Author

The Archives


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Miles Calder & The Rumours

    17.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 Miles from Miles Calder & The Rumours.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    I’m a singer/songwriter from Wellington and I play and record with my great band The Rumours (Nick George, Steve Moodie, and Kirsten Moodie). When we started we were very much in the folk/country direction, but I think my songs and the band’s arrangements have naturally become more electric and atmospheric. So our current live show and latest album are more folk-rock or Americana: some familiar chords and classic instruments, but with swimmy layered electric guitars and organ. Loving that vibe right now.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We released our debut self-titled album a few months ago, and did a national tour October to December. The response to the album has been great, and we’re hoping to be able to do an additional vinyl release of this soon. We’ve had some new additions to the line-up so over the last month or two we’ve been focussing on our show for upcoming festivals, but I’ve got a big backlog of songs waiting to be recorded, so we’ve started working on these and are looking forward to recording this year.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    People can follow us to keep up with tours and releases on Facebook and by joining our mailing list, as well as Instagram and Twitter. Best place to get our music for download or CD is Bandcamp. We’re also on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and in all good NZ music stores.

    Miles

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Growing up I probably had more eclectic listening than I do now. My first musical purchase was a cassette of Will Smith’s ‘Big Willie Style’, Hahaha. As a kid, my dad would play a lot of Paul Simon’s Graceland, various Pink Floyd albums. (I remember listening to The Wall a lot).
    I would say though, that my ‘musical growing-up’, in terms of things that would influence me, started more when I was about eighteen. I’ve been obsessed with Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street since first hearing it. It’s like a window into the inner works of a recording band at its most messy, raw and inspired. I remember very clearly listening to Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited in headphones on a long walk in Auckland. It was the first time I’d properly delved into Dylan, and it floored me. Also Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker was a huge influence on me starting to write songs and it is still a favourite.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    We’ve been really lucky to have had a lot of our favourite Wellington musicians play and record with us. On the album we had backing vocals by Lisa Tomlins (Neil Finn, Fat Freddy’s Drop), organ by Ed Zuccollo (Trinity Roots), piano by Dayle Jellyman (The Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band), electric guitar by Finn Johansson, and a horn section with Chris Winter (Eb & Sparrow), Matthew Benton (The Black Seeds), and Lucien Johnson (The Black Seeds, Lord Echo). It was also such a pleasure to have Lee Prebble record us at The Surgery.
    I’m a huge fan of The Phoenix Foundation so I’d love to one day do something with Sam Flynn Scott or Luke Buda.

    Miles.2

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Playing the Opera House when we opened for Fly My Pretties was really nice to perform in. Would love to play there one day with the band. We’ve had many a great show at San Fran, and Ziggy there is so great to work with, so that is a go-to for us.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    With me, a song starts with a melody or chord progression, and the vibe or feeling of that usually summons some lyrics and that then takes over to inform the development of the song from there. I try to make sure that choices for where the song goes musically are following the emotional vibe of lyrics. Although sometimes the music and lyrics being at odds is a great effect. I come to the band with a raw song that has chords, lyrics and melody, and usually have some ideas of vibe for the arrangements. The band are amazing at coming up with their own parts to complement the songs and fit with the feeling of the tune and lyrics. Often we can workshop it enough that we come up with totally new sections or chords. And of course some of the melodies or drum parts those guys bring to the songs are often the bits that stick with you, and you can’t wait to hear next time.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    We are playing next at:
    Wellington Wine, Food & Craft Beer Festival March 10-11
    UPSURGE Festival in the Bay of Islands April 8
    Waiheke Jazz Festival April 14-16.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Church of Goya

    15.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth Note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 Lucas from Church of Goya.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    My name is Lucas, I play guitar and sing in the band Church of Goya, along with Jono (bass) and Frazer (drums). We’re heavily influenced by 70s and 80s post-punk, no-wave, and hardcore. Our sound is dynamically quite varied, we’ll go from quiet and clean to heavy and fuzzed-out, or from steady and rhythmic to the brink of losing control. I like music like that, it’s dialectical, it goes to the edges of what people think music can be, at both ends of the “spectrum.” I think through all variation, the core components of our sound stay the same – the drums are big, the bass is thick and round, and the guitar is toppy and abrasive – whether we’re playing loud or quiet.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We will be recording an album very soon with Oli Devlin from Hans Pucket. He knows his way around a drum mix, which is great, because I don’t. Our live sets lately have more or less been the tracklist for the album, there’s old songs and one or two that some people might not have heard yet.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    On Facebook – & we also have a Bandcamp page. Getting that URL right is important, there’s a stoner metal band from the US called Goya and if you click the wrong link you get taken to the page marijuana.bandcamp.com, which I guess is ok and pretty funny.

