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Newsletter Issue #20: 17 Oct 2004

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Who is Marshall Smith?

Later this month, APRA is going to hold a glitzy ceremony in front of an invite-only industry crowd and give out a few awards. The APRA Silver Scroll will be decided by a secret panel of six judges and will go to 2004's best NZ songwriter. There will also be awards for those who received more airplay than anyone else this year, on both a national and international scale. For 39 years the Silver Scroll has been one of the highest local accolades available to New Zealand musicians. It's awarded solely for song-writing, and in paying no mind to commercial success retains a certain form of purity, an artist-centric feel to it. This year, there are six nominees: Scribe and P-Money for Not Many; Shayne Carter, Andy Morton and Ned Ngatae (Dimmer), for Getting What You Give; Liam Finn (betchadupa) for The Bats of Darkwell Lane; all four of Goodshirt for Fiji Baby; TrinityRoots's frontman Warren Maxwell, for Home, Land and Sea; and Marshall Smith (head of songwriter and producer collective The New Freedom) for Grey Boy.

In a way, the nominee that stands out beyond the other five in the list is Marshall Smith. Chances are that this isn't a name you've seen much of before. The New Freedom's website gives more than enough evidence that Smith has the CV of a fine songsmith, and provides downloads to prove how good he is. That APRA have considered Grey Boy alongside hits like recent number one Not Many is testament to their pursuit of NZ's finest-written song, regardless of popularity.

So it's a bit odd that the award ceremony will also present awards for the Work Most Performed Overseas and Most Performed in New Zealand. These two awards recognise exactly the sort of success - airplay - that the Silver Scroll is intentionally designed to not take into consideration. What are APRA doing? The overseas award is pretty much a Neil Finn certainty for all time, given the USA chart-topping (if you count number 2 as 'chart-topping') history of 1986's Don't Dream It's Over. The national award moves around a lot more, and this year could quite possibly end up in Scribe's rapidly-overcrowding pool room. Or shudder-inducing Ben Lummis may receive a last few minutes in the spotlight before his short-lived 'career' goes the way of all the other Idols around the globe. If there were ever two people at opposite ends of a broad spectrum, they would have to be Marshall Smith, with his many years of song writing success and small amount of personal recognition, and Lummis, who shot to fame nearly overnight on the back of a reasonable voice and huge media attention, but hasn't had to have an original musical thought yet.

APRA is definitely the only group that can boast almost all of NZ's active songwriters within its membership, and it's also probably got access to more airplay and song performance data than any other outfit. This probably means that it's fair enough that they take it upon themselves to award our best-written song of 2004 as well as the producers of the year's most popular tunes. But aren't these awards almost direct opposites? When it comes to music, quality and popularity are not as closely linked as we'd like them to be, so which award of the awards should our songwriters be aiming to win? The Silver Scroll might be nice to receive in front of NZ's most important music industry figures, but what does it signify? The 'Most Performed' awards are at least based on something measurable and definite, and award an actual achievement. The Silver Scroll, meanwhile, has a proud history of passing through many amazing hands in its time (including those of Ray Columbus and Wayne Mason, and more recently Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, Don McGlashan, Greg Johnson and Chris Knox). Ultimately, what it comes down to is whether commercial success should be the goal our musicians hold most dear, and whether it's the Marshall Smiths or Ben Lummises that make the world go round.

-- Max


Conjuring up abstract fragments of images like driving slowly down a long linear sun bleached and deserted road with no time on mind, or ascending a steep grassy hill through mid-winter fog and looking out on the starry city lights far below. Tourist explores the realms of possibility with songs that evoke hope, aspiration and consciousness that are uniquely crafted yet at the same instance compellingly familiar.

Tourist arise from Auckland New Zealand. The band are a four piece line-up playing entirely original music that have defined a brave new sound unique for this part of the world. With influences from an array of New Zealand and international artists Tourist boast a combination of powerful melodies, interwoven guitars, complex harmonies, and emotive vocals.

Tourist solidified their current four piece line up and in June 2002 independently released their limited edition CD EP 'Beginning of the World.' This debut EP featuring five tracks, received recognition both locally and overseas with radio stations both in New Zealand and the UK playing tracks. One of the songs from this EP titled "Picture Perfect" was licensed in late 2003 for the sound track to a TV3 advertisement selling Christmas trees.

In late 2003 the band entered the studio again, this time to record four new songs for their second independent release. The demo single from that recording effort "Do You Feel The Cold?" won Tourist a NZ On Air government grant to re-record the song and release to the wider industry.

Welsh producer Greg Haver, whose accolades include producing material for the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia and Super Furry Animals, liked the track so much that he offered to produce the song on a brief 2 week visit to NZ in April this year. This single has been released to radio stations in New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom in May and has been receiving significant airplay on Channel Z, The Rock and B Net stations. The music video for the single has also recently been released on nationwide TV.

Over the next few months, Tourist will be performing at a number of live shows around the country in support of the release of their second independent EP named after the lead single "Do You Feel The Cold?"

For more information and to purchase any of Tourist's two EPs visit them online at www.touristsound.com

Six Day War

Having only played their first live show in the beginning of '03, Six Day War have since made enormous progress in the NZ music scene, from winning the 2003 NZ Battle of the Bands and releasing their debut single Permanent Shadow, to opening for 8 Foot Sativa at their album release show aswell as playing in front of 23,000 people at the Crusty Demons Global Assualt Tour.  The band hope that the next year will bring just as much good fortune for their plans of recording and releasing a full length album, producing video/dvds and taking their hard hitting heavy metal to all of NZ and abroad.

At the moment they're concentrating on writing some more new material for the album, with the possiblity of the relase of a single/video by the end of the year.  Also look out for 6DW on the upcoming compilation cd "The Axe Attack - Vol 1" being released through intergalactic records later this year.

Brand new website up and running at: www.sixdaywar.net

Whats New?

New Artists

The following artists have been added to muzic.net.nz over the past two weeks. Be sure to check them out:

Yulia Threepoint Turn
Katy Soljak Extract Civilian
Paul Garner Feelstyle
Dei Hamo S.M.A.K.
Miss Conduct Mollyhawk

New Releases

The following new releases from New Zealand artists should be out now (or very soon!):

Betchadupa - 'Aiming For Your Head'
Pitch Black - 'Ape To Angel'
Tommy - '4000 Years'
Feelstyle - 'Break It To Pieces'
Evermore - 'Dreams'
48May - 'The Mad Love'
Ardijah - 'Journey'
Del Rey System - 'Del Rey System'
Pine - 'Akira Sunrise'
P-Money - 'Magic City'
Pacific Heights - 'Borne Together'


Wow what a past few months we've had. We've given away more prizes than ever and there are still more to come! We're currently giving away over 20 prizes on the muzic.net.nz Competitions page, and hey that's better odds than Instant Kiwi so get in there and enter!

The Latest Winners Are:

Tempo 38 - 'Con' - K. White, Kapiti Coast & A. Bateman, Wellington
Fourth Memember - Prize Pack - A. Weeks, Tauranga
The Finn Brothers - 'Everyone Is Here' - M. Coffey, Lower Hutt
Sommerset - 'Say What You Want' - M. Lill, Christchurch & T. Hay, Christchurch
Subtract - 'Formula One' - K. Bowerbank, Northland & J. Britt, Christchurch

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Tommy Richman
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
    Kendrick Lamar
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Benson Boone
    Taylor Swift feat. Post Malone
    Teddy Swims
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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