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Newsletter Issue #521: 01 Sep 2019

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Music, Madness & Mayhem
A guest editorial by Craig Payne

I was born and grew up, well sort of, in the 60's where music was somewhat simple and innocent in comparison to the music scene of today. Yes! they had the odd scandal, threw TV's out of hotel windows and from the mid to late 60's drugs played their part in the psychedelic transformation that music was destined to make; although the survivors that are still with us today, rockin' into their golden years, seemed to emerge from the experience somewhat stronger and more creative which is an achievement in itself.

The 1970's were peppered with some truly timeless and classic hits from so many great artists; the big hitters for me were John Lennon, Paul McCartney & Wings, Elton John, well that was my record collection and certainly there were obviously many others and everyone who lived in that decade will have their own diverse list of 'all time greats'.

In the mid to late 70's punk rock emerged, upset quite a lot of people, but provided a wakeup call to a music scene that often seemed stale and contrived. I remember Johnny Rotten calling Mick Jagger a dinosaur and Mick in reply saying, 'they're nothing but punk's but I'm sure it contributed to the Rolling Stones Miss You which was quite different for them and maybe a little punk?

I recently listened to some Sex Pistols tracks and actually it was not as bad as it was originally thought... kind of rock and roll.

Now, the 1980's really gave the world of music a wakeup call, the age of digital music was upon us... synths, syn drums and big hair, often worn by quite androgynous looking guys openly showing their feminine side.

The advent of CD's ultimately would replace vinyl records only to be replaced by digital music files; there's still a few CD's being released, I've certainly noticed a big drop in their numbers in stores, but interestingly vinyl is enjoying a resurgence here and there as is analogue recording tape in some studios. I still use my Walkman CD player to play tracks I downloaded much to the amusement of my kids.

In the 90's rap, reggae, contemporary R&B and urban music were extremely popular and according to Uncle Google the top 10 bands of the 90's were Green Day, Weezer, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins and No Doubt.

Until the 2000's it was extremely hard for artists to get a start in the music business; fat men in suits all claimed to know what was good and I remember a conversation I had with an EMI A&R man in London who said my music wasn't what they were looking for. Fair enough I thought, so I asked what are you looking for? his answer was stunning... he said "I don't know, but I will know when I find it'... Even the thickest person in the business would at least have applied a little BS and come up with an answer that was at best ambiguously unhelpful if not more than likely wrong. I believe it was an A&R man at Decca Records that said The Beatles were crap just a few months before they changed the music world forever.

2001 saw probably the most revolutionary innovation in music with the launch of iTunes and they just about crushed the established recording industry; record companies were at last facing some intelligent competition and that was just the start.

When I first signed a deal with one of many music aggregators iTunes suggested you could actually make money from your music, not much competition from the 'big labels' and I soon formed my own label feeling very empowered in the process.

And then the madness started, more and more artists signed up, record labels started pouring money into promoting their artists on this new platform and it is fair to say that it didn't take long for the scene to become very crowded.

Add to the mix 'pirates' and sites that had music file sharing which was a polite way of enabling copyright infringements AKA theft. Some of them were wound up, fined etc and some 'went straight' survived and are now working legally in the streaming industry. All those variables once again made it difficult for music artists to make a living from their albums which is so wrong; particularly when streaming sites openly offer unlimited music for as little as $4 a month, including offline listening options, isn't that another way of saying 'free download'?

Enter mayhem! what was a good area to be working in has been reduced to an artistic slum with far too many people living in it. I'm not suggesting that talented creative people should be denied the opportunities others enjoy but the sheer volume of albums being released has had the same effect on the music business that printing unlimited amounts of cash would have on any buoyant economy... My distributor told me a year or so ago that on one day alone they had released 200+ albums that is an insane number in one day and that's just one distributor...

So what do artists do from here? it's still possible to make a reasonable living from music if you approach it from the angle of performing ticketed shows and it is possible to build a good fan base through social media; often the amount of people that just follow you on Facebook is far greater than the actual amounts of actual likes you might see on your page meaning your reach is probably bigger than you think...

