Here's Five: UTR Digs Deep For NZ Music MonthTuesday 16th May, 2017 1:12PM
With New Zealand Music Month in full swing, the annual Music Month Summit is set to take place at its new home in the Auckland Museum auditorium this weekend - which also coincides with the closing days of the museum's Volume - Making Music In Aotearoa exhibition. The summit's theme of 'For The Love Of Music' will see a raft of industry professionals ranging from musicians, managers, promotors and label owners gather together in panel discussions and reflect on how music has changed their lives over the years. That inspired us here in the UTR offices to take look back at some of the gateways songs that sparked our love for local music and made us want to get involved in supporting the New Zealand music scene...
1. Danielle: Supergroove - 'Sitting Inside My Head'
Supergroove's debut album Traction came out when I was twelve years old and I used my own pocket money to buy a copy on cassette from a cramped little store in Lower Hutt called Wonderland Records. It was the first New Zealand album I ever owned and I played that tape relentlessly and knew the words to every song. Pretty much every track on that album is solid gold and I had trouble picking a favourite, but 'Sitting Inside My Head' still raises the hairs on the back of my neck to this day.
2. Fluffy: Ponny Fight- 'Shoot The Laser'
After living in Australia for many of my formative years, I found myself in a dimly lit Selwyn College auditorium for a showcase of the school’s musical talent. Still buzzing afresh from the eccentricity and individuality of New Zealand, a country where they had a whole channel dedicated to playing music, the incomparable Ponny Fight stuck with me from their first hypnotic synth line. The dynamic duo of Suren Unka and Fergus Waveforms playing their tune ‘Shoot The Laser’ married dark electronica with a hardcore punk breakdown at a time when the likes of Enter Shikari were at the crest of their popularity in international alternative media. Where Shikari bored me with their overly melodic hooks and polished metalcore song structures, Ponny Fight had simple chanted choruses atop dense synth-voicings and hearty drum machines. Their lo-fi aesthetic felt relatable and real and they effortlessly retained the cute-but-dark aesthetic of the emo generation while boasting a solid sense of fun and adventure.
3. Hunter: Desperate Models - 'Brightness'
For me, ‘Brightness’ is one of those songs that when you hear it, memories come flooding back. I remember standing awkwardly on the sidelines at the first gig I ever went to watching a bunch of teens throw themselves into each other in the mosh-pit to this song. Little did I know I was listening to one of the songs that would shape my teenage years, that in a matter of months I would be in there with them thrashing my head back-n-forth to the beat of the kick drum. It was songs like this that shaped the all ages scene at the time, and brought all the music loving 16 year olds together. For a long time there were no ‘Brightness’ recordings online, but it didn’t take long until every kid in the room knew the lyrics and were singing along to every word.
4. Daryl: Shihad - 'Derail'
I could not believe music was permitted to be written in 6/8 with non chordy chords. Entire verses with no cymbals or hi-hats - it was the heaviest thing I'd heard when the guitars came in. Inspired me and my mate Clyde to hire practise rooms to cover the album, even to go as far as roadtripping my Mazda Familia 323 to Hamilton to watch them play at the University.
5. Angela: Skeptics - 'Agitator'
Discovering Skeptics was a real eye-opener for me. Having grown up in pre-internet small town New Zealand my exposure to alternative New Zealand music was limited to the likes of Shihad (the fish album era) and Head Like a Hole. I had no idea music like Skeptics existed here, or anywhere for that matter, and I was so excited by the discovery. I felt really grateful that Flying Nun had been around to support them and it inspired me to want to do the same. My first experience of Skeptics was of course ‘Affco' and that music video but it was tracks like ‘Agitator' that really sparked my imagination and drive to get involved and support local music.
The NZ Music Month Summit takes place on SAturday 20th May in the Auckland Museum Auditorium, and features guest speakers including David Ridler (NZ On Air), Kings (Musician), Mikee Tucker (Loop Recordings), Moana Maniapoto (Musician), Aroha Harawira (DJ) and more. For more information head over here.