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Newsletter Issue #532: 06 Sep 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 Some of the content will be outdated and some layout issues may be present in the translation from email to the web.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!

How You Can Help NZ-Made Music
By Paula Yeoman

After seven months of navigating a Covid-induced new world order, in which the music industry has changed in ways we could never have imagined, it feels like a good time to take stock of what we’ve learned. As we come to terms with the reality - that we may face months, if not years, of isolation on a tiny island at the bottom of the world - one lesson screams louder than any other for me. We must do more to actively support music being made in Aotearoa.

As an artist manager I see first-hand just how important support and active engagement is. So, I’ve taken the liberty of making a check list. You may question why the need to spell out such obvious steps of support. Doesn’t everyone already do these things? In short, no! The truth is, we are excellent at paying lip service; but crap at following through.

Even if you personally achieve two of these basic actions in the next month, you will have made a difference. Imagine how much more of a difference you’d make, if you convinced two friends to do the same; and those two friends convinced two more friends to do the same.

It really is that simple!

Make sure you are following your favourite NZ artists on Spotify OR find new acts to follow

Many don’t realise how important it is for artists to have followers on platforms such as Spotify. That tiny ‘follow’ button can be critical. It’s important because it’s one way to measure if music is getting through. If someone has taken the time to follow an artist, there’s a good chance they actually like their music. They are not just a passive listener, who’s streaming their music at the gym or on some massive playlist where all the songs blend into one. Also, having followers means that an artist generates more streams through their own playlists and library, which in turn helps drive Spotify’s algorithmic playlists, like Release Radar and Discover Weekly. People who actively follow an artist are more likely to save their songs to their libraries and less likely to skip songs. In a world when everything is driven by algorithms, this is hugely important!

So, make sure you are following your favourite NZ artists and if you already are, then spend a few hours searching out new local artists. Give their stuff a proper listen and if you genuinely like it, hit follow. It really does make a difference.

Follow artist you like on social media and engage with their posts

Social media can be such a tiresome and tedious thing. But for many artists it’s one of the most important tools for building a fanbase of people who genuinely like what they do. Again, the emphasis is on the word ‘genuine’. Make sure you’re following artists you like and when you are, take the time to like their posts and comment. This also drives algorithms. Share posts/stories about new releases. It’s a good way of showing support and also introducing their music to potential new fans. And while no-one wants a forced follow, sometimes even ‘sympathy votes’ count. That’s because the number of followers and subscribers you have on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are watched closely by decision-makers, such as funders, festival bookers, radio programmers and so on. It’s a numbers game and it all counts.

Shazam songs you like

It’s quite surprising the number of people who don’t know what Shazam is. If you’re one of those people; it’s an app that identifies a song in a few seconds and then links to the song on Apple Music. It might seem like a rather pointless app, but it’s another tool for measuring if a song is getting through. I use Shazam frequently and often find myself rummaging through my bag in the supermarket so that I can find out what song is playing. What’s really encouraging is that supermarkets, malls and chain stores play a lot of Kiwi music. I’ve also been known to Shazam a song even when I do know who’s singing it. That’s because I know Shazam has its own chart and I know that industry heavyweights watch Shazam numbers and these charts closely. If you haven’t got Shazam on your phone, get it and use it. It’s an easy way to show your support, and you never know, you could be helping a local artist to get their song playlisted on radio.

Oh, and once you’ve found out who the singer is, remember to follow them on Spotify, Apple, Instagram and Facebook too.

Swap your daily coffee for a day for two and buy cheap gig tickets instead

We used to think nothing of spending $100 or more to see a big international artist live in concert. And yet, I’ve seen really good New Zealand artists put on small shows with $20-$30 (or less) tickets and still struggle to sell out. These are artists that people claim to like. I’m at a loss to explain what the mentality is behind our reluctance to buy cheap tickets to local shows. We seem so non-committal and apathetic. We know that playing live shows is absolutely critical to an emerging artist’s growth and development and to their ongoing success. They need audiences to play to! Also, what some people may not realise is that funding criteria often includes an artist’s ability to sell tickets. For newer artists, and even some relatively established acts, it can be really difficult to meet the criteria. So, let’s get a bit more excited about local shows. Buy a ticket as soon as a show is announced. Hell, buy your friend a ticket too. It’ll set you back a few flat whites but you are helping a whole lot of people – not just the artist, but musicians, sound engineers, venues and so on.

