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    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


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    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.


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    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.


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – DEAF

    08.05.19 | 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 Luke from DEAF, a Wellington Postpunk band formed in 2018. The band were handpicked to open for Peter Murphy and David J from goth legends Bauhaus and have opened for Jesus and The Mary Chain & Drab Majesty.

    One of the best musical memories I’ve had is playing Wellington’s now sorely missed Mighty Mighty.
    The shows that you would play there were so shambolically brilliant and there was a great sense of community there. There’s been a cavernous space in Wellington’s musical landscape ever since it’s demise.


  • General

    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – Wallace

    07.05.19 | 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 future-soul singer Wallace. Wallace Gollan spent her early years in New Zealand, and still has strong memories for her hometown of Wellington. Now based in Sydney she has won a swag of glowing reviews from international taste makers and publications; high profile international supports such as Slum Village; winning the JJJ unearthed Listen Out slot for Sydney; high profile playlist adds on spotify and collaborations with acclaimed international acts such as Kraak and Smaak and outstanding Australian peers such as Sampa the Great. Her latest track Pantone Home is essentially a walk through the duck egg blue house she grew up in, where everything in the song is 100% true.

    “Wow, what a voice… Just good soul music” – Gilles Peterson

    Wellington is so special to me, my heart has been growing fonder and fonder over the past 7 years I’ve been away. I’ve actually written two songs about our little harbour city. ‘Pantone Home’, which I released last year, takes you on a tour through the colourful house I grew up in high in the hills of Brooklyn.
    The other track Ae Fond Kiss is waiting in the wings to be released later this year. It’s inspired (and named after) a Scottish folk song my dad used to sing to me and also features our fierce Wellington wind.


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    NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – Liam Poole

    03.05.19 | 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.

    First up this time is Liam Poole, a singer-songwriter originally from Nelson but now based in Wellington. He gigs regularly around town at the Night Market & various bars, and was part of the recent Cuba Dupa Festival. He currently has 2 EP’s on Spotify and iTunes: Fly High EP & Wake Up EP.

    My fondest musical memory was creating my ‘Wake Up EP’ in an intimate basement studio. In particular, watching two pros, my Producer, Mark McKenzie, and the saxophonist, Simon Williams create the incredible Saxophone stabs for the track ‘Change Me’ from scratch.

     


  • General

    New Album: Terror of the Deep

    03.05.19 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release. Up next is William from Terror of the Deep, who have just released new album ‘The A-Team’.

     

    When/where was the new album recorded?
    Half of the album was recorded in 2016 at The Phoenix Foundation’s old studio in Berhampore that was called The Car Club (we were the last band to record there before it was demolished), and the other half was recorded in 2017 at a studio in Newtown called Building M.

    Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
    Tom Watson, who also keys in the band, engineered and recorded the 2016 Car Club sessions, and was also responsible for engineering and recording the overdubs for those session at his studio, called Brownhead. Warwick Donald engineered and recorded and 2017 Building M sessions and subsequent overdubs on those, and he mixed the final album too, doing an excellent job of making the songs from the two quite different aurally sounding sessions sound resemblant on of the final album. All songs were initially rehearsed in our practice room, and then were road tested whilst we were on tour, but not to the point that we had overplayed them and that they were still fresh to us all.

    How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
    All songs were brought to the practice room by their respective writers almost fully formed; we would then rehearse them as a band and flash out any further arrangements in the practice room. Unlike our last album, which was intentionally a concept album about space exploration, there was no intentional theme for this album.

    Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
    Not intentionally. However, we had had people who have heard the album say that this is the most stylistically varied album we have made to date, however that was due to accident rather than design.

    Was there any specific gear you used to capture that?
    The only major difference between this album and our previous releases is that there is much more acoustic guitar on this album. On all previous albums the electric guitar was the primary guitar, on this one it disproportionately has more acoustic guitar featured.

    Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
    I’m a bit too close to the project to give an objective opinion, but my personal favourite song on the album is Tonight.

    Is there a physical copy available? If not, which digital platforms is it available on?
    The album will be released through the usual digital avenues (Bandcamp, Spotify, etc…) on 1 May. It will be released on cassette by two separate labels; Hobbies Galore in Melbourne and Melted Ice Cream in Christchurch in the next few months. It will also be pressed on vinyl by our New York based record label, Selection Records, later in the year.

    Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs? Are you doing any gigs or promotion for its release?
    Our album launch show is happening at Moon in Wellington on 4 May, and we also have a few shows booked in Christchurch and Lyttelton in a few months’ time. It’s been a while since we have properly toured so no doubt more shows around the country will be added in due course. No video plans yet but one will more than likely be made soon.


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