18 Jul 2009 // An interview by Shade
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
That’s a tough question. There have been so many gigs that were good for different reasons. A.R.E.A 9 festival was great because it was an opportunity to experience being involved in a really big event and to share the stage with some of New Zealand’s most inspiring artists. Supporting Salmonella Dub, Katchafire and Tahuna Breaks on other occasions have all been really good gigs as well.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
Our favourite venues tend to be the small intimate ones where the vibe is laid back and people get up and jam with us. Our favourites would include the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay, Hot Mamas in Motueka, Strawberry Tree in Kaikoura, and Bar Beleza in Christchurch. It would be impossible to rate one over the other. They’re all such good places in their own unique way.
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
TAOS. They’re the future of the Aotearoa dub sound. Their combination of styles is original and their live performance is awesome, check them out. Philter for his mind-blowing live dubstep. Also The Mad Faces, Left or Right, Six60, Solfonic and all the great bands out there who are currently putting in the hard yards.
What is your most embarrassing on tour/gig moment?
That would have to be at the Mussel Inn earlier this year. We had a really good local audience, and had played for close to 3 hours and performed almost all of our material, and the crowd demanded an encore. We’d started to write a new song a couple of days earlier, and since we’re well accustomed to jamming live we figured it would be ok to give it a go. We started playing and Jeremy forgot a critical change in his bass line. Tu tried to show him how it went on his guitar but couldn’t really remember it either, he just knew there had been a change of some sort. Meanwhile Luis was wishing he could just crawl inside his kick drum and hide. The whole song ground to a halt and we started again from the top. Fortunately the crowd loved it and forgave us our first attempt, content to know that they were the first people to ever hear it live, but that was definitely something we wouldn’t want to repeat.
How did you come up with the name Soulsystem?
We had been gigging for a couple of months without a name, and an opportunity came up to support a well known band that was coming through Christchurch, so the pressure was put on us to decide on something for the promo material. Prior to that, one of our gags when playing live was to introduce ourselves with different name between each song. We sat up late on more than one night throwing ideas around, trying to think of something punchy and memorable, and in the end Soulsystem came up. A system is group of components that work in harmony to achieve a result that one component on its own could not. So to us Soulsystem describes the band, and the diverse influences that have combined to create our sound, and at the same time emphasises the soulful lyrics that are a major part of it.
How do you describe your music?
The Soulsystem sound is essentially a blend of Soul, Dub, Funk, Reggae, and Blues.
What can we expect to see from Soulsystem over the next year?
More recordings and more gigs. Hopefully a few more festival appearances and some visits to the North Island as well.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Perform live as often as possible when you’re starting out, and pay attention to what people respond to. Keep what works and throw out or rethink what doesn’t. No matter how good your recorded material might be, you want your live performance to be better. Also get out there and support other local bands and in return they’ll support you. That way the whole live music scene grows, and with it so will your opportunities as an artist.