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Newsletter Issue #550: 01 May 2022

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The Power of Creativity

Kia ora, whanau!

My name is Ben Ruegg. I am firstly a husband to my wife Louise and a father to my two beautiful daughters, Natalie and Charlotte. I am also the Head of Music at Waiuku College as well as the lead singer and songwriter for my solo project known as Channeled.

Music is my passion. It is my lifeblood and something that has played and will continue to play a large part in my life. Getting to work with Lisa and the team here at Muzic.net.nz has been a privilege. I enjoy hearing new music from NZ artists I haven't heard before as well as getting to write about it and interviewing people for the show I call A/Muse.

This is the first time I have written anything for the Muzic.net.nz Newsletter, so I gathered my thoughts and decided to write about something that I am extremely passionate about: "The power of creativity." 

So here goes!

Firstly, welcome to New Zealand Music Month. For the record, while I support NZ Music Month, I will always encourage those to support NZ Music regardless of what date it is.

Secondly, thank you to Lisa for allowing me to write my first editorial for the Newsletter. I am honoured.

Coming up to my 39th year on this planet, having survived a life-threatening seizure, and reflecting on almost 10 years of being a music teacher, I can feel that my 40th year is going to feel special. During the last few years, I have been writing so much again. It almost feels like a tap got turned on and everything was flooding out. At times, the pipe got clogged and I hit writer's block, but in most cases, I have just been channelling some of what I felt as a kid. Sitting in my room when I was young, I would write songs just because I loved writing and singing my own music. I would head out into the lounge with the lyrics written inside the pages of my blue songbook I got from Big Fresh when I was about 11 or 12 and perform my music for my parents. The melodies were etched in my memory. Still to this day, I can pick that book up and I know all the chords and melodies. It is powerful.

As I journeyed through high school I got to meet like-minded individuals who wrote their own music, and I came across those that bullied me because of it. Honestly, there was a time when I was about 10 that some kids from my primary school hated the fact that I would try and sing in class in front of others. While my teacher, Mr Burridge, encouraged me and gave me feedback, some of these kids disliked it. One day, a group of three boys stole my guitar from me while walking home and beat me up pretty badly. I never gave up though, I just kept writing. The bullying certainly never stopped at high school. It just wasn't as bad. Just for the record, this is not a sob story: I just want to provide some context about what I am writing.

What really clicked with me was the creation process; the idea that I could come up with something out of nothing. As I learnt more about technology and home recording, I eventually was able to really bring my ideas out of my head and into real life.

Around 2006, I caught up with my old bass player from high school, Michelle, and we jammed with this guy named Paul who I had met through a friend back at Papakura High School. We ended up forming a band called Anything But Federal, which got signed to record an EP and release a music video. It kind of felt like my dreams were coming true with some of my best mates. We of course were young and naive. By the time we had released the EP and had shot the video which was on national TV, my passion for writing and being creative kind of shut down. It took years later for me to understand exactly why. So, around 2009, one and a half years after the EP and having been signed, I quit the band and went to university to become a teacher.

Flash forward to now where I am about to release new music under my artist name of Channeled, I can see why I am creating more now than I had ever done in my previous years. It simply came down to me enjoying the process of writing. As most of you know, I am the absolute worst person to use as an example of good marketing, social media posts and promotion of my music. By no means do I discourage doing it either. In fact, in the current world of social media and TikTok, if you have the time and money, and a great team of people who can help you to make good of your promotional budget, you should do it. A lot of the biggest artists started out as a viral sensation so it makes a lot of sense to do what you can to get yourself some exposure.

But for me, that isn't something I strive for. That is also not to say that I wouldn't accept it if it was offered to me, either.

What I have found is that I will write music and quite quickly release it without any plan or forward thought around promotions. I do this simply because I love capturing that song and then being able to share it, just like I did when I was a kid in my bedroom. To be frank, it was working with my students and seeing them create like I used to that got me inspired to get writing again, simply because I love it. I got to see them write music because they loved finding out how their song turned out. But I also saw what happened when they got so attached to their music that when someone critiqued it, or if they released it online with a music video and promotion and no one really paid much attention, I got to see how devastating it was for most of them. They would begin to question if they were a good artist, performer, or songwriter. I would speak with them and again and again, asking them, "But did you enjoy the process? Did you enjoy that feeling of creating something out of nothing? That high you got when you listened back to what you had worked on for so long, was it good?" Everyone would say yes.

