1. stopbeingapud:

    DOC is leaving us. The funny joke to make is ‘where are all the hipsters going to drink Coopers now?’ except it’s not funny because apart from Golden Dawn and Whammy, there’s really nowhere else. Sure, that means this summer there will be more house parties, more Karaoke bars and people saying…

    (Source: stopbeingapud)

  2. Thought I’d post this cool video incase you hadn’t seen it yet.

    Read about Randa here.

  3. Rizvan Tu’itahi of Hook Ups

    Rizvan Tu’itahi is one busy fellow with his fingers in many a pies. A multi-talented Tongan-born recording artist and actor, he studies Design & Visual Arts at Unitec, dropped his new EP ‘Gemini II’ earlier this month, and voices the character of Monty in the cheeky ten-part animated web series Hook Ups.

    Based on the cartoon strip written by Jessica Hansell (better known as hip hop artist Coco Solid) for the short-lived zine VOLUMEHook Ups documents the misadventures and false starts of twins Kowhai and Monty Hook as they try to crack the Auckland music scene with their dubious “soundscapes”. They reside in the happening ‘burb of Aroha Bridge with their dreamy pothead of a mother (voiced by Madeleine Sami) and gruff, hilariously unsupportive ex-vet father (Frankie Stevens). Their only friend seem to be the uber-capitalist and rather dim-witted owner of their local dairy (Scotty Cotter).

    Each episode is three minutes long and uploaded to the NZ herald website (www.nzherald.co.nz/hook-ups) every Thursday at four o’clock sharp. They’re packed with one-liners, sight gags, an endearing sense of goofiness, and plenty of witty and nuanced jibes at everyone and everything - from art-school kids to X-Factor to big corporations. Viewers can also download an iPhone app (itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hook-ups) which allows them to collaborate with friends and create tunes for upcoming episodes.

    Hansell (who voices the street smart yet unscrupulous Kowhai) wanted Aroha Bridge – modelled on Mangere Bride, where she grew up – to be a “micro-society” where the musical duo could overcome the creative, social and political problems the world threw at them. Beneath the veil of quirky and haha-that-is-SO-true humour lies some serious tongue-in-cheek social commentary; subtle derision of the exclusivity of the local music industry, the search for celebrity, and class and race wars between central and South Auckland.

    Playing an art exhibition organised by two Elam-esque brats seemingly “slumming it” in Aroha Bridge, Kowhai observes, “…the poor are acting rich and the rich are acting poor. We’re neither – so let’s be rude to everybody and call it anxiety.” The twins are kicked out when it is revealed that their song was sans subtext and did not slag off their bourgeois parents. In a later episode, Kowhai forces a sceptical Monty to audition for Aroha Bridge Factor (“Do you love being humiliated in front of an audience?” the ad asks) and fabricates a tragic tale about their background to win over the judges; to which he objects. “It’s just streeting up the story”, she insists. “The media do it to Maori all the time.” Again, they are booed off-stage when their middle-class, unremarkable upbringing becomes apparent. Are there no stories that sell, the series asks, except rags-to-riches or riches-to-rags?

    Kowhai’s chutzpah and mean streak are balanced out by Monty’s lackadaisical attitude towards their success (and most other things) and amicable nature. According to Hansell, the twins are her, “split in two – the two sides of anyone creative, I guess.” She describes Monty as a cynical, laid-back introvert who doesn’t care what anybody thinks. There are certainly parallels between his character and Rizvan, who was kind enough to answer my questions below:

