Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Che Fu exits Sony

Che Fu announced on his Facebook page today that he's looking for a new record label to release his new music. Che says: "I've been shopping around for record deal with all the other major players this year as I've left SONY NZ.

"It has been great working with them over the 8 plus years, but their reluctance to put my music out and constant analysing of my single choices has led me to leave. Today was a good day. Im evaluating my options now as you read this..."

Review: KRS One at The Studio, Auckland

When New Zealand hiphop fans heard news reports that legendary New York hiphop MC KRS One was stopping off here on the way to Australia back in December, a lot of folk, myself included, started pleading on social media for some promoter to land a show here with him. He chooses to travel by cruise ship, so was due back here at some point. There were various whispers and then we got the good news - his NZ shows were announced in February after promoter Ginnen Group signed him up.

Opening acts for this hiphop pioneer included some of Aotearoa's hiphop pioneers - DJ Sirvere, MC Slave, and Hedlock, a group comprised of King Kapisi, Che Fu, and Teremoana Rapley.

Heldock also pulled in a few very special guests - like Manuel Bundy, Slave, and Danny D from Dam Native, who came out to deliver The Horifed One with Teremoana, and then the killer hit - Che Fu introducing DLT onto the stage, and DLT drops Chains, with Che upfront singing it (watch it above).

The whole place cheered and hollered, it was very special to see DLT acknowledged by the crowd for one of the songs that is a defining moment in our musical history. Chains was number one for six weeks, back in 1996, when NZ hiphop was all but invisible in the mainstream.

Che Fu. Photo: Mr Rimoni
DJ Sirvere returned to the stage, keeping the crowd energised, and then KRS One's DJ took over, dropping about half a dozen hiphop classics. KRS One's voice then boomed out from the PA, from backstage, calling on his DJ to play one more song, then he said "We're gonna get this started right." So KRS One was welcomed onto the stage by a powhiri. Damn!

A man with a conch shell walked out onstage and blew it into the mic. Two women joined him, singing a traditional welcome calling KRS One to the stage (they were from Ngati Whatua, I heard). He came running out and hugged each of the welcoming party, and then it was on.

KRS One spent the next hour and a half rapping up a storm, throwing down lyrics effortlessly. I won't attempt to name all the songs he dropped, but my favourite was hearing Jack of Spades (with a super cool reggae sample looped up), which he reminded us was from a movie by Keenan Ivory Wayans, called I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

KRS One paused a few times, got his DJ to turn the music down so we could hear him. He dropped an acapella piece half way thru the show that was KRS One rapping lines from a ton of classic hiphop tunes, all jammed into one mega-verse. It was incredible. His energy level the whole night was just was insane. He even rapped over a piece of classical music at one point.

He told the soundman what to do, turn it up! was an oft-repeated phrase of the night. He also wasnt happy with the venue security people standing front of the stage, and told them to move away to the side, cos they were blocking the view of the people down front. They didn't budge.

So KRS One turned round and called to the back of the stage "Where's my security?"and out came two tall men in black suits, who waved the venue security to the sides, which they did. KRS One was in control of this show, and he wanted us to know it.

At one point the told the crowd "I'm gonna come down there and you can get some photos with me..." pointing to the side of stage. Next thing, he's plowing thru the crowd, still rapping, posing for photos, and then makes his way back to the stage, and says "I'm gonna go back down there in a minute." Dude was fully interacting with the crowd.

Finally he wrapped up the show, telling the crowd he will be giving a lecture on the foundation of hiphop at the museum tomorrow (Sunday), continuing the conversation of the show, but he stopped to check with the folk backstage - "they all know which museum, right? Cos there's more than one museum here... oh, they got it. Good!"

His last words were addressed to the police, who didnt want hiphop down at The Cloud because of fears of violence (see below for the official quote). He used that distinctive line from an NWA song on the cops (as also used by Tiki Taane), and he told us to tell the Police that hiphop isnt about violence, it's about peace, love, unity and having fun. And he was out.

It was a great night. You don't see hiphop shows like that here every day. When KRS One said that what we were seeing was a historic moment, he was dead right. It may have sounded like a grand claim, but he delivered on it. In spades.

KRS One. Photo: Mr Rimoni
The venue choice for the Wellington show was the beautiful Wellington Town Hall, but Auckland got The Cloud, a flash tent on the waterfront originally built for the Rugby World Cup. The promoter said they went with that venue as it was all they could secure at short notice.

Having attended The Specials concert in the space next to The Cloud, Shed 10, it was pretty obvious that you would have major noise issues at The Cloud. It has no sound insulation, no solid walls, and faces The Hilton and apartments opposite, and apartments on Quay St.

On the Friday before the show, the promoters announced they were moving it to The Studio, on K Rd, citing "strict sound restrictions and licensing issues which have recently come to our attention that does not help us to proceed with this event at the Cloud due to the Police not approving our license because of their negative view on “RAP MUSIC” being at the Cloud."

The statement from the Police that was doing the rounds on social media on Friday quoted Inspector Derek Davison, saying "Rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole". The Police felt this was the case in Auckland with a Council-owned venue, but as far as I know wasn't an issue for Wellington Police with the venue down there, also Council-owned.

While seeing KRS One on K Rd made a lot more sense than on the waterfront, cos let's face it, K Rd is way more hiphop than the waterfront, it still sounds odd. That quote is from an email from Police to the original venue and the promoters, and it would be interesting to see what context that statement was made in.

You have to wonder why we paid almost $10 million for a venue that we were promised would be of use to Aucklanders beyond the RWC, but now sits largely empty on the waterfront like a white elephant. In August last year, Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett said The Cloud will be on Queens Wharf for at least a decade. That's a very long time for a venue that was only actively used for six weeks, during the RWC.

The only public event I can find that has happened at The Cloud since the end of the RWC was the NZ Beer Festival. An event celebrating alcohol is okay but not one celebrating hiphop?

And hang on, Che Fu performed down on the waterfront at a recent event featuring a number of hiphop acts, BaseFM's Shake And Bake gig, at the Silo Park over in the Wynard Quarter. There were people sitting round drinking alcohol outdoors, and listening to rap music. No violence, no arrests, no trouble. Just people having fun.

Slave. Photo: Mr Rimoni

WOOP WOOP! Added: Russell Brown posted the full Police email on Public Address, Plus some more correspondence around the event...

Hi Connie and Cathy – to advise that NO SPECIAL LICENCE will be issued for this event.

There are a whole range of factors behind such a decision;

lateness of the application (although that has been disputed)
because of the lateness Police have not had adequate time to report on the Matter (and statutorily are not required to do so because of said lateness)
type of event – rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole
probability of abuse of alcohol causing disorder within and outside the event – alcohol is a crime driver there are many licensed outlets in the CBD to which patrons could avail themselves before and after this event

Otherwise, this event will be visited and monitored by Police on the night.