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Honestly, I grew up listening to classic 60s and 70s music, I think my mum just likes the hits so all we had were compilation CD’s of various artists so it’s hard to pin point a particular album. My dad likes a bit of New Wave – he got me into Talking Heads – and that was definitely influential. In terms of albums that influenced the music I play now, that formative period only happened in the last 4 or 5 years, and it’s still happening. Here are some picks from that/this time:
    1. The Gordons – 1st Album/Future Shock EP. I hit a creative block at the end of 2015 and discovering the Gordons blew the mental wall wide open. They’re loud, raucous, chaotic, and musically and texturally very interesting.
    2. Women – Public Strain. Sounds like the Beach Boys from a dystopian parallel universe but recorded from far away in some cavernous industrial space. A beautiful jumble of odd rhythms, interlocking guitars, and really original vocal melodies. They’re one of my ‘blueprint’ bands, every time I listen to them I get inspired to do something else.
    3. Skeptics – Skeptics III. It’s abrasive, it’s noisy, it’s groovy, it’s full of beautiful contrasts.

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Sophie from Beatcomber and Emerald from Draghound. Sophie’s singing is so loud and confident, and Emerald is one of the best guitar players in Wellington. I would start a garage rock band with either or both of them anytime.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Valhalla. Best sound, cheapest drinks. When you pay $10 to see a gig, you shouldn’t have to pay another $10 just for one drink. You go to a gig for the music, not for the craft beer.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    It used to be that I would lay down a bass track over a drum machine beat, and then work out guitar and vocals over that. That was when I was solo. Now I have a band, and it’s much more collaborative. Frazer is such a proficient drummer, so letting him do whatever he likes usually works out for the best. Jono comes up with bass stuff I’d never think of. Generally, I come up with lyrics first now, then work them into and around guitar parts, then bring them to band. I’ll give some direction, but it’s more or less a fully collaborative process.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    San Fran, March 3rd, with Human Resource (AKL) and Unsanitary Napkin. It’s an exciting lineup.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Allgoodz

    11.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth Note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 Allgoodz, who is part of the AllgoodzENT crew out of Porirua.

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    The names Allgoodz. I am an independent music producer/hip hop artist who runs an Independent record Label based in Wellington New Zealand called Allgoodz Entertainment, which consists of NGA, Alazae, Kazama & Yours truly Allgoodz who make up the crew Allgoodz ENT (Educate,Nurture,Teach). We create reality hip hop/RnB, telling stories and real life experiences from the hood.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We are currently working on 2 albums and 1 Mixtape. Allgoodz has an album in the works called ‘The Coming’. Also NGA’s first solo album featuring a bunch of artists called ‘Life Through My Eyes’ is also in the making, as well as NGA’s Mixtape called ‘The Black Sheep Mixtape’.

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

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Eminem – Slim shady LP
    Disturbed – 10,000 Fists
    Tool – Lateralus

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Flowz (Footsouljahs), Double G Make a banger, TK Paradza (Titanium) who I’m currently working with.

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    I always loved performing at Bodega. Plus Fast Eds when it was around and most likely The Grand or Hotel Bristol. There’s actually many.

