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Newsletter Issue #522: 06 Oct 2019

Our newsletters are sent out once a fortnight and are displayed here for archival purposes only. Some of the content will be outdated and some layout issues may be present in the translation from email to the web. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter for the best results!

This month we have a few words from Bex Barrett from Christchurch Rock act Hypnumb:

Showcasing Female Rock and Performers

Last month, Wellington and Nelson played host to the first two Women of Rock concerts. Did the first line-ups impress? According to happily vocal crowds they did. The Boathouse on the Nelson waterfront heaved on the Friday for Moonflower and Hypnumb (pictured), two fantastic rock bands from Christchurch.

Wellington’s own high energy rock outfit, Merrin (pictured), joined the line-up on Saturday and saturated the Valhalla Tavern with thumping riffs and brassy, often sultry, but always entertaining rock. Both evenings were spiced further with fun performances from top burlesque acts. The energy ranged followed the mood of the music which ranged from emotive sultry teasers to palpably electric with high energy dance numbers.

The format of rock interspersed with burlesque seems to be a winning one. The audience and organisers have been left wanting for more so expect a series of Women of Rock events showcasing local talent to start popping up round the country starting in Napier, New Plymouth and Hamilton with further events planned for 2020 in Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and a return to Wellington.

The Women of Rock campaign was started up by musicians Bex Barrett and Nicole Schaap who wanted to showcase the many talented and unrepresented female rock bands and   from across the country, creating gigs with more female energy about them in every step of the process. If you’re a female musician, dancer, comedian, performer and keen to be involved check out www.facebook.com/womenofrocknz.


Thank you Bex for writing this editorial.

From the very beginning Devilskin have done more than exceed expectations; they have taken NZ rock to a whole new level, setting a precedent that many others can only dream of achieving. Their explosive live performances leave little wonder as to why they manage to sell out so many shows and their incredible music continues to amaze 10 years on.

Devilskin's debut album We Rise peaked at #1 and spent an outstanding 95 weeks on the NZ charts. It went on to become the nation's biggest selling independent release of the year. Within 10 months, We Rise was certified platinum, having sold an excess of 15,000 copies, and became the first NZ Rock/Metal album to do so since Shihad's Killjoy album 18 years prior.

Their sophomore album Be Like The River also peaked at #1, with the band winning the Best Rock Album and the Best Engineer (Clint Murphy) awards at the 2017 NZ Music Awards.

It's evident that Devilskin have done more than exceed expectations, they have started a revolution, built an army and ensured their memories will go way beyond their time.

Ryan from Muzic.net.nz had the pleasure of catching up with Paul, Nic and Nail from Devilskin as they celebrate their 10th anniversary; here's what went down:

Hi Paul, Nic and Nail, congrats on the 10 years! You guys are family so will do your thing and continue regardless of time, but that’s a pretty special milestone. A lot of us out here are stoked for you.

Thanks Ryan, it is a milestone and we’re really rapt to be able to celebrate it with so many friends. It’s been quite a ride so far and we are all fully aware we wouldn’t be in this position without a lot of support from a lot of awesome people.

You have some exciting gigs coming up, and we’ll get to those but I’d like to start with a bit about the latest single because the description definitely makes me nod my head in agreeance when I read it. As is found in the video description, All Fall Down is about “the decline of society and the martyrdom of the millennial. Set in a bleak future where we have been fed lies and shackled to a machine that devours us in the name of progress. This is a call for an awakening, it starts with one person”. It has been pretty easy to go down rabbit-holes with the availability of eye-opening information online now, but what do the ‘lies’ and ‘the machine’ represent to you?

Paul: Yes mate, there are certainly a lot of rabbit holes to go down these days. I wrote those lyrics about the frustrations of our day and age, the inevitability of progress and the meat grinder we are all getting herded into. The lies, to me, are all about the way we are told we have to live, social medias influence over people's daily lives, belief systems and emotions. The ‘machine’ is ‘society’/humans in general but basically the control centre that keeps pushing information/disinformation and emotive topics at us just to manipulate our feelings and actions, basically for commercial purposes.

What was the original inspiration that started the writing of the lyrics to the song (was there something in particular)?

Paul: No one thing in particular, I’ve started writing these lyrics probably 100 times in the past few years. It felt like it wanted to be written this time. Basically, we need to be awake, to see the obvious. There this huge, growing uncomfortability with society, politics and control. A lot has changed in a few short generations. No one knows the truth from lies/agendas now. It’s scary the way people seem to be moving more towards self-centered righteousness, zero responsibility and instant gratification and don’t get me started on the new wave of virtue signalling! Hubris is rife! It feels like entire generations are being herded like cattle. The digital age is consuming us. The most valuable commodity on Earth right now is peoples’ data. Let that sink in.