I will advise the Shift Commanders, Downtown staff and Northern Communications Centre accordingly.

Inspector| Special Operations Planning Group (SOG)

An email in which the promoter addresses the lateness question:

Now when he said the lateness of application…I was shocked as we submitted a while ago, then sat with council saying yes approved at compliance meeting with the Venue staff, my Security team, my bar manager and my business partners. The council apparently said it got lost for a week….

And a response from Davison to Greer Flynn, who was involved with the show:

Good morning Greer.

As I indicated in my telephone conversation with you this morning.

Police will not alter their stance in regards to your liquor licence application.

Had the Police been involved with your event from the outset, then this matter would have been better addressed.

I can say here and now, it would still be most unlikely that Police would have agreed to the granting of a special licence even had we been at that meeting given the nature/location of the event.

RELATED: Ingrid Grenar reviews KRS One's gig and lecture
KRS-One lectures Auckland in hip hop:  KRS One's talk at Auckland Museum...
Volume Mag's Danielle Street reviews KRS One

ADDED Sunday April 29 from today's Sunday Star Times: No home for rap at Queens Wharf. Unfortunately only half of the article is online, the other half, with comment from Waterfront Auckland's Bob Harvey saying that The Cloud was desperate for bookings - it only has 6 upcoming events booked for the main space - plus a list of events happening at the Cloud since Dec 2011 when Waterfront Auckland took over, doesn't appear online - print only.

It notes a list of 11 events that have been held in The Cloud and are reported to have attracted a total of 16,000 people. I looked up attendance on the NZ Beer Festival, and that accounted for a crowd of 10,000.

No requests

This photo is doing the rounds on Facebook and other social media, have heard that it's a Bacardi ad. DJ DRM from Bastard Jazz said on Twitter that "this DJ facepalming pic that's going around is a f'ing bacardi ad and suggests that hitting a woman is funny and/or deserved. #notcool". What do you think?

Bobby Womack, new album mini-doco

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rackets vs C Knox, RSD

 Hat tip to Alan H for sharing this via Twitter. Plus, below, an interview with Knox from SBS Australia, done in 1990. He also does two live songs, finishing the latter, Song for 1990, with the statement "We're getting a National government in New Zealand, and all will be lost..."

ADDED There's someone with a very flash looking video camera in shot, and Cheese On Taost report that "...a multi-angle, high definition clip shot by the wonderful Georgia Schofield is also in the works – she’s working on the edit right now." Cheese On Toast also have a video clip via Simon Kay of the whole song, go watch it here.


Benny Tones remixes Scratch 22

Saturday, April 21, 2012

RSD New Plymouth and more

Brian Wafer and Peter Jefferies checking out Record Store Day at Vinyl Countdown New Plymouth. Wonder what records Peter found? More photos on their FB page.

ADDED Here's Danny Lemon DJing at Rough Peel Music in Wellington (more pics here).

When I was in Real Groovy AK this afternoon, they still had come copies of the ltd edition Toy Love live vinyl, and apparently the last band of the day,  Rackets, played Swimming Pool by Toy Love, joined by Chris Knox. Hope someone videoed it.

Pic via Twitter from Cheese on Toast  -  Chris Knox signing Toy Love vinyl after playing with Rackets.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 21

Temptations - Plastic man
Labelle - What can I do for you?
Leon Haywood - If you're looking for a night of fun (look past me, I'm not the one)
Screaming Meemees - Stars in my eyes part one
ESG - Dance
Primal scream - Higher than the sun
Sabre of paradise - Wilmot
Ninjaman and Flourgon - Zig it up
Butch Cassidy sound system - Brothers and sisters
Reggie Steppa - Drum pan sound
Henry and Louis - Love and understanding
Lord echo - Long time no see
Kas Futialo (Tha Feelstyle) - Good morning Samoa
Tiombe Lockhart - Mr Johnny Walker
DJ Spinna - Abyzmal
Rocket juice and the moon - Hey shooter
Frente cumbiero - Pitchito
Freqnik and WDRE - Funky fresh reggae
Jimmy London - I'm your puppet
In crowd - Mango walk
Natural yoghurt band - Voodoo
King Sunny Ade - Ja funmi
DLT - Chains - unreleased hiphop mix
KRS One - Step into a world
Trecherous three - Feel the heartbeat

Jazzy Jeff once went record digging with Kenny Dope & Dilla.

One for Record Store Day, from Egotripland... "The “Crate Diggers” web series returns. This edition finds Fuse’s cameras focused on the record den/studio of the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff. As vinyl talk goes Jeff modestly maintains that he’s less of a hardcore collector than some.

Yet he’s still got stories like the one about that digging trip to Pittsburgh with Kenny Dope and JDilla when they bought so much stuff they could barely all fit in the car on the way home.

Or those recollections of how he never ate lunch through his high school years so he could save his lunch money for records. Or how thinking back to the time he threw out a bunch of records he was keeping at his moms’ house gives him stomach pains. 

Also included: some history of meeting Will Smith at a house party back when he and Jeff were just starting out."

WATCH: “Crate Diggers” – Rich Medina’s Vinyl Collection.
WATCH: “Crate Diggers” – Da Beatminerz’s Vinyl Collection.

Friday, April 20, 2012

KRS One now at The Studio

The venue for Saturday night's KRS One show in Auckland has moved from The Cloud to The Studio, on K Rd. Unsurprisingly, one of the reasons organisers cite for the move is sound issues. A gig in a room that is a tent directly opposite apartments and a hotel was  never going to work. They also had issues with getting a liquor licence. At least The Studio won't run out of beer, like the temporary bar did at The Specials at Shed 10, next to The Cloud.

Official statement from the organisers (via their Facebook page):

"Due to major issues with the Cloud we have decided to move our event to Studio, K RD Auckland.

There are strict sound restrictions that could affect our show with KRS ONE and licensing issues which have recently come to our to attention that does not help us to proceed with this event at the Cloud due to the Police not approving our license because of their negative view on “RAP MUSIC” being at the Cloud.

We are annoyed but still happy to move forward with the KRS ONE show this Saturday at The STUDIO which will now start at 7pm. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused. We will need to REFUND ALL UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ticket holders, the Studio are unable to have underage patrons in the venue for this event. We have cut back on tickets available and we are nearly at full capacity, We have searched for venues across Auckland with a larger capacity but had no luck at all!. So we apologize for the fans they may miss out an opportunity to see the HIP HOP legend “KRS ONE”.

But because of this matter KRS ONE has decided to hold a Seminar on Sunday 22nd more info soon."

