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Newsletter Issue #529: 07 Jun 2020

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When I was a kid, I would take records out of my Dad’s collection, flip them onto the turntable and listen. With the headphones resting over my ears and the sleeve in my hands, the music would take me on a journey from beginning to end. Albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Oxygene and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway were mysteries to me as an 8-year-old.

Skip to modern times where I am now a music teacher at a high school and I come to find that not many kids have seldom done this. With music consumption being literally a click away, I have found that it seems easy to just skip to the next song or artist. Along with what I call ‘musical racism’ which is where people dismiss genres or artists within that genre because they don’t like it, I feel that so many of my students are missing out on the art of listening.

Recently I have had some incredible discussions with my students about how listening to music outside of your norm is not only rewarding when it suddenly makes sense to you but that you can also learn so much from it. It is something I encourage people to do more often. One of my students had never been into Tool. When I asked him and his band to learn Schism, he looked at me and was disappointed. But he went away and learnt the whole song. A couple of days later, lockdown happened.

But something magical happened. During the lockdown, I got an email from this student who proclaimed his love for Tool. He detailed how everything interconnected and that just blew his mind. He was embarrassed that he hadn’t been listening to it sooner but concurred that sitting down and listening to the whole album (Lateralus) was quite an experience. He went on to say that he has been listening to music differently now, paying attention to all the detail that exists. As a music teacher and someone who just loves music in general, this was such a great moment because now this student was really listening. 

I always discuss this concept with my class using the analogy of a movie scene where there are so many elements that you may be unaware of but once you start to notice them, you can never unsee them. You can then start to figure out which movie makers have influenced the direction of the movie you are watching. 

So, as NZ Music Month comes to an end, I want you to think about how many albums from NZ artists have you actually sat down with and listened to with intent. Do you listen to albums, or do you just have a playlist of tracks you like on repeat?

I hope I have given you something to think about and I encourage you to go back and listen to some albums you may have passed up on the first time. Thanks for reading!

- Ben Ruegg


Ben is a music teacher and multi-instrumentalist who performs solo and with Channeled - check out their incredible new single The Taste of Blood here . Ben has also recently worked closely with the mysterious Lil Benjamoious.
Many thanks to Ben for writing this editorial.

Auckland rockers Primacy have had an explosive May with the release of their outstanding debut album Seeds of ChangeSeeds of Change comprises 7 songs that explore the pressures we face as humans and as custodians of an overburdened planet. Dark technical basslines blend with a heavy rhythmic groove, while aggressive guitar and raw moody vocals complete a dense and detailed soundscape. Paul from Muzic.net.nz spoke to the band about lockdown, their new album and plans for the future:

Primacy’s music shows a number of influences mainly in the rock and metal genre. Is the sound you create just an organic outcome of the people involved or is it something you think about or try to change sometimes. Could you ever see yourselves doing a 'Bring Me The Horizon' shift and ever release a record straddling other unexpected genres?

Adrian: I think mostly it’s an organic outcome for each song. We go with whatever feels right more than whether it’s within our preference of genres. I think we are largely quite open-minded enough to throw in other influences if the groove sits well and we all dig it. Primacy has been and continues to be a melting pot of influences and I cannot see that changing at all.

It is so difficult right now to make plans to play gigs and just get your music out but you are about to release your debut album Seeds Of Change. It seems an apt title with what is happening at the moment so what can you tell us about the album?

Rhys: For me on a vocal standpoint, I want to use music to help people through tough times, provoke thought and facilitate change. The tracks on this album were written about some of the personal challenges I have faced over the years and some big moments of change in my life. The album also addresses some worldwide issues we all currently face together as a species. Climate change, plastic pollution and deforestation being at the top of the list. The stress of overpopulation and overconsumption coupled with outdated ideologies are wreaking havoc on our struggling planet. The current circumstances demonstrate this pretty clearly, we are in need of change. I hope this pandemic is a turning point for everyone. To start making choices in their day to day life that ultimately lead us to a cleaner more sustainable future. Sow the seeds of change.

You have released a few songs over the years but it has taken a while to get to the debut album. Any reason for that? Are you perfectionists?

