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    A Classical Note: Sarah Ballard

    13.06.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘A Classical Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Classical Musicians & Composers.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Up next is composer Sarah Ballard.

     

    Who are you? Please tell us a bit about you and your music.
    My name is Sarah Ballard. I’m a composer. I’m really interested in using the qualities of instrumental sound to generate musical shape and structure. I’m also interested in exploring the potential for music’s ability to transport and uplift the listener. For the last few years, alongside completing a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition at Victoria University I’ve been living in a contemporary Vedic ashram learning the wisdom of the cream of the Sanskrit literatures and meditation. Since coming across this knowledge my music has been concerned with illustrating concepts from these texts. I was of the opinion before I came across these ancient texts that the intention of the composer/musician can be transferred from the consciousness of the creator, through the material sound-medium and to the consciousness of the listener. The texts that I study state that this is indeed the case. I find this fascinating, and I’m excited to embark on a journey of elevating my consciousness and sharing this with others through music.

    What pieces of music have you been working on or playing lately?
    I’m just finishing a string quartet called Acintya, which means ‘inconceivable’ in Sanskrit. It refers to that which is inconceivable to us through our present material senses. Previous to this I wrote a piece called Paramātmā for the Wellington-based new music ensemble Stroma and a quartet of monks on various Indian instruments. This piece sets texts from the prime yoga text the Bhagavad Gītā. It is much more reflective of my music currently and represents one of the directions I would like to take with my music.

    SARAH BALLARD: Synergos from SOUNZ on Vimeo.

    Do you have any favourite pieces of music you enjoy playing?
    I love kirtana – call and response Sanskrit mantras set to music. I particularly enjoy singing the maha mantra. Maha means ‘great’ and mantra is made up of two Sanskrit words – ‘man’ coming from ‘manas’ – the mind and ‘tra’ from trāyate, which means ‘to free’. So, it is the greatest means by which to free the mind. Ancient texts state that this mantra holds the potency of all other mantras combined, and the results certainly speak for themselves throughout the community of experienced bhakti practitioners. Kirtana never fails to satisfy the heart.

    Do you have any favourite composers? Can you recommend any NZ composers whose work you like?
    Olga Neuwirth and Georges Ligeti are two that really stand out for me. I sense a strong creative empowerment in these composers. There are so many wonderful composers here in New Zealand. Two I can particularly relate to musically and conceptually at the moment are Salina Fisher and Michael Norris (not being biased or trying to score points because he is my current teacher!) There is a great diversity, so many voices. It makes our small community very strong collectively.

    What were the 3 most influential pieces of music to you growing up?
    I’m slightly embarrassed to admit Uematsu’s Final Fantasy VII theme, Chopin’s Fantasy Impromptu and Holst’s The Planets. I have always been into sci-fi/fantasy worlds. The Vedic texts I’ve been studying, particularly the 12-volume Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the pinnacle and source of all fantastical themes imaginable that are permeated all through popular culture so I was elated to learn that my affinity for these fantastical concepts have a strong basis in reality after all. Everything that exists here on the temporary material platform is simply a distorted reflection of what exists in its permanent state on the transcendental platform.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    https://soundcloud.com/sarah-ballard

    Where/when is your next performance?
    I’ll be taking part in the annual Nelson Composers Workshop in July where I will get the chance to work with some accomplished players on my recent string quartet. When I complete my studies at Victoria I’ll be performing a lot more at Bhakti Lounge in Wellington singing kirtana with the harmonium and karatalas and I also hope to start learning some traditional Sanskrit songs. The Bhakti Lounge space is very special. When I first set foot in that place I knew I’d returned home. It was what I’d always been searching for through my music. There was an immediate connection with the energy there. It is like stepping into another world. That is a common experience for many people who go there. So come along to a Sunday soul feast sometime and join me for kirtana!


