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Newsletter Issue #526: 01 Mar 2020

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 Some of the content will be outdated and some layout issues may be present in the translation from email to the web.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!
 

Israel Adesanya's speech at the Halberg awards a couple of weeks ago really struck me as powerful and applicable across many facets of life, not just sports.

When addressing what he called a cultural Tall Poppy syndrome he stated, "If you see one of us shining (various NZ representative teams mentioned) pump them up, embrace them, because if they win we win, if I win you win, understand that".

That in essence is what we in the music industry should all be doing for each other. Whether you're a promoter, a writer, a band member, a soundie, whatever it may be we are a small community and as you'll know when talking to others in the scene it's more 2 degrees of separation in New Zealand than the famously quoted Six.

I've read forums and articles, overheard discussions and seen posts on social media over the years having a crack at those who have, through hard work, dedication, investment and talent, enjoyed some modicum of success - why?

Jealousy? Probably. Envy? You bet. Feelings of inadequacy? If we're honest we all have those sometimes. Is it a reason to undermine and seek to cut down those around us that have managed to push above the parapet? No, it isn't.

The more success the New Zealand music scene has both domestically and internationally the stronger our scene will become. People with more experience, working with more skilled people and better contacts will all feed back into our community and we'll all be stronger for it.

Kia Kaha

- Riccardo Ball

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Riccardo is the director for Wrecking Ball Media and Studio Manager and Mentor for Rawkus Radio.
Many thanks to Riccardo for writing this editorial!

The Wake Up are one of the most ambitious groups in Aotearoa today. Hailing from Palmerston North and initially consisting of drummer Caleb and guitarist Chris, two became three with the addition of the talented Laura behind the microphone. With almost half a dozen singles officially available on Spotify, the group have promised they're only just getting started.

Muzic.net.nz's Steve S. got the privilege of catching some Q's and A's with the trio to discuss their Kiwi influences, personal impacts of social media, and their time spent on X Factor New Zealand.

What was it like competing on X Factor New Zealand? And how did the two lads' cross paths?

Caleb: Disenchanting, but it made me realise how much effort we needed to put into our music.
Chris: It was a super eye-opening experience of what really goes on and what it's like behind the scenes of those shows. I actually met Caleb briefly when he needed a hard case for his gear for X-Factor, I had just started working in the local music store so I ended up selling it to him. Funnily enough, both our old bands ended up on the same flight up to the auditions and we got chatting from there.

How did the duo become a trio? What made you decide Laura would be the group’s leading lady?

Chris: We needed a new vocalist, and through mutual friends we found out about Laura, she came and auditioned and we all vibe'd, so we went with Laura and she hasn’t left since. She became the leading lady because neither of us two dudes look good in a dress, haha.

What are some key ingredients and distinguishing features that goes into a song by The Wake Up?

Chris: Lots, and we mean LOTS of harmonies and backing vocals. Plus, random noises from everyday things, like juice boxes and reversed sounds.

In what ways has growing up in Palmerston North influenced the creation of your music?

Chris: It was difficult growing up there with not as many people sharing the same tastes in music. It made us look harder into music we individually liked, and not just what was on the radio that everyone else was into.

How was the song Pretty Little Caption written? Were there any events that inspired the song and lyrics?

Caleb: I started writing the concept for that song about 4 or 5 years ago when I first started to work with design and social media as a creative intern for a local business. I was also simultaneously trying to build my own pages and create my own content. I started creating and posting things I didn't even believe in to look cool and to gain likes from people I didn't even know. I basically edited out all of the bad parts of our existence and portrayed myself as this perfect person that I could actually never hope to live up to in the real world. It wasn’t until after I caught myself out when I realised that almost nothing we see on social media is real.

Right now as I'm writing this, I can think of several people I know who are experiencing pain - some of the worst pain in their lives, in fact - yet every day, without fail they're sharing images and quotes and hashtags as if nothing is wrong. It's almost like the real world doesn't matter or even exist once they click onto any of their social media apps. Pretty Little Caption is about those people.

The Wake Up have released half a dozen singles in 2019; what do you guys have planned for 2020? Upcoming gigs or music videos?

Caleb: There's an EP of six songs with a music video to be released, and a few more singles, including our track called Worthy, which was mixed and mastered by Mike Dwyer from The Bunker Recordings in New York. He’s worked with Shawn Mendes, The Lumineers, Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, Jade Bird, Ryan Star, and Vance Joy to name a few!

Read the full interview here

The Wake Up is Caleb Hickmott (drums), Christopher Jordan (guitar) and Laura McGaffin (vocals).

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page 
Facebook Page 
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SoundCloud Page 
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Lexytron, the new alternative rock outfit have been working on their debut album here in New
Zealand, Something Blue. Due to be released on all good streaming platforms on 20 March 2020, Something Blue crosses genres, flinging the dirt and danger of rock n roll against the bleeding heart and melody of Mozart.

The journey of Lexytron is an intriguing and inspiring one that took them all the way around the world from the UK to New Zealand. Chris from Muzic.net.nz had the privilege of talking to Lexy, the brains behind this magical journey, about how she got into music, what her main influences are and the impact music has on her.

You are originally from Manchester, UK, a vibrant city known for its music scene. How did you find your way over to Aotearoa?

Yes, I was born in Manchester, then moved across the Pennines around Sheffield and then moved back to Manchester as a young adult. It’s such a fabulous city for culture, particularly for music, and I spent many a late night hanging out in The Castle Hotel, which has the most amazing jukebox. My musical collaborator and partner in Lexytron, Mike, moved from London to Manchester just because he loved Manchester bands. I found my way to Aotearoa as one of those random opportunities in life came up, and we’d heard nothing but great things from friends about it.  I’d lived in Stockholm, Sweden, for a year before and had the most wonderful time meeting some of the coolest people I know. I am a real believer in putting yourself in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations as you often learn a lot about yourself and the world around you. I have been in Aotearoa for seven months now, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve road-tripped quite a bit in the South Island and Auckland, but I know I’ve got a lot of ground to cover yet!

