17 Jun 2021

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Kidz In Space


When they first emerged, stiff and synthetic, in early 2008, everything Kidz In Space did was shrouded in absurdist mystery. They claimed, semi-convincingly, to be from another planet. Videos featured images of the cosmos unfurling, with the implication they were home movies, and they accompanied songs which effortlessly melded the best of chart pop and Hip-Hop in a manner so effortless as to sound somewhat alien. Their television debut saw them in what at first glance looked like spacesuits.

On closer inspection, though, those spacesuits were endearingly home made, the rough edges visible, the hand of fallible humanity all too apparent. So let's state what sharp-eyed of observers have suspected for three years now: Kidz In Space are not, in fact, from space.

They're from central Auckland, consume an unhealthy number of energy drinks, have major issues with rodents and a strange relationship with the city of Invercargill.

For starters they're a three piece now. But they aren't the same three pieces as they were a few years ago. Co-rapper Neesh forwent fame to seek fortune down a mine in Australia, and, somewhat quixotically, he was replaced with a drummer, Ben Barter.

Replacing an infinitely charismatic frontman with a drummer – in a band so perfectly pop as this, remember – might sound strange, until you think about what you might do if your keyboards/samples/microphones outfit might do if they were forced to tour alongside the brooding 'rock' monolith that is Kora for months on end.

That was Kidz In Space's fate for much of 2011 – taking one of the most pure pop sounds on New Zealand radio on the road alongside arguably its most muscular and messianic live act. To say it changed them would be an understatement – one listen to frankly enormous new songs like 'Best One' shows just how much the big rooms and sound of Kora seeped into their universe.

But equally important were the 'sonic worlds' opened up by Ben's addition. The new songs sound like galaxies colliding, like suns dying, like the very fabric of the universe being torn asunder, if you'll forgive the extension of the space-y analogies.

Which is to say they sound rather large.

If you're wondering where that soulful voice has come from, it's deep in the belly of Ashley Hughes. After a decade taking apart any battle MC who came before him Hughes has turned his mouth to singing, and the results are mesmeric. Rappers-turned-singers are nothing new, but unlike Kanye West and Lil Wayne, Hughes won't make you wince. He's a natural, au naturel. Together with producer and sometime-singer Josh Fountain, the 3 have managed to evolve their sound into something different and fresh.

Anyway – the main points to remember are that A) Kidz In Space are 'back!' and B) they now have a drummer and one less rapper and C) They are still the best pop band in the country BY HEAPS.

So suck it you other pop bands.

Band Members:
Ashley Hughes (vocals)
Joshua Fountain (vocals)
Ben Barter (drums)





  • Auckland

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