     


  • General

    A Classical Note: Michelle Velvin

    17.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘A Classical Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Classical Musicians & Composers.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Alistair recently interviewed Michelle Velvin, a Wellington based harpist, composer and teacher. Michelle has a special interest in writing harp music and performing New Zealand compositions, and is is also interested in exploring new and unexpected sonic landscapes through collaborative musical and artistic experiences. Her harp performances have figured in a diverse range of music, from experimental to Jazz to Classical, most recently in the Live At The Museum series in Auckland with Mara TK and Hollie Smith.

     

    Who are you? Please tell us a bit about you and your background in music.
    I completed A Postgraduate Diploma in harp performance, with distinction, at Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music in 2015, under Carolyn Mills, as well as a Bmus in Classical Performance and Instrumental/vocal composition in 2014. I’ve performed as part of all of New Zealand’s major orchestras, and am involved with many chamber music ensembles, including Stroma new music ensemble, Duo ‘VAARP’, with violinist Laura Barton, the NZ Harp Duo, with Jennifer Newth and Duo Eolienne, with Genevieve Davidson (saxophone). In July 2016, I was accepted to attend the Catrin Finch Harp Academy in Cardiff, Wales, where i performed in masterclasses with both Catrin Finch and Elinor Bennett. In 2015 I was the winner of the NZ Performance Harp Competition and created the Wellington Harp Orchestra. In 2015 I had my composition for harp ensemble Under Watchful Eyes, performed at the week long Auckland Harpenz festival. I’ve also recorded for New Zealand Singer/Songwriter Dudley Benson’s new album, Zealandia.

    What pieces of music have you been working on or playing lately?
    Lately I have been working on a mix of solo, chamber music and orchestra pieces. Two of the solo harp pieces are by NZ composers: Autumn Arabesque, by Kenneth Young and Poco Lento and Study for harp, by Douglas Lilburn. I have also been exploring new saxophone and harp music through my ensemble Duo Eolienne (myself and Genevieve Davidson). One of the pieces we are preparing is Andy Scott’s Sonata for saxophone and harp. A fantastic piece of music which really showcases both instruments!

    Do you have any favourite pieces of music you enjoy playing?
    The short answer is yes, but I have too many to list! (I love playing everything that I gave mentioned above as a start.) What I do love most is when I have time to sit at the harp and improvise and write my own music, or to do the same but with other musicians.

    Do you have any favourite composers? Can you recommend any NZ composers whose work you like?
    Some favourite NZ composers: Gareth Farr, Kenneth Young, Sarah Ballard, Glen Downie, Jack Body, just to name a few. Other composers I enjoy listening to/like to play: Britten, Alan Hovhaness, Ravel, Debussy, Bartok, Andy Scott, Tchaikovsky…

    What were the 3 most influential pieces of music to you growing up?
    I can’t name three particular pieces, but there are two completely different musical memories that stand out.
    No. 1: Any sacred music sung in a cathedral holds a special place for me in terms of influence. Being in such a responsive space comes with so many overtones of memory and experiences, as I used to sing as a chorister in Wellington Cathedral as a child.
    No. 2: I used to listen over and over to a tape recording of Roger Whittaker singing. I just liked his whistling and his voice a lot.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    Through my Facebook / Instagram pages and my Website.

    What are your favourite venues in NZ to play in?
    To name a few, I love performing in Futuna Chapel in Karori, Auckland Town Hall, Dunedin Town Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral Wellington…

    Where/when is your next performance?
    18 May – Duo Eolienne (saxophone/harp) play at Southern Cross Garden Bar (4pm – 6pm)
    18 May – Years Gone By, Wgtn, 8:30pm, Meow, Edward St, Wellington


