Thursday, February 25, 2010

Webstock 2010  - Hey DJ, what's that sound?
I'm gonna write this really fast, cos I have a lot of ideas to compress into this, and it's all gonna flow into one, so hold on...

Last Wednesday I flew down to Wellington for Webstock. Surprising lack of turbulence landing too. Nice. I had scored the gig as offical Webstock DJ from Jeff and Lisa of Mukuna, who held down the job last year but have since moved away from Welli (thanks guys). So you're going what is Webstock? It's a two-day conference featuring web developers, designers, thinkers and more. 24 guest speakers, kicking off with Scott Thomas, the design director for the Obama campaign. Just got better from there. I heard some incredible speakers.

My job was to DJ during the breaks and lunch. And when everyone was arriving to register on the first day - starting from 730am, which is a hell of a time to get your head around playing records. I also DJed the cocktail party on Thursday night, and after the Onya Awards on Friday night, from the top of the stage in the Wellington Town Hall, in front of the organ pipes. I discovered that night you can play Good times by Chic (scored another copy in Slowboat) and people will always dance. Dead cert.

I also got to hang out with some of the folks attending the conference, including some cool Wellington peeps I'd met on Twitter, who took me to their fave bars. It was my first time at Webstock, and other folk that I know who'd been raved about it, and now I see why. It's really hard to put down exactly what it is that makes Webstock so special, but it's a non-stop exchange of ideas and information for 48 hours. And a whole lot of fun.

On the Saturday night (after chilling out in Titahi Bay for the day, escaping the hordes at Homegrown) I did a Dub Asylum show at Havana Bar, an absolutely gorgeous little spot, with the Sounds Almighty crew, dropping loadsa reggae niceness. All in all, a fantastic time. Catching up on sleep is taking time....

Top photo by Anthea Whittle. Slideshow below by me, shot on my phone.

Poi-e boy.
The latest film from Taika Waititi is called Boy. It's set in 1984, so they use Poi-e in the soundtrack, cos it's the right period, and, well, it's just damn cool.

Fulgeance is a French producer, and according to his Myspace page, his music "is a perfect blend of huge, synth-laced French Electro and modern Instrumental Hip Hop." It's a whole lot more than that - a delightful mish mash of squirmy, bouncy beats and squeeks that is mighty entertaining and very funky. He plays live with two MPCs, which would be a lotta fun to see. I discovered his music over the past year, especially his wonderful tune Tribute To Masekela, which is a must-have. Have a listen to his Myspace and check this interview with him (snip below). There's a free mixtape from him to download there too.

"...I think nerds are now the new rich and talented guys. Ask Bill Gates or that kind of important guy if he was famous at school. For sure he was trying to have a girl, and every jerk was laughing at him because he was workin’ on a new ‘geek’ computer project. So to be a nerd in France—because I’m not from Paris, but Caen and Normandy—is more now a fashion thing... From my side, to be nerd is to have a proper way to work in your passion or job—to not care about what’s happening outside but care more about what’s happening in what you like in music, films, games. … To be an addict, to work your own way—wakin’ up when you want, eating when you want—and to not care about what’s cool and hip....

Q: Samiyam sampled someone’s head getting crushed (from the movie Zombi) on Rap Beats Vol. 1. You have sampled your cat growling—how did you use it?
Fulgeance: "I never sampled my cat? Where did you get that? The crazy thing is I always wanted to, but my cat always stop breathing when I bring the mic to his mouth—crazy Minette! The weirdest thing I ever grabbed in a song—it never happened, and that’s cool and not cool—I sampled my girlfriend snoring, but I thought it was not cool for her if I put it in a track! Even if I really wanted to."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

84 styles.
Local graffiti artist Askew recounts his artistic journey, discovering some of our city's earliest graffiti crews and their work, here on his blog... It's a fantastic read, with some great pictures...

His family moved from Palmerston North to Auckland in 18984... "...Our street was mainly Samoan and Cook Island families, a handful of Pakeha families and one Maori family who were part of the Twelve Tribes Of Israel and threw epic parties at the bottom of our street... It’s fair to say that 1980’s Auckland city was as stark a contrast to Palmerston North as you could get and one I’m very thankful to have experienced first hand..."
Local Sony staff worry over likely Trans-Tasman merger
As reported earlier today by Newstalk ZB, "Staff at Sony New Zealand fear there may be job losses, with the company reorganising its operations. Sony spokesman Peter Buckton has confirmed the company is looking at amalgamating its Australia and New Zealand operations... However he says there is is no suggestion there will be redundancies."
Reclaiming FNun - Roger Shepherd in his own words
From the latest issue of NZ Musician magazine, worth a read. No mention by name of Ben Howe (see his involvement on the FNun deal here), although Roger alludes to "... some friendships have been put on hold, something which I do regret...."
Next Stop: Soweto
This new comp sounds like it's gonna be mean... "Strut follow their recent forays into Nigerian and Ethio grooves with"a brand new wide-ranging three-part series exploring underground South  African music during the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Next Stop Soweto Volume 1 explores the vibrant energy of the township jive sound, whilst Volumes 2 and 3, released across (the northern) Spring and Summer 2010, cover rare SA soul, funk; Hammond R and B and the country’s rich jazz scene." More at

[Free download] S. Piliso & His Super Seven- "Kuya Hanjwa" (mediafire) (zshare)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prince and the Revolution: video of rehearsals from 1984
Go watch this quick before it gets taken down. Seven videos in total. HOT DAMN!
A Walk Through Fort Greene - TRAILER

A Walk Through Fort Greene - TRAILER from Diane Paragas on Vimeo.

