New Zealand music

KATANA's got beats

If you know the faintest thing about Auckland's DJ scene, you'll have heard of KATANA. Infamous for never having been pinned to a particular genre, KATANA spins tracks to the feeling in the room, giving any party he plays legs to run gleefully into the early morning.

The latest on KATANA's (a.ka. Rui Kamata) project list is a monthly Future Bass, Trap, Rap party, Bassment, hosted at none other than Neck of the Woods.

We chatted haircuts, the internet age, and a criminally underrated local scene.

A photo posted by KATANA (@katanagram) on

First things first - you’ve just cut your hair! Is this a new year, new look thing?

Yes it’s gone! It was a new look thing for sure. And to be honest I was too lazy to go get a haircut before now, haha.


You were born and bred in Japan. What brought you to the shores of the Antipodes?

Antipo… what? I was born in Osaka and grew up in a few different areas. I moved here by myself in 1999 as a international student. I was planning to stay for only a couple years, but loved it here so much I ended up living here permanently.


When did you start making music, and what drew you to it?

About 2-3 years ago. It was a natural transition from DJing to getting interested in producing music. Also people around me started producing at that time too.

If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing with your life?

I probably wouldn’t be in New Zealand. I’d be back in Japan being a salaryman, haha. I’d maybe run a clothing label, own a retail store, or something in fashion. I think I still would like to do that at some point.

You’ve opened for and worked with huge names - the likes of Alison Wonderland, Shlomo, Thugli, Ganz, and many more. How do you feel about the current state of the scene and those leading it in the public eye?

Everyone has an opportunity to be a part of this scene as an artist or as a fan if you have a laptop and wi-fi connection. You can be a big artist in the scene, or you can be a fan and communicate with the artist directly. Alison Wonderland from Australia worked with Ganz from Netherlands to create a track for example.


Our platform is hugely open and equal, and location isn’t an issue. I’m living in New Zealand, but I have awesome opportunities to work and communicate with these amazing artists. I think this scene is a great creation of the new age / internet era.


You’ve said that Bassment was inspired by wanting to do a ‘Soulection’ kind of night in Auckland - what vibes do ‘Soulection’ kind of night calls for?

Soulection isn’t just a record label, radio show or club nights, they give opportunities and put the spotlight on upcoming artists. Soulection educate their followers, communicate with their fans and create a scene which anybody can be a part of.


Culture, movement, opportunity for like-minded people to get together and having a good time; that's what I want to do with this project BASSMENT. New Zealand’s produced artists that have attracted the attention of Mr. Carmack and Diplo. More people should recognise and celebrate the amazing talent we have here.


Party to the tune of Montell2099, Kendrick, KATANA, LMC, and Wayvee at the first installment of BASSMENT, this Friday, at NotW.

Die! Die! Die!'s Andrew Wilson on getting older, the future of NZ music, and the proverbial echo room

This Thursday, Dunedin’s punk rock noise pop child Die! Die! Die! are capping off the New Zealand leg of their EP release tour with a highly anticipated show at Neck of the Woods - the night before they step onto the plane for a whirlwind tour of Australia.

To celebrate a brief lull in the madness, we shot six questions at the three-piece’s vocalist/guitarist, Andrew Wilson.

Die! Die! Die! formed in 2003 (you even had a MySpace). Going on 13 years, how have you evolved?

I have don't lose nearly as much sleep over Die! Die! Die! anymore. We kinda grew up, but decided we may as well still be as juvenile and silly while we can.


You've spent a huge chunk of the last decade on the road. How's that impacted your music, relationships with each other, and personal lives?

I think touring is really important - it ensures you don't live in some kind of echo room musically. But, personally, I feel it can be quite hard on your relationships, and your health.

I’ve seen a lot of things I never would have seen if I hadn't been in a band touring for the last 10 or so years... But then again, I’ve seen a lot of things I wish I didn’t see. So, I guess you’ve got to take the good with the bad.


DDD originated in Dunedin, but you've recorded considerably further afield; your first self-titled album in Chicago, Promises, Promises in New York, Harmony in France... How’s that impacted DDD?

I think it's got a lot to do with that echo room thing I just mentioned. You’re either the coolest thing in the world, and in your hometown, or the absolute worst. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. Being away helps a lot because you can separate yourself from that, and know from a more objective place if what you’re doing is any good.


What's your favourite show you've played so far?

We have played a lot of shows - over 1,000 now - so I couldn't say I have a favourite. There's a lot of memorable ones, though! I've really enjoyed this last tour, and New Years in Dunedin was pretty special!

How are you feeling about the future of music coming out of New Zealand?

I think it's the best it has ever been.


What can people expect from Die! Die! Die!'s show this Thursday at Neck of the Woods?

Whatever they bring to the show! I'm also really excited to see the other bands again!!


Get your tickets to Die! Die! Die!'s What Did You Expect EP release show here.