I want you right now to think about your favourite song you have ever written. And just for this moment, I want you to ask yourself if it really matters what someone else thinks. The power of creativity is that it is like a key that unlocks your intuition, your natural ability to work in the flow state to create something out of nothing. It fires up all your senses and it makes you feel incredible. The power of creativity sets you free. It allows you to become the songwriter, capturing the song that already exists in the universe, unheard by anyone, including yourself, and bring it into the world. When we overthink the process, we get stuck. When we let ourselves enjoy the feeling of experience by means of writing music that seems to flow out of us like a newly found water channel, we feel exhilaration. We could discuss in great length how after the flow state of the creation process we will sometimes need to edit and curate what has been captured, but I will leave that for another day.

Now ask yourself if you listen to your own music. Why do you create it? Are you wanting to become famous? Do you write it to get someone else to say they like it? Just read about how many famous people wish they were unknowns again. That isn't to say you shouldn't aim to be famous either. In fact, when you write and perform that hit song, you should feel famous! As a kid in my bedroom, I always wanted to be famous. When Anything But Federal got signed and we went into the studio, I began to feel like I was climbing up the stairs to fame. I remember getting a call from my sister saying that our single was being played on the radio one night, then turning the radio on and hearing it myself. That is something I will never forget. However, as I said earlier in this piece, I eventually quit the band and walked away. Our shows were not sold out. Our following wasn't huge. We still had a box of CDs left from when we had them in stores like JB HiFi and at the shows. I truly felt like I had become a failure. My dreams of becoming a successful musician had died.

My point of all this is that I have seen so many incredible musicians stop because they were not getting enough followers or likes, attention from radio or labels, or getting enough streams on Spotify or other services. I've seen artists question their abilities and give up simply because the music they loved to write never got the same reaction that they themselves had with it. I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't let it get in the way. Write music and perform music because YOU love it. Share your music with others in any way you want. Enjoy the power that creativity brings to your soul and your life. New Zealand has such an incredible amount of talent with so many bands and artists that need to be heard. The only way we can hear it is by listening to more of it and speaking to others about it. If your music isn't on a playlist or charting on a radio station or Spotify just yet, don't stop making music. It may well happen, and it will most likely happen when you least expect it to. Reading about what is known as "The Matthew Effect" has certainly given me a lot of insight and peace with where I am personally in my musical journey.

So here is to all my fellow musicians out there. Cheers! Share your music. Don't let anyone else get in your way. You do you because quite honestly, you are bloody fantastic.

- Ben Ruegg
P.S. - This is our 550th newsletter!

There's been a lot of NZ rappers making their debut in recent times, with Lyttelton's Yung Ludd leading at the fore. Having spent some time in Auckland in his twenties, he was exposed to a lot of the underground hip-hop scene there which proved to be very influential on his sound. Rapping in his Kiwi accent over mellow, self-produced beats, Yung Ludd spits honest lyricism about everyday life, mental health struggles, and searching for balance.

We spoke to him recently about his new EP Two Tone, his plans for the future and what local music he digs.

How did you become involved in music?

It all started with the Yamaha CP70. That’s a piano we had as a kid, and I would sit at that piano tapping out the melody for Star Wars. Since that point, my parents got me lessons and I’ve been playing keys ever since. I never found the right outlet until I fell in love with hip hop music in my 20s, and making beats became my favourite way to express myself. The last element to coalesce was my voice and the words. I’d been journaling in rhyme for some years as a fun way of getting my thoughts on the page, but stepping up to actually use my voice as an instrument on the beats led to the music I make now.

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

Skilaa! Phodiso! Skilaa have to be my favourite local band at the moment, they are all incredible musicians and Chelsea has the most unique melodies and vocal harmonies in the game. Very underrated. I also love Phodiso’s music - it has an energy to it that just makes you wanna move. Both these acts would pop off live, and help make up for my more downbeat style.

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

I have new music in the works. Happier music. I think I’m going to shift into single mode and just drop individual songs for a while, focusing on making one at a time rather than a whole body of work. And then I’m going to make an album.

Who are your favourite NZ bands and musicians?

Avantdale Bowling Club. It’s no secret that Tom Scott is a primary influence on me and my music. All of his various rap projects have kept me company at different points in life - I find his lyrics so deep and also so relatable.

Rizvan is one of my favourite local MCs too - his philosophy is unmatched. 

Skilaa again. The grooviest. 

What local albums have you been listening to recently?

Mokomokai. A lethal combination of Ghos and Dusty Melody on production, and Dirty on raps. Native excellence.

