click here for more
click here for more
Tom Scott's Avantdale Bowling Club Share Debut Album + Interview

Tom Scott's Avantdale Bowling Club Share Debut Album + Interview

Interview by Fluffy / Friday 17th August, 2018 8:37AM

Hip hop figurehead Tom Scott's new project Avantdale Bowling Club has quickly taken Aotearoa by storm with his epoch-spanning debut single 'Years Gone By', and today sees the release of A.B.C.'s hugely anticipated self-titled debut album. The eight track collection features a who's-who of titanic local talents who threw their artistic weight behind Scott's ambitious vision, including Julien Dyne, Guy Harrison, Tom Dennison, Mara TK, Ben McNicoll, JY Jong-Yun Lee, Christoph El Truento, Haz Beats, Teeks, Finn Scholes, Cory Champion, Isaac Aesili, John Bell, Jeremy Toy and more.

Tom Scott and his band kicked off last night a three day exhibition of images that inspired and were inspired by the new collection, featuring works by artists Luca Macioce, Tak Soropa and JacobYikes at Central Auckland's CorpStudio. Scope out the opening details and DJ performance times below, dive in to the album, and read on for Scott's insightful ruminations on the ideas surrounding his record with our roving reporter Fluffy, who spoke with the artist in the exhibition space...

Red Bull Music presents - Avantdale Bowling Club Exhibition
Auckland Central - CorpStudio, 86 Pitt Street

Friday 17th August, 12 - 10pm w/ DJs Chris El Truento (6- 8pm) and Dusty Melody (8 - 10pm)
Saturday 18th August, 12 - 10pm w/ DJs Julien Dyne (6 - 8pm), Haz Beats (8 - 10pm)
Sunday 19th August, 12 - 5pm


First of all I just wanted to tell you, basically thank you. Some of your music has really helped me through some real rough patches in my own life.

Thanks bro.

I remember living in rural New Zealand and being pretty depressed and slamming Home Brew’s self-titled pretty much every day and it inspired me to come back up here and sort my shit out.

Whereabouts were you?

I was in Invercargill.

Oh shit.

Yeah, not a lot of sunlight down there.

I reckon we’re all solar powered sometimes too aye. Even just walking outside and just [gesturing to the sky] ohhh hello sun. Surely we’ve found a way to make energy out of the biggest provider of energy, right? Like plants do!

Totally, photosynthesis.

Surely we do it in some kind of way.

I reckon. So how long’s Avantdale Bowling Club been in the works for?

It’s been about three years I think, to be honest. I tweeted this one thing when I wrote the first song, it was like “I think I’ve finally written the first song for the record” and that Tweet was like, if you look it up on Twitter it’s like 2014 or something. Like ages ago. It just kept evolving and now it’s about to yeah…

Were you a regular at the old Avondale Bowling Club?

I think I’ve been there a couple of times but how it came about was I was living in Melbourne and my old man, I think he was playing a gig there, either that or he was just drinking there and he sent me a photo of the sign, just that, no message and I was like “ohhh” and it just said something to me and I decided to call the band that.

All the musicians you’ve got on the record are pretty top notch aye?

Oh bro, I'm blessed.

How did you come to collaborate with them? Did you have them in mind when you were writing?

Yeah, I guess I bumped into some of these people along the way. Julien (Dyne) became a friend of mine, somehow, because he was always my hero, y’know, [there’s an] old school Home Brew song bragging about going to see him. “Julien Dyne’s at one, that guy can drum”. I just befriended some of these dudes that are my idols and played them the music and it just so happened that they were fucking with it, which is a huge honour. Then I just started trying to curate the band a bit and put together a band. There’s this dude Guy Harrison, is really underrated. On the record he played on pretty much everything. He plays everyone’s music like Eno x Dirty to my shit, to The Miltones, just everything, he’s a monster. This dude Tom Denison on bass he’s…

A bit of a shredder?

