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.


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?



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.


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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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.


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.


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. 


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.

mkey akira.jpg

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.


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.

caiti bottom.jpg

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?





#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!



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. 


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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. 


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! 


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) ! 

#GeorgeSundays with Neck of the Woods: A chat with Selecta Sam

Proudly brought to you by Neck of the Woods, George Sundays on George FM is made up of the best funk, boogie, soul, hip-hop, reggae, beats, breaks and anything fresh enough to make the cut.

The afternoon is a combination of the finest local DJs; The Earshot (with Cian and Lo Key), Logg Cabin Radio (Mark James Williams aka MC Slave), The Dose (Selecta Sam), The Uptown Boogie (with Neck of the Woods' own Hudge) and Mucho Aroha Radio (Bobby Brazuka).

This week we caught up with Selecta Sam to chat about his vinyl collection and career highlights. Sam is playing The Dose this Sunday (2pm-4pm) on George Fm, 96.6FM.


It’s public knowledge that you have one of the largest vinyl collections in the country, filled with the finest Funk, Soul, Boogie, Disco & Jazz records. Word is it dates back to 1996. What was your first memory of listening to a record and falling in love with the sound?

I must've been 3 or 4! My dad pulled a record out and played a particular song; "Doctor, Doctor" by Labi Siffre.  I remember we'd been talking about Doctors, so he said "I'll play you a cool song with the word 'Doctor' in it"!!

Which records in your collection were the hardest to source? Have there been any that have taken years or more to find? If so, how, where and when did you manage to get your hands on them?

One of the hardest ones to track down was "The Rhythm Of Life" by James Mason.  It was only released originally in a batch of approximately 1200 back in '77 on a small New York label called Chiaroscuro Records.  It flopped initially, but Rare Groove and Jazz Dance DJ's picked up on it in the mid 80's and became Jazz Funk Holy Grail LP. 

Another one that was on list for ever was  Little Richard "The Rill Thing" from 1970.  Couldn't find it anywhere, then out the blue I scored 2 copies about 2 weeks apart.  Diggin' is funny like that.

You are a multi-talented and multi-tasking musician. You’ve played lead guitar for a number of bands and opened for a variety of international and local acts. But you’ve also been a regular DJ in clubs and bars, not to mention a radio host, since 1997. Did you ever struggle with shaping your identity as a musician due to the fact you work across multiple genres, sounds and platforms?

Ha, yeah I did & still do.  As a musician/guitarist/DJ I've developed a split personality with a deep love of Funk/Soul/Jazz but also Heavy Rock and early Metal (Sabbath, Judas Priest, Budgie etc)  Not sure where I fit in!!  I'm a Soul Bogan.

Being a radio DJ for 20 years, what have been the significant changes you’ve recognised in the radio industry?

Can't help but notice the overall dumbing down of popular music & commercial radio and the rise of "EDM" and "Bangers culture"  Also it seems a lot of "stations" are just a computerised playlist with a marketing campaign behind it.  Thankfully you can dial in to George Sundays for a full day of the good stuff! 

What are the biggest misconceptions of being a radio DJ?

That we get paid!!

Over your career what have been some of the best highlights or standout moments?

Opening for Kings Of Leon in Wellington & Christchurch and playing to 12000+ people was definitely fun.  I'll also never forget spending a day fishing with George "Dr Funkenstein" Clinton on a boat in the Hauraki Gulf!

Locally and internationally, which artists, musicians, DJs or producers do you rate?

Wow, where to begin...  Locally I'm continually inspired by Mr Chris Cox aka Frank Booker and his deep connection with The Funk/Disco/Boogie.  Tom Scott & Young Gifted And Broke are keeping it real & Mr Dave Hudgins aka DJ Hudge is another inspiration.  I wanna be like him when I grow up.

Vibing on Flamingosis out of New Jersey at the moment.  Check out his killer Jazzy/Soul influenced productions.

Tune into #GeorgeSundays this afternoon on George Fm, 96.6 FM!

Follow Sam:

Meet our November artist, Alisha Henry!

This November we have chosen to collaborate with local graphic designer Alisha Henry for our monthly artist programme. What originally caught our eye was Alisha’s ‘Architypes’ project, which involved her researching and sketching the various architecture found on Karangahape Road and turning them into a typeface. She has recently been involved in this years' 100 Days Project, where she made 100 zines in 100 days. Alisha has also worked along The Wireless to create artwork to accompany articles surrounding New Zealand Mental Health. She works across illustration, branding, digital design, craft, print and typography; making her the perfect local artist to work with this November.


You have recently been involved in this years' 100 Days Project, where you made 100 zines in 100 days. This is a huge commitment, time wise and creatively. Over the 100 days you worked on a zine everyday. How did you find this process?

I found the process both challenging and freeing. For a long time I’d been stuck in this rigid way of ‘design thinking’ and I feel like the nature of zines in general allowed me the space to experiment and be playful with my design technique; with content, with form, etc… I made it a rule to not redo any if I didn’t like them, so accepting what I’d created regardless of the outcome was very much a big part of the project. The process was definitely a journey!