The opening lyrics of Fear will make you follow / today until tomorrow stood out to me. Is that about blindly following something, or something a bit darker?

Paul: When I wrote that I was thinking of the scene in [Pink Floyd's] The Wall where everyone is marching into the meat grinder. We get so caught up in following trends and norms that we end up blind or oblivious to what’s actually going on around us. We need to focus more on loved ones, natures grandeur and taking the time to smell the roses.

You worked with Greg Haver as the producer for the track, what is the process like working with Greg and what exactly does a producer do in your experience – many musicians are cloudy on this as it can vary quite a bit in the industry.

Paul: Yes it is something that can vary a lot, every producer has their own way, quirks and abilities to bring out the best in a band. We had worked with Greg before briefly (he played percussion on parts of Be Like The River). To us it’s all about trust and having a producer who really truly believes in your songs, dives deep into them and shows you parts of it you hadn’t seen before. Perspective and an ability to communicate in our language (music) are paramount. It’s a personal relationship that has to be rock solid. A producers’ role is to see every perspective and possibility a song has and to encourage us to be the very best we can be.

Okay so once again, I know I’ve said it already but ten years together as a tight band is an awesome accomplishment. Looking back over the 10 years are there any tracks, apart from the singles, that you would really like listeners to check out? Maybe you have a favourite track that you’ve done which is not as known, or something that musicians might like for a particular reason.

Paul: For me I’m very proud of Closer from the Be Like The River album just because of its stark simplicity and honesty, I wrote it but I don’t play on it, which is a little weird but I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out, just Nail's guitar, Jen's voice and some strings. Burning Tree and Animal are songs that seem to resonate with people too. You know you’ve done something right when people tattoo your lyrics on their body. It’s an absolute honour when people really ‘get’ your music.

Nic: Yeah it’s truly breathtaking to see people singing along to lyrics to a song that’s never been played on radio, deep cuts; I think my ‘favourite live song’ changes depending on what each crowd reacts to.
I’m really looking forward to playing some of our brand new songs in front of our crowds, there’s a song called Sweet Release that gives us all goosebumps and I think that’ll translate really well on stage.

Over those ten years, along with the wicked live shows and making tracks like those you just mentioned; you would have experienced your fair share of dealing with fickleness. Many musicians these days get one criticism and already they are considering stopping! If that’s the case maybe music isn’t for them, but for the bands that have been through shit and are feeling down – how do you all deal with those criticisms thrown at you and does criticism magically go away when commercial success grows or you have a hit single? I have a funny feeling the answer will be no!!

Paul: It’s just human nature to criticize, every artist has their detractors, it’d be a boring world if we all liked exactly the same thing. I’ve my share of bad reviews in my early years in bands but it just strengthens your resolve to improve, to show them they’re wrong. It definitely increases when you start getting some momentum and/or commercial success but the best revenge, is success.

Nic: Without sounding like a douche; I’m way too interested and invested in music to give a fuck; we do what we love, everyone and anyone is welcome to ride with us or not, but we won’t stop.

Are there any ideas you had about the music industry, good or bad, that have changed in those ten years – what are some things that would be good for musicians to know? Sometimes a change of attitude or even just trying a different way of thinking can see musicians enjoying the process more in what can be a very testing industry...

Paul: The whole industry is changing quickly, always evolving, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. You adapt or die. As you know well Ryan, attitude is really important. Knowing you don’t know everything and being willing to learn and get put in your place is vital. There’s less and less room for egos, haha!

Nic: Personally, I think it’s important to be 110% content with yourself and what you’re doing, how you’re presenting it, before trying to chase 'the industry'. We live in an age where the power has been more or less taken from things like radio and TV and placed more-so into the hands of the consumers, the listeners. People react to authenticity, and if they sense that you’re trying to be something or someone that you’re not, they’ll know, and they’ll move on. It’s probably easy to think “Oh well if I just create something super viral or edgy or, dare I say it, meme-worthy, I’ll be a superstar!” but that kind of fame goes as fast as it comes; authenticity carries longevity.

Of course, there are some great things about the industry and one of those great things is loyal fans; after all the industry is not just gatekeepers or government-aligned associations but buskers, kids buying posters, and people that support the band too! Devilskin fans feel that the band are one of them – do you find that your fans are loyal? The commitment that they show must be a buzz for you.