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Elliot Vaughan

    03.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Today we interview performer and composer Elliot Vaughan.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    My name is Elliot Vaughan. I am a composer, viola player, and performance artist apparently. Before moving back to Wellington I had a collaborative musical career in Vancouver which encompassed a lot of music for dance, experimental theatre, arrangements for pop records and having my own art-pop acts The End Tree and Iffy South. The last year in Wellington I have been really interested in the multi-sensory concert: writing music to look or smell a particular way, to be a particular temperature, to be tactile, alongside the sound of it. Sometimes this kind of thing can seem academic, but it is also important to me to always make something pleasurable for the players and audience.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Right now I am doing string arrangements for Martin Reisle, a phenomenal Vancouver artist I have worked closely with for years. He has been sitting on some beautiful, unusual songs for a while, and the timing is finally right to make an EP. I am also putting together a one-night show called Minter with Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and Marcus Jackson at play station gallery on May the 4th. I am looking at May 4th deaths, events and billboard charts. Informed by this, the plan is to make a handful of absurd, imagistic vignettes that move through the space.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    Find some pop music here:
    swarmofinfants.bandcamp.com
    iffysouth.bandcamp.com
    theendtree.bandcamp.com
    And one day my personal Website might one day reflect what I am doing.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Lodger by David Bowie.
    Third by Portishead.
    The Bartók string quartets were a revelation.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    I want to do string arrangements for everyone’s records. Everyone’s.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    In January I did a large show in the Adam Art Gallery. We did ‘performed installations’ throughout the three levels, then a ‘staged concert’ in the long, narrow gallery of the bottom level. The unique space really informed the music. They are rarely able to accommodate an involved concert like that, so we were really fortunate to do that. Otherwise, I am really excited about intimate house shows.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    These days I need an instrument in my hand. It’s not that I have to hear it, it is that I have to feel it when I squeeze, rub, swing it. I’ll spend hours playing about, making a vocabulary of interactions with the instrument. Concurrently I will be thinking hard on concepts and structuring principles. Normally I do a first draft, get stuck, and ten years later accept that it is in fact finished.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    Minter, May 4th at play_station gallery, with Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and Marcus Jackson. Come.


  • General

    New album: Julie Bevan

    10.04.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release. Up next is Julie Bevan. Julie travelled to Brazil 15 years ago to study samba and she returned there to record much of this new album. ‘Kaleidoscope’ is an eclectic album with flamenco, jazz, kiwi and Brazilian music styles, all vying for the listeners attention. It draws on all the musical experiences and styles of music Julie has been involved in over the years.

     

    When/where was the new album recorded?
    Brazil and Aotearoa NZ

    Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
    The album was produced by Marcelo Nami at Mmstudios in Barra Mansa Brazil and at Surgery Studios in Wellington NZ. The mastering was done by Diogo Macedo of EME studio in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Some tracks were composed in Brazil and the rest here in NZ. Hence the name of the album ‘Kaleidoscope’.

    How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
    Some tracks came complete – an inspiration. The rest were crafted to encapsulate Brazil, always a country of inspiration for me.

    Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
    This album is my first time recording a complete album of original music. Some tracks reflect my love of Brazilian music and wanted to use those rhythms, recording those tracks with Brazilian musicians. Others are very much music from Aotearoa. I felt these needed to be recorded here.

    Was there any specific gear you used to capture that?
    No.

    Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
    Yes there are two. ‘Danca dos Gnomos’ best represents the Brazil recordings. ‘A-Frame lullaby’ the NZ recordings.

    Is there a physical copy available? If not which digital platforms is it available on?
    Physical copies are available through SOUNZ,Marbecks Recprds & Real Groovy Records . Online from Bandcamp.

    Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs? Are you doing any gigs or promotion for its release?
    We are working on the video of the opening launch. We are planning a New Zealand wide launch tour late in 2019 early 2020.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Iraia Whakamoe

    28.03.18 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is Iraia Whakamoe, drummer for The Nudge.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:

    Kia ora, my name is Iraia Whakamoe. I am a drummer originally from Hastings HB, of Tuhoe descent. This year marks my 10th year living and playing in Wellington.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to play alongside some amazing musicians here, but my main outlet is with The Nudge. We are a 3 piece psychedelic rock outfit that fits into blues, desert rock, krautrock vibes.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?