ADDED KRS One seminar will be on sunday April 22 at the Auckand Museum, 1pm, suggested $10 donation

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Funky reggae biz

Hat tip To Russell B for the link. Super dope Biz Markie over some funky reggae from A Kid Named Miles (Breakestra). The flip of that original single is a reggae take on Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire (listen).

Lucky Pauls Tour Diary #4, Porto, Portugal

Lucky Paul is an expat Kiwi muso currently holding down the drumseat for Feist on her world tour, which kicked off with a show in Paul's hometown, Auckland, for Laneway. He's in Portugal at the moment, having fun from the look of it. Portable sampler and a mini mic and he's off.

Wicked Pickett

Wild footage of Wilson Pickett live, 1968. Hat tip to Dangerous Minds.


I Believe In Miracles is a very funky jam from the Jackson Sisters (no relation to the Jackson 5) and over at Version Galore, they've uncovered some great versions of it - there's the recent latin-styled take from Sunlightsquare Combo and more... the original has been reissued on vinyl a bunch of times, so it's pretty easy to track down a copy....

"... The Jackson Sisters were a Detroit-based (by way of Compton) soul group who enjoyed some minor recognition during the mid 70s. While only having one album and a couple of singles under their belt before vanishing back into the mahogany, a decade and some change later they enjoyed a resurgence via the UK rare groove scene and subsequently Miracles becoming a b-boy sampling favourite.

Believers for today include The Dynamics and their reggae-disco hustle rendition, a spry Cubano cut via Sunlightsquare Latin Combo and a focused intrumental break version from the always welcome El Michels Affair. Also today are two straight ahead soul cuts from Japan’s Indigo Jam Unit & Flexlife as well a rare cut by Miracles original co-penner Mark Capanni."

Listen to them over at Versions Galore.

Strut RSD exclusive

This Saturday, Strut celebrate Record Store Day 2012 with the limited edition, vinyl-only re-release of a rare, funky psychedelic classic; the self-titled 1971 LP from Ugly Custard. The album will be the first in a series of limited edition vinyl-only releases.

Ugly Custard has become a cult classic among vinyl diggers – a dense, heavy, psyched-out set from a short-lived side project put together by UK library and film music composer, Alan Parker (known to savvy collectors for his work on the legendary KPM 1000 series, as well as recordings w/ Donovan, David Bowie, and others). The album reunited Parker with leading session players and fellow members of the band Blue Mink including Herbie Flowers (bass) and Roger Coulam (organ) alongside prolific drummer Clem Cattini (The Tornados, T-Rex, Hot Chocolate).

The album features Parker in top form, re-arranging known standards into open, wigged-out jams including Paul Simon’s "Scarboro’ Fair" and Stephen Stills’ "Hung Upside Down."

Ugly Custard is pressed on heavyweight vinyl and features new sleeve notes including an interview with Alan Parker. Originally issued on Kaleidoscope (KAL 100) in 1971. Available from these US retailers and UK retailers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How bizarre

Australian artist Gotye is riding a wave of popularity in the US charts at the moment (at no 2 currently), on the back of his song Somebody That I Used To Know (featuring local lass/expat Kiwi now resident in Australia Kimbra) being featured on US TV shows Glee and The Voice, and a slot at last weekend's Coachella Festival.
It's great exposure for Kimbra, who has been getting lots of interest off the back of her solo appearances at the recent SXSW event. This story says she was the most highly searched-for act in online searches at SXSW.
A couple of NZ media outlets have got a little over-excited about the chart placing, suggesting that Kimbra would be the first Kiwi linked to a number one on the US music charts. Crowded House got to number two, and let's face it, at that time Neil Finn was a longtime Australian resident with two Aussies in his band. Never mind the fact that NZ radio programmers steadfastly ignored Crowded House until they had a hit in the US.

Or the fact that OMC went to number one on the US charts in 1997, with How Bizarre. Pauly Fuemana, we haven't forgotten you.

ADDED OMC's record label boss Simon Grigg has blogged on the behind the scenes record company machinations around OMC hitting number one in the US.

"... In the US the decision was made by Mercury, a US branch of PolyGram, to issue the single only to radio and use the airplay to drive album sales = more money. This was industry standard at the time and many acts did it... between June and August [97] we totalled some 560,000 radio plays on US top40 radio (it passed a million later that year) and some 10,000 video plays (most played US video of 1997 – 15,000) and finally I had a call from New York on August 16th, 1997. “You’re number one, number one!” screamed the woman from Mercury... we’d knocked off Meredith Brooks and we were number one..."

UPDATED Thurs 19 April: Billboard reports that Gotye and Kimbra have hit number one on the US charts, on the back of appearing on Saturday Night Live and Glee. "...the track sold 542,000 downloads in the April 9-15 tracking period, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The sum is the fourth-best since SoundScan began tracking digital sales in 2003."

Colman Bros

Free download of the Colman Bros 2009 single. Niceness on the latin/bossa nova tip.

Kas says good morning

Tha Feelstyle (Kas Futialo) dropped his outstanding debut album Break It To Pieces back in 2004, a landmark recording for NZ hiphop - scratch that, it's a landmark NZ recording, fullstop.

Produced by very talented Andy 'Submariner' Morton, it won three awards at the Pacific Music Awards in 2005, beating Scribe and Dei Hamo in two categories. Check that beautiful cover, looks even better on the double vinyl release. It won best album cover at the 2005 NZ Music Awards.

The cover painting is by Charles McPhee - there's a great documentary featuring McPhee called Velvet Dreams (watch here), directed by Sima Urale, one of King Kapisi's sisters.

I read yesterday that The Feelstyle has been nominated at this year's Pacific Music Awards, for his 2011 album Good Morning Samoa. That album was released at the Pasifika Festival in March 2011, and available for sale there, apparently. I didn't even know he'd done a new album, and a bit of searching revealed he's done TWO albums since his debut. I got some catching up to do!

This Feb 2010 article mentions a 2008 album title Lokokasi, all in Samoan. Tha Feelstyle's Bebo page says he's working on an English-language album too, Firepower To The People. The most recent single from the Feelstyle (with Adeaze) is available over at Amplifier (from 2010), and I hear they plan to have the Good Morning Samoa album up shortly. Check out the title track below...

Read: One Samoana Notebook interviews Kas Futialo about Good Morning Samoa.
Tha Feelstyle interviewed by Gareth Shute for NZ Musician, 2004.
Listen: Tha Feelstyle on Soundcloud.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Specials reviewed

Photos by Volume/Dalla Pickering.
Here's my review of The Specials gig last Tuesday, published in this week's issue of Volume  Magazine. Thanks, Sam!

"I had misgivings about seeing The Specials in a tin shed on the waterfront, but with a sizeable crowd in there to soak up the sound it worked surprisingly well (not unlike the dance parties in the sheds next to the old Auckland railway station back in the 1990s - Massive Attack, anyone?) It was gloomy, dark and dusty - even Terry Hall pointed out how dusty it was, glancing up at the rafters - but it suited the music.

