Meet our October Artist, Shelley Botticelli

Shelley de Bruyn, formally known as Shelley Botticelli, is an artist and illustrator based out of Karangahape Rd. Bright off-neon hand painted tigers, dragons, flowers and bikini babes are a few of the characters that trend through Shelley's work. Her stand out style has been in surplus this year across numerous groups art shows including Good Exposure and Dynasty, live mural painting sessions and her own solo show recently hosted by Checks Downtown. Shelley explains her work is inspired by the elusive role that child experience can play in shaping creativity in adulthood, giving her works a dreamlike quality and an absence of control. She is currently a studio resident and employee over at our neighbours Monster Valley where she is exploring both creative writing and illustration.

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Over the last year you have rapidly developed as an artist locally; stretching yourself across a huge number of group shows, markets and your recent solo show at Checks Downtown. What are a few things that have driven your art forward this year?

I think a lot of it has just been natural progression, particularly because of where my work and studio are located. You meet people and collaborate and things just seem to evolve on its own. But yeah, Karangahape Road is teeming with creatives so the opportunities are always there it’s just about saying yes to the ones that come your way!

When you are part of a show, of any capacity, What do you hope to achieve each time?

Often I don’t get any work done until a few days leading up to a show. like as soon as I commit to something I become instantly creatively bankrupt, and it’s only the stress of a deadline that’s spurs some sort of creative breakthrough, so the following days are ensued with stress and anxiety and looming deadlines. So I guess like, getting on top of my shit and sussing things out so I don’t spend the days leading up to the show being a literal nightmare to anyone who has the terrible misfortune of coming into contact with me.

What has been your favourite show or event so far?

Last summer Siobhan, Toni and I road tripped down to Whangamata for the Wabi Sabi Gallery opening. I had been in contact with Nick and Karenza online and i had never met them, but they invited us to stay with them in their beautiful gallery which was right by the beach. Nick gave us his caravan, which was located in the carpark out the back of the gallery and we woke up every morning to the sound of waves and the couple upstairs screaming at each other. They introduced us to their friends and we spent the following days drinking outside the gallery in the sun and going to bonfires and we met so many amazing people, and ended up hitchhiking home because we missed our bus.

  Above: Shelley’s work at Wabi Sabi Gallery

Above: Shelley’s work at Wabi Sabi Gallery

You current work at Monster Valley with Karl and Toni, as well as residing there in the shared studios. Tell me a bit about how you came about MV?

Well first I met my lovely angel Toni which led me to getting a studio residency next door at Monster Valleys Poynton Studio and me and Karl got talking and I kinda forced him to hire me and I suspect he has regretted it everyday since.

Monster Valley is a huge part of K Road, I feel like it combines creativity and community it a really natural and friendly way - while still being a multi-dimensional business that caters to both commercial and editorial clients. I think a lot of people could agree. How do you think MV spins K Road?

Monster Valley is home to so many people. It’s become a real community and its been so cool to be involved in a place that just gives a shit about art and community and people. It’s constantly evolving and reshaping itself and I am so grateful to Karl (Director of MV) for giving me the opportunity to be involved in such a spectacular thing, and letting me work alongside one of my best friends (The amazing, spectacular one and only Toni Gill.)

With this year being so turbo for you - what are your plans for the summer months?

I’ll keep working on my book but I also think I’d like to refine my style a lot, so maybe just being a little more private about what I’m working on and trying not to commit myself to too many things. I think it’s important to just paint for yourself sometimes without having an audience in mind, I would like to start being more authentic to myself, so working privately will be quite beneficial.

The Experiment Event by Monster Valley earlier in the year was amazing, and a huge success. Congrats!  You helped organise this event. What in your opinion is the few key factors to throwing a successful event?

Being on the same page with everyone you are working with is important, and Karl and Toni are the best people you could possibly ask for. For Karl to put on a free event of this capacity is remarkable in itself, nothing would ever had happened without him, he's far to humble and there aren't enough people out there like him. And Toni is obviously an incredible graphic designer and artist, so it was a dream team really! That’s all you can really ask for.

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What are three of the biggest misconceptions people have around your art?


People think I take a lot of mind altering substances which cracks me up. But also I think people often apply more meaning to my art then they should. I get a lot of messages about the “meaning” behind my art but I just paint so I can make more sense of my reality, it's grounding and meditative and helps me work through my shit. Of course there is meaning there, but i kind of like to keep my stuff quiet. People’s minds are too busy and I think it's nice to sometimes look at something and just appreciate it for what it is and not try and force logic or opinions onto it. It’s really important to find meaning in some things, because art is used as a vehicle of expression, but personally I want my art to be used to escape the mind rather than reside within, I want it to be an external experience.

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

Locally there are honestly too many people to count but Claudia Kogachi’s work is staggeringly beautiful. Internationally I'm really into Paul Paetzel and Wakana Yamazaki at the moment.

Dream Client?

Gucci would be amazing its so beautiful and its worth like $12.7 Billion dollars imagine the cash you would hustle from a job like that :o

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

This is my mood now and 4eva.

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

Ariel pink - baby

Al green - Full of fire

L'lmpératrice - Agitations tropicales

Frank Ocean - Provider

Delegation - Oh honey


Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu and Destiny’s Child.

Follow Shelley over at @shelleybotticelli

A chat with Shark Week from tour

Tom Wright is the man behind local streetwear label Shark Week. Along with Beach Boy, Pillow T and Josef Parties, Tom and the boys are currently on their way to Auckland from Dunedin where they played the first show of their New Zealand tour. This Friday night they take over the club for their second show before heading back to their home town of Wellington to play their final show. We caught up with Tom to chat about the mixing of fashion,  music, friendship and community. 

  Above: Beach Boy in Shark Week’s summer campaign

Above: Beach Boy in Shark Week’s summer campaign

Tell us how you met each of the boys; Beach Boy, Pillow T and Josef Parties? What were your first memories of them?

My first memories of Beach Boy was before I had even met him. I had only been in Wellington for a few months and I spotted this very interesting character on the street. I actually remember thinking to myself “I bet he is amazing at  something”. A few weeks or so later I got to met him through a friend. I met Pillow T in a very similar way but through a different friend and then we ended up living together for a year or so. Then Josef Parties moved up to Wellington, he was already friends with Pillow T and  I remember him just being so eager to work! Very lucky that I’ve got these guys in my life :)

You have been based in Wellington for a few years now, what initially drew you to move to the capital? 

Yeah I think it was the start of 2014 I moved there. I was living in Mt Maunganui before hand and it was time to move to a city. I had visited Wellington a lot and always really enjoyed it and always saw myself living their one day. A few things lined up well and yeah, made the move. Wellington is awesome! 

Above: Ride - Pillow T.

You guys tend to tour once a year nation wide and play minimal shows in between. Is this something you choose to actively stick to or do you just play when the time is right?

I guess it’s a combination of both.  We want to be performing and touring as much as possible but yeah the timing has got to be right and NZ and our market is only small so their isn’t heaps on offer for continuous shows. 

Music and the artists you hang out with are seen as the faces of Shark Week. Do you think having ambassadors is important for a streetwear brand in 2018?

Hard out! Especially when they represent the brand so well. It can really only be a positive outcome. I’m very lucky to have such awesome people support the brand the way they do. But it’s a two way street for sure.  

Above: Josef Parties’ Like That (Produced and filmed by Beach Boy)

Your relocating to NYC at the end of the year, what’s next for Shark Week?

Yeah, I’m actually going next week! So this tour is really the icing on the cake and such a fun way to spend my last week in NZ with my friends. I got lots of plans for Shark Week but I’ll let them unfold instead of telling. But I really just want to keep progressing in all aspects of the business. 

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Meet our September artist, Dune Terrace!

Indi Martin-Wells creates art under the name Dune Terrace, inspired by a past illustration she drew inspired by Whatipu Beach. Indi is one of the two directors behind local art community GOOD EXPOSURE. She has collaborated with the likes of Happy Boy Eatery and Allpress Coffee, as well as being involved in numerous group shows, the most recent being Monster Valley’s The Experiment. We chat to Indi from her new spot in Orewa, where she will be basing herself for the summer.

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You have just moved back to Orewa! Tell us a bit about growing up there?

It was a time.. my friends and I would go to the dairy after school, grab a dollar bag of grape lollies, a can of Golden Pash and head to Orewa Skate Park. I built myself a long board when I was 16 so I could cruise around with my friends, I never learnt to use the mini ramp though. In summer, I would wake with the sunshine and dive into the ocean to start my day.. usually followed by a trip up to Tawharanui or an op-shopping mission with my friends. 

How do you think growing up on the coast has influenced your art?

The coast is and has always been overflowing with creative minds and positive places. Growing up in these surroundings helped me learn the importance of creative expression - the influence of my environment inspired me to create imagery from what I had seen and imagined. 

You are one of the co-founders and directors of Good Exposure? How did Good Exposure come about?

Bella Gummer organized the first show in March this year in an empty villa. She asked me to paint a mural in the hallway of the house, so I did. It was such a good show and party that I expressed my excitement for the opportunity it brought me as an artist, and the other artists involved. Our ideas aligned and we decided to curate a second show together (Good Exposure Vol.2) which was even better! Good Exposure was born out of a mutual excitement, and passion for the emerging Auckland art community!

  Above: Indi's mural at Happy Boy

Above: Indi's mural at Happy Boy

You have worked across numerous group shows, before and within Good Exposure, and most recently Monster Valley’s, The Experiment. What do you count as the top traits and key values to a successful group show?