    This summer saw me playing drums for The Nudge, Ria hall, Fly My Pretties, and alongside Fat Freddys Drop for their main show of their 2018 shows. This schedule coupled with my day job (Weta Digital) and family life doesn’t leave too much time elsewhere to be honest. There will be some new music this year that I will feature on, but at this stage I’ll keep that low key.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?

    The Nudge

    Fly My Pretties

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?

    Hmmm, great question, I think I’d prefer artists then albums.

    I was lucky to have a dad that loved music, and had a massive vinyl collection.

    Jimi Hendrix Experience : Are you Experienced : Axis Bold as Love :

    Jimi Hendrix : Band of Gypsies

    Bob Marley : Legend the best of (1984 release)

    The Beatles : Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?

    So many amazing musicians here in this city. I remember when I turned up 10 years ago, all I could see was drummers and musicians I could have only ever dreamed of and now in many ways, I am honoured to share the stage or in fact play with so many of these cats. Huge special mention here to my brother Sage Kamaru for always believing in me. Some of the heaviest jams I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing have been with Sage.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?

    Id have to say there are so many amazing venues here, but for me you can’t fault San Fran. Seriously amazing hospitality, production and vibe. Big Up Ziggy, Tim and Bernie.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?

    It depends on the collaboration at hand, but generally with The Nudge, Ryan often comes with a demo or an idea and then we slowly craft those ideas out, both within the studio and live environments. It’s about finding what ticks for the vibe amongst ourselves but also how its transpires to the audience.

    Other collabs are far different in process, where I enter the song stage where most all ideas are there or at least a solid version of the arrangement has been found. I then proceed to play along and see if something clicks, that makes everyone feel *that spot!

    Where/when is your next gig?

    Um, I think early April, now summer has been done. The Nudge will be performing at the new school of Massey as both James and Ryan have been working there for the last few years on the build and also in the classroom.


  • General

    Eighth Note: Simon Eastwood

    31.01.18 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is composer and double bass player Simon Eastwood.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    I’m a composer and double bass player. I’m classically trained, I’ve studied at the New Zealand School of Music and Royal Academy of Music in London, but I grew up in Wellington and have always enjoyed the opportunities here to play different kinds of music.  My main focus at the moment is on new music for classical instruments, but I’m also very interested in cross-cultural collaboration and particularly working with taonga pūoro players is something which I’ve found really rewarding.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Lately I’ve been finishing off a set of duets for violin and snare drum. I’m enjoying the idea of doing something which is portable and can get out of the concert hall.  Maybe you could call it a quirky little busking piece or something.  The coming year is looking incredibly exciting, but also a little daunting!  I have an orchestral commission in May for Orchestra Wellington and Arohanui Strings, a sistema-influenced organisation for young musicians in Taita.  I teach the kids bass there so am looking forward writing something for them.  Later this year I’ll be going to Alaska as part of a residency called Composing in the Wilderness. The idea is to write some music in the Arctic influenced by natural surroundings, the resulting piece will be premiered in New York later in the year.  After Alaska, I’m planning to head back to Europe for a while to write and collaborate as part of my DMA research.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    You can find my music at Soundcloud and my Website, and if you’re interested in my scores you can go to SOUNZ for scores by myself and a host of other great NZ composers.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Growing up I listened pretty widely, but actually spent most of my time listening to Rock music from the UK. It’s strange, because even though I’ve gone into classical composition and my music sounds nothing like any of these people, that seems to be where I really come from musically in many ways.
    Pink Floyd – particularly The Wall. Listening to it now I’m not sure if I connect to it in the same way, but growing up there was definitely something about the grandeur of that concept which I found inspiring.  Also the general idea of experimentation in music, particularly in their earlier albums.
    Radiohead- Kid A, completely blew my mind at the time and opened me up to new kinds of music.
    Wayne Shorter- Footprints Live! The inventiveness and interaction between the members of this band is amazing on this album.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Anyone really! I think the main thing is to find someone you can get along with and really connect.  I’m lucky to have some great friends in Wellington who also happen to be great musicians.  I’ve been cooking up a few things with NZSM Composer in Residence and taonga pūoro musician Rob Thorne, which is exciting!