Six of the original seven members of The Specials reunited in 2009 and set off on a 30th anniversary tour that bought them here for the first time (minus founder and main songwriter Jerry Dammers). That sold-out show was at the truly awful Logan Campbell Centre (aka the Logan Concrete Centre) and somehow they managed to overcome the notoriously bad acoustics of that rustic barn.

The opening act this time was local '80s ska outfit The Newmatics, who have done the occasional reunion show in recent years. This one, unlike their previous reunions, lacked a number of original members and also reconfigured the original lineup, adding a keyboard player and a full horn section. The Newmatics without powerhouse drummer Benny Staples? Ahem. Their brief set took in spirited versions of classics like Doobie Do Boy, Judas and Riot Squad, and they acquitted themselves well enough.

Queuing for half an hour for a beer didn't sound like much fun, and then I hear the beer ran out before The Specials even hit the stage. That's some poor planning. How could you fail to predict that a crowd of former mods and punks would be VERY THIRSTY?

Finally, the horrible fluorescent house lights go out, the drums start pounding, and then The Specials bound onstage, ripping into Do the Dog. It's glorious. What follows is every song off their first album: throw in Gangsters and A Message to You, Rudy, and you have yourself a serious dance party.

The band look very dapper, dressed in black for the last show on this tour, after five gigs in Australia. There's the front line of vocalists Lynval Golding, Neville Staples and Terry Hall, super cool guitarist Roddy Radiation, and the killer rhythm section of Horace Panter and John Bradbury, with Nik Torp in for Dammers on keys.

Lynval dedicates their song Poor Little Rich Girl to Amy Winehouse, a song she covered. Lynval tells the crowd Winehouse passed away on his birthday last year.

Their horn section and percussionist join the band onstage for Stupid Marriage, with Hall dropping in the lyric "Like a virgin", which was vaguely postmodern and a little unsettling. Terry Hall as Madonna? After the song finishes he tells the crowd, "I will probably slip into some Leo Sayer a bit later on this evening..."

We get Concrete Jungle, and Friday Night, Saturday Morning, and then the droll Mr Hall introduces International Jet Set: "This is from our difficult 2nd album - it was so fuckin' difficult that we didn't talk to each other for 25 years!" It's a groovy rendition, but once it's done, Lynval confesses, "We wrote that 30 years ago and it's a nice tune, but I just can't dance to it."

They wrap up their set with Too Much Too Young and Enjoy Yourself, before exiting the stage. This crowd ain't going nowhere though, and start cheering for more.

The band return for an encore and Lynval apologises to us: "This is only our second time in New Zealand, and I'm sorry it took us 30 years to get down here - we should have come ages ago". We get Little Bitch, then You're Wondering Now. The song finishes with the band stopping the music and leading the crowd in a singalong. Terry says, "Bye, thanks, lots of love" and they're off.

The glaring omission was Ghost Town. Why? The rumour was noise complaints from nearby apartment dwellers on Quay St, and the band had to cut the encore short by one song. At 10.30pm. It doesn't bode well for the upcoming KRS-One show next door in The Cloud, essentially a tent with zero soundproofing. However, the promoter said noise wasn't an issue. The venue had a 10.30pm curfew and song choice was the band's decision. Go figure.

The Specials served up note-perfect renditions of their classics, and they had a lot of fun doing it - it was infectious. Thirty years on, those songs still come across as joyful, clever, danceable, and as much fun as they ever did.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!

Third notice

TV3 reports that internet service provider Telstra Clear has "sent out the first third strike notice under a new copyright infringement law passed this week.

The company said the alleged copyright infringer had illegally downloaded music, but could not comment further as it was now a matter for the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ)."

The latter part of that article is a bit of a cut and paste job from other publications like NBR, and incorrectly refers to the new copyright law taking effect from September 1. It's been in effect since Sept 1 last year. It also says the law was passed April 14, without referencing what year. Odds on they downloaded One Direction.

Fitz hits Coachella

LA soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums made their Coachella debut yesterday, they played a killer set. Here's their closer, Moneygrabber. Their take on Steady As She Goes (as done originally by prev Coachella faves The Raconteurs) was awesome. Haven't seen that clip come up yet from Coachella, so there's an older take below.

Mayer Hawthorne debut

Mayer Hawthorne kicked off a run of US shows last night (tour dates here), here's his live debut, from Feb 17, 2009.

Record Store Day this saturday

Record Store Day is a great day to go for a record store crawl. Never know who you will run into...

In Auckland, Conch Records is teaming up with George FM for a live broadcast instore. The day will include live performances from Christoph El Truento and co, and Latinaotearoa.

Record Store Day releases at Conch: The Pharcyde - "Bizarre Ride II" 20th Anniversary Box Set // Peter Tosh - "Legalize It" - Echodelic Remixes 10" (PICTURE DISC) // Various - Never To Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 10 x 7" (LIGHT IN THE ATTIC) Only 4,000 hand-numbered copies worldwide // ESG / Las Kellies - Erase You 7" (FIRE RECORDS).
For more details check here.

Real Groovy Records in Queen St has a bunch of special happenings, including the exclusive release of the double vinyl live album Toy Love at The Gluepot. Limited to 400 copies, only available from Real Groovy, limit of one per customer. Live performances from bands and DJs including Rackets, The Broadsides, Princess Chelsea, Tom Scott (Homebrew), Pennie Blair (bFM), Andrew Tidball (Cheese On Toast). More info here.

Get down to Southbound Records, at 69 Mt Eden Rd (down from the Powerstation), worth a gander, and their website promises Record Store Day vinyl exclusives (PiL, Devo, Black Keys, Peter Tosh, Amanda Palmer) and free brewed coffee. Lots of great reissues, only catch is they don't have turntables to let you hear the vinyl before purchasing.

Rhythm Records down the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Rd has some good vinyl, they're at 299  Ponsonby Rd.

ADDED Volume Magazine hooked up with Lawrence Arabia to make a seven inch single for Record Store Day - "Rick Lapore gave Volume a tour of the Rainbo Records pressing plant in California where the record was made".

Watch the video for the making of the vinyl here.  I would embed the video but the NZ Herald think they own the internetz. Mutter  mutter. You can win a copy of the Lawrence Arabia vinyl, just make a purchase at any NZ record store  this Saturday and send the receipt to Volume, PO Box 32, Auckland.

Real Groovy Akld staff member gets into the spirit, 2010

In Wellington, Slow Boat Records in Cuba St has live performances instore from The Eversons and Dictaphone Blues and more.

Rough Peel Music, at140 Vivian St, has live instores too (see their Facebook page for more), plus an exclusive local vinyl release, from hiphop crew Dam Native. It's a few classic cuts from them.

