Loose Ends really were - and are - the total package. I'm going to see them play in Los Angeles in September; I can't wait. I also love a lot of what the modern funk and boogie artists in California like Zacky Force Funk, XL Middleton, Dam Funk, and their peers are doing, so that's a thing as well. Dam Funk and Nite Jewel's Nite Funk EP is pretty special - but yeah, if the vibes right, I'd love to roll out the Japanese boogie vibes for my whole set.

Boogie seems to be popping off in Auckland at the mo, with The BOOG and hints in other club nights. I haven’t noticed much in Wellington, just a little. Do you think Wellingtonians are into Boogie?

Sometimes it's hard to see what is going on from a distance. Laundry Bar in Wellington has a regular boogie night that draws a great crowd, and sometimes the DJs play boogie on Thursdays at Five & Dime. Earlier in the year, we hosted Egyptian Lover and Awesome Tapes From Africa at a sold-out show in Wellington, and the boogie vibes were in full effect. Wellington also has a history of great local boogie production from the likes of Magic & Steel, D:UNK, Lord Echo, and Pierre Omar. 

You've shared some great Japanese boogie tunes with us in the lead up to The BOOG. Last month Bianca Paulus rolled up to The BOOG with a crate full of South African boogie. What sets apart international boogie from American boogie?

I guess it's a reflection, but not quite. Places like Japan, South Africa, and Brazil heard and saw US and UK boogie music and culture, fell in love with it, and combined it with their local influences to create their take on it. The Japanese stuff draws from the melodies and production sound of acts like D-Train, Shalamar, etc. However, they have their own musical ideas they throw into the mix as well, and with Japan being a major technology hub, they had early access to some very crazy drum machines and synthesizers in the late 70s and early 80s. Hiroshi Satoh, Miharu Koshi, and Hitomi Toyhama are just a few of the many names worth looking into.

You grew up in Wellington and have lived in Auckland too. Both creative scenes have changed and grown hugely in the last five years, especially when it comes to music, art, and creative collectives. Who or what would you personally pin as your favourite up and coming artists, writers or creatives?

The past five years has been particularly vital hasn't it? I'd extend that beyond both cities to the whole country. Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Lontalius, FIS, Tlaotlon, Chaos In The CBD, Borrowed CS, Groeni, Raiza Biza, Jess B, Jahra Rager, SWIDT, Friendly Potential, Inky Waves, Meer, Randa, Arty Films, Researchintospeed, Surly, Elan Vital, and Abdul Kay are all names that jump out right now, but it's easy to forget or miss deserving talents.

I know a lot of young creatives entering the freelance world today struggle with the budgets, deadlines, and competition. What advice would you give to them based on what you have learned over the last ten years?

This whole thing definitely isn't easy, and the landscape looked very different ten years ago. I've had to evolve, adapt, diversify, and really stretch myself at times. Some years have been harder than others. This year has been okay, but I've also been sick three times this winter, which is pretty stressful when you're freelancing. I suppose the main things I'd say is this, don't be afraid of having some kind of part-time job alongside doing freelance creative work, or even just doing it on the evenings and weekends while you have a day job. Having the title of being a freelancer isn't worth it if you're stressed out, broke, and behind.

That being said, if you absolutely have to do it, save up a chunk of money first, that way you'll have a buffer. Try to find ways to minimalise your living expenses as well, that's a key. In terms of the actual work, be professional, communicate clearly, meet your deadlines (or at least explain why you aren't going to be meeting them, and when you can hand your work in). Also, stay open to feedback and critique, and don't be afraid of regularly pitching and presenting yourself to prospective clients. The work isn't going to turn up if you don't ask for it sometimes.

Come to The BOOG this Friday to hear Martyn's Japanese Boogie, alongside sets from DJ Scizzorhands, Ian Beatmaster Wright and Lucky Lance. $10 presales / $15 on the door.

 

Dance for Democracy with Chlöe Swarbrick

This Wednesday we invite Green Party member, cafe owner and our old pal Chlöe Swarbrick back to Neck of the Woods for round two of her annual Dance for Democracy. This time she's bringing her pals Tei, k2k, Jahra Rager and Julia Jewels to perform. Four of our favourite local female acts, along with Chloe, throwing a party; it's one not to miss! Party aside, we thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Chloe a bit about her life since running for mayor and how she keeps it all together.

This time last year you were hosting Dance for Democracy in promotion your mayoral campaign, and this year it’s in conjunction with The Green Party, which you are now part of. It’s been a whirlwind year for you. Tell us a bit of what’s happening this Wednesday?

Kia ora Immy! It has been a big, impossibly fantastic year. Last year, an awesome dude by the name of Andy (100% Good) offered to do a gig with me during the local body elections to try and put politics in a bit of a different context to the usual, so as to engage with people who don't typically encounter 'Politics' with a capital 'P' in their everyday. Andy's involved in helping out again this year, as is the big man Bridge.

I guess the underlying premise is that everything is political. Homelessness, the housing crisis, climate change – all of it is the result of political decision making or omission. And things can change – that change lies in the potential of all of us coming together to stand for inclusion, aroha, climate action, and everything in between.

A tonne of super talented local artists and friends (Jahra Rager, Tei., Julia Jewels, k2k, Friends of All the World, Baby Zionov and WhyFi) are coming together to play a gig, and get people dancing together towards a progressive and awesome future for everyone.

More about this whirlwind year! You went from being Marcomms Manager at Neck of the Woods, along with juggling many other jobs, to leaving to run for mayor and then also launching Olly. When most people talk about you it’s in amazement, but often people comment “how the hell does she do it all?”. What advice can you give other young people juggling multiple jobs or projects? What tactics do you take when you are feeling overwhelmed with having so much on the go?

