Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lorde wins Taite

Lorde and Little, winning stuff since last year/forever

Lorde won the fifth annual Taite Music Prize this evening, collecting $10,000 and recording time at Red Bull Studio, plus a years worth of Red Bull. In her acceptance speech, via video from Las Vegas, she graciously offered to give up the prize money to the other finalists.

Lorde said "I think everyone is kind of sick of me winning stuff at the moment and other people are in more in need of the funds and exposure right now. So if you will accept it, the prize money and the studio time have been split between this year's nominees. If you don't want it, that's cool too."

The other finalists were Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who won the Taite Prize in 2012), Beastwars, Sheep Dog & Wolf, the Phoenix Foundation, David Dallas, @peace, and Jonathan Bree. They will get approx $1600 each. And a few Red Bull. If Lorde doesn't drink them all. [kidding]

Grant Smithies, one of this year's judging panel, said "Lorde's LP was a rare example of an underground pop record being so damn good, it went mainstream, not just here, but worldwide."

It seems a long shot to try and argue Lorde's album was ever going to be underground, given it featured a global hit single, and got released in late September 2013, on the last possible day of eligibility for this year's Grammys. There is no question it was going to go mainstream. Only question was how big would it get. Maybe Smithies is referring to the sound of the record. It will be interesting to see the reaction to such a commercially successful artist winning an award based solely on originality and artistic achievement, not taking into account any commercial success or otherwise.

The prize giving took place at Galatos in Auckland, the location for Lorde's first ever live performance. Also awarded was the IMNZ Classic Indie Album prize, with a very moving and funny speech from Kerry Buchanan, celebrating AK79. 

Buchanan noted that AK79 was part of the cultural change of 77-79 in NZ. It didn't happen apart from current events. 

He talked about the importance of AK79 in capturing a moment in time, and how that spread. He gave an example - of working in a record shop and this guy wearing a bunch of scarves wandered up and shook his hand and started talking to him about AK79  - it was Silvio from The Sopranos, better known as Little Steven - guitarist with Bruce Springsteen, and host of a radio show called Little Steven's Underground Garage. Steven loved AK79. [Kerrys speech is here, 8 minutes in]

The award was presented to Ripper Records boss Bryan Staff, the man responsible for the legendary compilation but he wasn't in the room at that moment, so Kerry blagged off with it. Fair enough. NZ Herald's Hugh Sundae caught up with Bryan later in the evening, watch that here.

He tells Hugh about the practical aspects of getting AK79 out - Bryan had all these demo tapes of Auckland punk bands who had been on his radio show, and a colleague suggested he put out a record, and Bryan thought, why don't I do that? Aren't there laws against that sort of thing?

So he went off to Ode Records and asked them if they could take the compilation tape and make a record and bill him. They did that, and he got the record, the inner sleeve, the outer sleeve, and the hardest part about getting the record out was Bryan had to sit there putting the sleeves together, getting numerous cardboard cuts for the next week it took to do the initial 250 copies.

The Record Warehouse bought the lot and gave him a cheque, and Bryan went back and ordered another 500, then that sold and he ordered 500 more from the man at Ode [probably Terence O'Neill Joyce], who said "How can you do this? I've struggled for years to get acceptance and you have this crap record that no one will play, yet it's selling." Bryan said "Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye!"

SJD (the 2013 Taite Prize winner) and his band played a short but utterly delightful set to close the night. SJD made a speech earlier in the evening, highlighting all the joys winning the prize had bought into his life, noting that he with only 17,000 more plays on Spotify, he can afford a new guitar pick. That's the dream, kids. Watch SJD's speech here.

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