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Natural NZ Music Festival

Kora

Presented by X-Press Magazine, the ever-popular Natural NZ Music Festival happens on Saturday, December 7, at Red Hill Auditorium. BOB GORDON sent some postcards across the Tasman to catch up with a selection of artists on the bill.

TALI 

Who are your favourite acts in the New Zealand music scene?

I have heaps! Acts I love seeing live are Kora, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Shapies, The Upbeats, Tiki and Ahori Buzz. I am a fan of Stan Walker’s amazing voice and Ladi6 too. I also love DnB producers Eavesdrop and Toyko Prose, and up-and-coming artists Laura Hunter, RosaDub, and Janine And The Mixtape. You can’t beat the production from Bulletproof and Chromatic… there’s just so much talent here!

 

As a Kiwi, what does it mean to be playing on an NZ bill like this, all the way over in sunny Perth?

It means a lot to me. Initially I had to plead my case to be on this line-up as Brian (Terry, promoter) didn’t originally think I would fit the bill, considering I am mostly known for playing drum ‘n’ bass shows in Perth. But he has taken a chance and it’s worked out well, as I will also be performing with Kora. To be able to bring my acoustic set here alongside my very talented guitarist is a really big deal. This is a chance to reach a whole new audience – some who may not be familiar with my voice or repertoire and show ‘em what we got! Plus I get to play alongside some awesome Kiwi musicians and party in one of my favourite cities!

 

What is your approach to a festival set, as opposed to a headline show?

We do the same sort of set with most shows we play, whether big or small. Lots of energy and positivity, a mixture of original songs and a couple of covers, some rapping and some singing. Harry (Leatherby) smashing it on the guitar… it’s generally a good time enjoyed by most!

 

Who will you be keen to catch on the Natural NZ bill on the day?

I’ve never seen Nesian Mystik although I became friends with Awa last year when I met him up at (NZ dance music station) George FM. I remember coming home to NZ from London for a visit a few years back and they were like the talk of the town. Considering this is also their last show together and my first ever seeing them – I don’t wanna miss them!

Also I am excited for Kora, because not only are they closing out the festival, but I am joining them on stage for the first of a few shows together, so it will be pretty exciting!

 

What’s on the cards for you in 2014?

A lot! It’s 10 years since I released my first drum ‘n’ bass record on Roni Size’s Full Cycle imprint so I want to do something to celebrate that. Rumours are he may be visiting our pacific shores next year too, so it would be very fitting if he did! I am also releasing an EP of new songs all written, recorded and produced by me. I have tunes coming out with Ahori Buzz, Syrup D (Dan from Kora), Dan Aux and hopefully a tour of both New Zealand and America to contend with too. Not to mention the artist I am currently developing, RosaDub, has her EP we are releasing in Feb. Eek, I better stop writing and get back to work!

KORA (Stu Kora, guitarist/vocalist)

Who are your favourite acts on the New Zealand music scene?

Shapeshifter… hard! Those boys have really stuck to their guns as drum ‘n’ bass artists and are always a gem to watch live, especially at a festival. Really good guys too. Ladi6 as well. It’s just good to see a lotta NZ bands giving it a good go. It’s a lot of commitment, and in this digitised world you’ve got to come up with different avenues of trying to represent yourself. CDs are getting harder and harder to sell, so you’ve got to make way for the digital. But it’s great to see bands like Sonz Of Zion and others really getting involved all across the entertainment board.

 

As a Kiwi what does it mean to be playing on an NZ bill like this, all the way over in sunny Perth?

Love the opportunity to be able to share a piece of home for everybody in Perth. As you know, Perth is quite far away and it’s not like Brisbane or Sydney where you can just hop on a reasonably cheap three-hour flight back to NZ. It really is quite far, so to be able to bring that piece of ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ feeling to everyone in Perth is always a great thing. Most of us in Kora are from Whakatane and as small as that place is, it seems half the people from Whakatane have moved to Perth. So we know quite a few WhakaPerths over there. That’s what I heard they were called anyway (laughs) but yes we do have a lot of old school friends there. So it’s always a good opportunity to play in Perth. Always.

 

What is your approach to a festival set, as opposed to a headline show?

I think the difference there is, when it’s a headline type, you pretty much have all the time to set your gear up, have a soundcheck and make sure everything’s good so your set can be more of a show show, you know? Like have a great lighting show to accompany the set or showing off a few new tracks, etc. So you can pretty much have a solid set.

But festivals, you’ve gotta be a bit more flexible. Change-over time is extremely, understandably limited. So it’s about using that change-over time as efficiently as you can and also making do with what’s on hand,  i.e. the lighting show and the PA system, sometimes back up gear. So the songs are almost like the favourite picks of the bunch. And for those just-in-case moments, songs that can be played with flexibility – like if our keyboard or guitar broke down. But we’re always aiming to give out that x-factor vibe as there are a few bands throughout the day. You wanna be able to stand out amongst them all.

 

Who will you be keen to catch on the Natural NZ bill on the day?

Definitely Shihad. Awesome bunch of guys with a really huge, solid rock sound. They are definitely legends back home and have represented NZ well around the world. I wanna see how Perth handles them. Just look at Hone TuMeke – Jon Toogood, but that’s what we call him sometimes, cheeky darkys aye (laughs). He is quite a small man but his presence is fucking huge! We wanna be there the whole day so we’re doing the Pokemon thing and gonna catch em all!

 

 

What’s on the cards for you in 2014? 