Buy merch

I love nothing more than band merch and I’m guilty of spending big bucks on my favourite international artists and yet, I own so few pieces by New Zealand artists. As I type this, I’m already thinking of the bands that I could be supporting through buying their merch or giving it as a gift. That’s money in the pocket for a hard-working Kiwi act and also, nothing is as powerful as a bit of promotion via a kick-ass band tee.

Lobby the gatekeepers for change

New Zealanders should keep pressure on the gatekeepers of the industry to ensure that local music is fairly represented across the board. That means demanding more local bands on festivals; more local music on radio. I don’t mean to trivialize the role of festival bookers and radio programmers, because I truly do appreciate that their jobs are difficult. But if you – like me – want to see a broader range of acts and genres on our big festivals and more New Zealand music played on radio, then make your thoughts be known. And most importantly, remember all of the above steps. By doing these things YOU are helping, because the more popular an artist becomes, the more likely they’ll get booked on festivals and played on radio. The gatekeepers who closely watch Spotify, social media, the charts and so on, are the people who have the power to make or break careers and in an industry that’s rich with talent, it is our duty - as it is theirs - to make sure that our local talent has a place.


Paula owns and operates local music company NicNak Media with Nicole Thomas. Together Paula and Nicole manage a successful roster of talent, including Theia, Chores, Paige, Abby Wolfe and NEKO. They also work alongside many local and international artists delivering PR campaigns.

Many thanks to Paula for writing this editorial.

Photos courtesy of Corinne Rutherford / Pixel Faerie Photography

"I had a choice to push past my illness and do Module again for them."

Mungo from Muzic.net.nz spoke to Jeramiah Ross AKA Module about the new album release Infinity Forever, which is a complex 3-part album, as he pushes past a tough battle with mental illness that almost took his life. Resilience, family and a love for music is now a key theme for Module.

Can you describe Infinity Forever and what has inspired this project?

It's a pretty epic sci-fi concept, The idea of the way it all works, Nature, Time, Space, The universe. I have built up a story around these characters that are faced with a choice.

In a nutshell it's about a scientist that has an accident and ends up phasing out of reality into another dimension. He suffered from bad dreams and uploaded himself to a computer. While away in this other dimension his backup evolved into an artificial intelligence and tried to take over the global networks using algorithms and light and sound to alter brain patterns, the scientist is brought back into this world though a good being he met in another reality, she gets stuck on earth.

During the process, the scientist loses all his memory and his body forgets to grow old so he ends up stuck in time/space unable to age. He meets the AI and see's what has happened and teaches the AI about love. Tries to fix it all, restore the process and wake people up from a digital psychosis. It's a 3-part album, Time (Singer/songwriter), Space (Dance Electronic) and Love (Classical)

Personally, I had a very full on experience in my real life. I got clinical depression and had a seizure and coma and almost died. I have been living in a bit of a dream world since then and it took me many years to come right. I still struggle every day, But through the support and love of my children, long term friends and family and the creative community within New Zealand. I have found a way to produce and share my music again...I never gave up on the dream of being able to do music ...I am really happy that I have made this album and am able to perform again. I had a choice to push past my illness and do Module again for them.

I want my children to be proud of me and I want to leave this earth when I am old knowing that I did the best I could despite rather intense health issues.

Your track titles are very hopeful, what is the process of titling a couple tracks off the project?

I create songs based around stories and concepts, A bit like a film director. I work out a script and an idea and build a world around an idea. then create the soundtrack for the idea. take a sketch of a song and expand it. I know most areas of music production now and for me it's about taking people into another world and on sound journeys through the imagination.

Can you share any advice to the younger generation of artists producing EDM music?

There are some really amazing things people are doing with maths and music, Computer based AI assisted music. Stuff people were experimenting on and with since the 1950's through actual computers that took up a whole room and used mechanical parts to generate sound. But really for me personally music is about emotionally connecting with people. telling stories and sharing ideas and concepts. It's a powerful medium and is and always will be a universal language. It connects so many people together. We are lucky as humans because no matter where you are from on earth if you know how to communicate or speak to people through music you can create time/space moments for people to enjoy. It's up to any producer or creator or player to use the tools that exist to help them say what they want to say. Just got to figure out what you want to say and build from there. Just get good at your art, keep intentions pure and do it because it's something you love and let it evolve and expand.

Can we expect more of this sound on Infinity Forever?