And to have Mara TK to come in on ‘Years Gone By’, that guy is my ultimate hero... I dunno, what am I supposed to do, just sit here like… ”they’re my heros.” I dont know what to say, sometimes I get starstruck being in the same room as them.

I also noticed that Julien Dyne’s other band Two Farben played at the New Lynn Bowling Club recently.

Yeah, that’s right, I wanted to make it down to that. Was that sick?

Oh, it was on fire! You weren’t lying, that dude can definitely drum. It was such a party!

Haha sick!

I saw in a recent interview with you, I saw that you were feeling a little frustrated with Avondale. Do you think that’s partially the gentrification moving into the central west suburbs of Auckland?

I don’t even wanna say that out loud, I feel like that just manifests gentrification. But yeah it is, it’s changing, bro. I don’t really realise because I’m living in it so I don't really see it happening. Last night at band rehearsal, my bro Tonga, he’s on keys, he’s the first person I sat next to in primary school. Like legit.

Five years old, the teacher said “go sit with Tonga, this is Tom” and the other dude Ben Turua, he’s Julien’s like... he praises that dude and he’s from Avondale as well right? So we all grew up together in some kinda way and now they both live out south. When they speak of Avondale, I’m reminded of what it was. Even today, being with Munter...y’know that show that’s all about West Auckland... Outrageous Fortune!

Of course!

That dude Munter was interviewing me at George FM. He was like “I stayed in Avondale back in the day, man that place was fuckin’ rough”. I forget what it was. It was a totally different place to what it is now. It sucks when your neighbourhood is slowly taken from you without you even realising. What was the question? Is it changing? Yeah it is and fuck it sucks. But part of me thinks that you just gotta let go of holding on to one piece of land and realise it’s more about the people aye.

Yeah, more about state of mind and community right?

Yeah bro, it’s about community and you can find that anywhere without attaching to one particular segment of the country. I think that’s the answer but then again I feel like myself and everyone else that is from that piece of land or spent their entire lives on that piece of land, maybe deserve to have a piece of that land for themselves. The thing about Avondale is, I think it’s the highest percentage of Polynesian owned businesses, the highest percentage of people owning their own house there from way back. So there’s a difference between Ponsonby were people were renting state houses and got kicked out. Here it’s like people were actually set up here, so it’s harder for us to get pushed out. So I think there might be something worth fighting for. There’s a community called I Love Avondale, this dude Dane Smith runs it, he knows way more about this shit then I do. That’s my take on gentrification, I think there’s a way that you can ride the wave of it so that you benefit from it as a local instead of letting people push you out of your own shit.

We’re here at your exhibition which features a few choice snapshots of Avondale. Can you tell us about how this visual aspect of A.B.C. came to be?

Yeah, that was these kids Luka and Tak. They hit me up to do some photos around the neighbourhood cause that’s what they’re into and I was like “yo, tight,” checked their shit and it was mean. Then we just went around the neighbourhood taking photos, I thought I was taking them to all the spots like “this is interesting, this is interesting” and then they took me to the racecourse and I was like “why would you? This is a hole.” But they had seen this thing that I hadn’t seen and then the photo they took of that racecourse ended being the album cover. It just fucked me up, their eye was just like nothing I’d seen. Then I asked them if they could do that same thing around the neighbourhood and have some of their stuff up here. Some of the shit they chose to capture was something I wouldn’t have seen beauty in, which is really cool. I think that’s the magic of that artform aye. Or any artform! Like what you chose to write about, if you can find beauty in the mundane, or if I can, then that’s us doing our job I think so that’s what they do.

Can you tell us a little bit about JacobYikes?

Yeah, right so… I mean, that’s a waste of words trying to sum up… they say it’s a thousand words for a picture but that guy, there’s millions of words in that shit.

It’s very multifaceted?

Yeah, I hardly know how to explain anything, let alone his art. I think you just gotta see it. I really think it would be an insult to his art for me to try and explain it. They say that trying to talk about music is like trying to dance about architecture, that’s how I feel. Just put a picture underneath this caption and you’ll understand it better then I can.