The 25th of January EP. Lucky Lance and Christoph El Truento. Honey on Toast and Koke are my faves. 

No Warning. Brandn Shiraz and El Truento again. A lovely mix of new-school raps over old-school cuts. 

Kia Ora 10. To me, DJ Spell is like NZ’s knxwledge or Battlecat. He stays on his grind and the beats are just fucked up good. I’m gonna rap on a Spell beat one day. 

Che Fu - I got Navigator on CD in the car, along with Elimination by Deceptikonz. Fallen Angels is such a spiritual joint. 

How did you come up with the name Yung Ludd?

It was my good friend, Finn. He was always a beast with the adlibs and I think someone called me a luddite one time, because I was taking pictures on a film camera and probably rocking a walkman. If memory serves, Finn hops in with a “Yung Ludd on the beat” or “Real Ludd Shit” in that trap-a-holics voice and it just stuck. I guess it was a joke to begin with, but here we are. To me it sounds like a rap name, and that hopefully gets people in the door and to the more sincere end of things: the music. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

You’re not going to perfect your first song - make it and move on. Tune into yourself and enjoy the adventure of finding your voice and sound. There’s no rush. Just keep going :)

Read the full interview here

Check out Yung Ludd on Muzic.net.nz

Solo artist ARIA has fostered her talent for singing, dancing and performing since a young age. A driven and unique artist, ARIA has honed her super powers by adapting and diversifying, whether it was singing for NZ Opera, writing and recording the Auckland anthem Friday, in the shack with  Home Brew, belting top Cs in the Festival Garden for Dr Colossus, crooning BVs for TEEKS on RNZ or laying down Mahogany Session vocals in London for Noah Slee, ARIA has lapped it all up, slowly harvesting her rich experiences to build her own juicy, tapestry.

ARIA answered a couple of questions for Muzic.net.nz, here's what she had to say: 

How did you become involved in music?

I’ve always sung, since I was about four years old. I was always singing apparently, I think it was actually quite annoying for my whanau - big Leo energy lol. But yeah, both my parents were in bands and music so it was a natural progression for us kids to get amongst. I learned piano from the age of 5 up until the end of high school. I was also really into dance and actually anything that involved a stage - big leo energy lol.

When it came time to go to university I wanted to do something I was passionate about, so aside from the ‘go-to’ BA, I decided to do a Bachelor of Music in Performance Voice. Although there was a lot about the university’s approach to music, since it is such a Westernised institution, that wasn’t ideal, I do feel blessed and grateful for the experience, skills and relationships it gave to me.

While I was at uni I joined the NZ Opera Chorus and I also started singing in a bunch of bands, playing around Tamaki Makaurau at Khuja Lounge, Rakinos, and in Festivals. It wasn’t until I moved overseas to Australia and then Berlin that I found the courage to develop my own solo project.

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

Probably my latest single release, Only Way is Through.

This tune started as an idea shared with me by my bestie and brother-from-another-mother, Noah Slee. We wrote a little demo together while we were up North on this song writing getaway. Then in 2021, I decided to expand it into a full song which I workshopped and performed live with a band for my solo show.

Once I had made the decision to put out my EP, I approached my friend and producer Tom Broome who had just finished building his beauty new studio, about recording some of it with him. We have played in lots of bands together over the years but this was an exciting opportunity to work with each other in a new way. I invited a bunch of our other friends/musicians who are wonderful instrumentalists to contribute to the recording so it was a big, old, family affair. For me even as a solo artist, I am deeply collaborative. I reckon Only Way is Through shines because of the magic sprinkles from all the various hands that held it with care.

Check out ARIA on Muzic.net.nz

South African self-taught artist and producer InDuna (in-Doo-nah) takes flavours straight from his homeland and incorporates them into his Afropop infused soul sound. Inspired by the likes of Brenda Fassie and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, InDuna expresses himself and his experiences of growing up in a third world society through his music.

InDuna recently shared some words with Muzic.net.nz:

"As an artist, I get inspiration from many different things, but one big source comes from my hobby of people-watching. I’m really fascinated with people and figuring out what makes them tick. Whether it’s someone I saw for a moment or someone new I'm meeting, I'm always curious trying to figure them out. From subtle details in someone’s way of talking to their facial expressions, their body language or even the way they walk is so interesting to me.