I released the Part 1 demos which is classical pop acoustic music. from there I am going to re-record part 1 in a good studio with hardware with my live band to capture more of a feel and emotion in the music, Part 2 is more electronic in nature, synths, digital, samples, beats, dubs and modulations, and part 3 will be hopefully with the NZSO and feature classical music. I wanted to create something epic and memorable. It's a big process but I am getting there bit by bit.

What does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?

I plan to tour the country performing everywhere I can with a full stage production plus doing smaller shows, Expanding my digital networks and communities and collaboration with really good people. Basically, Rocking on and doing what I love the most...music.

Read the full interview here

Module is Jeramiah Ross

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website
Twitter Page

YouTube Page

Bandcamp Page

Album Review: Infinity Forever Part 1 - Time

With a Taite Music Prize nomination for their 2016 self-titled debut EP and a Spotify streaming record for their single Too Strung Up, Alae have been turning heads from the get-go. Alex Farrell-Davey and Allister Meffan met in high school, crafted a unique indie folk style as a duo and then fleshed out the band with the addition of bass player Marika Hodgson and drummer Jayden Lee. Mike Alexander from Muzic.net.nz caught up with Alex ahead of the release of their new single Please and EP Lucy’s Mix Tape.

Alae is an interesting name. What’s the alchemy behind it?

Alae seemed like an ambiguous word that we could create an idea around. I think it works for us. Initially it felt a bit forced, not quite right but time seems to help with that. It fits better now.

I gather Alex and Allister are old high school buddies. Where was that and how did the musical origins of Alae begin?

Nelson College was the stomping ground. We listened to similar music, and were actively looking for content that interested us. Eventually we started writing in the music basement. I guess it stuck.

What did the pair of you have in common that clicked with you individually?

I think it was the way we resonated with the music we were listening to. There was an uncomplicated understanding that we both shared. It was an escape that eventually turned into a dream.

Two became four not long after, with the addition of Marika and Jayden. Can you tell us the back-story to that?

Marika and Jayden came into the picture one by one, over a year or so. Allister and I got to the point where we needed to work on our live sound, and a rhythm section seemed like the answer to that. We’re very lucky to have them on board.

How would you describe how your sound then developed?

Our sound has become more produced. More radio conscious and more about instant gratification. Its focus is different. It’s less about our personal issues and more about getting people up and moving. We try to cater for live environments and that kind of energy.

If you were to offer an insight into your different personalities through music, what would each of you pick as his or her favourite album of all time?

Marika: D’Angelo – Voodoo

Allister: Tom Misch – Beat Tape 1

Alex: Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Jayden: M.I.A – Not the artist, I just can’t get hold of him!

Your self-titled debut EP won over critics and landed you a prestigious Taite Music Prize nomination for Best Independent Release. That must have been satisfying. What was your reaction when you first heard the news?

To be honest, it’s not as though you can really feel it at all. It’s just more of a surprise, then you’re all like “What does that even mean!??”. Then you get drunk I guess.

2018 saw the release of your debut album Henry St. I love the interesting perspective you bring to emotional awareness in most of the songs. Do you think emotional intelligence is an under-played aspect of an individual’s overall wellbeing?

Thank you. I guess it can be? I’m not quite sure what you mean. I know a lot of people keep their thoughts locked up, out of fear of rejection and humiliation or an assumed lack of understanding from others. I’ve also seen people confidently overplay their emotional intelligence, myself included. Feeling intense emotion, isn’t an indication of what’s happening in the world around you, it’s more internal than that. Processing something that’s really hard to face, can often warp our perspective. We change it subconsciously as a way to normalize the problem. I don’t know man. People are weird!

Fast forward somewhat to 2020 and you have recently released a new single Please ahead of the release of a seven-track EP Lucy’s Mix Tape? Two questions. One, Please what? Two, why Lucy’s Mix Tape?

Please, EVERYTHING! It’s about wanting and trying and manifesting – the best of everything. Lucy’s Mix Tape? Because Lucy is our fave track of the mixtape.

If you were reviewing Lucy’s Mix Tape, how would you describe it?

AAAAAAHHH, what a confronting question! Due to my obvious bias, I’ll have to politely decline!

Two of the songs feature collaborations: a remake of Lucy with Nate Dousand and a Bailey Wiley vocal version of Please. What was it that you felt made both of them the perfect fit for these songs?

Nate just made such a beautiful version of Lucy that we couldn’t not include it. Bailey is just such an incredible vocalist. We were in a show together a couple years ago and Marika has worked with her before, so it felt right to ask. We are so lucky to have her say yes.