"A feature length documentary of the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene from the mid 1980s through the 90s as intimately told by writer, historian and director, Nelson George. The film features Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Rosie Perez, Branford Marsalis, Vernon Reid, Carl Hancock Rux, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, Alva Rogers, Kevin Powell, Toure, Bill Stephany to name a few."
Stussy - JDilla documentary, part 2
Sure, it's everywhere on the internets, but you need to watch this. (Watch part 1 here.)

Roger Shepherd in Dunedin, talking with Chills, Verlaines, Clean...
Roger Shepherd was in Dunedin late January, according to this report from Dunedin tv station Channel 9, talking with members of the Clean, Martin Phillipps of the Chills, and Graham Downes of the Verlaines about what is happening with the Flying Nun label, and his plans and how it affects their back catalogue.

He is also adamant that he will sign new bands - "No matter how good the music is, there's nothing duller than a reissue label,"says Shepherd. "New signings are essential... in many ways its easier to sign a new band than repackage old material..." That sounds like flawed logic to me. A new signed requires money for recording and promotion, while back catalogue material largely sells itslef, especially on the strength of the label's sterling reputation. Still, will be interesting to see who Shepherd signs.

He says he will also be visiting the Clean out in the Caitlins, where they are recording a new album, which may even come out thru Flying Nun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Neil Finn, Roger Shepherd and...???

I have heard that the new company formed for the recently revived Flying Nun is called FNR Limited. The Companies Office website search reveals the shareholders are...

Total Number of shares 400

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) SHEPHERD, Roger Norman

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) FINN, Neil Mullane
SMITH, Michael
FINN, Sharon Dawn

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) COCKROFT, Graham - ex Netherworld Dancing Toys, now Chief Operating Officer for Contact Energy (after a 19 year stint at British Gas)

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) 1259481 - R RECORDS LIMITED (
RISHWORTH, Robert Peter)

FNR Limited was registered on Nov 25, 2009, and the shareholders other than Shepherd were added on 28 January.

UPDATED 9 Sept 2012: According to the Companies Office website, Roger Shepherd is now the sole director - Graham Cockcroft was a director from 02 Nov 2010 to 20 Apr 2012.

The share allocation has changed twice, indicating an infusion of money - while Shepherd retains 100 shares, the other three shareholding parties have had their allocation increased, first on 10 October 2011 from 100 to 178, and again recently on 19 July 2012, from 178 to 291. The shares were issued on 08 June and registered on July 19.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simon Grigg talks about OMC
Simon looks at the detail (or huge lack thereof) about the group OMC and various dates.

"Just a thought on media weirdness and the journey that erroneous data can take. In particular I’m thinking today of the reportage drivel that was the core of much of the reporting of Pauly Fuemana’s untimely death...."

More here
Flying Finn
The SST has a story on Neil Finn fronting some dosh to help Roger Shepherd buy back Flying Nun, headed "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nun cult record label." Finn is now a part owner of the label. I posted back in mid January on the behind the scene machinations of the FNun deal, after a disgruntled Ben Howe of Arch Hill Records talked about how he had been working behind the scenes with Shepherd on the deal, til it all went pearshaped (which he alludes to) and Howe got the boot. 

As the SST notes... "... [Shephard's) 11th-hour decision to cut out local record label owner Ben Howe from the deal, scuppering a two-year "gentleman's agreement" to purchase the label together, led to a rift between the men and prompted others in the industry to urge them to resolve their differences.

Howe, the founder of Auckland-based independent label Arch Hill Records, has been blogging about the failed partnership. He says he "put considerable time, expertise and cash" into the proposal since learning in 2007 that Warners was open to selling the label. The pair agreed Shepherd would front the talks with Warner, while Howe would do the budgets, fund the expenses and help reintroduce Shepherd to the industry, in which "a lot had changed in the 10 years he had been away".

Howe had been blindsided by a call from Shepherd last November, on the day he had flown him from Wellington for talks with Warner. "He said he was doing it on his own," said Howe. "It was a business decision and he wanted to look after his own interests."

Shepherd said the failed partnership was "really unfortunate" and offered to reimburse the funds Howe had invested in the partnership, which were "not substantial". "I know I managed it badly. Ben's got a right to be upset. But at the end of the day, it was a rather unfortunate, ugly commercial decision that had to be made."