The Experiment was an AMAZING experience! It is so wonderful to be immersed in a community of like-minded creatives. I think the trick to manifesting a successful group show is the diversity of the artists. Alongside doing everything with passion, from curation to production. If you get together a group of creatives from different backgrounds and niches, it opens up opportunities for everybody involved. Diversity allows the artist to speak through their art to a variety of people, which is also a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone as an artist. Seeing artists have their work appreciated by strangers is the most rewarding feeling as an exhibition curator. I am so excited about the summer Good Exposure exhibition!

  Above: Indi painting at The Experiment

Above: Indi painting at The Experiment

Dune Terrace is your art alias, where did the name come from?

A Terrace of Dunes, a past illustration I drew inspired by Whatipu beach.

Where do you hope to take your art in the next 12 months?

I don't think I will ever stop creating content, so as long as I keep going, I think the opportunity will come - I don't like to plan too much. I live by the idea that hope can breed disappointment, so I try not to expect anything haha.

  Above: Indi's mural at the first Good Exposure show

Above: Indi's mural at the first Good Exposure show

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

M.C Escher is a huge influence on my work, as well as psychedelic artist Roger Dean. As for local artists, I am a huge fan of Alma Proenca, Blake Gordon and Chris Dews. I spend a lot of time with my good friends and flatmates Tom & Holly, who inspire me every day to be creative! You can listen to them @the_melancholies

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Dream Client?

Donald Trump lol

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

This. Big mood

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

F(R)iends - Avantdale bowling club

Old world - The Modern Lovers

Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie

Sticky Hulks - Thee Oh Sees

I'm so tired - Fugazi

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin & The Beatles

Follow Indi over at @duneterrace

A Good Night on K' Rd with LUCA

What does a good night on Karangahape Road involve? The variations are endless. Last year our friend Jordan Hurdle (aka LUCA of Omni Potent) decided to put together one of his own variations and launch A Good Night on K' Rd - a club night with his friends and some of the best local young artists. This Saturday we have Jordan and his crew back for their third installment of A Good Night on K' Rd to date. We caught up with him this week to chat about his love for K' Rd.

  Above: Jordan himself, photo by Max Burgess

Above: Jordan himself, photo by Max Burgess

What was your first memory of Karangahape Road?

My first memory of K would have to be going to Brazil Cafe with my dad around 6 years old. For those who knew of it or remember, it was such a funky cafe. Real intimate with cool games for the kids. I seem to remember lots of music magazines, posters and art everywhere.

How do you feel K' Road has shaped the local music scene the past few years?

K’ Road has shaped the local scene to the next degree! I feel without it, so many music collectives including ourselves, wouldn’t of had the stepping stones you need to enter the NZ music scene (and I'm just talking about the Hip-Hop/Trap Groups I know of). Without spots like The Grow Room & Lowtide I wouldn’t have met the likes of Badcrop, LSJ & Shiraz and many more creatives, not just musicians!

The first time I heard of Neck Of The Woods was through a Home Brew or Average Rap Band gig. Unfortunately, I was too young to go, but knowing that the people I looked up to played there, I knew that's where Omni would soon perform. I feel the local music scene has NOTW and many other venues to thank for giving all sorts a chance to showcase their talents. From hosting vast community nights like Plug FM, also for individual acts and of course again, ourselves!

I know so many people who’s first gig was on K. It's CRAZY! Thank the Gods & Goddess’s for you and everybody on it, K’road.

  Above: Franko (OMNI) performing.

Above: Franko (OMNI) performing.

This is the third Good Night on K' Road gig, when and how did the idea come about?

Well, it all happened when Hudge (Neck of the Woods music/event manager) txt me saying someone had pulled out a week before their set date. He was due to go overseas and was really needing someone to fill the gap. I believe it was a Hip-Hop/Trap night planned so I guess due to our previous gig at NOTW, he knew we had some sort of pull on the Hip-Hop scene around the C.A. Ambitiously, I told Hudge I'd do it, knowing I still needed to talk to the rest of the crew.

So I holla’d at T (Nauti) asking what he thought about it - unsurprisingly he wasn’t keen at all, since our last show had months in advance to plan. So I turned to my other flatmate Max (Uncle Hyan) asking him if he thought I could do it and if so would he help me. Hyan only sees the best in any situation so, of course it was YES. We chucked some names about and ‘A GOOD NIGHT ON K’RD’ stood out. We collectively hand-picked some DJs (Chef B, Ethan James, Ngaroma & Zoe B aka Kick Girl) we had ties with and that was it.

One week to organise and promo the night and it turned out great! We had roughly 250 people show up. Since it was a major success (in my eyes) I knew it had potential to be an annual/mid-year event. We had to plan another.

The second show, we had to make it a sell out ting (Baccyard, Omni Potent, Illbaz, Chef B, HYAN, Yancey and CHOP’D UP).

What is a good night on K Road for you?

A good night for me definitely includes some Lord of the Fries, maybe Sals  and of course bouncing between Neck and Verona. But no doubt it mainly relies on whats going down on the night, has to be Good MUSIC involved! But I love checking out new events/ artists which appeal to me, so I always find myself strolling to find out what else is happening on K’Rd. Never find myself at the karaoke tho haha.

  Above: LUCA & HYAN (Jordan and Max)

Above: LUCA & HYAN (Jordan and Max)

If you were to add any three spots Onto K' Road what would they be?

This is a good question, I'd love to see more Youth Organisations/Creative spaces for artists.

The likes of Grow Room and Lowtide leaving K really brought up emotions in me, they need to be back there and definitely deserve a space on the strip. A gaming arcade spot would be sick!

What are you working on at the moment, other than organising this weekend's Good Night?

We have just secured a studio down in New Market, so we are re-recording and working on new music to release, not to mention a few music videos (finally) !

Gig wise, I haven’t started planning anything yet! But definitely putting some ideas down on the drawing board... won’t give too much away. We are also due for some new Omni merchandise as well.

 

 

Come along tomorrow night! A Good Night on K Rd 3.0 with Tony Douglas, Hyan, Baccyard, Romi, Ev Love, Vulc & LUCA. 

Meet our August artist, Msmeemo!

Leading us into August is our new monthly artist, the wonderful and talented Ngaumu Jones aka Msmeemo. Growing up in Opotiki, Ngaumu moved to Auckland six years ago to study at Elam School of Fine Arts. She's into everything from making clothes to filming, stick and poke tattoos and animation. There is no limit to her creativity. With a huge amount of mystery to her name and a whole lotta potential, we asked her to come onboard to take care of our August artwork. 

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You'RE ORIGINALLY FROM Opotiki. can you tell us a bit about growing up there?

Driving through it doesn't look like much but it’s a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. Everyone kinda knows everyone. Opo kids seem to stick together, all my friends from there all keep in touch and we catch up when we can. 

How did you find Elam? 

A struggle.

What are the main lessons and practices from art school that you implement in your work today?

I would say art school taught me how to THINK about art. Art is more than just a pretty picture. It can speak and move people. It influences the way people think and feel which is incredible.

You Dabble in many different creative outlets, What are you enjoying the most right now?

Stick and poke tattoos and taking drawing digital. Both have opened a whole new world to me.

when did you start tattooing?

Summer of last year.

Check out Ngaumu's stick & poke work at @ngamoolie

How would you describe your art in your own words?

Cosmic brain goo.

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

To name a few … Matisse, Hayao Miyazaki, Parris Goebel and every single one of my flatmates!

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Dream Client?

Hayao Miyazaki or Will Smith 

Best thing you've seen on the internet this week?

Isle of Dogs (the movie)

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

OMG this is so hard to decide. Here are some random goodies from my playlist.

 - Find a Way // a tribe called quest

- Sweet Thang // shuggy Otis

- True honey buns // bahamadia

Testin me // peven Everett

-Flowers // the deli

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Missy Elliot, In This Moment and The Notorious B.I.G.

CAN YOU DOODLE US A SELF PORTRAIT? 

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Revealing BENE

Emerging from her mysterious past six months, BENE is set to perform her debut headline performance this Friday. The local teen released her debut single ‘Tough Guy’ late 2017, followed by a dreamy video for the track early this year. With both Sniffers and A Label Called Success plugs, her track ‘Tough Guy’ gained positive feedback from day one. This Friday she will perform live at Neck of the Woods, revealing her body of music, live stage presence and IRL attitude. We caught up with the Grey Lynn local to chat about where she's at.

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The gig this Friday will be BENE’s debut headline performance, how are you feeling about it?

I’m pumped! The support so far has been unreal. I have an awesome, talented group of musicians playing with me and I love the intimacy of live performance. I can’t wait to give my supporters a raw, honest show and let them in on what I’ve been working on for the past eighteen months (:

Can you tell us a bit about your musical background? What are some of your earliest memories of music?

My family has always been really musical. My mum sings, and theatre also runs in the family so I’ve always loved the idea of getting up and performing. My first instrument was the saxophone which I played from primary to high school and I also learned guitar as a child. Growing up with a wide range of music allowed me to appreciate how music transcends so many boundaries ... musicians can be as crazy and creative as they like ... hopefully, there will always be someone, somewhere who appreciates what they're doing!  Road trips always had music by artists like Aretha, James Brown, Radiohead, Beirut, Groove Armada and Bjork on repeat so I was encouraged from an early age to listen widely.  

How did BENE come about?

It all started with a few Soundcloud covers. I put them out for a bunch of mates and the response that I got, not just from them but from other artists and industry people reaching out to me, really gave me the push to give music a solid go. It was always kinda just a fantasy idea for me, and just doing it I guess paid off. I want music to be the thing that drives my life.  I find writing really comforting and a great emotional outlet. It helps me through difficult times. Because I love listening and relating to other people's music and lyrics so much It feels incredible to be able to make my own and have people respond to it positively. 

