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Newsletter Issue #551: 06 Jun 2022

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Listen Closely

Kia ora, whanau.

Thank you to those who reached out and said that they enjoyed my article last month. I really appreciate it.

In my previous editorial, I spoke a lot about making music and releasing it because you enjoy the creative process. In this one, I want to speak briefly about how we listen to music.

As a kid, I would go through my father's record collection, slip the vinyl down and listen to an album. It was too much work to keep changing tracks or albums. Dark Side Of The Moon was one of the first that really stuck with me, so I would listen to it a lot. Even though I was only about 8 at the time, I started to really notice the guitar and the drums. Eventually, I picked up the guitar and began playing. I never got lessons from anyone, and if I did, they found it hard to teach me due to the fact that I would be asking them questions about certain artists, how they played that song and if they could teach me. As I became more and more engrossed in guitar and drums, I continued to search out and listen to new bands, playing albums on repeat while learning their parts by ear. This process provided me with an almost intimate experience of getting to know that player. David Gilmour's playing style is plastered all over my own. Solos from my songs The End and Angel are heavily influenced by music from The Wall.

As I traversed high school, I learnt all about Head and Munky from Korn, Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Mike Einziger. These are all guitarists I studied through listening to their music over and over and again, learning songs by ear.

As I speak about these experiences with my students, I will ask both students in my class as well as my private students who their favourite musicians are. "Who is your favourite guitarist, and why?" It may come as a surprise that almost no one can answer this question. Sure, bands come up as answers, but when I dig deeper into what it is about that artist that inspires and influences them, I come across radio silence.

After discussing the current state of music delivery with my Year 13 class just recently, we have all come to see that there are pros and cons to it. Streaming is fantastic because it gives you access to almost every song and artist out there. It also has removed a barrier allowing independent artists to get their music to the masses. But we also agree it comes at a cost in a lot of cases. For example, a majority of people I speak to do not know much about the band or the history of the genre that the artist comes from. They don't actively go and research the musicians in the group which would typically be in the liner notes of a CD booklet or LP cover or sleeve. So my students would say they liked a song, save it to a playlist and that was that. And what they listened to and why was very much driven by current trends and culture. Just like it was for me at school, a lot of my students will listen to music just within that genre they associate with and never stray too far. They were also sometimes afraid to say what style of music they like due to feeling like they may get singled out for it. You don't want to openly say you enjoy Pop music in a class full of students who all like hardcore black metal, right? (This is not a real-life example, but I see it all the time in some way or another.)

One of the most recent experiences I had was with my study of Kendrick Lamar with my students. The moment I discussed the idea that we would be listening to and analysing one of his new songs, I had some students react to tell me that they won't like it and that hip-hop isn't their style of music. The same thing happened when we discussed Meshuggah. Students who liked styles other than rock had already made their minds up and did not want a bar of it.

Yet, in each instance, we discussed the concept of listening to music with a critical ear and paying attention to the details. We wanted to develop the ability to not have a bias towards a song just because it fits into a different style or genre than what we like or are used to. So, after a good lengthy discussion, I hit play on the new Kendrick track and we listened carefully and dissected the lyrics.

What happened next gave me goosebumps. Everyone in the classroom has a eureka moment. Everyone heard the same song and everyone felt the same way. Some described this moment as having put on glasses for the first time after just thinking the world looked a certain way, only to notice that their world had been blurry for so long and they didn't know any better. This exact same experience happened with Meshuggah. When we heard Clockworks, a lot of the students understood what they were listening to but wanted to learn more about it.

What we all discussed was that when we fully gave our attention to a song and listened closely to different elements of it, we heard new things and developed a new appreciation for it. In the case of the Kendrick song N95, it was the lyrics and message behind it. With Meshuggah, it was the technicality and genius composition and execution of playing on the drums.

I know have students who are examining old rap songs they like again and bringing a new focus and attention to detail of the lyrics instead of just the beat and if it sounds 'hard.' I have students who are looking at the way Mark Morton of Lamb of God plays his guitar and writes riffs, then how he can learn from him for his own compositions I have students listening to other Meshuggah songs and finding the grooves that they could never hear before. 

I believe music that challenges you as a listener is some of the best music to keep listening to. It forces you to find out for yourself what you like about it. You will become curious about it and want to learn why other people like it. And this is exactly what happened to me as a child when my parents played all sorts of music at home. I would go back through my dad's collection and listen to some of those albums myself with headphones and pay attention to them. I learnt about so many incredible artists this way. At the end of listening to it, I didn't have to love it or like it, but I would have learnt something from it that I could then use in my own music.

I encourage all of you to find new music from genres that you don't like and put on those metaphorical glasses. Pay attention to just one thing and really listen to it. You may end up enjoying it more than you think.

Here are a couple of videos I recommend that elaborate on what I have spoken about today:


Classical Composer Analyses Kendrick Lamar

- Ben

In the very first issue of Muzic.net.nz's brand new interview series, Southern Sounds, Dunedin-based musician Darryl Baser talks to Aaron Hogg, the man behind WLF.

Who is WLF?

“WLF (Wolf) is the banner I created to put all my weird explorations on home-studio recording under. The last collaborative band I was in was this stoner/sludge outfit called Thunderwülf so it sorta evolved from that as we were winding things down.”

How would you describe your music?