    • What did you like about growing up in Tonga? What do you like about living here?
      I loved growing up in Tonga because it never gets cold, you can live off the land, you’re surrounded by white sandy beaches and clear waters, and the seafood is awesome! New Zealand on the other hand has KFC… just kidding! We live in one of the most beautiful, diverse and culturally rich places in the world, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
    • When did you first realise you wanted to be a musician (or at least, involve music in your career)? How would you describe your relationship to music outside of your role as someone who creates it?
      I first realised I wanted to make music in my late teens when I started to write my own lyrics instead of trying to learn every song I was listening to. I guess after years of observing and analysing music and the music industry, I couldn’t help but to create my own. I listen to mainly Hip Hop but also a lot of 90’s and old school R&B. On other days I could be jamming to anything from deadmau5 to UB40 so my range of taste is quite vast.
    • How did you decide to become involved in Hook Ups? Did you read the comic strips? Did you have professional/personal connections with anyone else in the crew beforehand?
      I was approached by Coco Solid after being recommended to her by a couple of people and also after she did some background research; looked up some of my music videos and a short film I was in. I had no previous experience in voice- over work so this whole project was quite intimidating and overwhelming, especially when I heard the other big names involved. I had read a couple of the comic strips because my cousin was a featured animator for a few of them. That’s another connection - my cousin has an older brother who is Coco Solid’s sister’s partner #Polynesians!
    • Describe your character Monty for me. Are there parallels between you both?
      Monty to me is the laidback, relaxed brother who isn’t too fussed with anything but has his own code of ethics and will make a stand if he feels the need to. Surprisingly enough after saying that, I have come to realise that he is very similar to myself!
    • What’s Monty’s and Kowhai’s relationship like?
      I think Kowhai is the go-getter of the two and Monty is pretty much just a passenger going along for a ride. Monty doesn’t hesitate to remind her that she might be making the wrong turn but otherwise is just chilled.
    • What are the advantages of an animated series over a paper strip or a show with real people?
      I think using real people sets too many restrictions. With animation, you can be creative and free; there are endless possibilities. Your imagination can run wild and the sky is the limit.
    • Do you think the depiction of the music industry (or peoples’ attitudes towards musicians) in the web series thus far is very similar to your own experience of it?
      Oh yes definitely! I see too many cliques and too much exclusivity for my liking, but that’s just me. Independent is definitely the way to go. All this awesome talent is coming through because of the internet making it accessible to everybody, and I love that. The radio doesn’t have as much control as it used to because now you’re able to make your own playlist with hard to find songs from unknown artists like myself, artists you would not have otherwise heard of if it wasn’t for the web.
    • How would you describe the humour in Hook Ups, and the audience it appeals to?
      I feel the humour is a mixture of sarcastic wit, with a slight tinge of satire because underneath the playful dialogue are issues that reflect real life and situations that a lot of us can relate to.
    • What did you think of studying at MAINZ – has you formal education been relevant? Are you enjoying your current degree?
      MAINZ was the best. The Audio Engineering & Music Prodcution Diploma granted me the freedom to be creative without any concerns about the technical/recording part. I am definitely enjoying the first year of my Design & Visual Arts degree – I’m learning so much! I use to think Photoshop was the ultimate programme until I started this course, ha. Malo ‘aupito, thank you very much!

    Rizvan is currently involved with a few music videos and a new short film – all the deets and examples of his work are available at www.renaissancemusic.co.nz. And, of course, you can catch him as Monty in the eighth episode of Hook Ups next Thursday afternoon – don’t miss it!

  4. Think Ink

    How many people do you know who have gone to New York with the hopes of being one of those fine young creatives you see on the TV? It’s not an easy process, as you’d imagine. New Zealander Paul Nathan experienced this first hand, but determination and ambition kept him in “the world’s greatest city”. Generation Ink is a portrait publication of New York Gen Y-ers living in Williamsburg, and is the first book by the New Zealander.

    Tattoos are culture couture. It’s fashionable to have some. That lady who gave you a flu-shot told you she didn’t like your tattoos, but who asked her? You tell your parents that you’ll never regret them, despite the fact Helen Mirren has gone on record to say that she regrets her tiny one. But hey, why not embrace fashion for what it is? It’s cool right now. If you regret it, fuck it. Get a divorce from your skin. Tattoos are fashionable. Tattoos are hip.

    Paul Nathan’s approach to this very ideal was encompassing exactly that ideal. He adopted the endearing slander and the art of modern day youth aesthetics – particularly the tattooed beauties residing in Williamsburg. But it was that community and culture that kept him there in the first place.

    His book, Generation Ink, is simply “a picture book about young people from our neighbourhood with tattoos”. He’s certainly not the first creative to try and make it in New York, and he admits it’s not an easy thing to do.

    “I had enrolled in a product design course and an interior design course at [New York school of art and design] Parsons before changing to photography. I loved it, simply because I could see more of the city. I found a one year film course which started the following January at New York Film Academy, but after six months of the film course I realised it wasn’t something I wanted to continue with. Because I had broken my enrolment I received a letter saying I had 10 days to leave the US.”

    Paul found a photography school he wanted to attend but had to submit a portfolio as he had missed the enrolment date. They rejected his submission, but that deter him.

    “That night I met a New Zealand photographer at a party and told him my predicament. He offered to look at some of my work and helped me put a portfolio together which I resubmitted the next day and was accepted [into the International Center of Photography]. The one year General Studies photography course started the following month and I won a scholarship for my first terms work.”

    From there Paul started working as a photographer specialising in fashion and portraits. It was at ICP that Paul met his wife, who had a background in publishing.

    “It seemed like a good idea for a variety of reasons for me to start working on projects which we could turn into books, and hence the start of our publishing company Pelluceo.”

    Now that Paul has released Generation Ink, he is currently working on his next publication Couture Dogs of New York. Paul and his wife are in the process of publishing other peoples work for Pelluceo and hope to release several books over the next few years.

    Even though it’s all come together, Paul reminisces of the early days when he arrived in the big apple. Getting a visa isn’t easy, and there is literally a city’s worth of people trying to get their big break. Your neighbour, your friends and everyone in-between are there to be there – but that’s what comes with living in one of the biggest cities in the world.

