Monday, May 12, 2014

Aaron Tokona on Kim Dotcom, PT I

Aaron Tokona in the studio with Kim Dotcom. Photo belongs to Aaron Tokona

Earlier today, guitarist Aaron Tokona (A Hori Buzz/Cairo Knife Fight) published a long rant on his Facebook page taking aim at Kim Dotcom, who he worked for as a hired hand on Dotcom's album, Good Times. 

Seems Aaron didn't have such a good time, as he alludes to in this first posting, one of several he's promised. Reprinted below in full, with Aaron's permission. 

He also notes that a TV3 political reporter had been in touch and she'd asked him to substantiate his claims, which he says he can... 

An Experience In Cosmic Narcissism Part 1:

A personal account of working for ‘THE PHENOMENAL’

"A little while ago I got a phone call from a good friend whom I recently lost but remain hopeful to someday regain. My friend asked me if I’d come play my guitar on the Kim Dot Com album which by that time had been in production for around 2 years. I was half expecting that call as Neil Finns Roundhead Studio’s is a place I’d been working out of for 4-5 years and everyone there felt like family to me and because of this the place had become my music Marae. It felt safe for me to simply be a self obsessed artist type forever in search of the magic stuff in the form of music that engages people in the area of the heart.

Roundhead had been abuzzed with the presence of what was described as something of a sage like phenomenon and at the time most kiwis believed this myth and so did I a tiny weeny bit, because everyone loves a good David and Goliath story. The media was obsessed with all of it so much so that it missed the obvious fact which was we the public were all getting sick to death of the circus it had all become.

I have been in the Music Industry for most of my little life and have met a lot of very famous and successful musicians, actors, politicians and narcissistic personality types so nothing really fazes me very much these days because unfortunately for the world we lost Hendrix many years ago and if he was still walking the earth that would be the only possible thing that could ever Faze, Blaze or completely Haze me all the way out!

so if your standard is set that high everyone else you ever meet just becomes a mere mortal really. But i never judge the cover of any book i haven't yet read so i was simply very grateful to be asked to play, and to be paid very well, to bring my skill’s that i had honed over many years on the dole (thank you aunty Helen) for someone’s Album. 

Ironically the day before walking into the KimDot sessions i was apart of a beautiful charity event with my awesome and amazing muso mates my sis Anika Moa my bro Tiki and we were there giving our music in support of our beautiful friend Ella Rose towards her contribution to the awesome work of the Global Poverty Project a foundation dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty in the world in one generation. 

So you can imagine what it might have been like for me to walk out of that situation and straight into an environment of extreme gluttony! They were polar opposites, and if you know me you can only imagine how funny moving between those extreme states could have been for me.

Upon my arrival at Roundhead Studio’s for the first day on the KimDot sessions it was immediately clear to me that the vibration and feeling of the place was very low which was confirmed when i walked into studio 'A' and energetically introduced myself to the 3 hotshot afro american producer’s sitting in the back staring into the abyss of there laptop’s looking bored, uninspired and very much in need of a break from being exceptionally well paid for the privilege of being someone’s slave. 

This was very sad to me as they obviously came from a Whakapapa (Genealogy) of a civilisation that abolished all these things and more in the the Pursuit of Happiness and the great American Dream. There was little life-force in the place and i got all this in the first 5 minutes and i still hadn’t yet formally met ‘the guy’. 

As he walked into the room the first thing he said to me was “I hear you make magic with strings”! I just about lost my shit and burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter but i didn’t, i just shook his hand and at that moment i felt very skinny as Kim is a very BIG little guy that speaks in a very commanding way, so as i began setting up my gear to begin my musical contribution's to his God awful music i remember very clearly thinking to myself only one thing. 

Which was that i was going to completely annihilate these guys in the one way i know i can, and that was through the music that came out of me through my guitar, and with that i did a mental Haka, imagined i was Buck Shelford wearing my All Black gear and then preceded to waste all of them.