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Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the name BENE?

The search for the name was long and slightly painful as I needed something that stood out but was personal as well. So it’s simply just part of a nickname that I’ve always had spelt differently which is taken from my last name. Turns out it also means well and good in Latin which is kinda funky.

You released your debut track ‘Tough Guy’ at the end of last year, followed by the video in the new year. How did you feel about releasing your music and visuals, without playing shows yet?

I mean It was a pretty down-low release as no-one knew who I was. I felt pretty nervous as no-one had ever heard the song or any of my other music except for close family, my manager and my killer producer, Josh Fountain. 

We are excited you asked RANDA to open for you this Friday. Locally, what musicians do you admire or listen to?

I’m so excited to see RANDA play live; he has some seriously cool beats! NZ is honestly filled with musical legends and it’d be hard for me to name just a few but some music peeps that I’ve been seriously loving lately are bands like Marlin's Dreaming, Jack Berry Band and Fat Freddy’s (always!). I’ve seen all of these bands live and it’s just the best thing in the world going and feeling fully satisfied afterwards, after hearing some mad song crafting skills with lyrics that speak to me. I’m also seriously into LEISURE and having worked with crazy skilled musicians from the band  (Josh Fountain, Djeisan Suskov, and Jordan Arts). It’s so awesome that I’ve had the chance to collaborate with such talented musicians.  I’ve also been really into Matthew Young’s music too … the list goes on ... there are too many. The NZ music community is seriously popping and they neeeeeeed to be heard by the whole world!

What's lined up for the rest of 2018?

Another song and music video are coming out a few weeks after the gig. I have another possible live performance at the end of the year … and I have a heap of songs I can’t wait to release.  

Wanna come along to see BENE this Friday? More details here.

Meet our July artist, Chris Hutchinson aka Chippy!

We are super stoked to have the K Road legend and print enthusiast Chris Hutchinson (aka Chippy) working on our July artwork. Chris is an active and busy guy within the local art, illustration and print scene. If you don’t know him by name, there’s a high chance you’ve been to an event he has produced or seen his work plastered around town.

Founding Inky Palms in 2015 with his two friends, Chris continues to co-direct the space today with his partner Cait Johnson. When he’s not collaborating with the likes of The Grow Room, Blunt Umbrellas and Phantom, he’ll be at Inky Palms working on his solo projects and commissions, along with preparing for any upcoming zine festivals or events.

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Hey Chippy, How are you enjoying your day?

Hello! It’s a bit of a rainy Sunday today. This morning I went down to the Grey Lynn Farmers Market and had coffee with some friends and then spent the rest of the day milling around at home.

You are currently in the process of leaving your day job and launching into full-time freelance life. What prompted you to do this?

Yeah so I worked at this print shop in town for a couple years after Uni but I was able to quit that recently because I got a part-time job assisting local artist Hayley King aka Flox in her studio.  So it means I have most of my own time now to be at my studio working on my artwork or on illustration commissions. I’ve been doing freelance stuff at night or on the weekends for the last few years now so I feel like the only way for me to grow and take my practice to the next level is to really dedicate some time and energy to it.

  Above: Chippy's ‘Rippling Sprites’ 

Above: Chippy's ‘Rippling Sprites’ 

I guess that leap is something a lot of people don’t get to do, want to do or are not sure how to go about it. How did you know the time was right for you?

Recently I’ve been getting enough commissions from people that it just made sense to start to take the metaphorical ‘training wheels’ off. I’m also looking towards putting together my first solo exhibition later in 2018 so I’ll need a lot of my own time to do so. Hopefully I can build up enough momentum to stay freelancing but we’ll just have to see how it goes!

  Above: Inky Palms studio, La Gonda Arcade, K Road.

Above: Inky Palms studio, La Gonda Arcade, K Road.

You have been working hard the last few years since finishing your studies. As one of the founders of Inky Palms, can you tell us a bit about how that started?

Yeah I co-founded Inky at the start of 2015 with a my mates Dirk and Oli during our final year of Uni. So our friend Hannah-Lee used to run the 203H boutique out of the space we’re in. She was moving to Berlin and needed to pass the space on. We had already been putting on a few exhibitions/workshops for a couple years by that point at spaces like YES Collective (now defunct) and so when the opportunity arose to have our own space we jumped at it.

Inky Palms has evolved quite heavily, changed residents and moved in a different direction since launching. If you were to summarise what Inky Palms is today - how would you describe it?

Yeah in the first year when I was running Inky with Dirk and Oli we were operating the space more like a gallery/venue with exhibitions every second week and even the Inky Waves rave series. It was all super fun but quite exhausting to maintain on top of a day job/University.

After the first year those two went on to pursue other creative endeavours and I began to direct the space with my partner Cait Johnson. We were able to slow down by not doing so many events and focussing on using the space to support the local independent publishing scene by hosting workshops and using our Risograph printer to make zines, artist books, posters and other printed matter for ourselves and other local creatives. It became more of a space to print/draw/make rather than to show....

These days Inky is primarily a working studio for our resident artists that include Toni Gill, Jed Richardson, Toby Morris and Renee Jacobi. On occasion, we still do Riso printing for artists and host workshops. I’m sure Inky will continue to morph and develop but in general, it just remains to be a space to get yee palms dirty and just make some stuff!!

Inky Palms and yourself are hosting a stall at the Nippy Zippy Zine Fair at the upcoming First Thursday event. How often are you involved in art and print orientated events?

I’m pretty active amongst the zine and artist publishing scene here in Auckland, it seems like something always pops up every couple months, its real fun. Always familiar faces and people are constantly producing awesome work. In the past year we’ve had the Jive Print Fair, the Indie Book Fair, Summer Zinefest and the Winter Art Book Fair. Make sure y’all come through to the Nippy Zippy it’s gonna be cozy and Auckland Zinefest is not far away either!

As a solo artist, what have been some of your favourite projects to date?

Probably my artwork for The Grow Room last year. I admire the work that those people do and I was given a lot of creative freedom. It was awesome to see my work roll out across cassette tapes, digital platforms and t-shirts etc. Also I had heaps of fun working on my group exhibition Acrylic Air Freshener at Monster Valley last year with Toni, Jed and Smiddy. Thirdly, I really enjoyed working on the collaborative Paper Paste-up Paradise mural with the girls from Jive Prints. It was made up of around 1,400 Riso printed A3 posters which we pasted onto a 50 metre wall outside the Library. It made midtown Auckland look super colourful for once. We got heaps of positive feedback from that and it was fun as working in public and talking to heaps of randoms who liked our art.

 Above: Paper Paste-up Paradise collaborative mural with Jive Prints for Artweek Auckland

Above: Paper Paste-up Paradise collaborative mural with Jive Prints for Artweek Auckland

Launching into your new freelance life, where do you hope to take your work in 2018?

Hopefully this exhibition I’m working towards ends up going smoothly! I’d love to start going bigger and painting murals and hopefully get some cool illustration jobs doing packaging and other products.

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

There are so many people to admire these days but I think in particular my boss Flox is doing so well living off of her passion in Auckland city. Some of my favourites internationally are Misaki Kawai, Kate Moross, Stefan Marx, Luke Pelletier, Atelier Bingo and a million others.

  Above: Chippy's ‘Micromash Risograph print’

Above: Chippy's ‘Micromash Risograph print’

Dream Client?

It would be sick to do some toys for Kidrobot.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

Follow fruit_stickers on IG.

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

Hugo Jay - Spent

Aphex Twin - Xtal

Yussef Kamaal - Strings of Light

Benedek - Coolin’

Baths - Aminals

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Yaeji, Toro y Moi, Bjork.

Can you doodle us a pic of yourself?

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Meet our June artists, Jess & Lew!

This month we invited artist duo, best friends and flatmates Jezz and Lew to our monthly artist programme. Alongside art, the two bond over their love for wine, 80’s babes and leopard prints.  Lewin recently moved back to Auckland from Canada, reuniting the two best friends and launching themselves as a creative duo. We caught up with the two to chat about their friendship, art and influences.

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First of all, how did you two meet? 

When we were younger our ex-boyfriends skated together and we instantly bonded over wine and illustrating. 

Being best friends who you live and work together; what are the things you both admire about each other?

Lew: I love that we’re always pushing each other to be more creative. If one of us is in the lounge drawing, the other one will always end up doing the same. We have super different styles but love drawing the same kind of subject matter so I always love seeing what Jess comes up with. 

Jess: What Lew said, plus she’s a mean cook. 

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Lewin, you are part of the upcoming art show Good Exposure 2 - What can we expect from you in that show?

I’m hoping to branch out with some larger pieces than I’m used to. 

Both studying fine arts, what did you both major in?

We both worked across multiple mediums, but majored in Fine Art. 

What are the main things you took from your studies over to your practices today?

We both took away a strong sense that we didn’t quite vibe with the Fine Art world and we both found ourselves realising illustration was more our thing. 

Working as a team how do you split and balance mixed work? 

We rough out some ideas between us and decide who does what aspect and then make it work.  

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

Lew: I’m mainly inspired by tattooers, locally Richard and Sera from Two Hands and Capilli from Sunset are some of my favourites. As well as painters like Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin and Cecily Brown, which were some of my favourites during art school.

Jess: While studying my biggest influences were Polly nor, Celeste Mountjoy (aka Filthyratbag), Egon Shiele and David Shrigley. Locally I’d say I’m pretty influenced/inspired by artists like Imogen Taylor and so many of my creative and musician pals like Ahnand Unka. 