Above: Alisha's 100 zines after the 100 day project

Above: Alisha's 100 zines after the 100 day project

What was your favourite zine produced over the project and why?

Either ‘Nicely Drawn Potatoes’ (#Day7) or ‘Dick Doodles’ (#Day69, hehe). Both the ultimate culmination of four years at art school, obviously.

This year was your second year committing to the challenge, what made it easier the second time round?

Although it was a harder project overall, I found that having someone to do it with alongside was what kept me motivated. My partner was creating a .gif a day, so we were both able to get to that creative space daily and encourage each other.

What are your all time five favourite zines you have collected over the years?

A Sorry Sight for Sorry People

Swatches from the Stacks by Auckland Libraries (I used to be a librarian so that’s why I especially loved this one).

The Tiny Zine of Scary Peen by Dandy NZ

Anxiety Comics by Stacey Bru

Shit’s Fucked: A Positivity Guide

When you were working on the ‘Architypes’ project, what parts of K Road’s architecture did you recognise for the first time? Just from looking at it from a typography perspective instead of a passerby.

I don’t think I’d ever actually looked UP before I had to study the architecture, which sounds really bad because the architecture and history of K’Road is really beautiful and interesting. I’ve never looked at K’Road architecture the same since!

Above: Alisha's sketchbook and research for her ‘Architypes’ project

Above: Alisha's sketchbook and research for her ‘Architypes’ project

What are a few of your favourite local K Road spots?

As macabre as it sounds, I really like the overpass. St. Kevin’s Arcade is an oldie but a goodie, too.

Above: Alisha's research into K'Roads architecture

Above: Alisha's research into K'Roads architecture

You work over illustration, design, craft, branding, typography and digital. Do you think it is essential for a graphic designer in this age to work over and offer different mediums of work?

I don’t think it’s essential; I feel like employers nowadays prefer someone who’s specialised. But personally I’d find specialising in one aspect of graphic design to be rather limiting. I’m always wanting to explore new projects and try different things. I always have new ideas, and those ideas usually take me into different mediums of work. I do prefer print, if I had to pick a favourite, but I think it’s great to exercise creative curiosity.

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

My sister (Colleen Henry). My partner (Jordan Klaassen). Michael Parekowhai. blckwhtstudios/Hollie Arnett. Louise Hutt. Louise Beryl. Inky Palms. Dandy NZ. #WeAreBeneficiaries. Zohab Zee Khan. OhYouFox. CatanaComics. Jordan Debney. Curative. Sew Love. Jessica Hische. The list is endless…

Dream Client?

Halsey - I love her vibe. Or Star Wars - that’d be pretty cool.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

A duck in a light.


Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

SomethingALaMode - 5 AM (ft. K.Flay)

Lorde - Homemade Dynamite

Halsey - Devil in Me

AURORA - Under Stars

FRENSHIP & Emily Warren - Capsize

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

Halsey. K.Flay. My Chemical Romance *sad face*

Can you doodle us a self portrait?


Follow Alisha over at @abmhdsgn


Meet our October artist, Samara Wooldridge!

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Above: Dmonic Intent on the runway at various events.

Above: Dmonic Intent on the runway at various events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Above: Elliot Frances Stewart for THE BOOG

Above: Elliot Frances Stewart for THE BOOG

Dream Client?

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

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

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

Top five tracks to paint/draw to?

The Doors - People are strange

WASP - Heaven’s Hung In Black

Nick Cave - Higgs Boson Blues

Marilyn Manson - Fundamentally Loathsome

The Black Keys - Too Afraid To Love You

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live? 

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

Can you doodle us a pic of you!


Follow Samara over at @pale_vein


The rise of K2K

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet our September artist: Bryson Naik

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything I do is Onehunga.


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

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

Dream Client?

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

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?


Top five tracks to work/draw to?

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

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

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

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


Follow Bryson at @naik2g

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

Meet our August artist, Logan Smith!

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

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

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

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

Smiddy Bacall! How you get the nickname?

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

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

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

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

Above: Logan's designs for Shark Week

Above: Logan's designs for Shark Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handrawn or digital?

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

Dream client?

Vans would be sick. Steinlager classic. All Blacks. 

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

Anderson Paak wearing a Sharkweek shirt I drew. 

Best piece of advice you have ever received? 

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

Top five tracks to draw to?

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

Favourite local artist/band/musician right now?

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

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

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

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

Follow Logan over @smiddybacall and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dance for Democracy with Chlöe Swarbrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep going.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Hello & Welcome to Fully Explicit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fuzen turns 18!

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

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

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

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

Above: Fuzen's Northern Bass festival

Above: Fuzen's Northern Bass festival

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

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

I know it’s not a performance but opening Fu Bar on Queen Street at the age of 26 years old with a bunch of my best mates has to be at the top of the list. It was a very special time in Auckland nightlife and we went against the grain, just did what we rules. We followed our passion and luckily a bunch of people seemed to connect with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Above: The original Fu Bar Queen Street

Above: The original Fu Bar Queen Street

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

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

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

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


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

The Grow Room Sessions goes live.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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