It's all about people, and our communities. Pretty much everything I've done over the past few years has been about trying to build spaces for art, culture and talent to thrive – my running for Mayor was the result of realising those spaces were drying up faster than we could create them, because there was an absolute disregard for their importance at the highest levels of decision making.

I think that probably has a lot to do with the incessant focus on money and profit – but anyway. I guess that lends itself to segue into the reason that we tried to reduce the barriers as much as possible with Dance for Democracy. It's koha (gold coin) entry, because a good time and political engagement should not be predicated on your having bags of cash.

But to go back to your question – it's all about finding something you care about. I'm a little miffed at the stereotypical advice doled out that if you find something you love, you'll never work a day in your life.. If you find something you love, you'll work the hardest you've ever worked. It's not easy, but you have a driving purpose that makes it meaningful. That's my experience at least.

Organisation is important too, but I'm not perfect there either. I run my life by Google calendar, and a bunch of haphazard checklists and brainstorms in my notebook.

What advice would you personally give yourself one year ago?...When you decided to run for mayor.

Keep going.

Something else people would love to know, what is your usual day-today? There is only so much time in one day and you manage to fit it all in, what does ‘it’ consist of at the moment?

I currently work at Olly about 2-4 days a week, travel around Aotearoa listening to and discovering local issues 1-3 days a week, and spend my evenings/weekends in campaign activities with awesome volunteers.

Back to the topic of you working at Neck of the Woods; being Marketing Manager at the club you were always actively involving young creatives and musicians in our events and artwork, as well as throughout What’s Good Blog and bFM, and now at Olly. What local creatives are you admiring at the moment and why?

Oh! Great question! There's gotta be way too many to count. I'll always back my boys Bryson Naik and Vincent Fasi – Brys has also over the past year or so been doing a bunch of creative work for the SWIDT whānau, who I admire greatly. Jahra Rager is a consistent source of inspiration, Tei. is mind-blowing, and The Grow Room crew are incredible.

I'll always love and big up Nicole Semitara Hunt (Locapinay) and her poetic photography, and have grown to have ever more respect and admiration for the eye, heart and mind of curator and artist Ema Tavola. Gotta back Bryan Anderson, one of my partners in crime at Olly and muso.

 

Bring all your friends along tonight to Dance for Democracy, gold coin entry!

Hello & Welcome to Fully Explicit

After being on our radar for so long, tonight we are hyped to welcome Fully Explicit to The Woods. They're one of the few local club nights that push to provide and promote a fully inclusive space for women, queer, trans, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual people and people of colour. The night is for all who want to get down and dance; they are known for their deconstructed club bangers and DJ sets full of the best explicit rap, house, vogue, jungle and r&b. Fully Explicit is a collective, a space and a conversation; we caught up with Rachael (aka Creamy Mami) to ask her more about Fully Explicit and what they hope to achieve each gig.

How do you prepare sets for each gig, and decide on the vibe collectively? Or do you just run with whatever you are all feeling at the time?

It's just really whoever wants to play whatever! We are all mates with great music taste and love to party! We fully trust each other to just bring it and we live for hyping each other up. I love being surprised by my mates sets and being like "wwooooooowwwww".

With Joanna (Lil Hoe on the Prairie) currently located in Melbourne, we see DJ Mimosa and and GG have been added to the mix this Saturday. Can you tell us a bit about who they are and what to expect from them?

We still reeling from losing Jo to Melbourne but now we're seeing it as an expansion of our brand. I (Rach) am going to move to Melbourne later in the year as well and we are definitely going to put on Fully Explicit nights there as well as keeping it going here with Nikolai (Brown boy Magik) and our other friends who we regularly put on. GG is Mya Middleton an artist and curator who I met when our mutual friend put us on Radio Burgerfuel and our music tastes clicked. Mimosa is my mate Marcus who also has a radio show on Sunday night on Base FM and have both played Fully Explicit nights a few times before. We feel like they are naturally part of our crew as they have been supporting us from the start and we love everything they play.

Fully Explicit is all about inclusion and creating a safe environment around music and nightlife.  I know this is an issue other musicians, venues and promoters struggle with. What would your advice be to local venues, musicians and promoters to help extend these messages beyond your gigs?

Include us and most importantly talk to us! Discourse is the best course. There is a whole group of amazing people who have so much to give to Auckland's struggling scene who currently aren't being fully included. Some people don't want to concede their outdated views on what the scene should be for the betterment of everyone. But lets face it - the future is queer! There are amazing people like Golden Dawn and NOTW who are really trying tho! Auckland is hard!

Locally, there isn’t a huge amount of female DJs around. Rachael, what are your experiences with being a female DJ, both on the radio and IRL at gigs?

I feel like being a queer DJ is especially hard cause the majority of music men who run the scene are mostly confused by me and the music I play and what it means to be queer and how that totally influences my music and style of DJ'ing. Also having a sexually explicit club night peaks people's interest but then they are confused that it's not a heteronormative sexuality we celebrating. People don't really like to think too much about things that don't effect them but I am always thinking about exposing shit. I am too much and I am crazy. Lol that's some potent ingredients for fucking shit up! I absolutely love playing on 95 BFM and that they let me play whatever I want cause they know I play what everyone don't. I love getting txts and calls from people being like "what the fuck is this??"

Who would be the ultimate Fully Explicit line up, if you could bring anybody on board to play alongside your local crew?

This is easy!! Juliana Huxtable, Brooke Powers and Habits from Melb, Total Freedom, Kingdom, Venus X, Nguzunguzu, Kim Ann Foxman, Kablam, Toxe, Lotic, DJ Erika Kayne! Special guest performances by Spice and Cardi B lol.

 

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.