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Playing at the Pyramid Cub is always a good time, – anything goes!

    In your songwriting or composing how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    Every piece is a little different but generally it’s a pretty messy process, some kind of concept or idea behind the piece is often useful. I’ll draw some idea for the musical structure graphically before spending weeks locked in a room by myself sketching out ideas by hand on manuscript paper, going back and forth between different musical possibilities before eventually typing it up on some kind of software like Sibelius.  For me a deadline is important because it forces me to commit things to paper, otherwise I’d just procrastinate and experiment forever.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    With all this writing to do, I’m not playing in public too much at the moment, but you’ll be able to hear my music being played at the Orchestra Wellington concert at the Walter Nash Center in May.

    Fluxion from Michaela Czech on Vimeo.

    A collaborative project between UWE animation students Kyriakos Taliotis, Jade Bessant, Michaela Czech and composer Simon Eastwood from The Royal Academy of Music in London.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Monty Bevins

    16.11.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is Monty Bevins.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    I’m Monty Bevins. The last fixed abode I had was in Wellington November 2012, and since then I’ve been touring full time throughout NZ gathering stories/inspiration/experiences as I go, and writing/performing them in each cranny on my acoustic guitar. Other than sharing a moving story, I like to write folk songs that often focus thematically on time being a very precious commodity, and how lucky we are to even be alive. I’m still urged to remind people of these simple but often forgotten notions…that it needn’t take the death of a loved one or a divorce or a heart attack to ask yourself: “are you happy with your life, anything you’d rearrange? is there something you’re not doing just ’cause it requires change” (from the 1st verse of ‘What We’ve Got’).

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Yes! I had a decent song writing chunk up north in May, I wrote a bunch of new ones and it looks like 5 have come through the peer feedback/live reaction/’can I get in behind them each night’ filters and so I’m getting all prepared to record them in a couple of weeks at The Surgery (end of November) – yeeha!

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    The most current representation of my music is a video of one of the aforementioned ‘newbies’ called Lovers Again, filmed on the Raglan Wharf last autumn. It’s a song about the empty nest syndrome, inspired by a beautiful family I met in Arthur’s Pass a few years back who I’ve since become good friends with. In that time their 3 daughters have all grown up and are out doing their thing in the big wide world, out of that family home where they took their first steps, measured their heights on the door frame, and talked through some big ones on grandad’s hand made furniture. When I visited one day, Guy & Uschi were getting set to move out, south to a smaller place for themselves, and scared witless about it.
    Otherwise, my last EP’s at montybevins.bandcamp.com, or facebook/instagram to follow ‘the tour’.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Well, I still am, but…
    Mum used to play 2 CD’s on the long drives to her parents farm in Whakatane when I was a young fulla. Kris Kristofferson and Kenny Rogers! So, though I didn’t know it at the time, maybe the folk/troubadour seed was sewn right there on those Matata straights!
    As a 15 year old I still hadn’t sung outside the shower or even picked up a guitar yet, so Jack Johnson’s ‘In Between Dreams’ was incredibly useful/influential in its accessibility (melodically and lyrically) to set me rolling down this path and establish a strong desire for wanting to learn how to play acoustic guitar and sing in the first place.
    Ben Howard’s ‘Every Kingdom’ was just as grabbing with more subtle/developed/alternative tuning instrumentation and less literal lyrics…and on it has developed as I get more entrenched in the subtleties of songwriting.

    Which other Wellington musician(s) would you most like to work with?
    So many incredible musicians in Wellington are deep in their work as well as just good non egotistical people. I’m inspired by lots of ’em but well… Rick Cranson always gets my nose scrunching and rib cage swirling when I hear him play, Nikita Tu-Bryant‘s quite the creative force, very active and infectiously enthusiastic/passionate, I hope we can create some music together. Though not strictly Wellington anymore, I admire the depth to which Warren Maxwell goes for music/song writing/delivering a message, sitting down with him and my pad and pen one day sure would be great. Oh man, I could go on… Thomas Oliver’s quite obvious dedication to detail/intricacies/quality from a song writing and performance perspective is very inspiring. Haven’t specifically met any cello players in Wellington, but I would like to work with one of those…!

