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Interview
Tourettes

Tourettes

Interviewed by
Glen Meltzer
date
Monday 4th November, 2013 9:51AM

For the last wee while spoken word artist Dominic Hoey aka Tourettes has been a man abroad -  travelling the globe, drawing inspiration for his first novel.  Finding time to write new songs whilst away, Hoey is now back home and has released a brand new EP titled Dead Dogs Dance. Following up his critically acclaimed 2011 album Tiger Belly, the new release sees Tourettes collaborating with the likes of Louie Knuxx, The Shocking And Stunning, Saan Barratt and Scratch 22. UnderTheRadar caught up with Tourettes to discuss his new EP, his travels, and what is to come. 

Where did the inspiration for this EP come from?

I had some songs left over from Tiger Belly and when I was in Iceland I started writing some more songs. You can’t write a novel 24/7 so when I had some beats I would write over them, also over what people would send me from New Zealand. The songs ended up being good so I thought I would release some of them. I wrote three while in Iceland, had one already and then wrote a couple more in Australia.

The tracklist hints at some dark themes…

I don’t know if it’s necessarily darker, I just wanted to keep to one title names. People have always said that my writing is dark but I feel like it’s just exploring the human condition and the 21st Century way of life, of which kind of darkness always gets in there. There is a lot of humour in the EP, also kind of taking the piss of all those things.

What made you choose the smaller EP format as opposed to a full length album?

I guess I had about 10 good songs and then ended up whittling it down to six. I just felt like that was as much as I was going to say. I ended up getting rid of songs because I felt like they were saying the same thing but in different ways. I just wanted it all to be concise. Also from a financial view because I wanted to give it away for free and that this would be cheaper to do an EP. With this new EP, there isn’t so much a single theme that runs through, but more like a feel that runs through it all and the songs really work well together.

The EP features work from your regular production partner Scratch 22, but your last album didn't. How was it reconnecting with him again?

It was cool working with Rodi, he sends me a lot of stuff and I send him what I’ve been doing. We’re working on a new album together and have about six demos so far. Really cool, really different from anything either of us have done so far. He’s so talented, just like Saan you just don’t know what’s happening next.

It is more generally a pretty collaborative work - how did you come to work with the musicians on the EP?

When I went to Iceland I found out I couldn’t download anything because they block all the torrent sites over there. So I would hit people up from home getting them to send me some music to work with. One of the bands who sent me some stuff was The Shocking And Stunning. I had actually performed them before in Wellington when we did the tour for Tiger Belly. They sent me three tracks and one really stood out and that became ‘Chernobyl’. They’re an amazing band, probably one of my favourite at the moment.

You bridge the Hip Hop and Punk Rock divide with your music - how do you see the relationship between the different genres/style?

My relationship between both genres is the same. I got into Hip Hop a little bit earlier and when I was about 12 I started rapping. It wasn’t like how it is now when it’s like the biggest musical genre in the world, it was considered a weird fucking thing. There was only one other kid in my class who liked Rap music growing up. There would be Public Enemy and Beastie Boys and such, but I would listen to anything at that point because it was so hard to find. With Punk and Hip Hop there is that attitude of doing it yourself. That kind of independence which seems to run more in them than other scenes. Also lots of aggression.

I think both genres, although they can be full of plagiarists, can both be really progressive. I think bands that have come from that Punk scene like Fugazi and rappers like Andre 3000 (Outkast) are some of the most hugely progressive minds in music. All the best music in any genre comes from people that listen outside of that. If you just listen to Rap it starts feeding into itself and that’s shit. There can be people in both communities who are really open minded and progressive.

Your travels in the last year have taken you as far abroad as Iceland. What's it like going from one isolated island to one on the other side of the world? Does anything parallel between us and the Icelandic people?

Yeah definitely. Iceland is what I would imagine New Zealand to be like if we had a proper education system. There’s only about 300,000 people there but the cool thing is that they really take control of themselves politically. Everyone is really involved, not like back here where you get that “I don’t give a fuck about politics” mindset. You pick up the equivalent of Groove Guide over there and it’ll have a two page article on feminism or something, as well as news about bands. Or say you’re in the pub in some fishing village, people will be talking about the economy and whether it should be state owned or not. Just things like that.

They’re also quite stoic over there, quite standoffish, but super educated. Everyone speaks about five languages like English, German, Spanish, even Italian. When the European debt crisis started, they went and kicked out all the big Euro banks and run it all themselves totally fine. That’s what we should do, I feel like New Zealand could take so many lessons from them because we are in a similar position.

As well as music, your output extends to writing and publishing. How did it all come about and what is coming up for Something Magazine [an online magazine from the Young, Gifted and Broke collective distributed via iTunes] ?

We have a third issue coming out in December. For people that haven’t seen it, we’ve been lately doing video profile articles on people but we really want to start to up the music and political content in it. I’ve been talking to a lot of friends overseas who are political activists in places like New York and Mexico and are going to contribute. Even here I want to talk to people I know and write about things like sexuality and gender issues. I’m just trying to get ideas in there that are transgressive and make people think but without trying to sound condescending.

Because we have to run it through Apple we are kind of limited in some of our content. We would have a lot more in the magazine about drugs if we could. At the moment all the people involved are musicians and artists, but I’m hoping we can expand on that a bit.

How's your novel coming along?

It’s finished, and I’m just shopping it to publishers at the moment. It’s about these two artists in Grey Lynn who meet and have a relationship. Everything’s going great for a while but ends up tragic. The themes are about place and what makes it’s memories. The memories that kind of haunt somewhere, and how we try connect with them when we go back to these places. Thanks to things like gentrification, I think it makes it harder to have a community and culture because everything just gets pushed out.

Talk us through a few tracks from the EP….

Chernobyl

So this is the one with The Shocking And Stunning playing. When I was in Berlin, we were going to to go to Chernobyl in Ukraine because it’s something I’ve always been fascinated with but it ended up being a nightmare trying to get there. When I was a child I watched the Chernobyl disaster on television. It seemed like the most frightening thing in the world. The combination of bureaucratic incompetence, willful ignorance and muted tragedy seemed like a perfect metaphor for 21st century life. This was the one track I recorded here in Auckland, all the others we tracked in Melbourne.

Childhood

This was the one produced by Rodi (Scratch 22) and it’s a spoken word track. It’s kind of a Tom Waits sounding one. I’m talking about childhood and growing up in the eighties so it’s has samples taken from clips about Robert Muldoon, the Rainbow Warrior, the Springbok Tour coming in. I had always thought when you’re a kid you kind of exaggerate how mental things in your childhood are, but I was talking to my mum about it recently and she said “Yeah, it was like that!”. I remember when I was in primary school the teacher would beat some of the kids and then the parents would go and beat up the teacher, just things like that. So I just wrote about where I grew up (Grey Lynn) it’s funnier than it sounds!

Methadone

You know how when you break up with someone and then start sleeping with someone else in like a shitty version of what you had before, that’s just like the Methadone / Heroin situation. So this was recorded while I was in Melbourne still. I had a sample that I looped it up. I played it to my friend Haley who is a great singer and she sang over it, and that was that.

links
filthyandbeautiful.net/