Will: The instruments were all recorded in 2018. Many of the songs on the album have been around for ages - in fact, one is older than Primacy itself. Rhys, adopting his role as vocalist in early 2018, laboured over his lyrics for almost two years, causing us to push forward the release date. The band (myself in particular) had a few heated exchanges regarding this slow movement forward, but that being said, it's notable to see the songs have really grown in feeling and character because of it, so perhaps the reward outweighs the burden of waiting. An analogy might be comparing fast food vs fine dining. Good things take time. I am proud of what the songs have become, so kudos to Rhys for his diligence. It's not easy to be handed a pile of fully written songs, with the pressure of an album solely on your shoulders.

Primacy always seems to have a clear focus on image and direction for the band. Where do you see Primacy in two years' time? You have had some good responses to previous releases in NZ and overseas. Is it a goal to make a living through music?

Jared: It helps to have a goal to work towards. Recording an album or EPs, releasing singles etc all helps to feel like you’re achieving something as a band. Part of that is the actual promotion and release of the singles, that’s an art in itself. We’re learning through experience mostly, every single release we’ve had has been a bit better each time. In two years hopefully, we’ll have another record under our belt and we’ll be back gigging frequently - world events pending.

It’s not a goal for Primacy as a collective to make a living from our music, we do it for the love of it. If we were, our music would probably sound quite different haha. That being said if an opportunity came along that could support us full time that would be incredible. Aside from that, it’s more of a personal thing for each member as we’re all quite different. For me personally it is definitely a goal to make a living through music. But through a combination of things like producing, writing, performing…

I am sure you are itching to get out and play live again is there anything planned? Have you given any thought to the set and how it will be played?

Sadeer: We had an album release gig planned at Whammy Bar on the 22nd of May, but that will be postponed to another date, due to the current circumstances. The set planned will consist mainly of all material in our debut album plus another couple of older tunes that are usually crowd favourite. The order of the songs won't be as per the album, but more arranged in a way for best-anticipated crowd response. We hope to be playing the songs tightly, having hopefully practised enough as a band, and with the same passion, we had before the lockdown.

Sum up your new album Seeds of Change in 5 words.

More fun than a pillowfight!

Read the full interview here

Primacy are Rhys Saran (vocals), Adrian Brausch (guitar), Jared Tobin (guitar), Sadeer Kattan (bass) and Will Stairmand (drums).

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Facebook Page
YouTube Page
Bandcamp Page
ReverbNation Page
SoundCloud Page

Album Review: Seeds of Change

Mazbou Q is a phenomenal force to be reckoned with. His impressive new EP Afroternity has taken the NZ Hip-Hop scene by storm, with a unique and afrocentric sound that is easily recognisable as his own. Officially marking a new chapter in the journey of one of New Zealand's most unique artists, Afroternity is a captivating and evolutionary release, and definitely worth of the attention it is receiving. Gaby from Muzic.net.nz spoke to Hugh about his influences, name change and faith:

What inspired you or led you to do music full time?

The journey started when I was very young, having played music in various forms and in various capacities since I was very young. After I had graduated from college and gained some work experience, both my family and church community helped me to see that there wasn’t much to lose by taking the leap, and potentially everything to gain. My family especially connected me to the idea that it was my purpose.

Who were your biggest musical inspirations growing up, and why?

Probably {Mumsdollar}, {As I Lay Dying} and {Haste The Day}. Interestingly enough, radically different to kind of music I make now, but growing up the punk and metal communities are the ones I was immersed in. I remember going to venues like Ellen Melville, Orange County Hall and Grey Lynn Library Hall watching 5 bands for $5, almost every weekend, back when the only way you knew about bands was MySpace, and the only way you knew about local shows was by receiving an anonymous text message. I had always loved music, but this is the environment that inspired me to create it for myself.

What prompted the change from Unchained XL to Mazbou Q, and why?

My original name was just 'Unchained', which was a spur of a the moment decision. I never really loved it, but it stuck. I added 'XL' to the end for SEO purposes then proceeded to add meaning onto it retrospectively to justify keeping it to myself. But it just irked me more and more over the years. Come 2020, I was experiencing a bunch of life changes and so decided to take the plunge and figure out a moniker I was more happy with.

In what ways has having a daughter influenced your take on music, the music world and the songs in this EP?

I had actually finished most of the EP prior to my daughter being a part of our lives, so her main influence on my music has come in the unreleased content that I have made since. She has granted me a lot of existential perspective and has become a motivation for pushing through hard times, which as you can imagine is something that would creep up in my music a lot. I want to make it more than ever, now that she’s here - so I can be an inspiration for her as she grows up.