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Though not strictly a music venue, I’ve had 2 ripper gigs at Bicycle Junction, they’re very supportive and ‘get it’, and I’ve found that any venue that can open doors exclusively for the concert that night is a good start at maintaining an attentive intimate environment. The first of those Bicycle Junction gigs was part of a 20 date 3200km nationwide tour I did… on my bicycle. Yeah. Don’t ask.

    In your song writing or composing (or the band’s song writing) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    Usually, I’ll pair up a guitar riff / chord idea that’s come up from an inspired noodling session with a suitable lyrical idea that’s come up from a particular conversation/event/reflection/strong feeling. From there on, for me, it’s a slow painful nutting out process involving lots of artist child/censor battles.
    I like to roll newbies out unfinished during an often more heightened ‘performance state’ to have live feedback/reaction shape the eventual song too. I love that my supporters notice that the songs have developed each time I come round.
    Rarely I’ll get into a state where there’s an undeniable urgency to blurt out a full length lyric/poem that I can then just put music to… but sometimes and when it does it’s all a bit easier (the song Come Back Here was like that).

    Where/when is your next gig?
    Well… it’s a secret ACTUALLY Alistair… but it’s WITH Nikita Tu-Bryant, Myele Manzanza, and Matt Mulholland on Sunday November 26 as part of the Songs By Twilight series, pairing rad local independent companies with beautiful music in an intimate setting.
    If there’s any tickets left for ‘Songs by Twilight No.3’ you can grab them by emailing: music@nikitatubryant.co.nz


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Tom Scrase

    03.10.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is Tom Scrase, co-founder of the Thomas Oliver Band and currently a member of Battle-Ska Galactica as well as other musical projects.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    I’ve been playing music since I was six, starring with piano and moving to drums at high school. I’ve been fortunate to be playing in all manner of bands since moving back to Wellington to study music in 2005. Playing covers helped me to understand playing for the songs and how to be versatile, plus you develop stamina! I co-founded the Thomas Oliver Band in 2005 and had a great 9 years with them getting to tour with Joe Cocker, Cold Chisel and Fat Freddy’s Drop. At the same time I joined Strike Percussion and had the opportunity to tour China and South Korea. I’m now composing for dance regularly and have incorporated Taonga Pūoro into my live performances. My solo moniker is People Of The Sun.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    I recently composed and toured with Footnote Dance Company which will see an EP of music from the show. At the same time, I’m close to the mastering stage of my debut EP under the ‘People Of The Sun’ moniker. It’s a mix of ambient and hip hop elements with a world percussion bent. I’ve also got a new work Hurihuri which is a half hour live music and integrated dance performance as part of the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April next year which I’m excited to be part of!

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    My Website is the best spot to find links to projects I’m involved in. I’m not prolific on social media and have preferred to use SoundCloud to upload media. I’m likely to release my music through Bandcamp, so keep an eye out there too!
    Soundcloud:
    Tom Scrase
    People Of The Sun