Paul: Man, our fans are super loyal. It’s the biggest buzz. We know we wouldn’t be here without them, and we feel privileged to meet them and hear their stories. I’ll feel forever thankful to the people who have given me the opportunity to continue playing and writing music. I have a folder of Devilskin tattoos that people have sent in. It’s so amazing when they relate to the songs they really climb into them. You feel a resonance and a connection to those people. Hearing that your music has pulled someone out of a suicidal depression is, to me, the ultimate success as a songwriter.

Are there any thoughts or physical aspects of being in the band that you can’t do now that you could do in the early years of Devilskin? In other words, sometimes as time goes on we have to accept things or let things go in order to progress to the next chapter. Are there any areas in your career in which you have had to do this?

Paul: For all of us family comes first and always has. We are all so lucky to have fantastic partners to support and encourage us. There’s a lot of juggling that goes on just to be able to go on tour for weeks and months at a time. Everything else comes easily when you have a solid base like that. I guess we have learnt over the years a little about how the industry works and our place in it, there’s stuff you accept and there’s stuff you try to change or mitigate. You just can’t lose sight of who and where you are.

Nic: Paul pretty much summed it up! It’s important to remember that, if you want something to be the thing that occupies most of your time, you have to realise what exactly that means, and what you’ll have to sacrifice for it. Most of the time the hardest part of it is simply being absent from your daily-home-life for big chunks of time; you’re gonna miss birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and it is hard, but that’s just the reality of truly dedicating yourself to anything! Like Paul said we are a family and we’re all very understanding and flexible, no one would prioritise the band over a serious personal or family matter.

In the early years your street team was really a brilliant support for you. Can you tell us a bit about the 'Devil Army'?

Nail: They are an awesome bunch who help spread the love, over the years they’ve delivered fliers and generally put the word and out; always supporting us. From time to time we’ll hold a special evening at our HQ and invite them along for a party and jam a few tunes.

Of course, the big news to go with the tenth anniversary is the tenth anniversary tour!! Fans can look at the links provided to buy tickets, and will there any new merch available?

Paul: Yes, we have a new range of merch available some kick ass designs all the usual: tees, hoodies, singlets, smaller sizes and some awesome hip flasks we’ve designed too.

Are there any venues on this tour that you haven’t played before?

Paul: A few actually! We’ve never played Factory in Hamilton, or the Hunter Lounge in Wellington, and the War Memorial Centre in Whanganui sounds interesting! We are really amped to play in Christchurch’s Town Hall too.

Your live show is high energy and the atmosphere is one of the magic things that people can expect if they enjoy a night out watching Devilskin. What can new fans expect who might be attending their first Devilskin show on this tour, or thinking of coming along?

Paul: For this tour, people can expect to truly celebrate what the past 10 years has been like for us as a band; we’ll be covering songs and highlights from our entire career, some well-known, some nostalgic, and some you’ve never heard or seen before!

Nail: Well it’s an anniversary tour so we’ll be playing songs from our whole catalogue as well as a few new ones, we try and up the whole level of production every time we tour so people who have seen us before are not seeing the same show. It makes the shows better and pushes us to add something new.

Before we finish, what would be two things that your music heroes have said that will always stick in your mind?

Nic: “Be like the river and cut through the stone; Fight like a lion defending its home” my Dad wrote that. And I don’t know if I’d specifically call David Bowie a personal music hero of mine, BUT this quote from him absolutely resonated down to my core and I really stand by it: “ I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other peoples’ expectations; I think they generally produce their worst work when they do that. I would say if you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in – go a little bit out of your depth – and when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Paul: Stick to your guns, and don’t be afraid to fire them!

And lastly… to a lot of people, you are those music heroes now. You are the musicians that young rock fans look up to and wanna play like. What would you like to say to them?

Nic: See David Bowie quote above ^

Nail: Practice practice practice, be professional, set goals for yourself.

Paul: Follow your heart

Thanks heaps Paul, Jennie, Nic and Nail. Have an awesome tour, enjoy the ten year celebrations and keep going f**king hard!

Read the full interview here

Devilskin Tour Feature

Devilskin is Jennie Skulander, Nail, Paul Martin and Nic Martin.

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website
Facebook Page
Twitter Page

All live gig photos above are courtesy of Chris Morgan/Morgan Creative

Sex Beard have been taking New Zealand by storm with their original blend of 'get your ass on the dance floor' rock and punk music. Their unique sound has seen them play support alongside heavy hitting NZ acts such as Skinny HobosHis Masters Voice and Skelter. Muzic.net.nz has the pleasure of talking to the band; here's what they had to say:

How did you become involved in music?