With your varied background of Greek, Persian, and English heritage, do these influence your music in a big way?

I would say, “Yes and no”. My record collection is probably no different to a lot of indie kids growing up in England, though I was probably the only seven year old listening to The Beatles in my class. My dad played a lot of British and American music from the 50's to 70's when I was growing up, whilst my sister was listening to Britpop, so rock n roll is in my DNA. Having said that, Dad used to play Savvopoulos, who is like the Greek Bob Dylan, as well as some more traditional Greek music around the house, but there was also classical music and bits of world music like Incantation, who played South American instruments.  I think my parents’ cultures no doubt have coloured my personality, and I guess that feeds into the way I see the world and what I write lyrically.

Can you give a brief description to what your new release is about, and what was the driving force behind it?

My latest single is Tell The Vein, which I describe as a song about being the gatekeeper of your heart to stop feeling pain, grief and anger. However, it’s not just a love/heartbreak song but also an allegory about being an ‘outsider’ - maybe a social outcast or maybe a person who is returning from the verge of a nervous breakdown. Despite its darker tones and meaning, it’s a fun bit of power pop. 

That song comes from my forthcoming album Something Blue. I’ve been describing the record as crossing genres and an alternative girl’s guide to love, loss and lust, which I think is pretty accurate.  Maybe your website will think differently when you review it, which is why I’m naturally inquisitive about reviews, simply because other people notice things you don’t or project aspects of themselves onto the lyrics, like we all do when we listen to music.

What was one positive and one challenging aspect of this project?

Other than the obvious constraints with making an indie record that I’ve touched on, Mike had the tendency to record lots of cool guitar parts as he’s a fab guitarist, so we had to be a bit ruthless when it came to mixing the record and trim some of the ‘fat’.

I saw first-hand how much bloody hard work it is to make music! I’ve been a listener and an interpreter of music for much of my life that I did not appreciate the journey from writing a song through to recording it and then ‘finishing’ it. Yet, I am happy with the fact that I actually made a record. It’s like I had all these sketches, but I was able to add colour and detail to them that I didn’t have before.

As an artist, what is the impact of music on you personally?

Music always lifts me - whether it is because my spirits need lifting or because I am in the mood for dancing and blowing off some steam. When the shit hits the fan, I will just go play piano or mess around with my ukulele - and on some occasions, that has led to some of the songs on my album. Seeing a band live can be a life-altering experience - that’s how I met Mike, my collaborator, in a roundabout way, and some of the most fun people I’ve had the fortune of knowing. I don’t imagine I’d be half as interesting without music in my life - I’m sure a lot of artists say that!  

Where do you stand in regards to New Zealand music going into the new decade? Is it looking strong? Are there some challenges on the horizon?

I’m no expert yet on the music over here as I’m still discovering artists. I didn’t know who the Kiwi legend Dave Dobbyn was before I came here! However, I’ve been getting out and about and seeing new bands. I recently went to the Sawmill in Leigh, and I saw Surf Friends, who are signed to Flying Nun records.  They were excellent and the best live band I’d seen in a long while - it was a pretty raucous rock n roll night as there was a stage invasion from a massive hen party called the Double Ds, who were wearing oversized bras on the outsides of their t-shirts, a bit like the Regina George look in Mean Girls. I wondered how a great band like that sustains their music ‘career’ in these difficult times where rock n roll is no longer at the forefront of the industry.  Similarly, I recently played the same show as Geoff Ong, who is another fab local musician, and I was surprised to find out afterwards that he’d had hits in the New Zealand chart yet was not signed. I find this concerning that the industry, for some reason unknown to me, does not seem to be supporting an artist like that! On the other hand, The Beths are a great example of where things are looking strong - I caught them in London last year supporting Death Cab For Cutie and now they’re going to be part of The Hella Mega Tour! What an achievement!

Going forwards, what can we expect from Lexytron? Any exciting projects in the future?

I am looking forward to letting the music do the talking from the day Something Blue is released! It means that I am able to get back to writing, recording and playing music again. The next album will be recorded here in Aotearoa, so I’m really excited about meeting like-minded individuals and getting out and about with testing the songs around Auckland anywhere that’ll have me. I’m open to working with other artists here - whether it is playing a gig or getting in the studio - so perhaps I can use this interview as an open casting call! Hit me up on the socials - Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or my website www.lexytron.com if you like what I do!

What are the important dates for us to remember in terms of releases and gigs coming up for you?

I am looking at live dates after the album’s release, so for now, the big date in your diaries should be 20 March 2020, which is the date you can hear Something Blue in full on all good online streaming platforms!

Read the full interview here

Lexytron is Lexy and Mike

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page 
Facebook Page
Twitter Page
YouTube Page
Instagram Page
Bandcamp Page
SoundCloud Page
iTunes Page


New Artist Pages

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

Serious Happiness Trees for Ruru
EmRiver VÏKÆ
Domes isunray
JET Navvy
Miho's Jazz Orchestra Auckland City Scoundrels
QUALMS Deprivacy
SkeletonCrew Dusty Watt
Jay Tewake Souls of Hades
Vostok Lake Murmur Tooth
The Dead Man 6 O Juliet
Billy TK Jnr Ire Exit
Selah Saints The Sunnylaw Social Club
Kate Owen


New Reviews and Interviews

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

Reviews
Interviews

We have also interviewed Ria HallHabit and Thomas Brothers recently.

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 5 April!

If you are a NZ musician and you would like to promote your music,
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