Dream Client?

Danzig or a beer company comes in a close second.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

Shredded cheese memes and tinyhat_skatelife Instagram page

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

Funky Town- Lipps inc

Turbo Lover- Judas Priest 

Jolene - Dolly Parton

Pour some sugar on me- Def Leppard

She Rides - Danzig

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Jess: Dolly Parton, Black Sabbath & Elvis Presley.

Lew: Dolly Parton, Frank Ocean & Glass Animals.

Please doodle us a pic of you two

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Follow Jess & Lew on Instagram at @jezzandlew

Introducing NAH ZONE, our newest local youth-lead community platform

This Friday we are excited to be hosting the debut NAH ZONE Showcase. The killer local line up includes The Katayanagi Twins, Baccyard, Church & AP, N eo & Jinzo, Humbleboy & J$E, and Sugoi. So who exactly is NAH ZONE and what are they about? We caught up with their founder Jonique to ask about who they are and what’s in store for Saturday night.

Above: Nah Zone Presents: Katayanagi Twins; Rain and China. They'll be throwing down hard at our NAH ZONE Showcase.

In your own words, what is NAH ZONE?

It’s hard to pin-point what Nah Zone exactly is because it's so fluid but I would say right now it’s a youth-lead community platform where we aim to give young local creatives the support and representation they need as well as keeping them in the know with what’s going on in our local creative scene.

What prompted you to launch NAH ZONE? When did NAH ZONE begin?

Nah Zone launched last year in October but the idea had always been around, I was just both lazy and scared to put it out there. I used to rent a space upstairs at Olly in Mount Eden and that place itself was a creative hub. All types of talented creatives were running in and out of there and a lot of them never really had a platform to get their work out to a wider audience mainly because they didn’t have the support to or they didn’t fit into a specific category. I wanted to change that. I wanted them to embrace the fact that they were put in the ‘Nah Zone’.

What does NAH ZONE offer compared to other local music & promotions collectives?

Nah Zone’s kaupapa is all about putting community values at the forefront in everything we do which means we aren’t exclusive, we’re open to collaborations and we’re always trying to find new ways to push the scene forward. We have a fortnightly segment, Keep It Real, that gives people the chance to send through their life experiences and how they feel about all sorts of things with no filter whatsoever. You won’t really find that on any other music/promotion platform.

   Above:  Joni the founder of NAH ZONE

Above: Joni the founder of NAH ZONE

The upcoming showcase is your first solo run gig, congrats! What do you think are the most important elements of a successful show?

Thank you! I really think it’s about communication, knowing your demographic and how you can appeal to them through promotions without necessarily saying straight up ‘buy tickets to our show!’ cause that gets boring after a while. Also, everybody loves a good meme.

You have an incredible line up, can you introduce the line up and explain why you chose them for your debut showcase?

Our line-up includes producers Baccyard (Omni Potent) and Sugoi (Climate Change/Bassment), rising rap duo Church & AP as well as former duo N eo x Jinzo who will be doing separate sets so that’s exciting! We also have Humbleboy & J$E who are frontliners for upcoming music collective, KOME, that are based in between Auckland and Christchurch.  Lastly, the infamous Katayanagi Twins - the turntablist duo who bring that feminine modern twist to our local nightlife. The line-up was chosen through an online poll - we asked our audience who they wanted to see for our first show and the response back was insane. From that, we handpicked each act we felt represented what Nah Zone is all about in their own unique ways. I think

Locally, who else are you excited about at the moment?

Music wise I’d have to say Meraki Soul, Azryd, Spyde, Dharmarat, T1R, Hurt Gurl, Shallow$ and everything GARETHXMF is doing with Peach Sessions. If we’re talking fashion, the boys from Friends + Enemies and the Kolose sisters from Hunting Ground Store are paving new lanes, it’s cool to see. 10Daniel16 is a freak of nature with the visuals as well as Serval Fandango with his eye candy flair. I’m really excited about the 312 Hub though, everything they’re doing/aiming to do is so dope. I could go on forever with this list.

After the showcase, what can we expect from NAH ZONE in 2018?

We have one more gig in July and then after that we’re going to step back a bit from events to fully immerse ourselves into the community things like workshops and open panel discussions as well improve on what we’re already doing. There’s a few collaborations with local collectives in the works right now but othe than that we’re going with whatever feels right so keep up to date with us on instagram, facebook and twitter.

Want to come along to the NAH ZONE Showcase? Buy your tickets here.

 

MEET OUR MAY ARTIST, BUZZFERKCHURNT!

Behind our May poster artwork is local artist Buzzferkchurnt. With one hell of an alias, Buzzferkchurnt studied graphic design and a diploma in advertising before moving into client work. His passion lies in animation and illustration, which explains why our artwork this month has been splashed across social media in animated form, and static in the streets. We have to admit we didn’t know a lot about BFC before bringing him on board, so we caught up with him to ask him more about his work and to share some stories.

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Hey BFC, Tell us the story behind your name?

This is not a short story, but I’ll try. The name came about in first year uni when I was still developing my style. I was listening to a lot of hip hop and saw how having a moniker or alias allowed artists to simplify the thinking behind their artwork and keep it separate from other things they were doing. Which at the time I thought would be good in a more professional sense. So I created buzzferkchurnt (buzz-ferk-churnt). It’s based off my initials and is an amalgamation of words that were relevant to me at the time. They mean things on their own, but together they become a translation of ‘buzzy fucking cunt’. There’s lots of other variations and stories, but that’s the easiest explanation of it. I’ve also gone by ferk or often people shorten it to buzz when messaging me. More recently I’ve been simplifying it to bfc. It’s kind of a living thing that changes and evolves as I do — that’s part of the fun of having an alias.

You've been working on poster art for us, and also delivering animation versions of this artwork. How do you find offering a range of mediums affects your style?

That’s an interesting question, because it’s become part and parcel to my process to offer static and animated pieces for people. I’ve always been interested in illustration and animation. And now digital/social media worlds allow for both, so why not explore both? In essence, my animation and illustration style are the same. That’s because I taught myself how to animate by bringing my existing drawings to life. Later I began drawing directly into the computer and now will bounce between starting points (animation or illustration) depending on what style led someone to me.

I love to see what can happen when experimenting with a combination of the two mediums. For example, for the NOTW posters I first drew the elements, then put them into the computer and moved to composition and typography. Once everything had been made and laid out, I started thinking about what could be done with all the elements. I kept pushing a style I’d previously been exploring and something fell out of that which became an interesting extension of the static posters. And on the previous project I did it the complete other way, creating a gif or animation and then using that to fill out static stuff like posters.

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What medium of work would you like to add onto what you already offer?

I don’t like to let my style stand still for too long, so I’ve managed to work with most mediums so far, but I’m really interested in animation with more of a storyline or narrative — like animated cartoons and comics. 3D animation is also something I’m interested in. It’s really blowing up, but it all looks the same. I’ve dabbled a bit, creating creatures or floating heads, but I want to spend more time on it to take it somewhere completely different. Oh, and VDJing — that’s something I thought that my animation style could really lend itself to. Illustration/animation that accompanies music is something I’ve done, but would love to do more of. And in a live setting would be hella exciting.

Backed up with a bachelor in Graphic Design and a diploma in Advertising, what are the three most significant things you have learned, outside of this education, that relates to your work?

I’ll try to answer this without sounding cliche. #1: Be yourself and create what you enjoy — that’s key. When you try to make something for someone else and not yourself, you’re making something based off an assumption of what will please the other person. If those assumptions are wrong, it’ll turn out shit. As soon as you start making stuff for other people, you stop being yourself.

#2: Know that there’s a difference between something being perfect and being finished. That hunt for perfection has rendered a lot of my own projects unfinished in the past. Now I find the idea of perfection more subjective. In some cases, I’ve finished a project and thought there was nothing left to be done to it, I’d explored it to its end (perfect), only to look at it later and think about all the things that I could change. That doesn’t mean I don’t still strive for perfection, but I’m less critical of myself. Now I actually find imperfection to be my biggest motivator — it inspires me to keep pushing myself to grow as an artist and evolve. And you make way more discoveries out of mistakes anyway.

#3: If you really want to achieve something you have to put in the time every day. It’s not easy, in fact the hardest part about being an artist or a creative is keeping the momentum up. But I can say that the moments where I truly dedicated myself to my craft are the times when things really started clicking and falling into place for me.

You have worked across advertising jobs, gig posters and artwork for musicians - to merchandise and zine fest. What has been one or two of your favourite projects so far and why?

Definitely the things I’ve done for various musicians. Working with music or in the world of music is the best because you get to interpret the emotion of a song into something visual, which is a totally new layer to how people can relate to and be moved by a song. It’s challenging but incredibly rewarding because it’s pure creation.

Where do you hope to direct your work in 2018?

I’m just keen to keep the momentum going this year. Keep building awareness of my own brand and see where that leads me. I’ve got some plans for a few different types of projects and hopefully will work away at the list of mediums I want to conquer. This keeps me in a bit of a creative cave, so I’m also keen to get out and amongst the Auckland creative scene more.

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

Shit so many. I try to not fall in love with just one so I don’t emulate them too much. But living artists would be people like Neckface and Mike Bertino. I follow this one guy, Alex Jenkins, who’s lowkey living my dream. He’s used a lot by blogs, magazines and people like Vice (they've used me before but I'd froth on a regular gig like he's got). Also, Leon Karssen, ChrisSimpsonsArtist, David Choe, Winston Hacking, Scorpion Dagger, Broken Fingaz Crew, D-Side, Jason Jägel. And those are just a few current guys. I love Kandinsky, Dali, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner too.

