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    The Eighth Note: Sofia Machray

    24.05.19 | 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. Up next is Sofia Machray, an indie artist originally from Queenstown but now based in Wellington.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    I’m Sofia Machray, an alternative indie artist originally from Queenstown but I am now based in Wellington studying a Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University. I draw a lot of inspiration from artists such as Tash Sultana, Daughter, and Ben Howard. My vocal style has been described as ‘uniquely raw and authentic,’ which is well matched by my ‘dynamic guitar playing,’ leaving audiences feeling ‘captivated.’

    “Sofia’s pared-back, acoustic guitar, and mellow folk/indie sounds have already made their mark regionally.” – Bethany Rodgers, Lakes Weekly Bulletin

    “Sofia shares similarities with Indie legends such as ‘Daughter’ and ‘Hozier’, she is not an artist to miss.” – Something Something

    Recently I’ve drifted away from my solo singer-songwriter projects and have been focusing on collaborating and performing with other locals artists combing aspects of moody folk and surf rock. I’ve always had a huge passion for music, from the early stages of my life I can remember dancing around the house to ‘Crocodile Rock’ by Elton John. I self-taught myself guitar by the time I was 7 years old and played in bands all throughout primary school, it wasn’t until high school where I kicked off on my own solo singer-songwriter career. From there I have been recognized in many competitions all over the South Island for my musicianship and have played at festivals such as Queenstown’s Winter Festival, The New Zealand Mountian and Film Festival, Wine and food festivals and have opened for New Zealand artists such as Anna Mac.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Lately, I’ve been working on ways to incorporate electronic music into my compositions. I’ve been playing around a lot with synthesizers and seeing how I can incorporate random samples from field recordings, like birds and other random sounds into my music. I’ve been collaborating a lot with an Artist/Producer named LOTU on a few singles to which are expected to be released by the end of the year. We’ve been bouncing ideas back and forth all summer and I can see a lot of potential with where it’s going. Our genre would slide into the alternative indie electronica, which is a new path for myself, but I find the roots of my mellow indie style will always remain no matter how experimental it gets. Apart from this wee project I’ve done a lot of live takes with my band in the studio this year, that I might release later on in the year as well, so keep an eye out!

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    The best place for people to follow my music career would be my Facebook page you can find it under my name Sofia Machray as well as my Spotify, which is where you’ll find all my released music. You can also find my music on Apple Music, iTunes, Sound Cloud, and YouTube.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Amy Winehouse has been a massive influence growing up, it’s hard to pinpoint one album but I’ll go for Back to Black. Her vocals are so unique and brought such a quality to the Jazz/Blues scene like no other. I’ve always admired her songwriting and how upfront she was, she really had no filter throughout her career. She wasn’t afraid to tell the world about her experiences and the challenges that she was facing. I think that’s an extremely important quality as an artist.

    Daughter ‘If You Leave’ has always been one of my favorite albums growing up, the emotion that’s captured throughout this record is unreal. Elena Tonra’s mesmerizing vocals glide throughout the songs, before leaping in to a post-rock thrum led by brutal, jarring percussion. I love the amount of reverb used throughout the record, I’ve always been a big fan of that. If you listen carefully to the lyrics of the song they are truly striking, and touch on so many important ideas.

    Ben Howard ‘Every Kingdom’ has been the most influential album growing up in terms of my guitar style. He’s really helped me to push myself in terms of the various dynamic figure picking styles he uses as well as tunings. When I was younger I would sit down and spend hours trying to learn his songs of this album. He opened up a world of possibilities for me personally, I never thought that playing around with different tunings could lead you in so many different directions.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Some Wellington singer-songwriters that I would love to collaborate with would be Connor Moore, Solomon Crook, and Seamouse. They all have such captivating qualities to their music, and style, I would love to work with them at some point.

    What ís your favorite Wellington venue to play in?
    So far I’ve really enjoyed playing at The Library Bar as it’s a really intimate spot, I’ve done a few solo projects in this space that have been really memorable. You can find some of the live sessions I recorded there on YouTube and listen to them on Spotify. However, with my band, I love playing at Caroline as you always get such a supportive and fun crowd there.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    When composing my songs I generally start off by jamming on my guitar and playing around with different melodies and fingerpicking styles until it sparks an idea. I often use different tunings when I’m stuck to help this process and avoid writing songs that sound similar to previous compositions I’ve written. During this process, I tend to hum melodies over the chords then write down particular words that come to mind. I often write about books I’ve read, things I see on the news, movies, as well as my experiences and others. When writing my lyrics I’ll come up with phases and write words next to them that rhyme, it’s like piecing a puzzle together. I will refer to my songwriting book which is full of ideas, poems, thoughts, feelings, and random words. I carry this book everywhere I go and take inspiration/ideas to write about from all around the place. When I’ve finally pieced together the lyrics I’ll then go off and experiments with ways I can rehook the listener’s attention, for example, by changing up the picking pattern or slowing it down. When I’m confident with the piece I’ll take it to my band and we will work on it for a week or so from there, sometime it’ll change completely to fit the bands set, rather than my solo/duo set which is more stripped back and closer to how I originally write the song. I generally write all of my music in an isolated space with mood lighting, so nothing can interrupt me and so I can have space to express my creativity.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    It’ll be in Newtown at Moon Bar on Friday the 24th, I’ll be playing alongside many other talented artists. The show kicks off at 9:00 pm, so bring your dancing shoes and come on down for a boogie!


