In early 2014, nine Wellington-based musicians came together with the sole intention of playing one gig together, only to discover that they not only absolutely smashed it, but produced some crowd-favourites that got people jiving. This is Raw Collective: a funk, jazz, and old school hip-hop sound, born with a livewire that drove them to record and release their debut 6-track EP only 3 months after they’d all first met.
This Saturday, they’re bringing their tunes to Auckland as part of their first nationwide tour. We sat down with Raw Deezy, the man with the studio who brought it all together.
The band totals nine members - can you introduce us to everyone, what you each play and bring to the table?
I’m Raw Deezy, our emcee and producer. Raw Collective’s hip-hop sound is cemented in this production, and emceeing.
On songwriting, guitar, and vocals, we’ve got Pauly Lowe, who has a strong songwriting background in blues and reggae.
Blain Fitzpatrick’s on the bass guitar; he’s the funk rock bass master of Wellington, (laughs) adding to our eclectic sound.
Kirk Mulholland performs DJ cuts and samples on the launch pad.
Drummer Jack Cromie’s background as a jazz and hip hop drummer brings the solid beat .
Moira Jones on the vocals, bringing a voice which is a main component in our sound.
The Horn Section brings that jazz sound and are all awesome performers; we’ve got Ben Hunt on trumpet/arrangement, Eilish Wilson on the alto saxophone, Blair Clarke on the tenor saxophone, and Julian Kirgan on the trombone.
How did Raw Collective come into being? What was the catalyst, and how did you find/settle on the name ‘Raw Collective’?
Pauly, Jack, and I had been quietly working on hip-hop tracks when a good friend of mine asked us to get a band together to play a hip-hop set at Newtown Festival 2014.
We called on Ben, who gathered a Horn section, and Blain on bass, and thus the band was born. We had two weeks practice and smashed it, so decided to keep it going….
Raw Collective was the obvious name, as it was a collection of musicians jamming out of ‘Raw’s studio.’
How would you define the Raw Collective sound?
With such a diverse range of musicians, all from different genres, I think it’s our hip-hop sound that brings and blends these genres together. Dark grooves and heavy bass-lines, with nice horns and singing; it’s a nice balance, no cheese, made for the soul.
What influences do you draw from to create music? What’s the typical process in producing new songs?
Normally, Pauly and I hunt samples, record guitar/keys, and create a loop or demo song. Ben then writes horn lines for horn section, followed by Bain’s basslines and Jack’s drums. We all play a part in the songwriting, but it starts with a golden loop!
It’s hard to pick an influence, as it would be in the thousands (laughs), however, personally mine would be legendary beatmakers such as J Dilla, Apollo Brown or RZA.
This is the first national tour for Raw Collective - how’s it treated you so far?
Yes, it’s our first tour, it’s been heaps of fun. We’ve made heaps of new fans and found some great venues we’ll go back to for sure.
It’s a typical first tour, making enough money for gas, food, and beers.
What’s your favourite thing about performing?
Definitely when the crowd is loving the music, it makes it all worthwhile! You know, seeing the heads nod (laughs).
What’s in store for the future?
We will be releasing a couple of our favorite tracks, followed by our debut album we’re recording and releasing this year! Then, playing across the country again for sure!
Good times ahead.