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

    Allgoodz creates the beats or has beats from other producers. We play the beats and just start writing and slowly the song all fall into place.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    This Saturday at the Titahi Bay Boatshed Festival I’m the main act and will be on at 7pm!! It’s free for all some come through for my first set of 2017.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant

    07.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth Note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant, who makes music as a solo artist and also as part of the bands FLITE & Nikita The spooky.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    My name is Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant, I identify first as a storyteller above all else.
    I believe in making from a place of honesty and sincerity, and I believe that the intention behind your music when it is true resonates above all else. This is the most important thing to me, and from there on, to connect with people on that level. If my art can resonate with people and their experiences, I feel like this is the best thing an artist could ask for.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    Last year I released an album that has been probably the most honest and personal for me to date. It was inspired by my own true story of love and loss. I encountered a very peculiar problem with my throat and could ‘not sing’ which resulted in me pulling out of a South Island tour with fellow musician Monty Bevins. After trying to treat it as a physical condition (to no avail) – I went back into my travel journals of my old love story. One I had brushed under the rug thinking I was healed. In fact, I really wasn’t. I disappeared into my journals, and travelled back in time and turned my journals and poetry into these songs.
    Before and After Joshua was recorded in one sitting, in order of the songs as you hear them on the album, in order of the events that occurred – I did this alone in my van on the South Coast of Wellington (you can hear the waves, and the planes landing). Since then I have been making videos to go with this album, and each time I play these songs, each time I make a physical copy of this CD (I have hand carved, printed, written on each CD) – I feel a sense of healing. This album has taught me the importance of grieving. Not just for someone you have lost, but for any kind of loss. This album has shown me the power of creating from a place of pain or joy. Currently I am performing these time capsules.
    I am working on a new CD – that is also in the mix. My band FLITE is also amidst recording our first Debut CD (we released a single a while ago called Mariana’s Trenchcoat).

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    I do my best with Facebook, and I also do have my website where I feel more freedom to write in depth.
    I run workshops to share my knowledge and experience in the art of making, and how anyone has the ability to do it, should they want to. I also do one on one sessions, and I work best in person, face to face.

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    This is often a question I am afraid to answer, because there are just so many(!) – and to forget one, or to choose one over the other might come across as another doesn’t matter. So off the top of my head (remembering that these will always be changing!) and in no particular order…
    Jimi Hendrix BBC Sessions
    Bic Runga DRIVE
    Dusty Springfield AM I THE SAME GIRL
    (and just one more for luck) The Beatles SGT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    I’d really like to work with Warren Maxwell – I think a lot of his intention in his songwriting speaks true to me. Hopefully one day, there will be space for this to happen.
    I am really enjoying also, working with artists that are not musicians, it’s all storytelling, and having another form allows you to play from a fresh and different perspective. Of course, playing with different musicians allows this as well, but being a different medium makes it a lot easier to think from a different angle.

    What ís your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    This is a very difficult question, it’s completely dependent on what kind of music I am playing. When I was young, I used to believe anywhere that will have you. When in actual fact, it is anywhere that can compliment the atmosphere you create with your music. I have many favourite spaces, however they differ every time. I think it’s the people that come, the people you play with, or the music you are playing that dictates where a good venue is. I do really enjoy hiring out an empty space, creating your own atmosphere with lights, sights, and smells – you get to be creative in making the world that your listeners will be listening in.

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    Traditionally for me, lyric first. I identify as being a storyteller, so if I am speaking words, then the music (I feel) should support the intention. However I am always changing up my approach to writing music, and sometimes letting the music take you on a journey with all it’s unexpected turns first then writing the poetry to it can give you a very beautiful and different spin. Then of course there is also just instrumental music (no lyric), which can be just as evocative, and allow the listener to feel what he or she wants to feel without words. Implies as oppose to says.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    My next show is a private show at a beautiful house in Island Bay – a chance for people to bring food and come to listen purely acoustically with the backdrop of a beautiful view at Twilight. My next public gig is with my band February 10th at Rogue and Vagabond (we are called FLITE). After that I will be performing ‘Before and After Joshua’ at Performance Arcade (amazing festival on the Wellington Waterfront), as well as playing with FLITE there, and other solo artists. I’m also playing a great wee gig opening for The Bollands at Meow on the 2nd of March.

    All covers used with permission.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: Hiboux

    03.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 Bern from instrumental post-rock band Hiboux.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    Hiboux is made up of 5 musicians, 4 from Wellington and one from Sydney. We all have differing tastes, and the overlap is what has become our sound.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We’ve just finished up mixing & mastering a brand new album for 2017 which will be going live very shortly, so watch out for it!