Track listing:
Side A (Aotea Side):
1- Sirens in the City (Chong Nee Remix)
2- Sirens in the City (Album mix Feat Tyna)
3- Sirens in the City (Hori Acoustic Mix)
Side B (Roa Side):
1- Horrified One Feat. Teremoana Rapley
2- Horrified One Instrumental
3- Lick My Patu

Evil Genius at 462 Adelaide Road, Berhampore, has an instore live performance from Tono and the Finance Company at 3pm, and DJs all day. Discounts and giveaways.

Other special Record Store Day releases include James Brown, Kimbra, Lee Scratch Perry, Luna, Devo, Shuggie Otis, The Specials, ESG, Peaches, and more. Full list of RSD releases here.

Tupac at Coachella

Dr Dre and Snoop preformed at Coachella last night, and were joined onstage by Tupac recreated as a hologram. A lot of folk on social media were discussing the hologram this morning - it was a source of some amusement. Meanwhile, Tupac's murder remains unsolved.

Via Wired: "... Tupac, who was murdered in 1996, joined Dre and Snoop Dogg for three songs — “Gangsta Party,” “Hail Mary” and “Come With Me.” He hadn’t ever performed “Hail Mary” when he was alive. Nate Dogg, who died in 2011, also joined the pair for a time onstage alongside various living guests, including Eminem, Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent..."

Via The Source Mag: "In an interview today with MTV, Tupac Shakur hologram curator Nick Smith of AV Concepts explained how it all went down. Below is two excerpts from the interview.

“We worked with Dr. Dre on this and it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life,” said Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts, the San Diego company that created the hologram. “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life. You can take their likenesses and voice and … take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it.

"The Tupac hologram was several months in the planning and took nearly four months to create in a studio and though Smith was not able to reveal the exact price tag for the illusion, he said a comparable one could cost anywhere from $100,000 to more than $400,000 to pull off. “I can’t say how much that event cost, but I can say it’s affordable in the sense that if we had to bring entertainers around world and create concerts across the country, we could put [artists] in every venue in the country.”

ADDED: Russell Brown of Public Address notes that "It wasn't actually a true hologram, but an instance of Pepper's ghost, a reflection technique first presented to an audience in the 1860s, during a stage production of Charles Dickens' The Haunted Man. It's difficult to depict adequately in diagrams, but I've seen it in real life before and it works. (Indeed, I actually use a version of it every week when I read from a televsion autocue.)

...The other part -- the prior creation of the amazingly lifelike 3D image by AV Concepts and the company Digital Domain --seems to have invoved some mixture of archive concert footage, wire-frame animation and CGI. There was clearly some voice-acting: the late actor and rapper died in 1996, three years before the first Coachella festival, yet he hailed the crowd: "What the fuck up, Coachella?"

ADDED Tupac hologram helpfully explained by Taiwanese tv animators. Very funny. Watch for their suggestions of other stars due for reanimation, including Kurt Cobain.... Via Prefix Mag

Rakim to Nat

Last night at Chapel Bar, I got away with playing some pretty crazy tunes. Fave mix was from Eric B and Rakim to Nat King Cole... This tune...

followed by this tune... It worked too. Nuts.

Monday, April 16, 2012


This weekend's Coachella Festival in California is being streamed live on Youtube. Just watched Fitz and the Tantrums kill it, even dropping a version of Steady As She Goes (Raconteurs). Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg are on tonight, at 535-pm NZ time.

Watch it here http://www.youtube.com/user/coachella/live

Ther's some Kiwi representation there too, Mt Eden (formerly Mt Eden Dubstep) and Kimbra is playing with Gotye, who currently has the number 3 single on the US Billboard Singles Chart, and it's climbing too, on the back of appearing on Glee.

Club connisseurs tonight!

Looking forward to this, me and Average White DJ spinning tunes at Chapel Bar & Bistro, 147 Ponsonby Rd tonight - I'm up first at 630pm til 830pm, playing everything from Kraftwerk to King Sunny Ade, Labelle to Little Dragon., The Beat to The Boss. Free entry, $10 pizzas, good tunes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


A few years back, Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr) did an interview session at the Red Bull Music Academy  - from memory, for the entire time he was talking, he had an attractive young black woman braiding his afro.

This recent interview for Scion, is equally entertaining. Dude's in bed with female company. Hat tip to Bob Daktari for the link to the free album download. Get Moodymann - Picture This over here...

Vinyl making a comeback #261: Welsh edition

From Wales Online... "The hiss and crackle of vinyl records are making a big comeback in Wales as music lovers buy the old fashioned discs in increasing numbers.

High street music and video giant HMV has just refitted its stores in Swansea and Cardiff to accommodate vinyl seven-inch and LP records to keep up with the trend...

...Swansea HMV store manager John Hatfield, 41, said he is really “chuffed” at the news – he’s a vinyl connoisseur with a private collection of more than 2,000 records.

“We do get people asking for vinyl and there has been a massive resurgence of interest over the last 10 years, a lot of it encouraged by the Indie culture.

“Buying vinyl has become cool with the kids and purists like me. I am old enough to remember it from first time around, when I started out in 1990 everything we sold was vinyl...."

Meanwhile, in the States...Vinyl records: Music to the ears of audiophiles, collectors. Features Taylor's Treasures, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, watch clip below.

Club Connisseurs

Looking forward to this, me and Average White DJ spinning tunes at Chapel Bar & Bistro on Monday night, I'm up first at 630pm til 830pm, playing everything from Kraftwerk to King Sunny Ade, Labelle to Little Dragon., The Beat to The Boss. Free entry, $10 pizzas, good tunes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Comrade Q

Q-Tipokratiya is a mash-up album by Miami-based producer TenDJiz, created by blending the acapellas of Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and instrumentals composed from Soviet Union soul and jazz samples. The title of the album is a portmanteau of the name Q-Tip and the Greek word Kratia (“Power”). Hat tip Findmag/Chip M.