It will be very interesting to see what replaces iTunes when apple take it down; even my distributor has said nothing as to what may be coming... maybe he doesn't even know; it's all very covert and secretive at the moment or at least that's how it looks at this point in time.

Considering that when Rock and Roll burst onto the world stage in the 1950's it was said that wouldn't last more than a year I am sure we can rely on the resilient nature of creative talented musicians globally to keep the dream alive and continue the journey that seems to have no final destination, at least not yet anyway.

So long as there are people who just won't stop writing, recording and performing and there are people who are equally happy to pay to go to a show or, call me old fashioned, pay for their downloaded albums... then there will be rock!


Thank you Craig, for writing this editorial.

Written by Wolves have been hailed as the princes of anthemic alternative rock in Aotearoa; blowing away audiences and fans alike with their energising and unforgettable live sets. For nigh on a decade, the five-piece group from Auckland have secured opening slots on tours with Devilskin and Blindspott, as well as dominating festival stages like Storm the Gates, Bay Dreams and Ohakune Mardi Gras, all to critical acclaim.

Countless live acts throughout the country, and almost a dozen singles and EP's under their Spotify belts, Written by Wolves are on the eve of releasing their very first full-length album. Steve from Muzic.net.nz was fortunate enough to talk with a very busy frontman and lead vocalist Mike Murphy over the phone to banter about their latest single, shooting music videos, choosing their band name, and his love of whiskey. Here's an excerpt of their conversation:

Prologue was released late last year, mind catching us up on what’s happened since then?

Brief history on where we’re at, near the middle of 2018, just before our Prologue EP came out, we were getting ready to go on tour with Devilskin, and after it came out, we were getting ready to tour with Blindspott AND Devilskin, which was really great to get on such an epic summer tour. We then went all in and started writing the album in January this year, finished recording it in early May. The first single Tell Me What You’re Running From came out on 19th July, I believe.

As of right now, the video to the second single is just about finished. Our friend Josh in Los Angeles has almost completed it, and we’re releasing it next month in September, which will serve as the next step in ramping up for the album at the end of the year.

How exactly did the name 'Written by Wolves' actually come about?

That’s actually a funny question. No one’s 100% sure! There’s since been some theories thrown around by us, but I personally have this weird memory: Dave had these super cute little dogs that look like mini-wolves, and one night when we were at his home studio, the dogs came to watch and looked like they were about to take over. I think someone jokingly said those words, and we rolled with it from there, with the idea of us as a pack, and that we’re stronger together. But that’s how I remember it, and I’m sure someone else in the band will have a different idea.

It’s ironic because everything we do has a deep meaning, and we really try to make our songs connect with people, but I don’t think the name of the band actually had a deep meaning to begin with!

On the topic of what songs mean, tells us about the inspiration behind Tell Me What You’re Running From. What’s the big message behind the lyrics?

This is all about being honest with yourself when fighting your demons. It’s realising “if I keep running from this, this is not gonna get better, I’m not gonna fix this”. Whilst the short-term gain of running away might be great for a while, there’s a realisation that if I don’t be honest with myself, then it’s never gonna change. For us, we’ve always tried writing music that has strong meanings that people will be able to relate to in their lives.

Also loving the video to right now – Could you give us a little insight into the process behind creating it?

We went back to our friend in Los Angeles, Josh Maybie, who shot our video for To Tell You the Truth. We thought “Let’s really commit to this new album and go all in”, but what do we do visually? We got back to Josh, and he was super pumped to jump on board again. He shot his parts over in L.A., we shot our parts here then sent it to him, and Josh was able to put it all together, make it look good.

Josh films all of the cinematic storyline there, and he does it properly; when we shoot, we find a spot, Bahador hires a camera, then we go full number-8 wire. Josh has a good team of editors who then make what we’ve done tied together and look great.

And the end result certainly looks seamless. How long did the video take to make, from start to finish?