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – Beat Rhythm Fashion

    23.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is Nino from legendary 80’s post-punk band Beat Rhythm Fashion, who recently reformed after 35 years for a new album, Tenterhook, and tour.

    … back in 81 when we were recording Turn of the Century for Bunk Records/Mike Alexander at Marmalade Studios. We had laid down the gat, bass and drums and we were deliberating on how to get the sound texture we wanted for the vocal. We wanted a sort of haunting echo/verb atmosphere in the vocal delivery and we liked the idea of getting this from surroundings and not an effects rack…so we ended up doing the vocal in the building’s concrete stairwell… cant remember who thought of it …maybe Michael mentioned they were there…or we had slipped out there a few times for a smoke and noticed the sweet reverb in there ha ha. Anyway the engineer had a chuckle and then thought ok..what the hell…so he ran a dam long mic lead and headphones extension down the hall and out a couple of doors and Dan sang the tune in a grey concrete ‘brutalist’ looking stairwell …the chamber was effect perfect;)…


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment: Lucifer Gunne

    22.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is Rory, Vocalist/Bassist of alternative rock band Lucifer Gunne. Rory McDonald started writing his own music in 2014 and released his first solo EP, “The Red King” mid 2017. Written in an alternative style with metal influences, “The Red King” EP was the birth of Lucifer Gunne’s dark and hard-hitting sound. Their latest single Energenetic was released in March to rave reviews.

    One of my favorite moments with this band would definitely have to be recording the vocals for our latest single “Energenetic”. After being woken up in the studio by a band eager to get the recording process finished, I took my first vocal takes after being asleep for over 2 hours, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Alma Leta

    22.05.19 | 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. Up next is California born, Auckland raised electronic pop artist Alma Leta, who has recently relocated to Wellington.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    Hello I’m Alma Leta! I’m 24 and was born in California, raised in NZ. I’m from Kaipara Flats north of Auckland and moved to Welly almost a year ago. I feel like my musical side has had the most room to flourish here! At this stage I write electronic pop songs. I want to explore and combine other genres in my work too eventually and hone in on raw instruments. I guess I’m still finding my feet with all this and refining my sound. I’ve been writing songs since I was 7 (mind you they were silly then) and properly got into it when I was 20 while I was living back over in the states for a bit.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    I have approximately 4 songs on the way, freshly baked and ready to pop out the oven! Then 2 others that are still in the works. I am very excited to share them!

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    The best way to keep up to date on new music is through my Instagram and my Facebook page. All of my released music can be found on Apple Music, Spotify and Soundcloud.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Lana Del Rey’s first album.
    All Florence and the Machine.
    Oh and all of The National.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    George Turner and anyone else who’s keen!

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Yet to play anywhere! There’s definitely a myriad of places I would be honoured to perform at. I’m currently living in a big old warehouse and it might just be a great place to have a small intimate debut show.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    I feel like I’m a writer first and singer second. Words nibble me all day. While I’m driving, at work, while I’m trying to sleep! I wish melodies flirted with me as much. It’s frustrating having all these lyrics and not always a song to burst them to life. They kinda sit in my journals like kids waiting for their mum to get them from school. Clumsy poems sorta. That’s why working with Nik Brinkman is so thrilling because it’s like he has this secret garden of music in him that he’s kind enough to share with me! We make a good team.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    As far as gigging goes – nothing planned at this stage! I think I’d like to solidify my repertoire first before I dove into performing live. Singing in front of a crowd feels good to me though. Like ribbons coming from my chest. And sun out my belly. I do have so much to learn though. I’m so excited to see where music carries me.