You may have checked the previous mash-up album “De La Soulviet“ by TenDJiz from late last year. That's pretty sweet too.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 14

Sheila E - Love bizarre
The Clash and Futura 2000 - Escapades dub
Afrodisiac sound system - Fela spider
Quantic - Gte a move on
Koliphones - Jungle concerto (moog)
Bongmaster - Brothers and sisters
General Levy - Monkey man - fashion remix
Prince Fari - Weatherman tam
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Brain smashing dub
The Lions - This generation dub (free download)
Love unlimited orchestra - Theme from King kong - Danny Krivit edit
Noel Pointer - Living for the city
Candi Staton - Do your duty - Pepe Bradock remix
The Specials - A message to you, Rudy
Kalbata and Mixmonster - Play music selecta
Soul vendors - Swing easy
Augustus Pablo - Dub organiser
Harry Beckett - Switch up!
Hackney colliery band - No diggity
Dexter Wansel - Life on Mars - DJ Mila edit
The Nu Page - A heart is a house
Harlem river drive - Idle hands
Beanfield - Tides - Carl Craig remix

Friday, April 13, 2012


From the lovely folk at Stonesthrow: Chimera is the new EP from Homeboy Sandman, 6 full length tracks on 12-inch vinyl, with complete lyrics printed in gloss on the front & back covers. "Chimera Out Now" was created by the artist specifically to announce the release of the record. A free download right here: http://sthrow.com/sandman

MP3: http://stonesthrow.com/jukebox/homeboy_chimera_out_now.mp3

No depression in New Zealand

It's Bigger Than Both Of Us (NZ Singles 79-82) gets released digitally (with digi booklet).... Newmatics, Androidds, Blams, Dance Macabre, Herco Pilots, all sorts of great tunes.... watch for Mayor Robbie in that clip above, mowing the lawns....

"Thanks to Propeller Records and DRMNZ, the reissue of this essential 1988 compilation is now available digitally after being released on CD in 2003.

A collection of New Zealand indie singles released between 1979-82. Thirty important and timeless tracks from all the indie labels of the time. Inspired by the great Australian sixties compilation So You Wanna Be a Rock'n'Roll Star.

Thirty tracks from the likes of Toy Love, The Spelling Mistakes, The Clean, The Screaming Meemees, The Swingers, The Chills, Tall Dwarfs, The Body Electric, Proud Scum, The Features and Blam Blam Blam to name but a few.

Remastered at Mandrill Studios, Auckland, June/July 1988 by Roland Morris.

Original artwork by Chad Taylor / Thermostat, booklet created by designer Andrew B. White. Liner notes by Murray Cammick, Harry Ratbag, Barry Jenkins, Colin Hogg and Simon Grigg. Compiled by Simon Grigg with Simon Baeyertz."

Out now thru Amplifier, iTunes, and coming shortly on Bandcamp for those of you who want lossless.

Clash on Times Square

Volume Magazine recently revisited the February 1982 visit by The Clash, thanks to some splendid photos from their Auckland show taken by Jonathan Ganley. I used one of Jonathan's photos of that gig for the book cover design I did last year for London's Burning by Hans Versluys (pictured above).
Here's a tv interview with The Clash shot during their NZ jaunt in 82, noted in the comments as "possibly the last interview featuring Topper who leaves abruptly during the interview." He doesn't leave abruptly tho - he gets up and says "I'm gonna go sunbathing, see ya!" Interviewer is Dylan Taite, and it is unedited raw footage, including the "5,4,3,2..." countdown leader from NZBC.

The Clash did a run of shows the previous year in New York - they had planned to do 7 shows, but the promoter allegedly oversold them, resulting in a riot at one of the first few shows when ticket holders couldn't get in, so they did 17 shows in all. The show on June 9 1981 was recorded for radio broadcast, and there's bootlegs of other shows floating round the internet.

NYC TV news reports on The Clash at Bonds, watch below... the news reporter in the last item says that The Clash sold 3500 tickets for each show, but fire marshals determined only 1800 people could safely attend, and that this was the first time they'd made such a ruling, despite previous shows at Bonds having higher capacity.

Check for some amusing name spelling in the news captioning (Kosmo Vinyl identified as Joe Strummer?), and see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five getting pelted with cups at 5.30. Joe got on the mic and told the crowd off, more on that shortly.

One fascinating aspect of The Clash and their legacy since splitting is how carefully the band members stage-manage their archival releases - they seem to be able to get fans to buy the same songs in different release packages again and again. For example, take best ofs - there's The Story of The Clash (1988), Clash on Broadway (1991), The Clash - The Singles (1996), The Essental Clash (2003), The Clash - Singles (2006) ... then there's London Calling the 25th anniversary edition (2004), followed by London Calling the 30th anniversary edition (2009).
They put out an official live album Live: From Here to Eternity in 1999, and then another live album, in 2008 - Live at Shea Stadium. Meanwhile, there's this stunning concert from 1981 lingering in the vaults. Track it down if you can, it's an incredible document of the band in their prime.

The other thing that amazed me is that there's almost no gap between songs. They finish one song, take a breath, Strummer barks the next song title and the band launch into it. And they keep that intense pace up for an hour and three quarters. Over 17 shows. No wonder Joe Stummer described this run of shows by saying "We took a stand and it nearly killed us."

Joe Streno is a photographer who was friends with a woman who worked for The Clash, and she got him into as many of the Bonds shows as he liked. His photos of the shows are great - check out his shots of The Slits hanging outside Bonds with Mick Jones. They were opening one of the shows.

From Dangerous Minds: "Not a lot of footage exists from the Clash’s legendary Bond’s Casino residency [apparently it was destroyed when former Clash manager Bernie Rhodes forgot to pay the money on a storage locker where it was being kept], apparently not even one complete show was shot, but there were some tantalizing clips in Don Letts’ Grammy-winning Westway to the World rock doc (released in 2000), as well as in the abandoned short “The Clash on Broadway” (on Westway as a DVD extra).

"Sadly the sound quality is not great, so the performances lacked the hinted at oomph they should have had. Letts’ Bonds footage was apparently shot on the same day as the FM recording was made. Luckily an enterprising Clash fan has restriped the stereo audio from that source and synced up some other angles found in various places. The results are probably the best glimpse we have at what went on at these shows. Ain’t the internet great?" See below.

Berkeley Press notes that "On May 28, 1981, the band took up residency for two weeks and 17 shows. The had opening acts of such magnitude and variety as Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, the Treacherous Three, Joe Ely, The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, The Fall, The Sugar Hill Gang, The Slits, and even ESG." Other acts included the Bush Tetras, The Brattles, and Lee Scratch Perry.

On the opening night, the crowd were warmed up by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who got a mixed reception. Joe Bosso writes that "Halfway through the Furious Five’s set, as trash pelted the stage, the music stopped abruptly and the voice of Joe Strummer himself boomed over the PA. “Cut the crap and give them a chance! The Clash picked Grandmaster Flash to play for you, and if you don’t treat them with some respect, then you don’t deserve to see the Clash!” Chastened, the crowd cooled down, and the show continued..."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beats working overtime

When I went to The Specials show on Tuesday night, there were some folk handing out flyers at the gate, advertising The English Beat playing at The Powerstation, August 23rd. Tickets available through www.ticketmaster.co.nz from Thursday 19th April.  Today's NZ Herald has an interview with Ranking Roger - he's bringing The Beat to NZ in late September (Sept 29 Auckland; Sept 30 Wellington; Oct 2 Christchurch). Two versions of The Beat. What gives? EDIT That story was from 2006 - my apologies, I got it wrong.