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    The earliest memories of music I have are of Paul Simon’s Graceland. The rhythms, production and songwriting are just so good. It’s such an uplifting album too and the nostalgia from taking road trips with my family hold a special place. In that same era I was listening to The Moody Blues and singing along to all the albums with my dad, most notably In Search of the Lost Chord. Singing about Timothy Leary as an 10 year old is a hilarious reminiscence. Tool’s album Ænima was a profound influence as a 15year old. It taught be discipline and musicality on the drums and opened my eyes to progressive music and concepts. All the associated acts like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Rage Against The Machine just poured out of that time in my development.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    I’ve played on the same bill as a lot of heroes of mine but I’d really like to contribute drums to some Fat Freddy’s Drop recordings. And I’d be totally happy to play a solid groove with their live 12-20minute versions of them!! There’s something satisfying about a hypnotically constant groove.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    I have enduring memories of Bodega and San Fran gigs with The Thomas Oliver Band but my favourite venues are where the audience is really there, present and for you alone so my favourite so far is the Saint James. A standing ovation after a sellout show there with Strike was pretty special, especially with my parents in the front row.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    My compositions vary a lot in their form, structure and instrumentation and I’ve yet to refine any style or mode of composition. Often I’ll have a vault of grooves I want to work with and they might be at the back of my mind when coming up with a chord sequence. I prefer to write at a piano and explore where chords might be leading me. Ambient drones are a big part of creating a feeling and mood for each track at the moment. If I’m writing for dance I can have a lot more direction to the structure and even things like tempo, time codes and goals of what the music should achieve and I love working in that manner so that style of storytelling is creeping into my solo work.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    I’m still busy with a handful of bands including covers bands so I’ve got a number of pub and jazz gigs in the near future but my main band BattleSka Galactica will be part of the Wellington SkaFest on November 4th at the Grand and there’ll be a few summer tours with them. Raglan, Leigh Sawmill and some more surf friendly spots tend to appeal as a few of us are keen to get a wave while on the road!


  • General

    The Eighth Note – Dayle Jellyman

    09.08.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is Dayle Jellyman.


    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:

    An observer, of upheaval and violence, of peace and love, of this crazy time in history and the mass transition from labourer to creator. I’m lucky enough to live at a time and in a place where making music is a viable occupation, as long as you don’t want a house. My music comes hopefully from the heart, from my own experience. Travel and exposure to unfamiliar cultures and languages, the world of art. Any expression of life and the understanding that you are alive with no purpose. Trying to figure out how it works anyway. The history of science. The arrogance of man. Or women and parties. They tend to be the good songs anyway.

    Wellington is a great place to play music. It is small and no musical niche can support a person, so everyone has to play everything. In the last month I have played the blues with Darren Watson, intergalactic ska with Battle-ska Galactica, throw back honkytonk with the Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band, Balkan brass dance party with Niko Ne Zna, performed a live soundtrack to a silent 1922 horror film, and my personal favourite, psychedelic synth stomp blues with the Three Rays.

    The common theme is communication. All of the music I am involved with is a conversation between the musicians, the interaction is what makes it interesting to me.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Three Rays has an album in the pipeline, the first for Three Rays. I have spent the last few weeks in my cupboard slash vocal booth working on overdubs. Imagine standing outside my apartment and hearing someone alternate between shouting, falsetto and yelps, and that’s about right. I am excited for this album as I think we have something truly original to offer, and the quality is top rate. Darren and Tyson are both mythical musical beasts, famous for not holding back, so there is a lot of raw energy coming through. We did a lot of the tracking in an organic way too, no click, just three grown men in a room making a lot of noise with their favourite toys. Follow Three Rays on the FB for updates…

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    Find me on FB for the up to date feed on gigs and recordings. I have to admit I don’t have a lot of love for keeping up pages. Check out Niko Ne Zna and Miles Calder on bandcamp.com, have a listen to hermajestynycmusic.com, watch the Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band on YouTube.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    AEnema, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and Nevermind. What a 90’s kid ay! Dad’s records played a supporting role i.e. Elton John, John Cage, David Bowie, and the entire English brass band catalogue.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Well, these two examples are contrasting but they have both been inspiring this year: Jeff Henderson for his jazz festival piece and for ruthlessly pushing the boundary, and The Nudge for their recent album, the dark arts.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    My favourite shows are house parties. Or any party, could be at a hall or in the bush, but when you leave formal venues everyone opens up. The intimacy of small gigs is great too, you can have a more honest connection with your audience. The best sound is on the smallest gigs too, PA systems rob you of some subtlety. In saying that, there are some great Wellington venues. San Fran is a gem, and the Rogue is like a second home for me and most of Wellington’s musical family.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    With reckless abandon! I don’t have a set process, songs seem to form themselves on their own terms. For Rabbit Hole on Niko Ne Zna’s album Babushka’s Balkan Banquet (say ten times quickly), I notated the piece in its entirety. For Three Rays songs, I have a lyric structure and then the song develops through performance and hopefully never stops changing. Sometimes I start by dancing. Ideas can come when I walk, and when I sleep. An idea may be specific and subtle such as an accent on a certain lyric, or broad and abstract, such as a shape or colour.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    I’m excited for Three Rays at Caroline October 20, with Little Cow, Little Calf. Alternatively, find me on the FB and you’ll get to see all my shows!