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment: Rob Joass & Hobnail

    20.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is Rob Joass.
    Rob moved to New Zealand from his native Sydney over 25 years ago. Since then he has maintained a consistently high profile in folk music circles in New Zealand, having released 10 albums with his bands Hobnail, Too Many Chiefs and The Shot Band, and touring the country regularly. He has been a finalist at the NZ Music Awards 3 times (twice for best country song, once for best folk album) and has had songs covered by bands in New Zealand and Canada. His third solo album “Pencarrow” was released recently to rave reviews.
    “…a songwriter’s songwriter…beautifully done, understated and allows the songs to breathe.” 4/5 stars – music.net.nz

    I have organised a charity fundraiser supporting DCM’s work with the homeless in Wellington for several years. Everybody I approached from the industry, including many of the most successful musicians in town, didn’t hesitate to offer their services. No egos, no demands, just a willingness to help out. In fact one of my favourite things about making music in NZ is that the most successful people are often the nicest and most generous people you can hope to meet.

    It has been 25 years since Hobnail (then Hobnail Boots) made their first tentative steps in the world. Rob Joass and Jo Moir had previously played together in the short lived Wild Blue Yonder, an acoustic folk/pop band influenced by the likes of Paul Kelly and The Go-Betweens (career highlight – opening for Suzanne Vega!) Hobnail Boots was an altogether different animal, starting life as a party band playing celtic and country music, but always with a solid slice of original material thrown in. Finding their original material as popular with audiences as the cover versions, they started taking things a bit more seriously, recording and touring their own music, and were invited to play in North America on the back of their first 2 albums. Since then Hobnail has continued what they have started calling their endless tour, performing all over NZ (including the Mercury Bay Music Festival, Christchurch Folk Festival, The Caroline Bay Festival and a wonderful Lazy Sunday at Hagley Park to an estimated 3,000 happy fans).

    It’s the eve of their 8th and 25th Anniversary Best of album release “Boots And All” in late June, with a tour reaching far and wide planned during June and July. In the lead up they have recorded a ripping version of the 1983 classic Sierra Leone by Coconut Rough. Built around the driving violin of Jo Moir and sung by bass player Hamish Graham, this version pays due respect to the original while giving it a definite Hobnail spin. Hobnail have always drawn from folk/rock influences, and while their take on Sierra Leone falls towards the rock end of that spectrum it will not disappoint long term fans of a band who have always taken an eclectic approach to cover versions to go alongside their respected catalog of original music.

    I was engineering a session at Mediate Music a little over 25 years ago. A “Medieval Folk” group called The Caught Jesters were in the studio. The percussionist had a variety of instruments, including ankle bells. We spent quite a bit of time working out how best to capture the magic of that particular instrument. Lets just say he had a unique approach to music. And life. That was Hamish Graham, who I have now worked with continuously ever since. No more ankle bells, but still most definitely unique.


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment: Josie Moon

    17.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is independent pop singer & producer Josie Moon. Josie began to make music as a way to move forward with growth and self improvement from a period of depression, and released her first single Satellite 2 years ago when she was only 19. She has since gone from strength to strength with debut E.P Rose Tinted and an opening slot for Tash Sultana.

    One of my favourite moments tied to music in Wellington was last year in summer. I used to work at a hotel and I would write a lot of lyrics on my waiter note pad during my shifts, and then when I finished (usually around 10pm) I would walk down to the waterfront and write for an hour before I got my bus home. It was still warm enough outside and a lot of people would still be going for walks on the docks with their partners or dogs. It was a gentle and welcoming atmosphere to get some of my work done in after I had been sweating all night waiting tables.


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – The Polly Johnson Set

    15.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is The Polly Johnson Set, who released their self-titled full length debut earlier this year.

    A couple of years ago we had a gig at a venue we’d been desperate to play for ages. We were super excited. Turned out to be a total wreck, our worst gig ever. Mic stands collapsed, instruments were dropped and damaged, one of us had a coughing fit mid song, another tripped over, songs were forgotten, major feedback issues, not to mention the punter standing by the sound desk who kept leaning on all the controls and sending them way out of whack! A classic case of if something could go wrong, it did. We finished that gig totally demoralised. But ultimately it made us stronger. It made us understand our weaknesses, accept what we could and couldn’t control, and commit to being the band that we knew we could be. That gig did us a favour and gave us a kick up the ass, and we’re a better band for it.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: The Wake Up

    15.05.19 | 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.