We’ve had some pretty insane deadlines in the past, and with this album coming up, we pretty much finish one thing then move onto another. This particular took about a month; it’s pretty impressive what Josh puts together. He’s just shot another one and it’s almost ready to go.

Tell us a little more about the process in creating your videos? How did it all come together?

Josh Maybie originally approached us a few years ago and said, “I love your music, and would love to work with you!”, and we went, “Cool! But who are you?” We then jumped on a phone call and hit it off really well, and Josh was really passionate about the project, and we decided “Yep, let’s do it”. In the end, the video racked up almost a million views in one month, which worked out well, so we realised we needed to keep this relationship going! He’s now become an extension of the band, I suppose. In the beginning, we had our guitarist Bahador creating our videos, so now Bahador would shoot our New Zealand parts, and Josh would shoot his; we’re pretty lucky to have such a talented team.

What can you tell us about the Morse code dashes and dots that we’ve seen on your social media pages and in the newest video, spelling out W, B and W? Does that carry any other meaning?

There’s a few things that are gonna be revealed with this album, so for the next period of our band’s existence, you may see – or hear – that pop up from now.

Last question, time for one out of left field: Thinking of bands that have created their own branded products, like Gene Simmons with Kiss caskets, or Motorhead creating a range of wines, taking money out of the equation, what cool or crazy product would Written by Wolves collaborate on and create?

Wow. I feel like a kid in a candy shop right now. We like to party and drink, but we also like shoes... Maybe if we could do a bad-ass whiskey? I’ve actually got a Frank Sinatra-signed bottle of Jack Daniels, which I still haven’t decided on when to drink it... But if we could do a whiskey that would be awesome. And call it “Whiskey by Wolves” or “Wasted by Wolves”, something like that. And maybe do some bad-ass shoes. We got a lot of merch, but we haven’t got shoes or whiskey, so that could be our next step in branching out!

Follow Written by Wolves’s Facebook page, Instagram account, or check back here on Muzic.net.nz for upcoming news on the band’s debut album and new tour!

Read the full interview here

Written by Wolves are
 Michael Murphy, Davie Wong, Bahador Borhani, Karl Woodhams and Oli Lyons.

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website

Facebook Page

Twitter Page

YouTube Page

Instagram Page

SoundCloud Page

Spotify Page

Live gig photography courtesy of Chris Morgan Photography

Zed recently announced that they will be celebrating 20 years since their debut studio album Silencer was released, with two intimate shows in Auckland and Christchurch. With outstanding hits such as Oh! DaisyGlorafilla and I'm Cold, there's no doubt that there'll be thousands of people lining up to seeing Zed live once again. Axl Scott from Muzic.net.nz talked to the band about how Zed formed, what has been happening for the past 20 years, and what the future holds for them. Here's what was said:

It's been 20 years since the release of Silencer, what has happened since then, in a nutshell?

Nathan: It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years, but on the other hand loads has happened since then… As a band we had one amazing adventure travelling/performing in the States, Europe and Australia performing with loads of bands we love. Then in 2005 we took a break to all try different things. Ben, Andy and Adrian formed Atlas, I travelled to live and perform in the UK, some of us got married, had children and we all continued either making music or having it be a part of our lives in one way or another. Adrian and Ben both own and run eateries (in Christchurch and Akaroa, respectively), while Andy and I run Hum Studios, making music for TV and advertising.

What lead to the awesome news of a reunion? Will it be the original line-up?

Nathan: All the original members have stayed in touch over the years, and it was probably an offer to play for the All Blacks before a game against the Lions in 2017 - a one-off performance that saw us walking out in front of a packed stadium at Eden Park that gave us all the bug again. Having 45,000 people really enjoy your music is a pretty amazing experience.

What led you guys together to form Zed?

Nathan: Adrian, Ben and I became friends through music at Cashmere High School. We’d seen Bic Runga graduate before us and go on to do great things, and began jamming together - inspired by what she’d achieved and wanting to do something similar, only with loud guitars instead of quiet ones ;)

So, it was originally Supra, but then changed to Zed. What does Zed mean?

