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Newsletter Issue #159: 21 Oct 2007

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The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2007

The 42nd Annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. 42 years we've been celebrating our best and greatest musicians.

Having just returned to good old Palmy after a quick trip to Auckland and back to check out the awards, I thought I'd squeeze a bit in here about what we saw, as I sift though the glorious contents of my goodie bag!

The big winners on the night were The Mint Chicks, Hollie Smith and Brooke Fraser, each taking home multiple awards. Highlights from the live performances included Hollie Smith and The Mint Chicks. This was topped off by an amazing performance by Jon Toogood & 'The New Devils' (Shayne Carter, Paul Roper, Mike Hall) of the 1957 hit Lawdy Miss Clawdy in a tribute to Johnny Devlin.

You can read more about the awards in the official press release.

Vodafone Juice TV Awards 2007

Not to be forgotten, the Juice TV awards were also announced this week. Check out the full details in their official press release.

I just realised that Vodafone sponsor both events! Good on ya Vodafone!

And Congratulations To...

Fast She Said for winning the National finals at the World Battle Of The Bands.

North Shore band Solomon for winning the Smokefreerockquest 2007.

In This Issue...

We sent someone along to have a chat with kiwi metalers 8 Foot Sativa, we interview Batucada Sound Machine and hear from Auckland band Ulcerate.


8 Foot Sativa

NEW ZEALAND'S PREMIER METAL ACT 8 FOOT SATIVA were interviewed by Matt on 6 October, and this is what they had to say:

After a 5-hour delay due to transportation issues, and a hefty amount of blame directed Jamie’s way, I finally met up with Gary Smith, the only original member of 8 Foot Sativa; a genuinely awesome guy who is dedicated to and loves music – and quite rightly so! We discussed at length (and could have for several hours) motivation, conspiracy and the future of 8 Foot Sativa in a cosy corner of Bar Mode in Palmy North, during their national Undoing Tour.

What’s the best thing about being 8ft?

The ability to express ourselves musically, going overseas & being able to bring new stuff back. Showing that bands can get out – as bad as that sounds – but its true. The odds are generally against bands leaving the shores, but we are proof it can be done.

What inspires you guys? One website describes your music as “Hate, Drugs, Life” – what’s your take on that, do you think you fall into any particular category/label?

Musically inspired by Pantera, Sepultura, and Swedish metal (The Haunted etc). Jamie is more into the extreme thrash. Pretty much collectively we are into groovy catchy thrash with some death. The band set out wanting to sound unique and not like anyone else. We always try to get a hook and a groove in there.
8ft collectively disagree with society in general, specifically the categorisation and “isms” – sexism/racism/ageism etc. everyone should just be one, a true, equal society. 8ft just want to make a difference, and fight inequality where they can, David Icke is another source of inspiration, and the entire band are vegan.

You’ve played some pretty sweet venues, where’s your fave?

Bar Mode in Palmy North, we are pretty well looked after when we play in PN, Nelson’s Phat Club, Christchurch’s Jetset Lounge. Anywhere in Dunedin, Gisborne & Hamilton, they’re all pretty awesome (sometimes surprisingly) cities for gigs. Auckland sucks, too full of judgmental critical egotistical monkeys who come out to judge instead of have a good time.

What rumour would you like to start/deny/elaborate about yourselves?

New rumour: Carnal Forge may very well be touring with 8ft next year.
Dispel a rumour: Regardless of image we are 8foot. The lineup currently is the best its ever been, most bands that have been together 2 years don’t get this much done, or make this much noise, so forget the old image, we are 8foot and harder than ever.
And as a side note: Christian is, in Gary’s opinion, the best guitar player in NZ at the moment, and Jamie the most talented drummer internationally as far as he is concerned.

Any particular things you’d like to try next, people to do, places to see? What’s next for 8ft in the next 12-18 months?

The next album is 75% done; expect to see that early next year. Lots more touring and videos planned shortly, so keep your eyes & ears open.

You’ve often been described as NZs premier metal band, what do you think you’ve got that the rest of the metal bands in NZ haven’t?

We are very anal about out playing and performances, some bands sound great live, but like shit recorded. We never forget that there is something to improve on, never ever do they rest on their laurels; instead they try and improve every day, with constant rehearsal of even the original songs just to keep in shape, as it were,

You’ve made it pretty big, any advice to aspiring bands?

PRACTICE! Keep your egos under control, both of the band collectively and individual members. Stay loyal to the band; when shit goes down it gets really hard on the band and their families, especially at this level when it falls apart (for whatever reason). NZ has a toll poppy syndrome where its hard to get ahead with everyone trying to pull you down, or put you down, so overcome that and show them it can be done. Never forget that there might be a band even bigger and better than you waiting in the wings, so play the best you can, and keep getting better.

You’ve played with some pretty sweet bands, who’s your favourite band to gig with?

Pantera – a really nice bunch of guys, Gary once spent an evening with Dimebag Dallas who said of 8ft “Really nice band, wish we had got that name.” As a further example of constant striving for perfection - Dimebag spent 3hrs pacing before they went on, nervous as hell.
Disturbed – nice bunch of guys.

Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands?

Akaname (ah-ka-na-mi) from Wellington,
Anatagonist, also a bunch of vegans from Auckland/Hamilton, very tight sound, admirable values.

I’ve got to know, how did you come up with your name? Behind the bike sheds at Massey High?

No, actually, we were watching a TV show one day and the cops busted this guy who was growing a cannabis plant in his living room, and the announcer said “Who would grow an 8 Foot Sativa in their living room?” – it just sounded right.

The timeless desert island question – 2 (negotiable) things you couldn’t live without if you were stranded on an island? Collectively or individually.

Without a doubt, or nary a pause, Gary reckons the whole band would take their cat, their girlfriends, and as a sneaky extra, a whole bunch of other NZ bands music to listen to.

8 Foot Sativa are Ben Read (vocals), Gary Smith (guitar), Christian Humphreys (guitar), Rom Lee (bass) and Jamie Saint Merat (drums).

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Batucada Sound Machine

B.S.M (Batucada Sound Machine) are a 13-piece supergroup based out of Auckland - with members from Dunedin and Wellington as well. Their unique mix of brazilian beats with hip-hop, afrobeat and funk have taken them through all major NZ Festivals and also on tours in the UK and Australia. Their debut studio album 'Rhythm and Rhyme' is out now through Border Music and has been generating rave reviews. Produced by Neil Sparkes (UK - Transglobal Underground and  Temple of Sound) and mixed at the legendary Avatar Studios in NY, the album has truly captured the essence of BSM's acclaimed sound.

Check them live this summer Jambalaya Festival Jan 4-6 in Rotorua.

What is your greatest achievement?

In a live sense, our greatest achievement I think was pulling off our tour to the UK - where we played 20 shows in 23 days. We got to perform at the amazing Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also the WOMAD Rivermead Festival

However, in a broader sense, this album is our biggest achievement. From the outset and enlisting Neil Sparkes as producer, to the mix in NY, to the final pressings being rolled out, I think this is a milestone for us that we can all be really proud of. We can sit back and compare this recording against some of our influences internationally and think - 'man this is some good shit'...

What do you think could be done to make NZ music even better?

NZ Music is going through a definite high point at the moment. There is a lot of public and media support for local bands and also government support as well - all of which helps to push the level of playing, recording, songwriting etc up to another level.

I don't think there are any recipes for improving the success of local bands. If anything, I think as soon as bands get out overseas they come back to earth a bit and realise the sheer amount of good music that is out there...

I think its about perserverance - in the music and business side of things.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

Hopefully we'll be onto our 3rd album by then!

One of the reasons we chose to work with Neil and also our Engineer Lawrence Manchester in NY was that they had the potential to help open doors for us in the UK and US. We hope that over the next few years we can start to gain more exposure in these areas.

4) What is the best thing about making music?

BSM is a big family. We enjoy hanging out and the live gigs are always fun. Imagine 13 band members plus tech crew on the road for 2 weeks - carnage? you got it.

10,000 people at WOMAD UK was a blast (check the video for Tremblin' to get an idea) - so I think the buzz after making an entire football field of people jump in time - is pretty wicked!

What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?

Stick with your music. You can go through periods where you just want to throw it all in - but then the buzz you get after a big gig makes it all worthwhile. Persevere.

James Hughes (Jamorito)

B.S.M is James Hughes, Richie Setford, Mani Fagundes, MC Hazaduz, Rota Barrington, Alex Urlich, Andrew McDowall, Haydn Godfrey, Wairere Iti, Alfonso Rios, Darryn Sigley, Carol Green and Janie Sheridan.

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Ulcerate at the moment is preparing for a string of international supports here in NZ, namely Australia's The Amenta (October), USA's Cephalic Carnage/The Black Dahlia Murder (November), and Poland's Behemoth (December). Asides from that, the band is hard at work writing their next full-length to follow up the 2006 release 'Of Fracture and Failure' on leading extreme metal label, the Netherlands' Neurotic Records. The band is also in negotiations with the label and European touring agencies to cement a full 20-30 date European tour in 2008. Ulcerate will also be hitting Australia early next year for the 'Metalstock' festival.

Ulcerate is Ben Read (vocals), Michael Rothwell (guitar), Michael Hoggard (guitar), Paul Kelland (bass) and Jamie Saint Merat (drums).

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What's New?


Enter today for your chance to win the following albums:

Odessa - 'The Prize'

Ward 10 - 'Curing Those Who Are Normal'

B.S.M - 'Rhythm and Rhyme'

Antagonist - 'Distance'

Quarter 2 - 'Taking Arson To
New Heights'

Reviews and Interviews

Along with the 8 Foot Sativa interview (see above), a couple of new gig reviews have also been added to the site. They are:

8 Foot Sativa

Cage Demise


Black Chrome

New Artists

Ois II Men

Steve Abel

Fallen Hero

Cage Demise



Fiona McEwen

Indigo Children



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