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Dream Client?

Nike/Adidas/Adult Swim

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

Frothed on Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ (like everyone else in the world).

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

I mostly get stuck into Soundcloud so the track list is eclectic. Artists would be Kaytranada, Isaiah Rashad, MF DOOM, Brockhampton, that sort of thing. But mostly just wavvy remixes of all sorts of shit.

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? (Music)

Going to restrict it to people still alive so: Kid Cudi, Shlohmo, Madvillain

Can you doodle us a self-portrait?

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The Boog welcomes Christoph El Truento

This Friday we welcome local producer and musician Christoph 'El Truento to THE BOOG. Alongside BOOG regulars Hudge, Lucky Lance and Frank Booker, Christopher is bringing a crate of both 'familiar and the obscure' records to this Friday's gig. We caught up with him a few days before the show to ask him about his return to playing boogie, his solo work and previous work with @peace.

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Hey Christopher! So you're playing your first Boog his Friday, how are you feeling about it ? 

I'm peacefully excited, looking forward to having a good time with the homies.

These days you're well known as a electronic & experimental producer, as well as your work with @peace, but you used to play a lot of boogie back in the day. What will you be bringing to play this weekend? 

I don't really know what I'll play until I get there, I have a big crate of boogie to select from so I'll get an idea once I've scoped the place out a little. Ideally I'd like to find a nice balance between the familiar and the obscure.

Since @peace you've moved into solo releases and a new direction. Working by yourself, what differences have you noticed in your creative processes?

The creative process is relatively similar, the only difference is that I'm not under any kind of time pressure when it's just me to answer to, I just make music if I want to make music and if I don't want to that's fine too... Also I get very micro-focused on one thing at a time, so one week I'll be making a footwork project, the next week an ambient track, so that's a little easier to manage and work with as a soloist. 

You've evolved a lot as a musician over time. What would your advice be to other musicians who are wanting to dabble in many different sounds & genres?

Just make the music you want to make really, If you're listening to a lot of different styles of music, the chances are that a little of each of those styles are going to rub off on you, there's nothing new under the sun, but unlimited end results.. find a way to use those ingredients your inspirations have used but make your own meal out of it. Do your research and learn about the history of what you're dabbling in and what it means to those who pioneered those cultures, be wrong, be right, fuck shit up.

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What is your first memory of dance and boogie music?

The first thing that comes to mind is probably looking for 45's with my friends, I had this terrible rule in my head I had learned from somewhere where I wouldn't even consider checking something out if it was past the year 1979. But then people started hipping me to stuff from 1980-85 which was a whole different sound, which is crazy considering that's only a few years difference, some major technological changes happened in music during those years and it was really evident in the gap between funk and boogie.

Growing up what did you listen to? 

I started with Kriss Kross on TV & then the Fugees 'The Score' on tape when I was like 6 or 7, then D'angelo's 'Voodoo', then i just listened to Tupac for my entire teenage years. I listened to Aqua & S club 7 somewhere in the middle of all that.

Top 3 boogie tracks? 

Byron Junior - Inch By Inch

Cassiano - Ta Dando Mole, Ze

Poncho C. Saint Fingers - When I Come Knocking

Top 3 electronic tracks ? 

Okzharp and Manthe Ribane - Teleported

Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express

Henry Wu & Earl Jeffers - Projections

Locally, who are you following and backing for 2018?

I'm listening to the new Kruff Kurtis beat tape right now and it's dope ! Excited to hear what he does this year.

Come along to the THE BOOG this Friday from 9pm, feat.  Frank Booker, Lucky Lance, The Uptown Boogie's Hudge, and for the first time - Christoph El Truento! 

Meet our April artist, Toni Gill!

Painter, graphic designer and embroidery artist Toni Gill is the force behind our April artwork. Chances are high you know Toni or have seen her work first hand. She is actively involved in the local art scene holding current residencies at both Studio One Toi Tū and Karangahape’s Inky Palms, as well as working in-house as a graphic designer at Monster Valley.


Toni takes pride in depicting strong femmes through an aesthetically feministic outsider art inspired perspective. Her incredible signature style has led her to clothing collaborations with local skate brand ARCADE, mural work for Auckland’s Basement Theatre (with Monster Valley) and frequent group shows across Auckland.

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You are a painter, graphic designer and embroidery artist, which a rare combination of styles and strengths. What came first?

Painting and drawing has always come first to me, I had a good hustle growing up trading other kids my drawings of wolves for their Roll-Ups and trading Microsoft Paint Bebo skins for Sprite. I was always hardcore into the darkroom, painting, filming, photoshop, illustration and anime, studied graphic design, all the while following my art practice.

You have established yourself heavily over the last year, across solo projects, groups shows and your work with Monster Valley and Inky Palms. How do you balance your in-house work with your solo collaborations and personal work?

Late nights painting, printing and stitching my solo works at Inky Palms, strictly working on my residency when at Studio One Toi Tū, and being extremely fortunate in my situation that the graphic design and MV Murals work I produce in-house at Monster Valley feeds into my personal practice, as well as everything else.

  Above: Toni's mural at Basement Theatre for Monster Valley Murals

Above: Toni's mural at Basement Theatre for Monster Valley Murals

Tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition in August; the Studio One Toi Tū residency exhibition?

Very excited and nervous, it’ll be from the 9th August – 13 September in the Studio One Toi Tū Gallery. I’m exhibiting a publication and a series of large-scale paintings embodied in fire, roughened unstretched canvas’, hung by chain and barbed wire. I’m currently investigating common motifs, female representation, cultural stories, legends, folklore, art practices, tribal tattoo and mediums used historically in the Philippines. I am yet to name it though, something along the lines of Kamatayan Gang, blood, fire and rage.

  Above: Toni at Studio One Toi Tū

Above: Toni at Studio One Toi Tū

You have many consistent themes across all your work; the female force, flora & fauna, your Filipino background, contemporary Japanese art & film posters…etc. When did all these themes come together and form your style for you?

These are all interests and things that have been a part of my life for a long time. I guess it stemmed from growing up surrounded by so many strong and supportive women like my mama, my sister and teachers. Watching Filipino action films and Kill Bill for the first time, which led to battle royale and so on.

  Above: Kamatayan (II) at Rocky’s Garage

Above: Kamatayan (II) at Rocky’s Garage

How would you describe your art at this point in your career?

Unstretched canvas, gouache paintings on of strong women, blood red, feministic counter-cultural movements, bootleg film posters, outsider art, death, violence, sukeban biker gangs, west, cougars, disco, all on fire.

Where do you hope to direct your work in 2018?

This year I’m focusing on learning from my residency, practising my painting because there’s always so much I need to learn, building my personal collection by hooning the heck out of my favourite themes, and aiming towards representation in galleries.

  Above: Toni herself at the Acrylic Air Freshener show, Monster Valley. Photo by Magdalene Lee

Above: Toni herself at the Acrylic Air Freshener show, Monster Valley. Photo by Magdalene Lee

What has been your favourite project to date and why?

My favourite projects have been Acrylic Air Freshener, a tee for ARCADE, MV Murals and especially my “Kamatayan Gang”, a series of paintings translating to “Death Gang” in Tagalog. These works of mine are heavily inspired by strong protagonist and antagonists femmes featured in fantasy, Sci-Fi and action film. This project feeds into my residency, as well as circulating and tying in all of my favourite motifs.

  Above: Kamatayan (I) at Dynasty Collective’s Dinners Ready

Above: Kamatayan (I) at Dynasty Collective’s Dinners Ready

  Above: Toni's Tee for Arcade. Photo by Isaac Matz

Above: Toni's Tee for Arcade. Photo by Isaac Matz

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

There are so many artists I admire so much. To name only a few; Petra Collins is incredible, Chloe Wise is so humble, Sera Helen’s work has such a tough exterior, with incredibly beautiful and delicate linework, Frank Ocean does everything and Grace Jones is iconic

Dream Client?

Gucci(!!!!!!!!) fk!! Let me paint flames and shit on power-suits.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

This 3D Realistic Cat Painting

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

Get Down Saturday Night - Oliver Cheatham

I Feel Love - Donna Summer

Could Heaven Ever Be Like This - Idris Muhammad

Purple Rain - Prince

Keep The Fire Burning - Gwen McCrae

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

Sun Ra & his Arkestra

Moodymann always

Parliament-Funkedelic/P-Funk to see the Mothership

Can you doodle us a pic of you?

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MEET OUR MARCH ARTIST, BACCYARD!

This month we are excited to bring the talented Clinton Bentley aka Baccyard onboard for our February artwork. Born in Wellington and raised in Samoa, the 19-year-old music producer and artist has been popping up regularly on our radar. The self-taught artist started dabbling in photoshop, before modding various PC games like Grand Theft Auto and Fifa before eventually getting fully immersed in graphic design. This explains why when you look at his work you feel like you're inside a video game. As a producer he works locally with Omni Potent and MELODOWNZ, as well as playing his own live sets.

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Let’s start off by talking about your work as a producer. When did you get into music and making beats?

I've always been into music, 90s-00s R&B and Hip Hop mostly, since I was a kid, but I got into making beats around early 2013. I was a huge fan of Joey Badass's 1999 mixtape, mostly because of the instrumentals he had on there. I loved the beats so much it made me want to start producing my own. 

You described yourself to me the other day as a "19-year-old music producer from akl, who is handy with photoshop”. Have you always pursued music and art? Or which came first?