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

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    Mine would be:
    The Cure, Disintegration
    Joe Satriani, Surfing with the Alien
    Deftones, Around the Fur

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    We’d love to do a show with Force Fields, the drummer is a friend of ours and totally rocks, so that’s on the cards

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    There’s so few venues it makes it easy, SanFran and/or Valhalla!

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    The songs normally start off as classical chord structures invented by Lester, but then they get dissected and jammed on and edited until we have something entirely new. We jam a lot and see where it takes us using these little seeds.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    We’re playing this Saturday (4th Feb) at A Gathering in the Forest in Whanganui. Or you can catch us on the 18th of Feb up in Tauranga at the Woodcock festival. Tell your friends!!


  • General

    The Eighth Note: ELIM

    01.02.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 guests are instrumental 3 piece ELIM.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    We are Elim! A 3 piece instrumental band that plays ambient and post rock style songs. Without being too grandiose, we want to take the listener on a journey in their mind.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We are currently working on our debut full length album.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    Bandcamp or Spotify!

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    DanH: Dream Theater, Strung Out, Blink 182
    DanO: Meshuggah, Norma Jean, Blink 182
    Ben: Sick of it All, H20, Bad Religion

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Argh, there are many! Spook the Horses would be great as would The Upbeats. Or a strange Thomas Oliver/Elim collab!

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Tough choice! Valhalla or San Fran!

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    Nine times out of ten, we just start vamping on a riff or a chord progression. From there we may inject a riff or idea that we’ve had. Then once all the pieces are there, we figure out how to make them work together and tie together the final arrangement.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    Feb 1st! At Valhalla with Caligulas Horse (Aus) and Claemus (Wellington)

    Covers used with permission.


  • General

    From the Archives: Review of the Day – Spartacus R/The View

    31.01.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Spartacus R

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [Transcript]

    Spartacus R
    The View
    (LOOP)
    Eclectic wellington six-piece band Spartacus R have returned with their second album. Continuing with their popular psychedelic and layered approach, the band melds a variety of influences which appear to range from down-home funk, alt-country to conventional folk and blues. While successfully maintaining their original sound, The View offers a more traditional song structure than the previous effort with the vocal delivery nicely complementing the, at times, beguiling melodies. Singer Ryan Prebble’s delivery varies in approach from a sombre Jonny Cash-like tone to a more enthusiastic and upbeat delivery reminiscent of 8525’ singer Fred Schnider. While Prebble’s harmonies with the other guest vocalists sound lovely, I prefer the instrumental sound of this band. The vocals seem to distract from the already overflowing soundscape and are more suited to the LP’s intimate moments such as ‘Step into the Light’. If you’re already a fan, the opening tune ‘Rapata’ is all you should need to hear to be sure that the ‘R’ still have it going on. This band is great to see live too so keep an eye out as they are sure to tour this LP soon.
    Jason Guy-Clement

    Spartacus R – The View (CD)
    Spartacus R – The View (Vinyl)

    Spartacus R review from ‘Rip It Up’ No. 345 Mar.-Apr. 2012. Used with permission.


  • General

    The Eighth Note: MISHAP

    30.01.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Eighth note

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘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 guests are pop/punk band Mishap.

     

    Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
    We are MISHAP. A pop punk trio from Wellington. We play 90s/early 2000s pop punk, taking influences from bands like Green Day and blink-182 but renewing this sound with the crisp audio production, tight, exciting live shows and teenage angst of modern bands such as Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck and The Story So Far. We first started playing music together in April 2016 and we’ve been playing shows almost every weekend since. In the short time that we’ve existed as a band, we’ve played shows all around the lower North Island, in venues, basements and living rooms, recorded, released and distributed our debut EP and made countless friends in the New Zealand music scene.

    What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
    We have a new EP coming out in the next couple of months. Extra details will be announced soon. We feel as if it is a big step up from the last one in how we play, sound quality, song writing and we hope everyone is gonna love it as much as we do.

    Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
    Go and like our Facebook page for access to all our music, videos and when our next shows our coming up.