Being a big music personality in NZ (hosting events like The Loft, collaborating, producing, teaming up with other musicians and the like), where do you see your journey in New Zealand heading after this EP? When are we likely to expect the Afroternity EP tour?

The EP was supposed to drop a bit earlier with a tour to follow soon after but plans had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 situation. I had some loose international plans also. But I hope to sort out some live shows as soon as possible, and then figure out how to sneak into overseas markets with my next lot of material.

Faith is a strong message in your music. Your single, To The Gates, has a very strong message behind it, do mind going into some detail of what inspired this story and music video?

This is perhaps one song I’d prefer not to divulge much detail about. I’ve kept it intentionally ambiguous so as people can draw what ever meaning they wish from it.

The music video on the hand, I’m happy to say something about. We (Swap and Corey from The Umbrella Collective) were inspired by the movie called The Ritual. In the movie, a group of friends are haunted by their friend’s murder in a convenience store. We imported and modified that concept because I felt that it captured the essence of the song.

What would give you the most joy as a musician to see happening and/or changing in the NZ music industry?

80-90% New Zealand music played on mainstream radio stations; more local venues opening up; local artists performing at those venues to full crowds regularly; more jam nights popping up; a higher demand for NZ artists overseas; a NZ equivalent to BBC1 Xtra; a more expansive set of genres occupying the “mainstream” space - and much more. Basically a flow on effect of NZ music being appreciated more than it is.

Read the full interview here

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website
Facebook Page

EP Review: Afroternity

Alt-pop singer and songwriter Theia, whose burgeoning catalogue showcases an artist who is unafraid to push the boundaries, has recently released her 99% Angel mixtape which features her brand new single Celebrity. Gaby from Muzic.net.nz spoke to Theia about her primary motivation, key messages and her new music:

What got you into playing music when you were younger, and who are your favourite inspirations?

I did kapa haka when I was younger so that was my first introduction to performance. I also used to write songs when I was little. But it wasn’t until much later - after university - that I got myself into the studio to start recording. There are so many artists who have inspired me, like Amy Winehouse, Bjork, Britney Spears, Stevie Nicks.

I really like your song Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao. Where did you grow up, and how do you see yourself still influencing the music world in New Zealand?

Thank you! I was born in Christchurch and lived there until a few years ago. My iwi is Waikato-Tainui and I still have whanaunga who live near my marae Tauranganui in Port Waikato. I’m just grateful to be able to make music and to always be pushing myself to grow and develop as an artist.

Congratulations on the release of your new EP 99% Angel. What an EP! Each song seems to discuss ideas of self-confidence, body positivity, aversion to misogyny and “slut shaming”. It's great to see people creating music that uplifts us in these regards. Can you tell us a bit about why these messages are important to you?

The songs on 99% Angel are inspired by my journey in music and in life and, as you mention, they do touch on some pretty heavy subjects. But the songs are also empowering. And I think that’s what’s important - if there are messages in my music that resonate with others, and can help lift others up, then that’s really great.

What are other key messages that you try to convey in your music, and why?

My music often resonates with people who feel like they’re on the outside. Maybe they’re not the ‘cool kids’ at school or they feel like they don’t fit in anywhere. I personally know that feeling very well and I guess that’s what comes across in my music. I hope that people take some comfort in knowing that they’re not alone in feeling that way and if my songs give them the courage to be themselves, then that’s truly fab.

Lastly, where do you see your musical journey heading in 2020? Any shows in mind for the coming of this EP? 

I’m eagerly awaiting to return to Sydney, which is where I’d be based if I hadn’t come back to NZ for lockdown. I’ve got new music I’m working on and a couple of exciting collab projects in the works.

Check out Theia on Spotify here.

Read the full interview here

Website Links

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

We've had an action-packed month here on the show. Filmmaker and entrepreneur Brad Stent opens up about his struggle with depression, bankruptcy and coming out in a religious family. He lost everything and hit rock bottom, but soon picked himself up and slowly rebuilt his life. This is a story about hope. 

We released a special episode with microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles about how the entertainment industries can get up and running again safely and strategically.

On our latest episode we spoke to musician and film composer Joel Haines. His father Kevin Haines and brother Nathan Haines are both highly respected musicians in their own right and all three of them have carved out impressive careers. This is a fun and fascinating episode with an undeniable and ever humble talent.

Listen to our episodes on our website, iTunesStitcherSpotifyiHeart RadioPlayer.FMTuneIn and all other good podcast apps!



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