The group of us met through mutual friends and started jamming together through that. All of us had played music previously in various projects. After jamming for a bit, we decided to try something original and come up with two songs in one session and decided that was the direction we wanted to head. That lead to us writing more and more original music and performing gigs in the local circuit.

What NZ bands and musicians would you like to tour with, and why?

Skinny Hobos because they f’n rock! Deja Voodoo, The Datsuns and The D4 because they also f’n rock and have influenced our sound.

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

Our new single Undress For Success because we set out with a goal to make a music video and everyone we shared it with has believed in it as much as we did and have made our goals a reality. It is also a straight up banger.

How would you describe Sex Beard's music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

High energy innuendo.

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

More bangers, bigger shows & global domination.

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

HLAH, The Datsuns, The D4, Autozamm, Supergroove and The Checks all because we haven’t seen them ever/in way too long.

Who are your favourite NZ bands and musicians?

Well where do we start? So many good bands and musicians in NZ at the moment! Marlon Williams, Lucifer GunneEnFire, Old Haven, Little Fang, Hypnumb, MoonflowerFirekiss, Scrooge, Inexile, The Wendys, Yurt Party, ThemetaPieces Of Molly Bad JonesHappy Hearse, His Masters Voice Skelter Skinny HobosStreakersTroika Dead Favours, Elk,  Aldous Harding, Butterflies Welcoming Spring, Dusty Hustle, Stonehurst Racing The Dirty Sweets, Marco Road, The Black Seeds, Avondale Spiders, The Vanilla Shakes,  Zed Dillastrate, L.A.BTruth, No Broadcast KoraHeavy Metal Ninjas and Muntangent.

What local albums have you been listening to recently?

EnFire - Juniper Landing, Moonflower - Dark Lullabies, Happy Hearse - Love & Work.

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

Darkroom Christchurch - so many good memories performing at this venue. Kick a$$ beers & owners who are willing to accommodate up & coming bands.

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

Pre gig deuce & 3 Wakachangis/DoBro's.

How do you balance your music with other obligations; family, job etc?

It's a constant struggle.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Bouncing riffs & ideas off each other. Having a great place to rehearse in (Cannon Hill Studios & G-Unit).

What is the one thing you want NZ to know about Sex Beard?

We straight up have no idea what we were doing but we were doing it.

What has been your most memorable show to date?

Janes Bar (2016?) with Firekiss & Traficante. The bar was smaller than most people's kitchens, with no stage. The place was packed like a tin of sardines & people were screaming & moshing out in our faces. 

What can you never leave home without?


How did you come up with the name Sex Beard?

We had no name for battle of the bands, pulled this name out of the hat and rolled with it. 

What rumour would you like to start about Sex Beard?

The rumours have already started ...

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Get out and play as soon as you can, have fun, don’t be a dick and don’t take yourself too seriously. Sex Beard has always been about having fun & playing loud music with your mates.

Sex Beard are Mark Simons, Phil McKellow, Casey McKay and Sam Taylor.

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page  
Facebook Page
Instagram Page
Bandcamp Page
SoundCloud Page

The Blackbird Ensemble with Tour-Makers present

All is Full of Love

Musical direction by Claire Cowan
Performed by Blackbird Ensemble with guest vocalists; Anna Coddington, Mara TK and Priya Sami

After the debut Auckland season completely sold-out its run and a string of incredible concerts in the South Island earlier in the year, Blackbird Ensemble have added a collection of North Island dates this October. With their stunning homage to the music of Bjork, All is Full of Love, will play for one night only in Wellington (October 17), Hamilton (October 22), and Hawke's Bay (October 24), with more dates to be announced.

Audiences have been spellbound by this stunning tribute to one of music’s most innovative artists, with New Zealand’s celebrated chamber orchestra transforming Bjork’s iconic catalogue with their own unique flair. The 2019 line-up features a trio of incredibly talented Kiwi vocalists – Anna Coddington, Mara TK and Priya Sami.

Blackbird Ensemble, New Zealand’s most inventive and theatrical chamber orchestra, presents an awe-inspiring homage to the inimitable Icelandic pop artist Björk. In ‘All is Full of Love’, Blackbird Ensemble serves up an audio feast of Björk’s finest songs across the decades, reimagining her much-loved classics from Debut through to Medulla and Utopia.