It was definitely art! I loved music, but I was really into Photoshop when I was in intermediate. I use to do real geek shit, like mod textures on pc games, you know like adding a Supreme hoodie on GTA: San Andreas. My PC at the time was old as fuck and one day photoshop just wouldn't work anymore, so I started doing more music.

You are currently working closely with Omni on both music, artwork and merch. You are steadily shaping their poster artwork and branding. When did you start working with Ti-Maya, Franko & Jordan?

I actually met the boys through a mutual friend in 2016, at a local house party. We knew about each other through social media and SoundCloud, they were looking for an in-house producer and i seemed to have the perfect beats for them at the time. Since then, the boys have adopted me into the family.

  Above: Artwork for Omni Potent

Above: Artwork for Omni Potent

Producing Melowdownz & Bailey Wiley’s track ‘The Anthem’ is one of your highlights to date, tell us how that came about?

Melo and me had done a few tracks beforehand, but Melo messaged me one morning asking for some smooth 90's R&B sort type beats. I had nothing ready at the time, so I just browsed through a ton of old-school R&B artists I liked, and came across a few samples to use. The instrumental for the song was the first beat I made, and I was close to deleting it because it felt too simple haha I sent him a snippet anyways and he loved it. Glad that worked well.

Above: "The Anthem" by MELODOWNZ ft. Bailey Wiley, produced by Baccyard.

You are highly influenced by 70s and 80s Horror movies, which films would you highly recommend? 

I recommend The Exorcist and Dawn of the Dead! Straight classics.

Being a producer and artist, do you find your creative processes for both mediums similar or very different?

I find music creativity to come to me easier than graphics/art, but they're relatively similar in a way. There's more planning on the artist part. 

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

There's a ton! I admire designers like AKL local Naik2G, he's got a really tight style and the dude is really good with his art. Also DBRUZE; he does like tour merch design for FUTURE and designs his own stuff. He has such a dope 90s nostalgic style, shit that I like to dwell into myself.

Dream Client?

Young Thug or TRAVIS SCOTT.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

A talking dog doing cocaine was quite interesting.

Top five tracks to draw to?

Biggie - 10 crack commandments

Big L - MVP (smooth summer remix)

Maxo Kream - Karo

Kendrick Lamar - Blow My High

Joey bada$$ - Daily routine

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Young Thug, Travis Scott and Kanye West

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FOLLOW BACCYARD OVER AT @BACCYARD

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

A chat with Semisi from Marlin's Dreaming

Tonight we welcome back Marlin's Dreaming to Neck of the Woods. Just over a month since their last show with us, they're now back for another special Auckland performance. The band formed just over a year ago, but their second single Floating hit 430,000 plays on Spotify as they wrapped up a sold out nationwide tour in mid-January this year. As well as a strong-hold of loyal fans back home in Dunedin, Marlin's Dreaming has earnt so much love and attention right here in Auckland, they needed to come back for a second show before summer ended. We caught up with Semisi the lead singer of the band just before tonight’s gig.

Hey Semisi, thanks for chatting to me just three days before your Auckland gig! How are you feeling about returning to Auckland this Friday?

Yeah we are frothing! Our last show in Auckland was such a mean buzz so hopefully we can get the same froth going.

Last time you were with us you guys played a packed out show on a Wednesday. Pretty rare for Auckland. What was the most interesting and noticeable differences between the crowds in different cities on your January tour?

Well I guess maybe the difference between Hawkes Bay and Auckland. Hawkes Bay was a super laid back crowd, easy to talk to and get along with. Auckland was like full noise, people were super drunk and frothy which is sick as well haha. Both styles of crowds have their pluses and minuses. Hopefully some wild roosters make it to K Road!

Since the band formed just over a year ago, you guys have played in Dunedin, Wellington, Christchurch, Wanaka, Queenstown, Lyttelton, Napier and Taupo. Has there been a highlight show so far?

Probably Christchurch! Christchurch always has a great crowd. Lot of legends in Chch.

What's the strangest thing that's happened at a gig?

Last gig we played in Dunedin a chick was trying to dance on top of one of the subs, and was attempting to climb the PA on top of the sub… pretty funny to watch… what’s better is our sound engineer was holding her up!!!

What about the wildest?

Auckland for sure.

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You guys went on your first nationwide tour in January, when you played at Neck of the Woods. Were there any expectations for how the shows would go or were you just winging it?

We had no idea to be honest haha… It was cool to see a few characters rock up which is gr8888.

The band is made up of Tim, Oscar, Hamish and yourself. How would you describe each band member? 

Tim - Gandalf the great. Man of few, but meaningful words.

Oscy - King of admin. Loves a fat yarn and some Neil Young.

Hamish - Very beautiful man. easy, he's just easy!

Best and worst habits you all have as a band?

Ah, well sometimes we go overboard with ice creams at the dairy! Ha! best habit is frothing the hardest out of anyone

When you guys are all back in Dunedin, not travelling, recording or practising, what do you all like to get up to?

Just try not to be too much of a dropkick really… go surfing, get food, make music, buy pot plants!

Do any of you play in other bands currently or been involved in previous music projects before Marlin’s Dreaming?

Hamish is in a band called MillPool, Timber is a producer, he produced/wrote an album called “Aristocrat Barista Cat” under the alias ‘lowagrove’. Oscar was in a band called The Doorays, and I was in a band called GROMz.

You have previously described the sound of Marlin’s Dreaming as "kind of like psychedelic rock”. Is this still how you would describe it today?

Ahh I guess, I'm  bad at describing music . The best thing to do is just listen and see what you think. Whether the sounds agree with you or not, because it’s all subjective and everyone reacts to different music in different ways.

Having such a big come up in the last 6 months on the New Zealand Music scene, what are your plans this year for the band?

PLAY GIGS! and we're bringing out an EP/Album this year too :)

Your music video visuals and PR photos have a very particular style. Having a strong visual direction and styling from the get-go is very impressive. How do you guys mutually create and decide on branding and direction choices?

We just TRY and suss a concept or idea that hasn’t been smashed yet by everyone. But it is very hard to be original! I could ask you the same question!!!?? haha

 

Come along tonight to Marlin's Dreaming from 9pm ~ Tickets available here!

Listen to Marlin's Dreaming over on Spotify.

MEET OUR FEBRUARY ARTIST, BARNEY RATHNAYAKA!

Launching ourselves into the new year we have invited Wellington-based artist Bhanuka ‘Barney' Rathnayaka to create our February artwork. A self-taught illustrator and artist, Barney grew up in Sri Lanka until he was seven years old before relocating to New Zealand.

Known for his vibrant combinations of cartoons, characters and pop-culture icons, Barney freelances from the capital working across commissions for the likes of 121, Boombox Eulogy and Otago University. Last year he had his first solo exhibition at Olly titled 'Cream Soda Dreams’, which was based on the period of his childhood when growing up in Sri Lanka. 

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We were drawn to your work as it’s far from any designer we have had so far. How would you describe your art in one sentence?

I’d probably describe it as pop art with a heavy influence from Saturday morning cartoons.

Your stickers for us were created digitally however, I know you work a lot with pencils, markers and paint. Have you always worked across both digital and analogue tools for your art?

I actually only began working digitally in 2017, when I got an art tablet with the money I’ve earnt doing commissions. I personally prefer working traditionally because I enjoy holding a physical copy of my finished work, but in saying that I’m going to put some effort into improving my work digitally this year.

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Mixing character, cartoons and pop culture icons is a big part of your work. When did this love for bold colour, cartoons and characters begin?

Since I taught myself how to draw from a young age, the main sources of reference or inspiration for me, came from cartoons and comics. I really didn’t like drawing anything realistic because I used art as more of a window out of reality than anything when I was growing up. So naturally, when I started taking art seriously my goal was to make art which removed the viewer from reality.  I don’t know if I would say I love using bold colours or characters. I would say it’s more telling of the way I subconsciously want to portray things.

What is your first significant memory of art?

My first significant memory is probably when I used to do everyone’s art homework in year 9 for two dollars a piece. We were supposed to make etches of animals with patterns in them as a stamp making project and everyone just came to me about it. I  decided to make a few extra dollars to buy more food at the canteen. I was little chubby dude in year 9 haha.

What would be your all time favourite characters and why?

Ooh that’s hard. I have a few.  Vegeta, from DragonBall Z. He was the polar opposite of me personality wise but I loved that he was the underdog. Spongebob because that dude has the most positive outlook on life ever. Oh and Buzz Lightyear, I don’t really have a good reason for him.

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You are currently living in Wellington, how are you finding that?

I love it. Wellington just has a culture of its own. I feel like it’s tailored to the more creatively inclined. Everybody is so comfortable in their own skin and just has a warm and positive outlook towards people who are different to themselves, I can’t praise it enough as a community. The city itself is so small that you run into other creatives you may have only associated via the internet ( shout out to Dexter Murray, Nic Little and Ella Stanford to name a few people I’ve met purely due to being in the same city). The city itself has its own personality. It’s full of art wherever you go, the suburbs are built on hills with winding roads and amazing views. I love it.

Great things are coming out of Wellington at the moment, such as Olly opening Club 121. Who else and what else do you think is on the come up down there?

I’ve had the pleasure of doing a bit of work for Olly, he’s an impressive dude for all the work he’s put in. The music scene is getting a lot of attention in general, dudes like Young Tapz, KVKA, Name UL, Beachboy, Mermaidens and Pillow T have all released some great work recently. I feel the younger generation overall in Wellington is really pumping out great creative content, whether it be music, art, photography or any other medium of creativity. I think I’d give the city a lot of credit overall for being so accepting of diversity and encouraging of self-expression, something I’d love to see more of from the rest of New Zealand.