Writing. Getting back into the momentum of things. And really gonna make some pushes. We kind of had winter off for the first time ever. Probably the first ever time off ever! But we did due to the new changes we had been going through. But we’re starting a summer run with the Katchafire boys and that’ll take us into next year and it’s pretty much no looking back from there. We have a new drummer, Joe Brownless, and we have our usual soundman Richie Allan up onstage playing bass/guitar as well. And some of us play in another band called the Heavy Metal Ninjas, so it was an easy process to gel as a band with the new members. It’s a pretty tight-knit crew.

So 2014 for Kora? it’s pretty much write tracks, drop tracks and videos and keep heads banging like we do.

 

OPTIMUS GRYME

Who are your favourite acts in the New Zealand music scene? 

There are so many man, Shapeshifter, Tiki Taana, Ladi 6, The Upbeats, Homebrew, Opiuo, KLAB, the entire 60 artists on the Aotearoa Bass Allstarz compilation!

 

As a Kiwi, what does it mean to be playing on an NZ bill like this, all the way over in sunny Perth? 

I feel very proud to be representing our amazing music scene, playing to not only all the kiwi expats in Perth, but also shown the Aussies what we’re made of!

 

What is your approach to a festival set, as opposed to a headline show?

When I play a festival, I realise I am one single cog in the machine. So I always try to tailor my set to make sure the sound flows from my set into the next. Festival sets are usually shorter, so it’s high energy, and I go out guns blazing.

 

Who will you be keen to catch on the Natural NZ bill on the day?

Everyone! I am so proud to be part of the line-up and have so much respect for all the artists playing. They make some of the best music in the world!

 

What’s on the cards for you in 2014? 

I have another solo album coming out mid next year, it’ll be a two-CD compilation filled with drum and bass, jungle, dubstep, trip hop and atmospheric soundscapes. Keep ya ears open!

 

SHIHAD (Phil Knight, guitar)

Who are your favourite acts in the New Zealand music scene?

I think Craig Terris is doing some really cool stuff. You should check out the awesome video for his first single, Ahead Of The Storm. The animator did an amazing job. He’s a very talented humble and good looking man. I like what Cairo Knife Fight and Villainy have been doing.
I don’t actually listen to music. I hate it.
As a Kiwi, what does it mean to be playing on an NZ bill like this, all the way over in sunny Perth?

Long bloody flight. Strewth. It’s also means I’m very proud my fellow Kiwi musos that have made in-roads into the live music scene over here. There’s so many great places to play in Australia, and so many great live music venues. It says a lot about Perth that you have a whole music festival devoted to bands from the land of the All Blacks. The reverse would probably be a very different proposition in New Zealand. I’ll probably just feel very at home with all the Perth Kiwis around, and catching up with some muso friends from NZ, too. I’m sure I’ll catch up with plenty of our Perth live music scene friends too, which is always nice.

What is your approach to a festival set, as opposed to a headline show?

We generally play a shorter, more intense set at festivals. If we’re playing near the end of the day and people have been out in the hot sun all day, I don’t want to many people passing out in ecstasy when they see me in my tight black jeans.
Who will you be keen to catch on the Natural NZ bill on the day?

Tiki Taane, because he’s got some mean ass songs. And some pretty songs. It would be cool to see Optimus Gryme, too. He did two awesome remixes of our songs, In The Future and Sleepeater. Kora, because they’re choice dudes and they play their sticks really well. And the Bum Bums. Are the Bum Bums playing?
No. What’s on the cards for you in 2014?

Laser vaginal rejuvenation. Get a job. We’re currently in the middle of preproduction, lyric writing and finishing the arrangements of the material for our next album, which we’re recording in Auckland in December.

 

DJ SIR-VERE

Who are your favourite acts in the New Zealand music scene?

Right now I’m really digging this Auckland-based crew called The Doqument. They are all MCs in their own right, but in the last year or so came together to be somewhat of a supergroup, and the musical and visual output these guys have been putting out is refreshing and quality. There is also Tha Movement from Otara in South Auckland. Dave is a quality MC and his ‘real’ rhyme style is original and solid. Rock-wise, I’m a massive fan of Beastwars. I just love what I hear and am dying to see them live but have lucked out every time. I hope to see them live real soon. Lastly there is Six60. I’ve been following them for years and have become friends with Matiu (Walters, vocals/guitar), and I just think they are awesome at what they do. I’ve always flown the flag for NZ artists – that’s not going to change.

 

As a Kiwi, what does it mean to be playing on an NZ bill like this, all the way over in sunny Perth?

It’s a real honour to be on such a quality bill. I have played in Perth loads of times in the past, so I know there is a large Kiwi component in the community and playing alongside some of my good friends is going to be awesome.

 

What is your approach to a festival set, as opposed to a headline show?

My style is all about fun and music – period – so banging out a 45 minute set for a festival is a bit of a challenge. There is so much music to choose from, its quite a challenge! I do have some exclusive remixes for tracks from Scribe, Che Fu and the Deceptikonz that I have made that I will be spinning on the day. Whatever it is, it’s going to be fun!

 

Who will you be keen to catch on the Natural NZ bill on the day?

I know that this festival will be one of Nesian Mystic’s last ever shows, so I’m all about catching the bro’s doing their thing – it’s going to be awesome. Also seeing Stan (Walker) live again will be great. I’m a big fan and have been impressed with his new set.

 

What’s on the cards for you in 2014?

My focus is Mai FM in New Zealand (maifm.co.nz). I run the station and making it awesome is my primary job – so that takes up most of my time. Apart from that I continue to gig pretty much every weekend all over Aotearoa and that’s not looking like stopping any time soon.

 

Hosted by MC Jahlei and DJ Hamz, The Natural NZ Music Festival also features Tiki Taane, Home Brew, Stan Walker, 1814, Nesian Mystik, Mike King and Box Party.

Get your Tickets here.

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