The English Beat is led by original member, vocalist Dave Wakeling (the sole original member in the English Beat), and apparently he and Ranking Roger don't get on these days, so Roger and original drummer Everett Morton tour their own version, as The Beat.

Given Wakeling SANG most of the songs, and Ranking Roger was their toaster, I suspect seeing Wakeling's version might be slightly more rewarding.

".... About here is where the band's history becomes ska's answer to Spinal Tap. When the Beat split after three albums in 1983, Roger and Wakeling formed General Public, which got them some mid-80s American pop success. So did Beat guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele after recruiting signer Roland Gift into their Fine Young Cannibals.

As the years rolled on, and with the split of General Public, various incarnations of the Beat kept touring. As well as Wakeling's English Beat there was Special Beat, International Beat, the New Beat and Roger's Twist and Crawl, which eventually took back its original moniker...

...Roger says Cox and Steele have given their blessing to his Beat carrying on under the original name. But as the competing Beats might suggest, there's little love lost between Roger and his former co-frontman Wakeling.

"Dave Wakeling and myself, we haven't got on for a couple of years so I just don't really bother with him. He doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned."

The Beat (w Ranking Roger, Morton) toured here in 2006, and according to the NZH's Timeout "resident Beat fan they weren't very good, and not just because they didn't play Dream Home in New Zealand..."

Ranking Roger also worked a lot with Mick Jones from The Clash in his post-Clash outfit Big Audio Dynamite. The Beat opened for The Clash in live shows too. Read Ranking Roger and Mick Jones: A musical mutual appreciation society.

I know I posted this recently but hey.... twice as nice? Ranking Roger with The Clash

Del The Funky Homosapien vs Daptone

Free download of a special track from Del and co, in advance of their album - Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought - Attractive Sin, out June 19th. "Enjoy the first in a series of non album tracks from Del & Parallel Thought , " If Ya Dont " sampling the sweet soul sounds of the Menahan Street Band."

Download : Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought "If Ya Dont"
Soundcloud Mediafire (12MB)


What's that? You Kiwis want me to come play there? Can I hang with them hobbits? Ok, cool.
Prince was rumoured for this year's Big Day Out, and the promoter revealed they had spent a year negotiating with Prince's management, but it all came to nothing, sadly. Now dates have leaked for the purple one's Australian tour dates, ahead of the official announcement.  No word on any NZ shows, so start looking at plane tickets. (via everguide.com.au)

Tickets onsale on Monday April 16, no presales. Tickets start at AU$99.

Friday 11th May – Allphones Arena, Sydney
Monday 14th May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Friday 18th May – Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hypnotic mix by DJ Expo

"This is a collage of sounds from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and the roots of their music. This half-hour mix is a journey through instrumentals and interviews of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Phil Cohran, added in with a sprinkle of Sun Ra, whom Cohran worked with in the pivotal, early years. The listening experience will shed light on the Chicago family’s story, inspiration, and feelings. 9 brothers and a father will share the stage at this legendary, once in a lifetime experience."

Homage III - The Cohran Family Philosphy (83mb DL)
Mixed by DJ Expo

1. Randolph St. Swing – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
2. Ballicki Home – H.B.E.
3. War – H.B.E.
4. Marcus Garvey – H.B.E.
5. Water – H.B.E.
6. Flipside – H.B.E.
7. Rainbows - H.B.E.
8. Scrabble – H.B.E. feat Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (recorded live in LA)
9. Alyo - H.B.E.
10. Tema Do Canibal – BK-One feat Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
11. Brass In Africa - H.B.E.
12. Africa – Sun Ra
13. White Nile – Phil Cohran and Legacy
14. The Dogon – Phil Cohran and Legacy
15. Unity - Phil Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensamble
16. Mushallah – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
17. Moments – H.B.E.
18. Spottie – H.B.E.
19. Black Boy – Hypnotic Brass (w/ readings by Phil Cohran)

Oddisee hustles

From the man Oddisee - he is giving away Hustle Off to announce his new album People Hear What They See is up for pre-orders and ready for release June 12th! While Hustle Off is not on the upcoming album, it does set the tone nicely.


Last night, Lynval Golding of the Specials dedicated their song Poor Little Rich Girl to the late Amy Winehouse - a song she covered. Lynval said she passed away on his birthday, last year. Here she is playing with The Specials.

Homebrew album - finally!

Homebrew have been talking about dropping their debut album (a double album!) for quite a few months now. The release date is set, and they plan a 48 hour launch party in a former brothel. Cos that's how they roll. I've been to a few events in this salubrious location (called Shooters), and can report they still have a stripper pole in the middle of the bar.

Album presales on iTunes on April 13. Release party May 5 & 6, tickets $30, and you get a deluxe edition of the album on entry. Everything I've heard from Homebrew recently suggests this album will eclipse every other local release this year.  Eagerly anticipated doesn't even begin to cut it....

Venue; Shooters, 330 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland.
10am Saturday 5 May – 10am Monday 7 May, featuring beer and performances from Home Brew and special guests. Tickets available from Under The Radar from Monday 16 April.

'We got a mad drinking culture in this country cos there's nothing to do..." Tom Scott, Homebrew

Swede as

What's the Matter With Sweden? That's the title of an article on Pitchfork that looks at government funding of music in Sweden. You only have to think of the number of acts that have leapt onto the world stage in recent years - Likke Li, Robyn, the Knife, Little Dragon, Fever Ray and more - to see that their government's cultural policies are paying off. The article is from 2010, but still has some interesting points.

"... countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Canada make it easier for bands to focus on the creative arts by providing not only universal health care, but often cold hard cash, too. Every year, millions in public money goes toward recording, artist promotion, videos, venues, touring, festivals - even showcases at South By Southwest or CMJ Music Marathon.

"Things that are not possible are made possible," notes Ólöf Arnalds, an Icelandic singer/multi-instrumentalist who has benefited from government support. Over the past decade, Sweden has, perhaps not coincidentally, become a major player in global indie music. So, too, has Canada, which also enjoys government support for pop music..."

So, how much does Sweden spend on funding musicians? One example...

"The Swedish Arts Grants Committee allocates about 19 million SEK ($2.7 million) to musicians annually. There's also Export Music Sweden, which organized two all-Swedish SXSW showcases with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Austin, Texas."

And the article points out, just like with NZ On Air's Making Tracks funding, there are frustrated artists who miss out...

"With any public assistance for music, there are surely warts. Swedish artist and producer Tobias Fröberg voices one commonly heard complaint: "How do you pick one act from another to get financial support from the government? Of course, this is a delicate question, and it can be questioned by everybody, except for the lucky ones."

Others note the difficulties of paperwork and accounting, which aren't necessarily a musician's strong suit; companies in Canada will fill out artists' FACTOR applications for them, for a fee."