How did you first form a personal relationship with him?

Just online, I just liked his shit and we just got to talking. It was funny cause going back and forth in the process of making these works, we got to know each other then after a while we’d just be ringing each other just talking about life, it had nothing to do with this shit like “bro you all good? Yeah man, me and the missus are..." like being more real like that and he’s a G. I’d love to live in his mind, as long as I could exit. It looks busy! I’d love to trip in his mind for a day. If you could put his mind in a pill, I’d take it.

Speaking of the like, do you find substances have any influence on your creative output?

I still love weed, but I don’t really even consider that a drug. I just consider that a beautiful herb, that’s just lavender bro. But I think it’s totally necessary to change your state of mind as an artist. To leave your comfort zone and if drugs are your ticket out of that comfort zone then great, that’s awesome. I also think there are other ways to get outside of yourself and I think after one too many comedowns, you need to look for something else to get out.

Any A.B.C. live shows planned for the near future?

Yeah, for sure. I definitely wanna tour it. I wanna play in Invercargill. I wanna play in all the corners of New Zealand I’ve never been to. I think this is an intimate record and I was telling Josie this, it’s only been about 100 years that we captured music in a bottle and sold it but before then it was always an intimate thing, like a guy picked up a couple rocks and started banging or someone singing on a marae. That’s the most ultimate version of music, when it’s in your life, you didn’t go expecting at 10:30pm with lights and a stage yknow? So I wanna try recreate that as well as possible and remove all the bullshit and just make it a spontaneous thing. That’s the dream, I’ll fail. Hopelessly.

I saw in the A.B.C. Red Bull documentary that you’ve already finished writing the next Average Rap Band album and another one even, almost.

Yeah, it’s like us and these dudes Man Made Mountain, two of the five people I got along with in Australia. Nah, they’re these two dudes from Australia, they’re brilliant dudes. One guy Dom, he’s from Melbourne via LA and we just would hang out all the time and started putting together this record and it just happens to be all about love. It’s kinda cool cause this record is way more self-indulgent from inside my mind but the A.B.C. record is about giving to someone else. It’s all about love, bro. For women or for… it’s about love. So it’s gonna be cool to be able to give that and it’s less like wanky I guess, just party music, just dance music. Then I got another record with this dude Choice Vaughan and that dude helped hard out on it, that’s about eight songs done. It’s gonna be hella sick.

Do you think A.B.C. will do a follow-up record or do you reckon it’s like a one time, zeitgeist kinda buzz?

I’d like to keep exploring this genre, aye. I don't wanna put that mutherfucker through another three year process [pointing to Red Bull sound engineer Ben Lawson]. Don’t worry bro, I got it sussed this time! But yeah, that guy had to sit with me through… he’s the engineer right, at this place [gestures to Red Bull logo] and he’s highly underrated. He mixes every one of your favourite records without you knowing.

Almost always the way with good engineers aye?

Yeah bro, especially in this day and age, the engineer is so much more important. Anyone can make a loop but if it ain’t mixed right, it’s just a piece of shit loop. So I’d come to him with ideas and he’d help form them. I think he’s a real unsung hero bro, Benny Lawson, yeah.

I hear there’s some exclusive merch dealios going on at this gallery.

Yeah, just selling some hoodies. Just needed something to pay the rent basically. I’ve got these things that I’ve put a lot more effort into coming out soon. It’s like these old 70s jazz posters that we’ve reinterpreted.


But yeah, for now, I just need some money for my landlord.

Avantdale Bowling Club's self-titled debut album is out now digitally, and available on double vinyl in October.


Share this
Subscribe/Follow Us
Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on your favourite platform  

Help Support Independent Music News
You can show your support to keep UnderTheRadar running by making a contribution. From $5, any amount can make a huge difference and keep us bringing you the best, comprehensive local content. ♥
Support UTR!