“Oh man, that’s so tough. Recently I watched this YouTube clip of 120 genres of EDM with examples & I got to the end & there were honestly none I felt WLF fitted within. I think partially that is a function of my relative inexperience in using the software but also because until recently I actually listened to very little electronica. This means I begin a piece aiming for something & often it meanders off on a tangent into something completely different to my initial intention. I guess it’s an odd Frankenstein mash of a bunch of the early influences I had from bands like Prodigy or Chemical Brothers & more recently discovered of IDM & industrial influences from artists like Max Cooper, Vegyn, Blanck Mass, Four Tet & Tobacco. It’s bass-heavy, dirty & glitchy & I always try to weave a melodic core into the songs that I guess can be traced back to my years playing in melodically driven, heavy bands. I still feel like I am only just beginning to find an identity within this realm of music.”

Sometimes it can be hard to gain traction in the music industry, how are you finding it?

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging. It’s a very crowded marketplace & to do it properly I feel like you really need to be focused on it 100% which is obviously hard with a full time job & a mortgage etc. The social media aspect is difficult. I’m a particularly introverted person & I really struggle to not feel like a total twat making posts to get people to pay attention so often I spend all this time creating posts & then tossing them out because they feel fake & stupid. I’ve dealt with it mostly by just lowering my expectations to the point that if I can make some fun, interesting music & get 100 people listening to it I’ll be happy. I’m lucky enough to have already done years & years of touring, playing massive festivals & shows with local & international bands & there isn’t a ton of appeal in that lifestyle to me anymore. I’m definitely getting better at working out ways to be heard but I feel like I’m still in the early stages of developing a good strategy around this.”

What music have you released over how many years?

I was in Pumpkinhead & Slim (both Wildside signed bands) in the 90's & 00's we released the albums Sloth & Drive Thru respectively & my most recent band Thunderwülf released a bunch of self-funded singles & videos. WLF has two EPs up in all the normal places, Bandcamp, Spotify etc: Edgelord which I put out in 2021 & Kook in 2022.

What's next for WLF?

My day job is as an art director, illustrator & designer for Kona Bicycles. The illustration & design skills I have developed working for Kona have been immensely helpful for music releases. I also manage the volunteer trail building initiative at the Christchurch Adventure Park & although not directly applicable to music I find the physical & mental health benefits I get from riding bikes & trail building are the perfect counter to a job & hobby that involve long hours sitting in front of a computer inside.

Simply put: WLF is Aaron Hogg.

Read the full interview here

Check out WLF 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 London born, Auckland raised Rapper, Singer and Songwriter Eliezer. Since releasing his first song in 2018, he has developed a loyal fanbase all over the globe, while doing what he can to put NZ on the map for mainstream Hip-Hop. Watch the full interview here.

Meanwhile in episode 5, Ben sat down with Jonathan from Doom Room band, Demons of Noon. Born as an epiphany in the Karangahake Gorge and forged under St Kevin's Arcade, the band comprises of members from Fortress Europe, Home Brew and Luger Boa. After releasing their EP The Summoning in 2020, they have taken the NZ Metal scene by storm with their "warm and heavy ear massage" sounds. Watch the full interview here.

Catch up on all the A/Muse episodes over on the Waiuku College Music YouTube here.

During May, Muzic.net.nz's resident music connoisseur Roger Bowie caught up with three of New Zealand's finest musicians. Click on the below links to catch up on their latest news:




Delving into the depths of NZ heavier music, The Distorted Transmission series is hosted by Will Stairmand (Primacy, Remote). There's been a great range of interviews uploaded during May, check them out at the below links:






There's always more on the way from No Life, Capital Theatre and Cafe Fistfight - 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 fifth episode of Scallywag Record's 'The Live Rooms' sessions is out now. This latest episode features three-piece Heavy Rock band from Auckland, Are We Dead Yet - watch it here.

'The Live Rooms' will be completing full recordings with NZ music acts every month. If you would like a video of your own, you can email Scallywag Records here.

Episode #129 ARIA

ARIA has spent many years working as a vocalist for numerous artists including Home Brew, Dr Colossus, TEEKS and Noah Slee. ARIA lived in the bustling music scene of Berlin for several years before returning to New Zealand where she got to work writing and recording her own music. Now ARIA is celebrating the release of her new EP Love Songs Till Midnight. We had a topical and hilarious chat, and this episode is definitely a goodie. Enjoy!


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!





Love discovering new music and telling everyone about it? 
Look no further than the premiere NZ music website - Muzic.net.nz!

We are looking for more amazing individuals to join our team of volunteers; as reviewers & photographers.
The criteria is simple: you must be computer literate, get along well with others and adhere to 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.

If you would like to know more, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] today!


The following new artist pages were recently created on Muzic.net.nz:

Oliver Birch Max Hill Stephen McDaid
Neo Te Aika Adult Friends Are We Dead Yet
K.Kila Sauce40 Ex_Somnio
Jazmine Mary Man Ray Phil Doublet
Big Sima Geneva Waves Guy Hobson
Kay Duncan Infinity Ritual Juno Is
Shadowcaster T-Bone Axaeon
Old Haven Becca Caffyn Celeste Music
Bird Machine MELLIS Josie Moon
Midwave Breaks Anamnesis Masslands
MadNeTeX Happy Valley Steve Wells


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



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 3 July!

Interested in featuring your music in one of our newsletters? Contact us today!
You can choose the date which suits best.

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

Email Ben, our Newsletter Editor, for more info:
[email protected]

View all our previous issues here


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