    The Wake Up are a Palmerston North based 3-piece band comprised of Laura (Vocals), Chris (Guitar, Backing Vocals & Aux Percussion) & Caleb (Drums, Backing Vocals). While the other two are from PN, guitarist Chris is from Wellington & works out at the Hutt City Rockshop. The band have just released a new single Counting Sheep. Previous single Pretty Little Caption came out in April with some good press, and they have more new music on the way. We caught up with Chris and Caleb for a chat.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    We are a female fronted, high energy, 3 piece alt. pop rock band called ‘The Wake Up’. Based up in Palmerston North but Chris treks his way up since he lives/works in the Hutt. Laura on Vocals, Chris on guitar, Caleb on the Drums/BVs.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We are releasing a new track every month & working on an EP which will be available this winter.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    We are on Facebook & Instagram but you can find our music on the usual Spotify, iTunes and Youtube.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Paramore – RIOT!
    Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High
    The Rocket Summer – Life Will Write The Words

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Lucifer Gunne, Curly’s Jewels, We’ve seen and heard some good things from those guys!

    What ’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Caleb and I (Chris) have both played in several wellington venues in our previous bands, but we haven’t yet played in wellington with Laura in The Wake Up.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band ’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    I (Caleb) normally start with the lyrics first and melody tends to happen at the same time – over the years I’ve become quite proficient at the 3 chord Pop song structures so generally I will just whack a couple of chords underneath with a rhythm I make up in my head and Bob’s your Uncle. Chris adds the “sprinkles” – once he’s figured the madness that is my sense of time and rhythm with chord changes and pauses etc and then we create a demo of the track with hilariously tuned vocals for Laura to listen to so she can sing her sweet vocals on it.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    Nothing scheduled at the moment. We hope to make it down to Welly at some point. Check our FB page for updates!


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – Jack Panther

    13.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is upcoming indie-pop artist Jack Panther, who writes ‘sad boi pop’ and has just released his debut E.P Retrospect.

    The track I’m proudest of from my debut EP is ‘Closer’. This took me around 5 years to write, from start to finish. I first wrote the chorus when I was around 15/16 years old and then finished writing the pre-chorus late last year. It only took me so long because I struggled to execute the tracks “vibe”.

    I was inspired by a night out going to one of my favourite events in Wellington; Eyegum at San Fran on a Wednesday night. Each week is something exciting and different. I’ve seen and discovered so many cool and amazing bands play over the years. I was inspired by an especially different Eyegum, where I had just started seeing someone, who at the time was about to leave the country. I guess you could say it was a bit tumultuous. The last act was finishing up and I got a text from him, saying “I’m outside”. I headed straight outside because at the time I was drunk, and may or may not have possibly been high.

    I stumbled out onto Marion Street where he stood, leaning against his motorbike; it was something like out of an 80s movie. Now, I knew he had a motorbike but I never thought I’d actually get to go on it.
    We exchanged hugs, he gave me his helmet, he sat down on the front and revved the engine. Still in awe, I sat down on the back, closed my eyes and held onto him. I had to take off my glasses to fit the helmet, so I was gripping on for dear life as we drove down Vivian Street, into the dead of night. It was such a thrill, passing all the street lights and I looked up into the sky, seeing a blur of what must’ve been a full moon.

    I think of that night fondly; I fully came to life – I probably just loved the feeling of danger.

    Lyrics:
    “I can’t replace it,
    Motorbike under the moon I’m holding onto ya,
    No I’m not gonna let go,
    It makes my heart shiver,
    It’s scared when we’re not together,
    But if I pull on ‘Closer’ to ya,
    Would you let it all go?”


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – Grayson Gilmour

    10.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is Grayson Gilmour, solo artist, band member and film composer. Starting with solo CD-Rs at 16, he formed So So Modern at 20 who, after seemingly endless tours around the globe, achieved an underground cult status for their unique electronic/post-punk sound, intense live shows, and ridiculous costumes. His solo releases caught the welcoming ears of critics over the years, and eventually the attention of NZ’s iconic Flying Nun Records, who made him the first signing of their 2010 re-launch. Since composing for film, Grayson has received awards for ‘Best Score’ at the NZ Film Awards for The Most Fun You Can Have Dying, and ‘Best Original Music’ for Consent at the APRA Silver Scrolls. While undertaking his Masters in Composition at the NZSM, Gg’s 2014 solo release, Infinite Life! was nominated for ‘Best Alternative Album’ at the NZ Music Awards, and the critics choice Taite Music Prize. Having released his latest album Otherness to critical acclaim, Gg is currently lecturing at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts in between film scoring projects and rare live performances.

    So So Modern played almost 400 shows across 21 countries, and it all began on an empty floor, in an inner city building, in Wellington central. Terrible landlords have a bad reputation, and rightly so, but sometimes their incompetence turns into opportunity for young and hungry artists. This was definitely the case with SSM — a floor to call our own; hang out together, skate, ride BMXs, jam and make music that would take us around the world.

    So So Modern’s first ever tele-feature with John Campbell shows the rehearsal space that Grayson talks about above.


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