Nathan: We liked the simple, catchy nature of the name, plus that it had a connection to our homeland of NZ. It was one of loads of names we threw around and just seemed to stick. Plus, Ray Columbus (our manager) loved it, and he was a pretty convincing guy!

I see that you are going to be playing in Auckland and Christchurch, any plans for the rest of the country? Who will be opening your shows?

We would love to get around the rest of our two wonderful islands and visit all the places that were so good to us all those years ago at some point - but we’re making these first two shows extra special, so nothing else is planned right now. We are still deciding on a support act at the moment!

Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands?

Andy: I’m a massive fan of Pdigsss from Shapeshifter. Such a great guy and man...man that voice! Nick Gaffaney from Cairo Knife Fight, Someone I have played with on and off for years. Is there anything this man can’t do! To summarise in one word…. Genius. Kings, what a talent and work ethic. Tiki Taane, musical engineering machine! To many others to list.

What advice would you like to give other budding musicians/bands?

Nathan: Always try and remember why you started playing music in the first place, the sheer joy of it, making sound, expressing things and bonding with others over it. I mean...how cool is that. How lucky we are!

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Andy: I find not hanging around the venue waiting too long before playing helps. Often I’d go for a quick run before getting ready that was a great way to get centered. And Joking with the band, making light of situations is simply the best.

You can purchase tickets to their Christchurch and Auckland show here.

Read the full interview here

Zed are Adrian Palmer, Andy Lynch, Ben Campbell and Nathan King.

Wellington has produced some of the finest Rock acts this country has ever seen; from our greatest export Shihad through to modern day locals Curlys Jewels, Pale Lady and Merrin along with the gone-but-not-forgotten Mishap. Formed in 2018, Seismic State fit in nicely within the Wellington Rock scene, and judging from their new music, they have a bright future ahead of them.

Axl Scott from Muzic.net.nz spoke to the band about their name, their new music and what other NZ bands they enjoy. Here's what went down:

How did Seismic State form?

Matthijs - A couple of folks who found each other via the web and wanting to jam and make some kick-ass rock music.
Liam – Sai and I used to be in a band together in Auckland called {Dirty Riot}. After we’d both moved to Wellington (he followed me, haha) we decided to put a band together and that’s when we found Matthijs & then Nicole – the rest is history.
Nicole - Sai, Matthjis and Liam were jamming together for about a year after the departure of their previous drummer, they advertised that they were looking for a singer, I checked out their stuff, loved it, we met, we jammed, it stuck.

Where does the name Seismic State come from?

Liam – we thought it would be cool to reference Wellington somehow. We threw around a few ideas with Cyclone or Seismic and then Sai suggested Seismic State, which we all loved. I really like the dictionary definition, which you can see in our Spotify bio.
Nicole - We wanted something that showed we were from Wellington, and that we can shake up a room with our tunes! so Seismic State came about, I'm pretty sure it was Sai that came up with it.

What can you tell us about your new single, Since We Last Spoke?

Liam – it almost didn’t make it on the EP, our producer Toby was pushing for another track but we had a band vote and it made the cut. Toby’s since said it’s now his favourite of the four tracks.
Nicole - This could take a while. Since We Last Spoke is a real deep song for me, and recording it was one of the best experiences recording of the whole EP. Our Engineer Toby Lloyd really knows how to get a performance out and really put you in the place you need to be to feel the emotion of the song and really be in it. This song is definitely therapeutic and is one that I really enjoy playing live.

What New Zealand bands do you listen to and are motivated by?

Matthijs -The Datsuns: pumping rock n roll with kick-ass guitar riffs
Liam –  ShihadGaragelandWeta Pluto The DatsunsDragonTh’ Dudes... And there’s some great bands in Wellington at the moment;  Pale Lady, Dream State Empire, Archie the Brave to name but three.
Nicole - I grew up in the Zeal scene with my friends and saw many bands play alongside  Bakers Eddy who are now doing really well overseas and making great music. Definitely a fan of I Am Giant Blacklistt, and I also used to crank Goodnight Nurse and Elemeno P when I was younger for some inspiration.