    “All the top everythings are based in New York… my advice to a 20 or 30 something wanting to spend time here is to either find an internship or a course. If you do a full time program for one year you can apply for and will get OPT visa which means you can work for a year freely without being tied to any particular company. Within that year, if you want to stay longer, you will need to find a sponsor. I was lucky because my wife had just become a citizen.”

    After all of that, Paul finds that the common notion of a fierce job market in New York may in fact be less fierce than that in New Zealand.

    “I have always felt that the standard and competitiveness may be fiercer in NZ than here, but I may be wrong. All the New Zealander’s that I know are so competent and successful in their fields in New York that I think it may be due to inherent NZ attributes, namely the desire to be original, self-reliance and  fearlessness.”

    Visit Paul Nathan’s website here.

  5. The Lorde Club

    By now you will have heard of Lorde. Her single ‘Royals’ debuted at number one on the charts. The Love Club EP was downloaded 60,000 times before being made available on iTunes, where it was still able to debut at number one on the national charts. Her gigs sold out in two minutes. Her talent has caught the ears of Internet hype machines Buzzfeed and Perez Hilton. There have been tweets by Grimes, Sky Ferrera, Diplo and Stacie Orrico. All in the space of six months. Like it ain’t no big thang.

    In person Ella Yelich-O’Connor is charmingly confident and friendly. Considering her age (16, but you already knew that), and given that at the time this is only the third interview she has ever done; she is a surprisingly calm subject. Every answer is carefully considered, with a pause and a flip of her hair. And unlike most young women her age, O’Connor can just as eloquently speak about her favourite fashion designers (Alexander McQueen) as she can literary heroes (Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff).

    About a year ago, Universal (who signed her “on development” at the age of 13) introduced O’Connor to Joel Little, who produced her Love Club EP. While O’Connor doesn’t have any formal music training, she isn’t afraid of asserting her creative ideas with a more experienced musician who is twice her age.  “At first I was really hesitant and I would come in with my lyrics and I wouldn’t know how to sculpt them into a song. Now we just have arguments about little sounds for hours and I’ll be like, ‘No no, I’m not into that’.”

    Together, the pair have created a body of work that demonstrates Lorde’s ability to write clever pop melodies. The Love Club EP is contemporay, and easily compares to the music of James Blake, Burial, Purity Ring and Drake - all artists she has referenced as her influences - while stretching the boundaries already established by them.

    As if the name ‘Lorde’ wasn’t enough of an indication, O’Connor is fascinated by the concept of aristocracy and opulence; a theme that is evident in all five of her songs. The EP was written during the school holidays when Lorde was still 15. Twelve months is a long time for a young musician who is constantly developing their musical skills and knowledge, and Lorde has since admitted to cringing over ‘Million Dollar Bills’. The song is easily the strongest track.  It features her lush, layered vocals, punctuated with percussive vocal sounds and a heavy bass that hits you in the gut. Coming in at just under two and a half minutes, it’s a bit of a club banger.

    Due to her speedy ascent, there has been a dull hiss in her direction – in an attempt to bring O’Connor down there has been some dispute over how much of The Love Club she wrote herself, and how much was actually created by a producer. She is insistent that Lorde is her project, and Little’s input brings out the best of their respective skills. “I’ll come in with 80% of the lyrics done and we’ll write something and it’ll get to the peak point of the song, the chorus or whatever. And that will need to be moulded. Joel’s really good at Pro Tools, which I lack the technical prowess for, and I’m a really intuitive musician and I guess he is too, but he also has the logic. I’ll have an idea but it’ll be totally impulsive and I haven’t actually thought about it at all and he’ll bring the science in and actually figure out how to do it.”

    Such is the productivity of the creative partnership - work on an upcoming album is already well under way, with O’Connor hinting at an end of year release. When asked what the future holds for Lorde beyond 2013, with fans anticipating long-term success on the strength of her debut, she responds with a typically self-deprecating; “Well I might be shit by then, who knows?” The Love Club EP is only just the beginning. There’s no doubt she’ll be sitting pretty on the throne as New Zealand’s new pop queen for a while yet.

    Written by Ellen Falconer

    Photography by Rabie Alburaiky

    Make Up Artist: Sophie Hannah Tucker

  6. Nathan for you is the business so check out this new comedy series here.

  7. The Ruby Suns w/ Boycrush & Eyeliner - Multiple Venues

  8. Silo Cinema presents Forest Gump Friday 5th of April.

  9. Atoms For Peace - Ingenue

  10. King Tuff - Keep On Movin’ [OFFICIAL VIDEO IN 3D]

  11. David Mcclunie - Nick Cave

  12. Beach House - Wishes

  13. Leela James - My Joy

  14. James Blake & Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys Choir

  15. James Blake - Retrograde