RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW NEW ZEALANDS BRAVO BONEZ
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music chose me at a very early age. And I have been in and out of it on and off all my life. I do remember being four years old and making symphonies up in my head. Not sure how good they were, but they were grand to me. This current resurgence of mine dates back to 2012 when I started a music blog. I was boring my friends with opinions and thought a blog was a more productive thing to do with that energy. Listening and analysing the work of the artists I covered sparked an interest in creating myself again, but this latest version of my music career only really started to accelerate in 2018. Tracks didn’t start appearing till 2019 however.
Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history.
On this current release, “TREASON” we had a very talented team including Alba Rose, an up and coming neo soul/indie pop artist that I have collaborated on a number of projects with. Check out her latest single “Mountains”. It’s stunning. My co-producer on the track was Greg Haver who is known for his work with the Manic Street Preachers and Mel C, amongst a host of others. He also played drums and percussion on the track. The track was engineered and mixed by Simon Gooding who has worked with a range of international artists including Pink. The pumping bass line came from Mark Hughes, a session player well-known in the New Zealand music scene. All of them brought years of experience and superb creativity to the track.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
For me, later in years, I am realistic about my prospects so I am creating, and pushing my art out there, and if it clicks, great. If not, well I’m pretty philosophical about that. But I am steadily building my recording studio business and as that grows I feel I am making a headway of sorts. I do find working with artists to realise their vision incredibly rewarding. Frustratingly it doesn’t always happen! But I take the wins as they come.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
I am very much more aware of structure and transitions than I used to be. For most of my music outside my ambient cinematic material, I remain pretty orthodox in terms of structure. I believe my arranging is definitely getting better, and I am very happy with the arrangements I put together for “TREASON”.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I could tell you what to do, but that doesn’t mean I am doing it! Social media requires much energy but it is clear that artists growing strongly and organically are regularly creating compelling social media content that is authentic. Authenticity is everything.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
To be honest, I think it is a rort where new release and catalogue revenues were intentionally diverted with technology as the excuse. But I also think the blockchain will eventually upend it. As it is we are stuck with it right now. And content creation is mostly severely undervalued by current market dynamics. The only way back from this is keeping ownership almost fully with the creators.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I keep an open mind but strongly emphasise getting information from a wide range of sources. Not all conspiracy theories turn out to be hogwash. A surprising number are rooted in fact. An example being the existence of Five Eyes, or the Echelon network as it used to be known. To talk about that in the early 1990s, one would be called a tinfoil hat wearer. Now it’s part of everyday geopolitical discussion.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
I have a bad case of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) so I have ended up with way more musical equipment and software than I need. And in some ways now I have so many choices, it inhibits the creative process. Gear is not the solution!
What was your worst experience on stage?
A gig a long time ago in front of people could potentially be very important to my music career. We had brought in a friend to do sound and all they were presented with was a few arrangements, a disembodied voice, and a wall of feedback. It was awful.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.
I have worked in investment advisory for quite a long time, currently in the extremely challenged crypto world.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
That’s not for me to answer. I am not sure I do.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
“TREASON”, this current release is a song about betrayal and gaslighting. I wrote the hook but Alba Rose wrote most of the lyrics. It is not about anything or anyone in particular. It is more that we wanted the song to be dramatic and emotional while delivering that classic kind of acid jazz vibe. I think we succeeded.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
I built the track of a trip-hop loop which we eventually mostly discarded. It was almost completely built-in arrangement terms before the vocals hit it, then we concentrated on making the vocal presentation as rich and textured as possible – four-part harmonies for example.
What was the recording process like?
The basic arrangements were recorded at my studio PureSound. We then moved to Neil Finn’s (Split Enz/Crowded House) wonderful Roundhead Studios in Auckland, New Zealand. It took two multi-day sessions to build the track at that location.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes? Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Probably shorten it a bit. And there is one arrangement in the break that niggles at me. Too late!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Music, hope, love. Those three things and the world is a better place.