There’s also a Covid-19 lockdown song – an acoustic version of your 2019 single Hit Me Where It Hurts. Was this one of many you recorded during lockdown?

It was one of a few, there are more kicking but this was definitely my fave. It sounds like something off Henry Street, and I can’t tell you how good that feels.

Read the full interview here

Alae is Alex Farrell-Davey, Allister Meffan, Jayden Lee and Marika Hodgson.

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Official Website
Facebook Page
YouTube Page
Instagram Page
Bandcamp Page

SoundCloud Page
Spotify Page

Single Review: Lucy
Single Review: Summer Thing

EP Review: Lucy's Mix Tape

Main Photo Credit: Lucy Fench

Swerve City are one of the greatest rock acts to come out of Auckland in recent times. They possess a sound that blends melodic rock with the undertones of metal and pop sensibilities. Described as blistering, expressive and composed, there's a lot on offer with each new track they release.

Adrian Drew from Muzic.net.nz sat on the other side of a computer typing away to frontman JP Carroll about this exciting new band that's causing the Aotearoa rock scene to explode.

Recently you've been pumping out some great music under your solo project, Arrays. Then, what seemed to come out of nowhere, you announced a new band you're fronting, Swerve City and drop a bad ass cover single to boot!

Hey, thanks!

It seems like a rather serendipitous band formation, how did it come about?

As the story goes, Adam hopped in an Uber that Kev was driving around the same time that Kev and I had been working up some riffs. Then we got Shannon involved and we found all the funny connections between the band members. It's a small world, and an even smaller country I guess! But makes for a cool story.

Some bands like to keep the origin of their name a secret. Is there a story behind yours?

It's probably no secret that Swerve City is the name of a Deftones song. We had gone through hundreds of name ideas (as is usually the case with band names - why is it always so difficult?) and Swerve City got tossed up, and that was that. Not very dramatic, but it's a pretty kick ass song.

Your first release (just out) is a cover of Big Data's - Dangerous. I'm a big fan of the song and its many guises, it was actually our first song after the cake cutting at our wedding in February. It's a fantastic version you've done, hard rock with a pop punk/power pop icing. What made you decide to release a cover first and how do you pick what song as a band to cover?

Congratulations! Thanks for the kind words. I can't quite remember the chronology of events exactly, but between saving up for studio time to record some original tracks, and Covid grinding our world to a halt, the cover popped up as an idea and we went for it. I love the message in the song, about the fragility of our privacy in the digital world, and it's such a catchy melody. It was actually a really organic process; I think I pitched the song to the band and we immediately started to hash it out. As for choosing a song, I think it partly comes down to whether there is an opportunity to offer a different perspective or put your mark on it. Or if you're covering a song to play live, a song that everyone knows that kicks ass can be a great surprise at a show for the audience. I love it when one of my favourite bands drops a cover of an old school banger in the middle of their set. Slight digression there, apologies for the resultant novel.

I'm guessing that you're working on some originals, what can we expect next from Swerve City?

We're in the middle of recording 3 originals with Zorran Mendonsa (Coridian, Crooked Royals) - We got thrown off course by Level 3 version 2, but once life returns to some sense of normality we'll continue the process and have some new singles in the not too distant future. Excited to share some more music!

Does everyone contribute to the compositions, do the guys come in with their own ideas or is it more like a jam session that might spark light on a song?

Usually an idea will come from someone and we will flesh it out in the home studio, and then in the band room the instrument parts will continue to develop as we practice them - Once we have a general vision for the trajectory of the song, everyone develops their part to sound as good as it can.

Musically, do the band members all have similar interests or is it quite diverse?

Well, we're all into rock music obviously. But things get pretty diverse once you get into the sub-genres. Plenty of bands and artists cross over of course. If anyone is interested, you can check out the band member playlists on our Spotify profile. Everything from Deftones to Dio in there.

Going from writing solo for Arrays, what's the biggest difference working with a band?

Bands have other people in them, so I can't just drop a two minute guitar solo. Not that I would. Also, there's Kev, who thinks that my fridge is actually his. I don't get that sort of problem with Arrays. In Arrays, I acknowledge that my fridge is, in fact, my fridge. The downside of a solo project is you don't get the input from outside sources. So, whatever your idea is, that's what it will be. But it's nice to not ask for permission. I love being able to do both, particularly as Swerve City has a really chilled but productive vibe. Obviously live shows are a lot easier with a band, too!