The game didn’t win on that first day in the studio i did. Suddenly the american hotshot producer guys woke up and started whistling and hooting at me in that annoying american way they do, and i became what would later be referred to me as - ‘Kim’s Favourite’ which just made me want to vomit. I was only meant to be there for 2-3 days top’s but as it turned out I had a long and painful 2 month’s ahead of me of some of the most bizzar experiences in human psychosis I've had thus far.

End of Part 1."

ADDED 13 May 2014: Fairfax's Vicki Anderson has this story 'Racist Day' fun with Kim Dotcom, as featured on the front page of The Press today...

excerpt... "... Christchurch musician Aaron Tokona, who played guitar on Dotcom's album, said [Dotcom] took part in "racist day" during the recording of his album last year at Auckland's Roundhead Studios.

"On racist day you were allowed to speak freely, make racist jokes and it was OK apparently," Tokona said yesterday.

"He could be called an evil Nazi and given the Hitler salute and he would call people ‘his little n......'."

Dotcom also had two gollywog dolls made for the American producers, including the musical director of the Black Eyed Peas, Printz Board, who worked on the album, Tokona said.

"He decided to play a prank so had two gollywog dolls made in their likeness and left them in the studio. A video was made of their reactions to walking into the studio and finding the gollywogs," Tokona said.

In a statement released to The Press by the Internet Party, Kim Dotcom said: "There was never any personal offence meant nor taken. It actually went to show that race wasn't an issue for any of us."

The statement also included comment from Roundhead Studios' sound engineer, Neil Baldock.

Baldock said that during the recording, artists working on the album would occasionally "trash talk" each other as a way of blowing off steam.

"This was something that had been brought to the studio by the African-American members of an international recording act working on the album, who said it was a tradition they had started some years previously to blow off steam during long and sometimes stressful periods in the recording studio.

"Everyone in the studio would rib each other on subjects normally considered taboo. These were never personal attacks and there was no malice. It was all closed-door fun."

Baldock described it as a "jokey" banter session.

"When the producer of an international band came to work on Good Times in our studio a couple of years ago, he told us that for years when the group toured the world they had a jokey kind of banter session," Baldock said.

"It was just a crazy, fun thing, and we joined in. It would go on for no more than five or 10 minutes during recording sessions that lasted hours and hours, so it was no big deal.

"Whatever minority group or nationality might have been in the room was fair game and everyone dished it out equally. Nobody got offended. They got me for being white and freckled. Kim didn't actually know about it, but was in the studio one day and joined in. He copped it over his weight. He was there for a few sessions, then it kind of died out."

Tokona said he decided to talk about his experiences with Dotcom after receiving an email.

"Tom Scott of HomeBrew, with the help of musicians around New Zealand, was organising a series of concerts up and down the country called Vote, to get people motivated to take part in the election," Tokona said.

"But Kim Dotcom has directly stolen this idea and is doing the same thing."

Aaron Tokona posted the above story on his Facebook page, adding "Well this part of my story was actually going to be Part 3 of my 8 part account of working for Kim's Dot. But as i sit here getting Part 2 into shape Part 3 made the Paper! And now the truth i was going to speak out about AMAZINGLY has been substantiated by KIM DOT COM and his little n......ers themselves. WAKEY WAKEY Aotearoa this is the 'guy' that currently has the potential to run our country if we let it happen and...............THIS CANNOT HAPPEN............ PLEASE......... FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IN AND CARE ABOUT.....................................WAKE UP."

ADDED May 13 - Russell Brown at Public Address has also been following this story, read his piece here. He notes that "... Neil Baldock has left Roundhead not entirely happily and now works for Dotcom’s forthcoming Baboom music business in LA. Also: his statement was signed off by Printz Board, indicating he agrees with the account given by Baldock ... if (as I have been told) the same story was being saved up for later release by Whaleoil, it being broken now may be a small mercy..."

Russell has since added the following: "Edit: Neil Baldock left Roundhead on good terms in July last year and is currently overseas for a few months exploring his options. Information I was given earlier that he left after conflict and is working for Dotcom’s Baboom music service was incorrect on both counts and I’d like to apologise to Neil for its publication."

ADDED May 15 - Part II is now out, here.

No comments: