Over the past four months Copenhagen-based blackened-hardcore band Hexis have been on the largest tour of their career, and next week they’ll finally be arriving on our shores.
The tour has seen them playing non-stop since September everywhere from Sweden to Mongolia to Australia. By the end they’ll have been touring for 93 days, played 81 shows, and visited twelve countries. It’s incredibly impressive and a little bit crazy, especially for a band of their size.
I spoke to Filip, vocalist and founding member, while he was between gigs in Sydney to try figure out how (and why).
I fondly remember the day 16 year old me came home from school, switching on the TV to semi-ironically watch mother of the nation Erin Simpson attempting to capture the young teen demographic, only to be aurally assaulted by a technical death metal band called Blindfolded and Led to the Woods.
It seemed like a mistake, yet it kind of didn’t. “The Erin Simpson Show” was for kids, but it also made obvious attempts at being “cool”. They had a live three-piece indie band for example, who played rockin’ tunes from a mezzanine before each ad break and they had a catchy theme song you could buy on iTunes.
Turns out however that it was a mistake. Stu who plays guitar and writes the songs for Blindfolded explains.
Congress of Animals is what happens when a bunch of NZ’s most prolific and respected musical talent gets together and jams without any particular goal in mind.
Included in the group is Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), Age Pryor (Fly My Pretties, Woolshed Sessions, Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra), Justin Firefly (Fly My Pretties, Woolshed Sessions), Nigel Collins (Flight of the Conchords, Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra) and Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots, French For Rabbits).
I spoke to Age Pryor who, despite the legendary lineage of the bands members, still described it as a “little collaborative project”.
Destroy All False Metal might sound like a radical metalhead’s ultimate dictum but it’s actually just a band from Wellington, and tonight they’ll be playing Dunedin.
I thought it might be a good time to write a little rundown of the tech behind dunedinsound.com, partially as a way for me to clarify my reasoning to myself, and partially because it might be interesting to someone. I’ve tried to make it understandable for anyone as well as offering enough detail to satisfy people who are into this kind of thing.
AMPED Project concluded again this year with a marathon 6 hour gig at Fifty Gorillas. Fifteen highschool acts played, who had all been coached and nurtured through the project (for free) by Nadia Reid, and who were all also seriously impressive. If this is the future of Dunedin music things are definitely looking good.
I spoke to one of the bands who participated, Sugarcoated Bullets. They stand out as being one of the punkier ones to come out of the project, driven by their vocalist, Jack Munro’s, high energy stage presence. Where their peers are inspired by Mac DeMarco and Gus Dapperton, they’re inspired by The Ramones and The Dead Kennedy’s. They’ve also just released an EP.
It’s hard to know what to expect from Ben Woods Group.
The first time I saw The Mentalist Collective was when they played to a crowd of ten or so at one of ReFuels open mic nights.
This was 2014, when ReFuel was still ReFuel and going to gigs there wasn’t cool. The open mic night performances ranged from impassioned singers with acoustic guitars covering Neil Young to the legendary banjo originals of Wolfman Stuey. It was an interesting time.
And then The Mentalist Collective showed up out of nowhere one night and blew me away. Five people in one band has the potential to just be a big mess, but these guys clearly knew how to play together. Each song warmed me up like a shot of positive vibes and I loved it.
In 2011 Lee Nicolson started making guitar pedals. He learnt how to breadboard from a friend, a rudimentary prototyping method which involves poking wires through little holes to build up a circuit. Then he moved onto ironing copper onto printed circuit boards.
Seven years later he’s manufacturing pedals which are distributed worldwide, and selling them to the likes of Ryan Adams and Jason Derulo producer Ricky Reed, all without any marketing or outside investment.
I caught up with him to find out how it’s going and why there’s so much buzz around his pedals.
At the Cook last Friday Wellington based indescribable trio The All Seeing Hand did what they do best.
Set to a backdrop of RGB LEDs they transported the audience to a dystopian future of broken systems and syntactical errors. Also in this world was a uniformed commander wearing something reminiscent of an 18th century naval captain, a polyphonic wizard with samplers beneath his palms, and the searing scent of Sichuan peppercorn.
It was an experience not to be forgotten, and marks the start of The All Seeing Hands’ national release tour for their fifth album Syntax Error. It continues down the path they’ve been forging since 2011, but it feels thematically almost like the path has become corrupted. Where their 2016 release Sand to Glass was about the growth a civilisation, Syntax Error could be about its downfall. And it feels uncomfortably familiar.
If you’re feeling a little itchy it could be because Methchrist haven’t played a gig here since January, but that all changes tonight. In a vile ritual of hatred at the Crown Hotel, the solar anus will expand and from its foul depths spew forth a torrent of pure evil into the expectant mouths of the cult elite. There will be no escape, and only the true will survive.
I spoke to the virulent trio over some pints to get the skinny on what they’ve been doing and what they’re doing next.
November last year a bunch of highschoolers decided to gather all of their friends and put on a big gig. They called it the Big Gig and that it was, with eight acts, five hours of music and a massive, enthusiastic crowd who were surprisingly interested in forming conga lines.
Next weekend sees the much anticipated return of the Big Gig featuring a different but equally big lineup, a new venue, and a boost to audio and lighting situation, all of which should add up to an even bigger turnout according to Alex Cochrane of Bark Like a Dog. He’s organizing it this year with Ayden Crowther-McCaughan of Sugarcoated Bullets.
With 50 artists performing over six locations and five hours it’s Dunedin’s largest music festival… And it takes place in a library. This mini-documentary explores the festival as it happens and features insights from some of the people involved on why they volunteer their time towards making it a success.
In 2004 Julian Temple Band slipped quietly into the Dunedin music scene as a humble 3-piece.
But what was three gradually become four, and now for their sixth album 14 years later they’ve flourished into a mighty six piece with the addition of Richard Ley-Hamilton of Males (and more) on guitar, Steve Marshall of Left or Right on bass and Logan Hampton of Alizarin Lizard on keys.
I caught up with Julian to discuss the new album ahead of the release gig this Friday.
Death and the Maiden’s second album exists in the same shadowy world they created in their self-titled debut but refines it, polishes it down until it’s a smooth black pebble. It’s an enigma, like being at a dance party and realizing part way through you’re actually at some sort of pagan ritual of death.
According to an Official Information Act request initiated by dunedinsound.com, the Dunedin City Council spent $221,000 on Ed Sheeran’s three day visit to the city.
Damin McCabe, otherwise known as Jack Berry, assembled a band specifically for OUSA Battle of the Bands 2017 just to play his songs and see what would happen.
They ended up winning.
It wasn’t a surprise to me despite their band name sounding a lot like a working title… The grooves were tight and bouncy, the songs unbelievably catchy, and Damin’s autotune-enriched vocals added a unique edge. Although, as Damin explained to me, the autotune was primarily for confidence not style since it was his first time singing in front of an audience.
And now, after a summer of wowing crowds across the country, they’re releasing their first EP titled “Dutch”. I expect it’ll be huge, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait a few more weeks before we can hear it.
I took the opportunity to catch up with Damin before he gets too famous and won’t talk to me anymore.
Twenty years ago if you wanted music you had to leave your house, go to a record store, talk to some people, part with $30 and return with a CD to pop in your discman. But today we have near instant, near free access to most of the last few hundred years of recorded music. So that makes record stores obsolete, right?
Way back in 2012 Dunedin local Jamie Dickson started releasing music online.
He was inspired by a bubbly, aquatic-themed aesthetic called seapunk, which emerged in online communities such as Tumblr. He called his project SPLASH CLUB 7 after the highly influential 90s pop group S-Club 7.
Fast forward to 2018 and SPLASH CLUB 7 has hundreds of thousands of fans from all across the globe. But for those fans SPLASH CLUB 7 is synonymous with one thing only, and it’s not music.
I somehow convinced the elusive Jamie Dickson into an interview to try explain this post-internet tragedy.
In the first of a video series on cool people doing cool things I spoke to Julie Dunn who runs trace/untrace, a local micro-independent record label to get the lowdown on the sort of operation she’s running.
Graham Matrix, singer and guitarist for local post-grunge-pop band Sheep, passes around a bag of Sour Cream and Chives potato chips.
“These are dated so they might taste a bit funny” he warns.
On Tuesday the 27th of February 2018 two masked terrorists committed a heinous act of vandalism.
My first exposure to Stef Animal was when she opened for The Ruby Suns in early 2017.
It was a small set, but a powerful one. Using a midi keyboard and pad controller, she built glorious synthscapes from the weird musical gear she’d sampled. But what stuck with me the most was the fact that she introduced each song by naming the equipment used to make it.
I thought that was awesome since I know from experience that when working with old electronic equipment, often its character has a huge impact on the product. It’s almost collaborative. Plus as a gearhead it gave me stuff to Google when I got home.
And then just as soon as she entered my radar she disappeared.
…until now. Her first album Top Gear dropped on Fishrider Records a couple of weeks ago and it’s just as lovely as I had hoped.
Bediquette’s new EP YIELD came out about a week ago and it’s good. Really good.
mf/mp are a hot new semi-local label who’ve already made waves with their lathe cut “Sundrian Editions” which feature pairings of experimental electronic musicians from across the country. I talked with Karl Leisky, one of the label’s founders and artists, about their upcoming release event at Toitū and more.
On a chilly August night in 2015 I went to a gig at the Robbie Burns pub and had my mind blown by a band called The Rothmans.
In June this year an internationally recognized local sound artist grew tired of asking money for his works and decided to give them away for free.
Vogel Street Party happened again this year for the third time. Families, students alike (but mostly families) all flocked to the old warehouse precinct to experience music, art, food and more.
A sudden thunderstorm hit at around 6:30pm and scared away the weak, but the true Vogel Street Partiers didn’t mind hanging out under cover until the weather subsided, or had anticipated meteorological upset and brought umbrellas.
Prolific post-punkers Die! Die! Die! have released another album, and are returning to Dunedin on Friday for a blistering show at None Gallery. I caught up with Andrew Wilson who’s handled lead vocals and guitar since he formed the band in 2003.
Dunedin’s high schools are pumping out more fizzy bands than ever before, although you might not know it because most venues are bars, and bars don’t allow highschoolers…
Luckily we’ve got DIY spaces like The Attic who, next weekend, will be hosting a huge lineup of highschool bands. Not only will it be a hell of a lot of fun, but it’ll be a chance for people like me to catch up on what’s been happening in the elusive highschool band scene.
For the third time in a year Dunedin’s one and only surfadelic riff monster ‘Koizilla’ is releasing an EP.
We emerged from the tiny practice room on Baldwin Street trembling and sweaty. It wasn’t a warm day, but the doors and windows had to be kept closed otherwise the neighbors would complain about the noise, so it’d gotten hot. Guitarist and vocalist Oscar Francis immediately rolled a cigarette.
Finally some good news for local fans of war, filth, corruption, torture, scum, obliteration and death.
By the time you’re reading this it’ll be too late: Onslaught will have begun.
William Henry Meung recently released his latest of many musical projects. A long time member of the Dunedin “experimental” music scene, he spoke to me about how he defines his music, how he ended up where he is artistically, and the role of public art.
Local artist Cath Cocker recently organized the Nocturnal Projections and Other Small Happenings art event. I spoke to her about why she values public art and some of the challenges she faced along the way.
Recently I caught up with Millie from Astro Children to discuss their new album, One Direction, and general feelings on the Dunedin music scene.
On the 16th of June, late on a Friday afternoon, central Dunedin was cordoned off and closed down for what was described as a bomb scare. The police flew down the Bomb Disposal Squad to blow up what turned out to be an audio cassette containing StreetNOISE the latest album by Dunedin musician L$D Fundraiser. After detonating the cassette and discovering it was not in fact a bomb, local police raided the musician’s house, and have since charged him with threatening to destroy property. He’ll appear in court this Friday.
This has been a big story internationally, covered in the NME and Spin as well as NZ media, but almost none of the reportage seems to have any awareness of L$D Fundraiser or the nature of his work. There’s been a lot of assumptions made, some of them ridiculous, some of them just lazy or wrong-headed.
For those of you, especially in other cities, not aware of his work as a musician and multimedia artist, I wanted to post a good example - shot by me at the Atonal Eclipse of the Charts festival at None Gallery in 2012 - and talk a little bit about how I see it, and about some of the misconceptions I’ve seen and heard about his work, and what happened.
Saturday the 24th of June was the shortest day of the year and to celebrate a group of dedicated volunteers supported by the Dunedin City Council turned the octagon into a midwinter themed carnival.
This isn’t the sort of thing I usually document but it was a beautiful experience and I wanted to share it for anyone who didn’t get a chance to go.
The Panasonic G6 was the first camera I ever bought back in 2013 and it’s been my primary camera ever since. A few weeks ago I bought a G85 to replace it.
Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras are often considered “hybrid cameras” which are designed for both video and stills. This holds true for the most part, and compared to other similarly priced cameras they tend to offer more video focused features. Alongside full manual controls in video the G6 for example has a microphone input.
It served me well for a number of years and I only really had a few complaints:
So why upgrade to the G85? I see the G85 as the first major update to Panasonic’s budget line since the G6. The G7 was more of an incremental upgrade, improving the handling slightly and adding 4k video. The G85 adds in-body stabilisation which is a game changer, and enough to motivate me into buying one.
The question is whether I can really justify my purchase to myself…
So I decided to add a blog and I’m looking for content.