|Photo: Jono Rotman|
Facts Of Wax.
Story by Anna Thomson. Published in Pavement magazine, June/July 2000.
Breakers wax, a label dedicated to bringing New Zealand electronics to both local and international audiences, is a Wellington-based record label catering for the New Zealand breakbeat genre, including hip-hop, trip-hop, ambient and drum&bass, The Breakers Wax label was officially launched in July 1999 by Jo Pewhairangi and Steven King.
By November, the pair had two artists signed - Overwash vs Megalon and 5OHz (AKA Jeremy Goer) - and by the end of the year, their debut release, the Overwash vs Megaton 12-inch vinyl single, was selling in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Not bad for a fledgling label with designs on the international music market.
The first few months of Breakers Wax were feverishly spent trying to build networks in New Zealand, finding vinyl-pressing plants and distribution networks in the UK. One of the labels greatest achievements is signing 5OHz, who will release a 12-inch vinyl single at the end of the month. Then Pewhairangi and King's goal is to release and support as many local producers as possible on a Breakers Wax compilation. Earlier in the year, they called for submissions for the compilation from breakbeat musicians and were flooded with demos.
Pewhairangi took a wine-tasting approach to the selection process by playing the demos (minus any identifying labels) to a panel of experts handpicked for their roles and wide interests in the music industry.
"We had the submissions white-labelled and got the panel to judge." says Pewhairangi. "We wanted to choose the tracks on the merits of the music."
With the 50 original tracks submitted now culled to just 16, Pewhairangi and King say that what has brought them the most pleasure putting the compilation together is that the bulk of the tracks are mostly from musicians who are unknown and unsigned, So what's coming up next for Breakers Wax? "The submissions for the compilation have allowed us to identify producers we'd like to do a 12-inch release of, which we find really exciting," says King.
"One great thing about what we do is that because we sell the majority of our releases overseas, it doesn't matter if you are 'world famous in New Zealand' or not. The worldwide market responds to it purely on the merits of the music. We hope this encourages people to keep producing and working on what they do."
Pewhairangi agrees. "Some people say, 'Why do you bother with the music industry?' But it's a multi-billion dollar industry and we want to be a part of it. We've already made inroads establishing our label overseas and we want to cater for a specialised market in New Zealand".
I've digitised the vinyl or both tracks and uploaded them to Youtube so you can check them out. Listen below. Apopo is a very cool tune, slightly bent breaks.