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Erika Grant

    20.06.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

    A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

    Today’s guest is Erika Grant, who is involved with numerous musical projects.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:

    I am Erika Grant! I’ve been playing music since I was wee, originally classical violin, now I play bass in Wellington bands Orchestra of Spheres and Cookie Brooklyn and The Crumbs, as well as teach piano. I also sometimes improvise on various bits and pieces at the Pyramid Club, and occasionally make music for theatre and film.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?

    Cookie Brooklyn and The Crumbs have just released our debut album- “On Television”- a concept album based on email conversations between super fans of the New York band Television. Orchestra of Spheres are currently working on a few new tunes to take away on tour with us (we’re off on a European tour in July), and I’m working on a live soundtrack to be performed with a silent film.

     

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?

    FaceBook is a pretty good place to keep in touch with what’s happening with the bands I’m in. We’re pretty active on there.

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?

    Well, I still feel like I’m growing up! So here’s 3 influential albums that have appeared at different times of my life:

    Ys- Joanna Newsom: Joanna Newsom in my favourite living artist. She is a master of rhythm, rhyme and symbol. This album, containing just 5 songs, always takes me on a journey to places dark and light. Van Dyke Parks arrangements are also mind-blowingly amazing. A total masterpiece.

    A Love Supreme- John Coltrane: This is an album I never get sick of, and always find new things to listen to inside these tracks. It’s a very moving, spiritual experience for me, putting this album on. John Coltrane is one of my all-time musical heroes and I feel like his compositions and performances changed the world of music forever.

    Bad Jelly The Witch- Spike Milligan: More story than song, this record really shaped my childhood, and probably my sense of humour. It seemed like it was playing endlessly in my house, growing up. I love how it is funny, dark, sweet and sad and not at all dumbed down for children. I put this on just the other day and it was as powerful as it’s ever been for me.

     

    Erika Grant playing with Orchestra of Spheres

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?

    I feel very lucky in the sense that I have gotten to play with a lot of my local musical heroes. I’d love to play more with you, Alistair!! I’d also love to play with pop superstar “Wing” though I’m not sure if she’s still making music. Also, my partner Ben Lemi, I’d love to form a band with him. We always seem to be so busy with other projects that it’s hard to find time to jam, but he’s an amazing musician, and I’m always learning heaps about music from him.

     

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?

    The Pyramid Club is my favorite place, because it’s run by some of my favorite people, and it’s a place where anything and everything can go down. All sorts of gigs have happened there over the years, and it’s run as a not for profit, mostly by a community of dedicated volunteers. There’s a real spirit of exploration and experimentation, and it’s a total labour of love by the creators.

     

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?

    Sometimes someone will bring a song to rehearsal that’s fully formed, so we learn our parts and then work on the feel as a band. Sometimes we’ll start completely fresh and see if we can create something from a jam, sometimes someone will bring just a snippit of an idea and we’ll each make up our own parts around that. Sometimes fiddling at the piano yields results for me, often times tunes just pop into my head. I quite like that space between awake and sleep, there seems to be unending amounts of music there just waiting for me to hear it!

     

    Where/when is your next gig?

    Orchestra of Spheres are next playing oth the 8th of July at the ‘Cite De La Musique Festival’ in Lausanne, Switzerland, to kick off our 3 week european tour. See you there!!

     

     


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