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Ishtar - Ishtar Newsletter Interview

04 Sep 2005 // An interview by Shade
The following was included in the muzic.net.nz Newsletter:

Which NZ artist/band do you think will be a huge international success one day?

[Simon] I think a number of current NZ bands will leave some big footprints to fill internationally but honestly I don’t see anyone being U2 or The Beatles big. I don’t think the current climate is allowing anyone to get that big and stay there anymore, anywhere in the world. I’d like to see Opshop and The Bleeders go a lot further than they are.
[Dave] Hard to say. Pluto could be a sleeper hit. Betchadupa are on their way.
[Andrew] Ishtar.

Who would you most like to tour with?

[Simon] 5 years ago I would have said Van Halen. Now I think the foo fighters or Velvet Revolver would be top of my wish list.
[Andrew] Meat Bix
[Mel] Cliff Hedley. Our mothers would be so proud. (Cliff is an old friend of Mel’s)
[Dave] Velvet Revolver, Pluto, Shihad.

What is your most embarrassing concert moment?

[Dave] Losing a stick on stage (at papa jacks) that flew over the crowd and landed on the bar. Didn’t think much of it at the time as I thought it had just fallen off stage.
[Andrew] None yet.
[Mel] That gig at the poedium (April 08, 2004)
[Simon] Yeah the third poedium gig, and a kings arms gig, Nov 23 2000. Everything that could go wrong…..

What are you planning on doing during 2005?

[Andrew] Earning coin, Drinking Jagermeister, playing music.
[Dave] Apart from upgrading the kit, pushing the single and putting some money aside for the EP.
[Simon] More gigs, really push the recording, buy two more Peavey Wolfgangs

How did you come up with the name Ishtar?

[Dave] The band was already called Ishtar when Mel, Andrew and I joined.
[Simon] About a week before our first gig we didn’t have a name. someone suggested naming ourselves after one of our songs. The only one that made sense was Temple of Ishtar. Ishtar is the babylonian goddess of love and war so it also kinda points out were a band with a lot of light and shade in our sound too.

What is in your CD collection at home?

[Simon] anything and everything, hundreds of cds and around 1000 cassettes, all kinds of stuff from Mozart to Django Reinhardt, zeppelin, Korn…. All kinds of things. Lately I’ve been playing Dream Theater’s ‘Octavarium’ and Queen’s "Sheer Heart Attack" a lot.
[Dave] Crowded house, Split Enz, Queen, Stone Temple Pilots, Faith No More, Foo Fighters, Gomez, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, Alice in Chains, Metallica and much more
[Mel] I’ve got a huge amount of stuff saved onto Itunes, from Korn to Van Halen through to Delta Goodrem and Cat Stevens…. Pretty much everything but Classical.
[Andrew] Naked City, Medinghi Martin and Wood, Funkadelic, Blue, New Kingdom.

What advice would you give other budding musicians/bands?

[Andrew] Buy decent equipment. Listen to more than one type of music.
[Dave] Make sure you know how to play and make sure you’ve played with your band for a while before your first gig.
[Simon] Music business is two words, two concepts that sit a little uneasy at times. Make sure you know a little bout the latter. Know how to draft a simple agreement, particularly licensing agreements. Market gigs and releases, both to friends and to the outside world. Bar owners want people to see people at your gigs so make it your responsibility. Keep a mailing list. Join APRA.

About Ishtar

Ishtar is a band moniker for Transgendered Guitar Goddess Simone Whitlow’s musical outlet over the last decade. A Hard Rock group based out of Auckland, Ishtar is Musically cinematic, mixing stadium-esque riffs, big hooks and often disparate elements into their songwriting style. Ishtar’s music draws comparisons to bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Van Halen, Kansas, Styx, Iron Maiden, Nightwish and Dream Theater, to name a few.

Ishtar have had numerous highlights including playing to a packed out Aotea Square during New Years & releasing 2 EPs (South of Sanity (2006) and the internet only release Ambigram (2007). They scored airplay on numerous indie and student Rock stations across NZ, featured on a Tsunami charity CD 'Reconstruction' & filmed a yet to be released Video for their song 'South of Sanity'

The band has seen numerous incarnations. Mk 1, Featuring Simone (then Simon) on guitars also consisted of Angel & Johnny Walker (A Beautiful Chaos, vocals and drums) and Warren Keene on Bass. This incarnation was a proggy affair also with elements of Black Sabbath and hair metal. In Mk 3, Simone was joined by Mel Wright (vocals), Dave Cannon (drums) and Jamie Denton (bass) This version of the band forged the Ishtar sound and also recorded the bulk of Ishtar’s material. Collaborative and still heavy but a more commercial, rock orientated approach, the band crossed the line from Metal to Rock, while also indulging their musicality beyond that typical of Rock bands of the day. In 2007, just prior to folding Ishtar Mk3 (at this point Mel, Dave, Simone and bassist Matt Farley) filmed a video for their song ‘South Of Sanity’ since disregarded due to the fact Simone featured on it while still ‘Simon’.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ishtar


South Of Sanity
Year: 2006
Type: EP

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