Then there are the hurdles that musicians face in Iran...

"... As two new movies screening at festivals this year show, music really is life or death there. Hassan Khademi's documentary Rapping in Tehran explores the Persian-language rap scene; Bahman Ghobadi's No One Knows About Persian Cats tells the story of Tehran's underground indie music community. "Support? Are you kiddin' me?" a member of Iranian expatriate band Take It Easy Hospital, the film's main protagonists, emails from London. "We are blessed not to be executed."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Specials tonight....

Playing times...

DOORS: 7pm

SXSW and beyond

King Kapisi with Rob Lowe, in LA outside Roscoes
A handful of Kiwi musicians recently ventured off to the annual music festival SXSW, held in Austin, Texas every March. New Zealand has built up a small but solid presence there over recent years (there's around 2000 bands playing), backed by the efforts of Outward Sound, the NZ Music Commission's initiative to support our bands get to new markets overseas.

This year's contingent at the official NZ Showcases ran to four acts: Electric Wire Hustle, Cairo Knife Fight, Kimbra, and Avalanche City. Other Kiwi-related acts playing SXSW were King Kapisi and Teremoana Rapley, and No, the new band from Steriogram's Brad Carter. King Kapisi was a late addition at the official NZ Showcase, (alongside Electric Wire Hustle, Cairo Knife Fight and Avalanche City) as he and Teremoana were attending SXSW as delegates, their second visit.

Read Cairo Knife Fight's tour diary here, and Electric Wire Hustle in Austin - 5 shows in 3 days, via Volume magazine.

Manager of Outward Sound Gary Fortune says that 35 bands applied to go to SXSW this year, 15 were chosen, and 5 went to the event.

The NZ Music Commission receives $1.378m a year from the government thru Ministry for Culture & Heritage - of that $400,000 goes directly to artists for international projects via Outward Sound. So, how do you get the money?

I spoke with Gary and Alan Holt (Outward Sound's export co-ordinator) late last year, to get some more background on how their programmes work. 

When Outward Sound started, it was in three stages, and it has evolved from there to its current form. Gary noted the original founding document for the programme from 2004, called Creating Heat, has been used as a template for similar initiatives in Ireland and Canada (see Creating Heat, pdf). The organisation is set up as a charitable trust, and uses an anonymous panel of 6 experts to select who gets the grants. 

Basically, if bands want to get that funding, they can't just turn up and say they're off to the UK or the US for a few shows and see what happens. They need say 15-20 shows and an album release, something solid. The goal with the Outward Sound funding is for growth stages for an act, not just return visits. 

They admit the success of the scheme does make it harder for new bands. But Fortune was keen to stress that they will help bands, even if they aren't successful with funding thru Outward Sound.

They have a range of contacts built up from networking at trade shows and events like SXSW or Midem and are happy to use them to help bands who are wanting to get offshore.

The funding is retrospective so bands have to spend the money first and front up with receipts, and is to half the value of the budgeted tour.

Read Outward Sound application forms, guidelines etc here.

Gary Fortune at SXSW, photo by Sam Wicks/Volume Magazine

Early last year, Fat Freddys Drop were successful in being granted funding to the tune of $30,000 for a proposed US trip on the back of being the first NZ act ever to be invited to play the prestigious festival Coachella, but the band eventually dropped out, saying that "... As an independent band that operates entirely within the confines of their own bank account, Fat Freddy's are unable to sustain the financial loss required to make this trip happen".

The NZ Herald's media columnist John Drinnan wrote a news story last June on NZ artist Ladyhawke getting funding from Outward Sound, which made the front page of the Herald with the rather absurd headline "Taxpayers' $60,000 gift for Ladyhawke".

I wrote him an open letter on my blog, pointing out that "When Ladyhawke gets $59,000 of taxpayer funds to tour overseas, and says she will remain based in NZ, that means shes going away and earning money and coming back and paying taxes here. In business I believe they call that EXPORTING."

Drinnan waded in on the comments on that blogpost, and several media folk such as Russell Brown and Paul Kennedy took him to task, and he did not like it one bit. He found the whole experience so distasteful he referred to it in print the following week, saying "the Ladyhawke debate was peppered with personal invective and swearing. The lesson was clear - you're in Blogland now."

The funny thing is, if you read thru the comments on that post, it is exceedingly civil, as internet debates go. I should have sent Drinnan off to Whale Oil for some real internet rage.

"Stalin was a probably big fan of state involvement in popular culture." - John Drinnnan, in the comments.

NZ On Air also funds some offshore initiatives, though to a lesser degree.

NZOA's 2011 annual report says they budgeted $5.5 million this year on music funding, of which $406,000 was spent on getting NZ acts noticed internationally (Aust/US)

For the coming year (2012), NZ On Air's Brendan Smyth says that budget has reduced to $380,000, as they are focussing on Australia. That country is now NZOA's sole focus, one of the outcomes of the review of NZOA's international music support programme done by Chris Caddick and released in late in 2009.

Smyth says "that [$380,000] is 6.6% of the NZ Music budget or 0.3% of the NZ On Air total budget.

"That $380,000 is pretty much half ($200,000) grants to bands for broadcast promotions campaigns in Australia (based on a 50% reimbursement of actual and eligible costs incurred) and half ($180,000) for other promotions like Big Sound, New Zealand music showcases, our deal with The Music Network, etc.

"Overseas is a pretty small part of our business really (as the % above suggest), partly because our core business is on-shore, not off-shore, and partly because international stuff is really the NZ Music Commission’s core business."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Songs From The Inside

Songs From The Inside is easily the most compelling thing on our tv screens right now. The documentary series is a brilliant idea  - take four musicians (Anika Moa, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika and Ruia Aperahama) and send them into prison to teach songwriting workshops.

It's three episodes in so far -  you can catch up on demand on Maori TV's website. The first episode, where the musicians visit the prisons they will be working in for the first time, is very moving. The show screens Sundays 8:00pm on Maori TV, and repeats Fridays at 10.30pm from 20 April.

"I'm more nervous about doing this than doing a gig"- Anika Moa.

From Maori TV: "SONGS FROM THE INSIDE follows New Zealand musicians Anika Moa, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika and Ruia Aperahama, who went into Rimutaka and Arohata correction facilities to teach songwriting to prisoners.

Directed by Julian Arahanga (Once Were Warriors’ Nig Heke) the musicians taught 10 prisoners the step-by-step music programme developed by Evan Rhys Davies – a pilot programme he had tutored at Spring Hill Corrections Facility in the Waikato.

There will be a thirteenth, hour-long special in which the songs the prisoners wrote, sang and recorded will be revealed.

Music therapy is used in prisons throughout the world, but SONGS FROM THE INSIDE is the first production to bring in established musicians and record the workshops, challenges and outcomes on film."