What can we expect to see from Seismic State over the next few years?

Matthijs - Album release and some awesome gigs around the country.
Liam – an album, a tour (or two), heaps of awesome gigs, hopeful some festivals.
Nicole - We'll see where we go, we're hoping for an album at some point or maybe another EP but for now we'll keep writing and playing shows and having fun with it is the most important thing.

I hear your EP is dropping soon, what can we expect to see on it?

Matthijs - Solid rock combined with some proper melodic tunes.
Liam – Quite a broad range of rock music, summed up in four awesome tracks.

When can we expect a nationwide tour?

Matthijs - We are ready.
Liam – hopefully within the next year.

Read the full interview here

Seismic State are Matthijs van Dijk, Liam Wright, Sai Soe and Nicole Hardie.

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website
Facebook Page

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iTunes Page

Iveta & Simone are New Zealand’s edgy female vocal duo taking the region by storm with tracks such as SunshineMore Than A Man and the newly released L.O.V.E. They answered the following questions for Muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music?

Iveta: I can’t remember the beginning. Music has always been in my blood.

Simone:  My whole family are musos and at a young age we use to follow mum and dad around while they did their gigs… it's in our blood.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

Iveta: Definitely L.O.V.E. I love the dark energy of the track. It is a very interesting and unique song. For me it is a masterpiece! :)

Simone: For me it would have to be L.O.V.E., because at this time when writing this song, the bombings had started around the world where innocent lives were taken… it gave us this dark very sad love feeling.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

Iveta: Definitely you can expect our album, new singles, concerts…

Simone: You will see a lot of us next year with touring, shows, new songs we can’t wait, we have worked really hard to get here.

What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

Iveta: Something different and unique.

Simone: Oh, so many… Sharon O’Neill, When the Cat's Away, Dave Dobbyn, Brooke Fraser, Bic Runga, Gin Wigmore, Hayley Westenra… there's so many we could go on for ages… I love the variety they all bring with great sounds.

What local albums have you been enjoying recently?

Iveta: They are so many and so talented musicians out there. It’s hard to pick just one.

Simone: I love listening to Hello Sailor: Gutter Black, Blue Day. I also love Listening to Dave Dobbyn's old stuff, brings back so many great memories.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Iveta: I love all my emotions (including the nerves) before a show. I need my adrenaline.

Simone: Try and face your nerves because you can't run from it and believe in yourself because everyone else does….x

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Iveta: It comes naturally.. it could be a song on the radio, could be a book, a movie...a love story :)

Simone: To me it’s the feeling what the music is saying….the build-up, the emotion you can feel from this music, life experience can become a character that you can feel and imagine.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Iveta: It’s a very hard industry to get into. The trust and the risk in this business are the negatives to be dealt with. To overcome the hurdles and pitfalls, we’ve been constantly researching and investigating.

Simone: The most important thing is to believe in yourself and your dreams….I can see why other musos give up, don’t let a negative comment get you down because out of the negative will always be a positive.

Read the full interview here

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Facebook Page 
Twitter Page
Youtube Page
Instagram Page
ReverbNation Page

New Artist Pages

The following new artist pages where added to Muzic.net.nz in the past month:

Lil Benjamonious Little Ripples Jan Preston
Dillastrate Seismic State Daniel Hayles
The Infinity Chamber Lhasa Ben Woods
Stormforge Fuego Solar Sister
Lepani Niko Walters General Vibe
Vayne Half Queen Lion Rezz
Bad Llamas Jam Henderson Odds & Ends

New Reviews and Interviews

Check out our latest reviews and interviews at the below links:


We also interviewed Vaermina, Tony McDonald and Cavalcade during August.

New Photos

Have a look at our latest photo galleries at the below links:

Artist Galleries
Feature Galleries

Tour Features

View all our previous tour features

Our next newsletter is going out on Sunday 6 October!

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