Blackbird Ensemble are some of Aotearoa’s most impressive musicians, coming together to play everything from traditional strings, brass, woodwind, keys and percussion to food packaging, whistles, and umbrellas to add foley and atmosphere to the reinvented arrangements. Claire Cowan has completely transformed the music of Björk with her musical direction, drawing from the genre-spanning nature of the popstar’s three-decade solo career.

Formed in 2010, the Blackbird Ensemble name has come to represent a growing group of musicians from different musical backgrounds, to produce holistic and memorable musical experiences. Enchanting their audiences with radical versions of both beloved and unknown music from across genres, extra musical elements are integrated to enhance and strengthen the ideas behind the music. All is Full of Love is the perfect example of their second-to-none ability to take captivating and powerful music one step further, with phenomenal lighting and sound design along with elaborate costuming transporting audiences to an emotional world of wonder inside the theatre.

All is Full of Love plays:

Shed 6, October 17

As part of the Nelson Arts Festival, Theatre Royal, October 18

Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, October 22

As part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, Victoria Spiegeltent, October 24

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Facebook Page
Twitter Page

Raised in West Auckland, Melodownz is making strides in the rap industry both in NZ and globally. He began creating spoken word and later discovered the art of freestyle and hip-hop, which led to the success of his 2017 EP Avontales, touring Europe and now working on his next album.

Steve S from Muzic.net.nz got to briefly catch up with the superstar of Avondale to talk about his mentorship programme with Puma and streetwear retailer Red Rat, his personal inspirations, and how you can get your hands on his own brand of chilli sauce!

First round’s on me – What’ll you be having?

Either a pinot noir, or a whiskey and dry.

In just ten words, introduce yourself!

My name’s Bron-Sun, I go by the stage name Melodownz.

What are some key ingredients in making a Melodownz song?

Drums that pop, a smooth synth or sample, a hearty bassline, melody and the verses gotta be fire.

In what ways has life in West Auckland impacted your song writing?

My debut Avontales was pretty much based on growing up in West Auckland. My whole persona is West Auckland, I guess. The way I dress, the way I talk, my mannerisms. I’m a product of the place that raised me which is Avondale.

Name one crucial turning point in your music career so far?

When I started getting traction online, and over a thousand plays on SoundCloud! Also, when I went to Europe, played a few shows and did Colors Berlin – That really helped spread awareness of my music outside New Zealand.

Who are your favourite Kiwi groups/artists right now?

Troy KingiImugi PaigeSeth HaapuBenee, Ranui Mars and Vayne.

Care to give us a quick run-down of the Puma x Red Rat Mentorship Programme?

It’s a programme that gives three aspiring artists either in the music, dance or art scene an opportunity to be mentored by either myself, dancer Bianca Ikinofo or street artists Charles and Janine Williams. I’ll be helping Puma and Red Rat choose a creative to mentor in the music scene; I’ll be spending time with them to help create and work on their craft as well as make music that they will be able to showcase and perform at an event next year. The goal is to engage with these creative people and give them my experience and knowledge, as well as helping them get that next step further in the music industry.

How do musicians apply for the mentoring programme and how will they be selected?

People can apply either on Red Rat’s Instagram or Facebook page by sharing a pic or video showing their skills, and why they should be mentored. Head to www.redrat.co.nz for more info.

What advice would you give to aspiring rap musicians in Aotearoa?

Try and surround yourself with people with similar aspirations, drive and intentions as yourself. Work hard at your craft, be yourself, don’t try and sound like whatever is popping or trending at the time. Don’t let ego get in the way of your purpose. Make sure you love the music you make and have fun.

What’s next on the Melodownz horizon? New music videos or EPs?

I have a bunch of things coming on. I’m relaunching my Melos Not so Melo hot sauce, which will be available online and in selected retailers. I also have a secret new project on the horizon and heading to L.A. in a couple weeks so will hopefully make some magic happen there! Plus, I’ve got a bunch of shows coming up so I’m just staying Melo.

Read the full interview here

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Bandcamp Page

New Artist Pages

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

Steve Starke Music Black Velvet Butterfly Tom Ashman
Grey Skies Over Rapture Kylie Price Channeled
Jordan Gavet Mika Haka Ramon Te Wake
Lexytron Sad Yeti Society Goodspace
Oh Sweet Nothings The Kendals Mousey
Lasair Black Pug

New Reviews and Interviews

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


We also interviewed REI (band) during September.

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 3 November
and it's one you won't want to miss out on!

There are TWO issues left for 2019!
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