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
    SeanFoo Fighters “One by One”
    IsaacBlink 182 “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”
    DatuParamore “Riot”

    Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
    Shihad, Hex, Head Like a Hole, Mermaidens

    What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
    Zeal was a big one as it always brought crowds with energy and it had a really welcoming environment. Moon in Newtown is also an awesome place, just has a really cool layout and feel to the place.

    In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
    It mostly starts with Isaac or Datu writing some ideas or even full songs and presenting them to the rest of the band, we all learn it and have our own inputs until we have a song we’re really proud of.

    Where/when is your next gig?
    February 2nd at Snails in Palmerston North supporting Hospital Sports.

    Cover used with permission.


  • General

    From The Archives: Rip It Up – Smokin’ In The Boys Room: Darren Watson Interview

    26.01.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Darren Watson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [Transcript]

    SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM: Darren Watson Interview
    NICK BOLLINGER

    Formed in Wellington in mid-1986, Smokeshop have earned their reputation as New Zealand’s number one blues band. They have toured the country regularly and extensively with a show that has all the class and panache of a BB King revue.
    There’s a high powered horn section, some of the hottest rhythm players in the country and, fronting the whole thing, Darren Watson who, at 23, sings and plays the blues with a skill and conviction that is more than impressive. It’s scary.

    In late ’88 they took three days out to record their first album, a strong set of new and old blues songs, mainly favourites from the band’s live repertoire. It was a fine debut, although it received criticism for its lack of original songs and the predominance of 12 bar shuffles. Their new album should appease those critics. Recorded in Marmalade over ten days in January So Glad shows that an enormous amount of growth and maturing has taken place.

    As it to emphasise the changes, they have dropped the Chicago from the front of their name.
    Chicago is, of course, known as the Home of the Blues, giving birth to the Chess sound in the 50s and housing the Alligator label today. Darren Watson believes it no longer gives an accurate indication of the band’s style.

    “It was relevant when we started and we needed something to say we played blues,” he explains, “but people basically made the name change by themselves. We got called Smokeshop by most people.

    Also, people in Australia and the States liked the band but couldn’t handle the name, they couldn’t picture it.”

    Nine of the new album’s ten tracks are originals and while they are filled with the feeling of the blues, they stretch well beyond the 12-bar format to show the influence of Stax soul, New Orleans funk, gospel and singer-songwriters like John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett.

    Asked if he’s pleased with it, Darren Watson gives an affirmative “yep”, followed by a self-effacing laugh. He needn’t be bashful; the album’s of an international standard with excellent playing and arrangements centred around Darren’s fine songs, singing and firey guitar style.

    “I think it sounds more like I want Smokeshop to sound like than what we have sounded like,” he says, “the last album was already out of date before it came out. This one’s a lot more contemporary. A lot of the songs we’re only learning to play live now. It’s a much more serious record and I hope it gets taken that way.”

    ‘So Glad’ clearly has a more personal significance to Darren as well. “The album’s definitely got a theme to it. It’s all about one particular relationship. You could actually list the songs out in the way things happened, but we didn’t. We didn’t want an opera!”

    The songs were written on and off the road over the past eighteen months. Some have ended up close to Darren’s original conception, while others have been drastically rearranged by the rest of the band.

    ”I remember when I wrote ‘Truth In My Life’ at the bottom of the page (I actually wrote it at 3 o’clock in the morning!). I wrote “piano, guitar, bass, gospel choir”. That’s what I originally intended and that’s what it came out like, only we couldn’t afford a gospel choir.”

    But “I Can’t Live”, the album’s bright, punchy, Stax-like single, began life as a country song.
    “Richard Te One basically came up with a feel that works. Things gradually evolve as you play with him. He’s a great drummer. ‘Patient Little Boy’ was going to be a straight blues. First Richard decided to shuffle it, because Richard wants to turn everything into a shuffle. Then Alan Norman (guest piano man on the album) said “I’ll play you my famous lick, see if it will sit.”

    07062016150058.crop-0001
    The result? A wonderful New Orleans-style boogie that would suit Little Feat or Dr John.

    Darren is prepared for the criticism that, even in their original songwriting, Smokeshop are strongly derivative of American music. He believes that his use of an R&B format makes his work no less valid than that of other Kiwi songwriters.