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

Internationally my favourite creatives are Nuri Durr (@actionhankbeard) , Jake Parker, Kanye West,  ASAP ROCKY , Jeremy Scott, Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Toriyama, Travis Scott,  Oliver Francis, Night Lovell and Yohji Yamamoto, to name a few off the top of my head. All of these people have influenced my aesthetic one way or another.

Locally I look up to a lot of my friends or people I've run into whilst working as an artist such as Dexter Murray, Che Ebrahim, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, Mohamed Muse, the Boombox Eulogy and Bryan Anderson.

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What projects do you have coming up for 2018?

My biggest goal in 2018 is to release this comic I’m working on. It about the journey of a bear named Clyde and his friends. I’m going to use the comic as a platform to voice my opinion and to tackle issues I’ve come across as a young adult whilst giving you guys a story worth reading with characters you can really connect to. I’ll be posting about my journey from start to finish of the comic on my Instagram and Facebook. My second goal is to have another exhibition and continue to grow as an artist overall.

Dream Client?

Pixar studios, Kanye or A$AP Rocky.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

The apple animoji ad featuring the Migos, or the Devilman: Cry Baby series on Netflix.

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

A$AP Rocky -LVL

Travis Scott – Drugs you should try

Tame Impala – The less I know the better

Night Lovell -  Dark Light

The Kooks - She moves in her own way

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston and Kanye West.

Can you share a self portrait?

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FOLLOW BARNEY OVER AT @BARNEYSART

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

 

#GEORGESUNDAYS with Neck of the Woods : A chat with MC SLAVE

Mark ‘MC Slave’ Williams is the man behind George Sundays LoggCabin Radio. Mark is one of New Zealand’s leading DJs, MCs, actors, voice artists and video directors. Known for being the MC for Fat Freddy’s Drop, he also directed many music videos for not only Freddy’s, but Tiki Tane, Ladi6 and Bulletproof. For a man who has his fingers in many pies and widespread success, we caught up with Mark to ask him about how he manages it all, how it all came together and some of the highlights of his career.

 Photo by Steve Dykes

Photo by Steve Dykes

Many young NZ creatives these days are juggling multiple roles and pursuing more that one career path at once. You have been doing this for a long time, what would be your advice to them?

Keep on keeping on! Try and do what you love! The world is full of people who give up dreams or plans after the first hurdle. You’ll always take the knocks but to have longevity you have to pick yourself up and keep going. There is definitely something to be said for focusing on one path and doing one thing real well but having multiples roles keeps things interesting and most of all keeps you employed and busy.

What is the best advice you have been given?

If you’re having issues or problems, that is because you are too worried, the question you ask yourself is “What are you doing to do / or can you do about it?” - Nicole, Fat Freddy’s Manager…If the answer is nothing or you can’t ... don’t worry about it ... don’t sweat it! ...don’t let your enemies have free rent in your headspace (can’t remember where it is from but I like it!)

In the 80’s you were part of rap duo MCOJ and Rhythm Slave. What was the rap scene like back then?

Well I’m not sure it was a scene, now there is a scene but when we were playing and touring which we did a lot, in fact more than most, it was all so young. People were seeing MCs and DJs for the very first time. Now people take it for granted. I feel like we introduced the concept to many people around NZ, particularly in smaller towns. People couldn’t fathom an MC and a DJ on stage. They were like “Where are the guitars?”. By the mid 90’s we had a scene, but it took more than a minute.

Above:  MC OJ and Rhythm Slave 1990

Looking at the local rap scene today, who do you rate?

So many! The YGB Family is a great collective that to me seems to inspire and motivate each other regularly and they are supportive of each other's projects and evolutions.

When did you move from music to video and film work? 

That was a happy accident. I was always into film and acting but Mo Show was the start of it of course. Armed with Mini DV cameras we travelled the world and managed to talk our way into some pretty amazing and outrageous places. We won best TV entertainment series in 2002 for Mo Show.

In the early 2000’s you co-directed the MO Show, which lead you to travel worldwide to interviewing musicians and exploring with Otis Frizzell. What were some of the highlights of working on the show?

So many but the highlights were our trips to NYC, our trip to Jamaica where we met many of our reggae superheroes. Meeting Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry on the set of a Bond film. She gave me the glad eye and I’m standing by it.

If you were to relaunch and film the series again, who would be the top of your list to visit/feature?

I’d like to return to a few of the spots we visited on the early series to see what’s changed and cross-reference it. But Mexico, South America, China and India would be places I’d like to explore for something brand new.

You have directed a huge amount of the biggest local music videos. What was your first music video you ever directed?

Wandering Eye for Fat Freddy’s Drop. We had the best crew and team working on it. It was Freddy’s first proper video too. As it was my first music video, I put everything I had into it, worked on it for months, and we pulled every resource and favour I could because I knew there were plenty of more established directors who would have liked to have done it ... I couldn’t fuck it up! We won Best Music Video at the Music Awards 2006.

Above: Mark's first music video, Wandering Eye for Fat Freddy's Drop

You are the MC and Videographer for Fat Freddy’s Drop - How did this opportunity originally come about?

That followed on from Mo Show and the music video. I was asked to help on a doc about the Freddy’s for Maori TV in Europe, and then the bros asked me to bust a rap when I was in the wings. They were and still are my favourite band. Much to my enjoyment, I’ve been there ever since. 

How do you find working for other musicians in the video department? Being A musician yourself...

Well ... I like people to be comfortable but still challenge them a little. Some artists aren’t suited to playing a role or effectively ‘acting’. Others embrace it. It's about understanding the artist and what they want to express and feel comfortable with.

Asides from Logg Cabin Radio on George Sundays, what do you like to get up to on Sunday?

To be honest, hanging with the boys up at the radio on Sundays is one of my favourite things to do. Listening to the tunes and being turned on to new music on Sundays at George is super fun, and if I’m not there, these days I’ll be enjoying summer (barbie, swimming, beach) with the family while still listening to the radio all day!

TUNE INTO #GEORGESUNDAYS THIS SUNDAY ON GEORGE FM, 96.6 FM! 

#GEORGESUNDAYS WITH NECK OF THE WOODS: A CHAT WITH BOBBY BRAZUKA

This week we catch up with Bobby Brazuka, the man behind George Sundays Mucho Aroha Radio. Bobby is known as the unofficial ambassador of Brazilian music and culture in New Zealand, as well as being a representative of New Zealand music scene back in Brazil. He continuously strives to represent, showcase, combine and promote both NZ and Brazilian music communities through and through. 

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Mucho Aroha Music is the one and only Kiwi-Brazillian music label. When did Mucho Aroha Music first begin?

Mucho Aroha was an idea that I had back in 2014. I had already gone to Brazil with Katchafire in their first Brazil Tour and noticed how many of my fellow Brazilians shared the same love for New Zealand Music as I do. So I started to put together a compilation of Kiwi music I thought would go well, I would call it Sounds of New Zealand and went after the rights of songs from Fat Freddy's Drop, Ladi 6, Sola Rosa, Mark de Clive-Lowe, P.Money, Julien Dyne to name a few. The comp came out on vinyl and digital and was a great success in Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro.

When did you realise you wanted and needed to create a label?

I created the label when I put out the first Latinaotearoa album as I already had the idea in mind and thought why not have my own band as my first signed artist. lol.

Mucho Aroha Music is very much a niche label, combining the sounds of New Zealand and Brazil. How do you find having a tight-knit and closely curated label in a small country?

It is tough work but pays off when people sing along to the songs of the Black Seeds in a concert in Sao Paulo or when Latinaotearoa is playing at an NZ Summer Festival and we get more than 1000 people dancing. A label in my mind is just the bridge between the music and the people.

You are locally known as the ambassador for Brazilian Music in New Zealand, along with working as a promoter, DJ, musician and radio show host. What came first? 

I find it funny this ambassador title thing as I believe I just work hard and I'm a very passionate person in everything I do. I guess they all come together as one, make the music, promoting, Djing out and about or in the radio is all part of the big job which is spreading my two cultures in a music format.

What was your first memory of music?

My mum playing a Bossa Nova vinyl by Elis Regina, she had such a beautiful voice.

What was your first memory of New Zealand music?

I think what touched me first was when I was an exchange student in New Zealand and I saw the video for Land of Plenty by OMC . That was when I first start loving New Zealand and its music.

Above: OMC Land Of Plenty music video

In your eyes, what are the core similarities between New Zealand music and Brazilian music?

I think it's the ocean. We are very creative people but I think both Brazilian and Kiwi music is very popular worldwide because all our music is made based in the ocean.But that's my little theory.

Locally and internationally, who would you say are the most exciting artists right now?

Eno x Dirty, Bailey Wiley, Melodownz, Team Dynamite, Teeks, Emicida, Marcelinho da Lua, Andersoon P.aak, and the list goes on.

TUNE INTO #GEORGESUNDAYS THIS SUNDAY ON GEORGE FM, 96.6 FM! 

Meet our December artist, Joshua Briones-Yap!

To wrap up this years artwork we have asked local creative Joshua Briones-Yap to jump onboard as our December monthly artist. With a Bachelor of Arts Major in Visual Communications, Joshua has previously worked in-house for Interbrand and Studio South, two of the top branding and design companies in the country.

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He has previously collaborated with the likes of AS Colour, I Love Ugly, Parlour Store and Checks Incorporated. Josh’s work for us has a strong typography focus however he usually works across brand identity development, package design, editorial design, art direction and technical illustration. With the request to stay mysterious, Josh won't be doing an interview this month but sharing a selection of his work below.  