Along with people-watching, I daydream quite a bit. After figuring out a person I sometimes like to create my own version of their story. It’s almost like I'm re-imagining someone’s life. I take inspiration from the people I physically see and turn them into the people you’ll hear in my songs. My artistic freedom allows me to live in dream worlds created in my songs. It reminds me of creative writing back in school.

Most people get inspiration from personal experiences and some of my songs definitely have, but a good amount are actually made up fantasies. My recent single, Love and Affection is half a personal experience and half fantasy. My experience inspired me and formed the foundation of the song, while my fantasy took it to the next level and added a bit of magic to the mix."

Check out Induna on Muzic.net.nz

Brought to you in association with Muzic.net.nz, Ben catches up with some of our finest local bands and musicians about how they create their music, while giving plenty of advice for up-and-coming acts.

Ben recently caught up with Lauren Kate Borhani from Auckland emo revival band The Not OkaysWatch the full interview here.

And a couple of weeks ago, Ben had a chat with JP Carroll from Arrays and Swerve City. Watch the full interview here.

Delving into the depths of NZ heavier music, The Distorted Transmission is hosted by Will Stairmand (Primacy, Remote). There's been some incredible interviews uploaded during March, check out all the latest interview at the below links:





We have interviews for Glassblower, Big Scout and Dark Divinity coming up - keep up to date with all things Distorted Transmission over on the Facebook page here.

Brought to you in association with Muzic.net.nz, the fourth episode of Scallywag Record's 'The Live Rooms' series is out now. The latest episode of The Live Rooms features the mighty Pale Flag - watch it here.

'The Live Rooms' will be doing full recordings with bands every month! If you are an artist, musical act or band and would like to have a video of your own, then send an email to [email protected]

A brand new episode with Anthonie Tonnon

Anthonie Tonnon's work has developed into a unique blend of music, art and advocacy, and shows that are creative works in themselves. Tonnon is about to take his show on the road with dates across the country. He calls the new show with full live band “a celebration and culmination of what we’ve developed through the album process, and through the A Synthesized Universe and Rail Land shows. Like the album, it will be a meeting place between organic and synthesized sound, but it will also be a very physical show. The electronic drum beats and sampled parts will have humans playing them on stage, on large surfaces.” Anthonie Tonnon has released a number of new songs in the last year including his latest single Lockheed Bomber. You can check out his music and buy tickets at www.anthonietonnon.com

What: Leave Love Out Of This NZ Tour 

Who: Anthonie Tonnon 

When: May 6 - May 21 

Where: Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington, Whanganui

Artist Search

We're opening the podcast up to artists and inviting people to email us their music. We're looking for music that's a little more interesting and inspiring than the usual 1, 4, 5, 6 over a 'beat' deal. We know there are some innovative and creative artists out there who haven't found a way to get heard and we would love to hear from you and play selected songs on our show. Email us at [email protected]

Listen to our episodes on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Player.FM, TuneIn and all other good podcast apps!





Want to share your love of music with the world? Seen what the industry is going through, and want to do more to help? Look no further than the premiere NZ music website - Muzic.net.nz!

The MNZ team are looking for more amazing individuals to join our team of volunteers, as reviewers. The criteria is simple - you must be computer literate, get along well with others and be able to meet due dates. You'll hear new music before anyone else, have full access to a media only music platform, meet incredible NZ bands and musicians and be part of a truly fantastic team of people.

You can choose what music you want to review, and there's no requirement to review a certain amount within any timeframe. We are particularly interested in people who'd like to review Rap, Hip-Hop, RnB and all EDM genres - however we will give consideration to anyone and everyone, including people who are based overseas.

If you love discovering new music and get a buzz out of telling everyone about it, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] today!

New Artist Pages

The following new artist pages have been added to Muzic.net.nz during February:

Fin Rah Zel This Little Badge
Caitlin WLF
Taiotims Marmalade
Janine Mitchell & The Haewai Collective Brown Sugar Factory
Tess Liautaud Saint Mercury
Yung Ludd Bleeding Afterglow
Tony Jacob SNRXG
Flaxxies Borderline
The New Things The Hootz
Keb Hart Elliott Dawson

New Reviews and Interviews

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


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 Monday 6 June!

If you are a NZ musician and you would like to promote your music,
we would love to feature you in one of our 2022 newsletters.
You can choose the date which suits you.

We can also feature record labels, venues, music stores, music websites...
anything that has something to do with NZ music

Email [email protected] for more info.

Muzic.net.nz newsletters are currently sent out to over 8860 members!
With this number growing every day, featuring in our newsletter is an excellent promotional tool.

Access our newsletter archives here

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