    “Sure, it’s American music in lots of ways, but it’s also Kiwi music because we wrote it and it’s about things that happened to me. I listen to the so-called Dunedin sound and I think these guys are doing something that’s unique in some ways but a lot of it’s taken from the Velvet Underground, a lot of 60s English music, early Pink Floyd. Everyone’s got their influences. It just seems that if you’re playing R&B in this country you’re more likely to have someone breathing down your neck saying “You’ve got to be an American, a Kiwi can’t do it” or something.”

    Why the prejudice?

    “I think a lot of that is due to the fact that people perceive R&B as something that’s easy to play. You know 12 bars, three chords, how hard can it be? People say it to me all the time. We know it’s not that easy.”

    In August Smokeshop are touring a new live show in which they showcase most of the material on So Glad. While they still guarantee a big dose of the blues, there is much more to the current set than straight 12-bars. How are the ‘Madison Blues’ hoons coping with the newer, subtler material?

    “We might be losing a few of the diehards, but by the same token we’re gaining a new audience. Now people who would go out and see a normal contemporary rock band will think about coming to see us. People are listening to us a lot more now that we’re doing something of our own.”

    SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM from ‘Rip It Up’ No. 156, July 1990.
    Pagan Advertisement from ‘Rip It Up’,No. 155 June 1990.
    Used with permission.


  • General

    From the Archives: Brooke Fraser’s first press clipping

    24.01.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Brooke Fraser

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Huge learning curve for the girl with the golden voice
    By Ross Henderson

    [Transcript]

    SHE’S got the sort of voice that can raise the roof, but 15-year-old Brooke Fraser is keeping her feet firmly on the ground.

    Last month, the Naenae College fifth former won the Hutt valley regional final of the Pepsi Smokefree rock quest — no mean feat considering she was the only soloist in a competition dominated by hard rock hands.

    She also grabbed the Most Promising Woman Musician Award tor the two songs she’d written and performed.

    But she’s not letting the success go to her head. Brooke knows how tough it will be if she’s picked as one or the nine finalists to go to the nationals in September.

    “It’s been a huge learning curve,” she says or the work it’s taken so far. This has included making a video of songs, writing a press release, designing a poster and making progress reports.

    To make the finals, she still must beat two other regional finalists, who have to complete the same tasks.

    Though the selection criteria are tough, she says it gives an idea or what it’s like in the music industry.

    She’s also had to accept she can’t always live up to her own high expectations.

    ‘‘I’m a perfectionist. Every time I come off the stage I kick myself . . . but you can’t be perfect every single time.”

    Brooke, who is the daughter or former All Black Bernie Fraser, says the support of her family has been “awesome”.

    Brooke has been playing piano since age seven and performing since 13 and writes all her own material.

    “I prefer to do my own stuff instead of covers, because otherwise you’re always going to be compared.”

    The songs are inspired by different situations and feelings. One of the songs, Above, has made it on to an album, recorded in Hong Kong.

    Her musical tastes are eclectic. They include everything from Nat King Cole and George Benson to Lauren Hill and Ricky Martin – extending to classical music and American Indian chants.

    Despite her passion and talent for music, Brooke is keeping her career options open.

    Possibilities include music production, journalism or cultural anthropology. She’s currently kept busy as a presenter on Saturn TV and as photographer for the youth page of the Evening Post.

    There’s also the classical piano lessons she takes each week.
    “I’m always on the piano, but I’m never doing what I’m supposed to, I’m always fiddling with new songs and stuff,” she says.

    Since becoming a national competition in 1999, the rock quest has swelled in popularity year by year.

    This year, more than 500 bands from 18 regions entered, compared In 120 bands from five regions in 1990.

    The 1992 finalist Bic Runga is now enjoying success as an artist in her own right, with a record deal with Sony Music. Anika Moa, a 1998 finalist, has just signed a deal with Warner.

    And who knows, the Avalon teen with the golden voice could be next.

    From ‘CONTACT’, July 22, 1999.

    Grateful acknowledgement to Fairfax Media for letting us use this material.


« Previous Entries