  Above: Josh's work for Checks Downtown, a menswear store specialising in a mix of streetwear and cut-and-sew, located on High Street in Auckland.

Above: Josh's work for Checks Downtown, a menswear store specialising in a mix of streetwear and cut-and-sew, located on High Street in Auckland.

  Above: Tokyo Tribute Poster

Above: Tokyo Tribute Poster

  Above: Poster work for Farmers Market (St Kevin's)

Above: Poster work for Farmers Market (St Kevin's)

FOLLOW JOSHUA OVER AT @joshuabrionesyap

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

#GEORGESUNDAYS WITH NECK OF THE WOODS: A CHAT WITH CIAN O'DONNELL

Vinyl Enthusiast Cian O'Donnell is the man behind not only Ponsonby's Conch Records, but also George Sundays Earshot show. Now residing in Raglan, Cian continously has a huge influence on Auckland's music scene, especially when it comes to vinyl. He has been DJing since 1989, locally and internationally, across club nights, events and radio. We caught up with Cian this week to talk to him about the birth of Conch Records, working with vinyl in the digital age and what he does on Sundays.

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Conch Records original started 18 years ago, as a market stall in Aotea Square. Tell us a bit about how the market came about?

The markets came about through our good friend Gino Jouavel, who conjured up the concept of a small outdoor inner-city market. It was located in Aotea Square every Friday and Saturday from around 9 am til 5 pm. That space seemed pretty underutilized on the weekends back then, and Gino gathered together a tight bunch of stall holders (mostly mates and acquaintances) to add some colour, music and culture into that area. This was the end of 2000/2001.

I shared my space with Sparrow Phillips, better known as Component (street/graphic artist/Cut Collective member). I was selling imported vinyl and Spaz was selling screen printed tees. We also had Benny Staples coming down and helping out as well. Due to the fact that we were the only ones playing music out of our stall and into the square at a decent volume, people gravitated to us. Word got out pretty quick that there was someone selling records out of a small market stall on the weekends and it fast became a real hang out spot.

Do you remember the particular moment you decided you wanted to turn the market into a physical store?

Yeah, I had been working in San Francisco for a couple of record store and a label and had put the market stall on hold. During that trip my partner in crime, Brent Hollands, got offered a space to rent in Canterbury Arcade just off High St. It was literally a broom cupboard and he thought it was ideal for a small shop of sorts. He remembers him calling me up when I was in New York and pitched the idea. I think the rent initially at that spot was $80 a week or something stupid. My memories pretty hazy but think this was 2003.

Ponsonby road is one of the most prime locations today. When you opened Conch what drew you to Ponsonby?

We outgrew our shop in Canterbury Arcade and initially, we were looking at K Road. It just so happened that the spot that we moved into was in Ponsonby, it was never planned.

What attracted you to Ponsonby at that time vs now?

The block we moved into felt good when we initially checked it out. That section of Ponsonby Road still retains character and has some long-running and well-respected establishments along it. Although Ponsonby still had that stigma attached to it of being over gentrified and have lost its flavour, we still felt at home there. I'd like to think we also contributed to the block and brought a community together around the shop.

Even now I still feel that Conch has retained its original vibe of bringing something a little bit different to the area and still holds a sense of realness, without having been saturated down by the influx of stereotypical bars/restaurants and cafes

 Above: Conch Records, Ponsonby Road

Above: Conch Records, Ponsonby Road

You have been DJing since 1989, locally and internationally, across club nights, events and radio. What are the biggest or most noticeable positive changes you have noticed locally?  

If you mean like really recently, then that's kind of hard to answer, as I feel like I've been out of the loop with what's going on over the past few years, mainly due to now living in Raglan, not DJing as much and being more of a homebody and full-time Dad.

I do love the fact though that so many more local artists are able to push there sound internationally and connect to a larger audience. Which in turn has given the world a wider idea of what Aotearoa has to offer musically.

How about the most drastic or progressive?

The obvious - the change from analogue to digital. Not just in the making of music, but in the way we promote it visually (flyers/posters) to how we sell it and digest it etc etc.......I'm still an analogue lad, living in a digital world and finding it harder and harder to fit in!!!!

Hosting and DJing club nights, special events and Ear Shot on George Sundays must keep you very busy. Do you tend to keep the sound and style of your sets cohesive for all platforms? Or have a slightly different direction per style of gig? What shapes the direction or mood of your sets?

It doesn't really keep me busy at all nowadays, nowhere near like it used to. Especially since I got out of the city.

I find it a tad boring and predictable to play one style or genre over the course of a set, so I like to go here, there and everywhere. BUT.....yes there needs to be some kind of flow and connection between the tracks, not just random tracks thrown together, so I guess there is some sort of cohesiveness going on in my sets.

I never really know what I'm going to play when I turn up at gigs, I don't plan or practice, it's made up on the spot. Hence I'm always having the piss taken out of me for always bringing far too many records than is needed to gigs. I think any knowledgeable or in tune selector would know that what shapes the direction or mood of your sets is firstly your audience. Other contributing factors can be the venue (size wise and acoustically), your mood, time slot, indoors/outdoors etc.

Let’s talk about Ear Shot on George Sunday’s, when did you start the show?

Think dinosaurs were still roaming if I recall.......

What can we expect this Sunday? For those who haven’t tuned in before, how would you describe the show?

I try to keep it as upfront on the radio as I can. Mainly because it's the only platform I feel comfortable playing digital music. I try not to get stuck in any one genre for too long and hope to keep the listeners guessing as to what's coming up next. At the same time, I like to delve back into the past and revisit tracks that need to be heard again. "All styles & smiles".

Other than Ear Shot, what do you get up to on Sunday?

Entertaining the kids and trying not to fall asleep too early in the evening.

Locally and internationally, who other than your close crew of fellow DJs, who do you rate? 

Locally - Longboss, Benny Linsay Williams, Nabeel Zuberi, Geezer Guy

Internationally - Chiz, Moonboots, Tom Thump, Romanowski, Lefto, Muro, DJ Nuts, Benji B, Gilles P, Keb Darge, Cut Chemist, Kode9, Theo Parrish, Andrew Weatherall, Aba Shanti, Carl Craig.............

Just worth noting......i don't rate DJs on their mixing abilities.

TUNE INTO #GEORGESUNDAYS THIS SUNDAY ON GEORGE FM, 96.6 FM! 

Suren Unka set to light up THE BOOG

Tonight we are excited to have the multi-talented Suren Unka working on the lighting at THE BOOG. Suren has been hot on the New Zealand music scene for years. As well as creating music under his own name, Suren also plays drums for Beach Pigs, produces tracks for a select number of local musicians, works as a sound technician and creates lighting for local gigs and music events. Lighting isn’t something many musicians or sound techs pick up, so we caught up with him to ask about his move into lighting, his involvement in the local music scene and finding inspiration at Hong Kong Disney Land.

You have been as massive part of the Auckland music scene for years now; both as an electronic musician, producer, drummer and sound tech. Now you are the man behind the lights as well. When did you start working on lighting? Was it just in natural progression from being sound tech? 

My whole life I’ve been fascinated by lighting and music. One of my first memories is putting coloured cellophane around my parents lamps and then using their rubbish bin as a drum to create my own mini stage show. 

I think what really triggered me to want to get into it properly though, was a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland about four years ago. One of the rides had this hologram lazer set up and it kind of blew my mind. It was like nothing I had ever seen in New Zealand before. When I got back to New Zealand I ordered components online and started making my own lights from scratch, and it’s grown from there. 

Mixing music and lighting was something that evolved naturally. Because I’m so involved in the Auckland music scene I wanted to bring the excitement of lighting to gigs. I think lighting alters an energy in a way that nothing else can. 

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Do you remember a point when you realised you wanted to offer lighting as well as sound?

If you’re a soundy, a lot of the time you get roped into doing light as well. But it’s always standard ‘rock lighting’ which I find pretty boring - so I wanted to try do it better. Also, when I was younger I was a gig photographer. Lighting is a big part of photography so it was something I naturally observed closely when taking photos at concerts and was always thinking about how it could be done better.   

What lighting projects have you been working on lately? Does your lighting work extend beyond music related events?

This Friday I’m doing two set ups. One is at Neck of the Woods and the other installation is for The Beths at Galatos. I’m trying something new mixing light with helium globes. I would like my lighting to go beyond music events in the future, but at this point it hasn’t. 

What do you think are the essentials elements to throwing a successful gig in 2017?

A great line-up of artists is number one, but also booking the right artists for the right time of the night. I find that’s something a lot of people don’t think about enough. You need to build up your nights so people don’t peak too soon. 

Once you’ve sussed that, picking the right venue for the genre of music is important. Once you’ve done that, get a good illustrator to design you an interesting poster. Then last, but definitely not least, make sure you’ve got a good sound system /sound person (don’t try skimp on price for the sound system get a good one) -  and of course, good lighting! 

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Who locally and internationally do admire for their curation, production and excictuion of music events?

Lady Laser Light from Wellington is someone I really admire. She did an insane job at the last A Low Hum event. It was some of the best production I have ever seen. 

As a musician, what are you working on the moment?

At the moment I’m just finishing off the Beach Pigs album (I’m the drummer), working on a collaboration single with Levi Patel and also producing Dahnu Graham’s solo project. In between that I’m also working on my own solo stuff which is also a slow and steady race.  

Come along to THE BOOG tonight and see Suren's lighting in real life!

This month featuring the boogie selections of Manuel Bundy (The Turnaround, see also : The Godfather) Frank Booker, Lucky Lance (Team Dynamite), Hudge (The Uptown Boogie)  and Samuel Harmony (Friendly Potential) !