Read the full interview here

Swerve City are JP (vocals, guitar), Kev (guitar, vocals), Shannon (bass, vocals) and Adam (drums)

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Facebook Page
YouTube Page
Spotify Page

Single/Video Review: Dangerous

Live photo courtesy of Nikita Weir/Antonia Pearl Photography

New Plymouth Punk-Rockers Horror Story are celebrating a milestone many can only dream of - 20 years. Ever since their first release Monsterpiece hit the airwaves in 2001, they have amassed an impressive 12 EP and album releases, infiltrated NZ's music TV, recorded a Misfits cover, featured in numerous compilations and achieved much, much more.

Chris Chick from Muzic.net.nz had the opportunity to talk to Von Toxic about the past 20 years.

20 Years of Horror Story - that is an incredible feat which should not be ignored. How would you neatly put the last 20 years in your own words?

20 years of horror stories!

In those 20 years, what has been you biggest challenge?

Biggest challenge was being taken seriously by the local industry. NZ on Air, NZ Musician and Satellite Media etc, no one would give us coverage in NZ except XSTV, meanwhile we were in magazines in USA, Germany & UK. The other major problem was getting the band to America & Europe. Many tried, all failed!

What one thing since your inception are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of what we have created and how it has reached people all over the world & touched them. The songs!! I'm proud we have done it ourselves and on our own terms. I'm proud we played with The Misfits three times and by the second time they were fans, and they pogo danced while we played!

How has the music journey changed for you as a group in the last 20 years?

There is the downloading problem that was just starting in the band's early days. The tour circuit is broken now. When I started playing there were bands in each town that you could play with and would help with tours and gigs but with the price of gas, the cost of a drink at a bar and city living forcing venues to close has seen a 30-year circuit fail. And then came lockdown!

If music and being in a band never happened, what would you have being doing for the last 20 years?

Taking drugs, lots of them! lol...comic artist.

The genre of punk has gone through many changes since its early inceptions (counter cultural nature) what is your personal opinion of where punk fits into the music scene in 2020?

I don't care where punk fits in any scene, but I believe it can lose potency on a major label. We are considered 'Horror Punk', that didn't exist as a genre until the mid to late 90's. Until Die Gruwel started a few years ago we were the only horror punk band in NZ! Punk has the same place it’s always had. But I don't know if anyone really cares. It belongs in the underground.

Tell the readers one thing about yourself that they would never know?

I have a screw holding my left ring finger together, it has made it hard to play some scales as the finger only has partial movement. Could be worse, adds to my style in a way.

If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, where would that be?

I think playing somewhere like The Whisky a go go in the states. I'm not into huge venues, I like things up close.

Read the full interview here

Horror Story are Dr Hell (vocals), Von Toxic (guitar), Stefan X (bass) and C. Psycho (drums)

Website Links

Muzic.net.nz Page
Facebook Page

YouTube Page
ReverbNation Page

Album Review: Return of the Strange

We're celebrating our 100th milestone with a very special double episode, featuring New Zealand icon Debbie Harwood.  

Debbie Harwood is a triple threat; she’s a fantastic musician, highly intelligent and as kind and honest as they come. Debbie spent her early years performing constantly, making a name for herself in the local music scene. She held her own in a male dominated industry and stood strong against the patronising and dismissive, who sniffed at the ‘cute female covers band’ When The Cats Away, which would become one of the most successful NZ touring shows in the 1980's. Debbie toured the world singing for Jimmy Barnes, has helped mentor and develop numerous artists and she’s watched the music industry completely change beneath her feet. On this episode Debbie opens up about her current health problems and she reflects on her career and the challenge of achieving longevity in such an inconsistent and difficult industry. These episodes are thought provoking, touching and hilarious. Dig in!

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



New Artist Pages

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

End of an Empire Antipodeans
Bevan Mical Hadees Drudge
Taylor Roche D.Maleek
Mirrors Zitan
Samantha Josephine Samuel Philip Cooper
Dick Raine Dub Boys
State of Entropy Reiki Ruawai
Kovan Ullritzr
Grant Haua Seralynne
Empasse Velvet Arrow
Na Noise Chilli Bean

New Reviews and Interviews

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


We also interviewed PRINS this month.

New Photos

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

Artist Galleries
Feature Galleries


View all our previous features here

Our next newsletter is going out on Sunday 4 October!

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