21 Jun 2009 // An interview by Shade
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
That's kinda like asking what is the best movie you've ever seen - how do you narrow it down? I'll try..
I'd have to mention Parihaka Peace Festival, because of the awesome vibe of it!! We've done two so far, and the last one was so windy that the main stage shut down (it was being held together by giant cranes) and all the main stage bands - which included us - were pushed to the smaller 'Visionary' stage. It turned out really well as everybody checking out the music was concentrated on the one stage instead of spreading out, and we played as the sun set. Mean fun! Another goodie was the final Saturday night of the ASB Gardens Magic series at the Botanical Gardens' soundshell - we were lucky with the beautiful weather Wellington provided, and around 5000 people came out for it to picnic and chill out. That was fun as.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
I have been trying to run through in my mind different bars and clubs to try and figure this out, and came to the conclusion that this is really affected by the people that attend, so once I again I must mention a few. We just played a gig supporting Little Bushman at the Regent on Broadway for the closing of the Manawatu Jazz Festival. It's a beautiful theatre, and it was a lot of fun to play to an attentive seated audience. I should've mentioned this for the question before really but whatever! We really enjoy a grimey club gig for the raw energy from a good crowd - and 12 Below in Dunedin really provided that for us, they looked after us well also. Bodega also, they're a great venue for bands with a good PA. We'd like to thank all the venues that have had us and looked after us, we appreciate it!
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
This is the last one I'm answering because I'm finding it hard! There are a lot of NZ bands I've not seen and need to check out still! Bands and people I want to see more of include Lisa Tomlins, LA Mitchell, Tom Watson, Rio Hemopo, Mara TK, Jonathon Crayford trio with Julien Dyne and Chip Matthews, Olmecha Supreme, Iva Lamkum, Opensouls, the list goes on. These people all have great stage energy/presence, write great tunes, are astounding musicians, and have vibe! There's loads of great music in NZ and there is a lot I missed out, and a lot I don't know about and am yet to discover.
What is your most embarrassing on tour/gig moment?
Seeing a flock of emotional bats brandishing various kitchen implements fly at me mid solo, I dodge them frantically and hurry to open a portal to banish them into the past - but instead of them going in - I switch places with my 7 year old self who can't play the piano. I blink, then realise that I'm the last one at the gig and everyone has left, it must have been a hallucination, and my only option is to beg a busker for money for a bus home. Terrible. That probably isn't true.
Oh wait - I remember a real one. Haha! We all went for a swim at a beach when we played up at the Leigh Sawmill Cafe (another good venue!) on our EP release tour. I went in my cotton boxer shorts as I forgot my togs. There was one of those rafts out in the sea that you can jump off, and I like doing those gorilla type bombs, so I set off toward it. There were a bunch of young girls jumping off it (around 8-11 years old I'd say) and I thought it might be a bit weird in my undies but I was keen to have a bomb and they seemed fine so I jumped off a few times. Shaun and Paddy had swum out to a rock way past me, and saw something a little odd upon looking back - haha! I'd say it was at that moment that one of the girls looked me in the eye and said straight-faced 'you've got a rip in your pants'. I thanked her profusely for telling me as it would've been a terrible look, checked, and the rip was right up my ass from elastic band to the seam where the two legs are joined at the bottom. The HUGEST rip I've ever encountered. Now my dilemma was getting back to shore without alarming parents of my exposure to their innocent offspring. Hmmm. Swimming back the boys were all on the beach having a laugh, and I hung in the water unsure of what to do as they were right next to a bunch of families! Dammit. I bit the bullet and walked out clutching my ass, the families overheard the boys' laughs and our conversation and looked over, amused. I figured they were alright so I showed them my ass to shut them up. One of them said that some of them had weak stomachs, to which I said 'what are you trying to say? I've got a nice ass!'... We didn't talk much after that but I felt I had disarmed them enough not to worry about me being a 23 year old pedophile on the raft with my ass hanging out amongst a bunch of 8 year old girls.
How did you come up with the name Harbour City Electric?
I didn't. Ariel White who started the band did. He originally wanted to do covers of old funk and disco tunes that were sampled in hip hop, so people recognised the beats, but were different. We tossed up a bunch of ideas and Harbour City Electric was the one that stuck in the end. No clever story or deep reasons behind the name sorry!
How do you describe your music?
My favourite mix of funk, hip hop, dance music in various forms, jazz, and soul. It's nice to be able to make music customised to your own tastes, and we have similar ones so it works out nicely!
What can we expect to see from Harbour City Electric over the next year?
Expect some sneaky remixes to be out before the end of the year, we have lots of very talented people on the case and are looking forward to the results! Also planning for the album has begun, and we hope to have that out early next year. Quite excited about that, it's going to be filth! The good kind of filth.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Do it because you love it, and if you love it, push it! Try to meet lots of musicians and play a lot. Listen a lot, go to gigs, and expand your musical horizons genre-wise - keep an open mind. Be constructive in your criticism, and take it well. Don't get a big head, because it will limit the people who want to play with you, and stop you from getting better. Most of all, have fun!