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Here's 5: Ben Woods Picks His Aotearoa Music Dream Team

Here's 5: Ben Woods Picks His Aotearoa Music Dream Team

Ben Woods / C.C. / A.K. / Friday 12th March, 2021 11:04AM

Ben Woods' ongoing national tour was bumped around by last week's Covid-19 lockdown blip, but is now back on sold ground. The Ōtautahi songwriter plays in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend, alongside Emily Edrosa at Whammy Bar tonight (joined by Louisa Nicklin) and at Leigh Sawmill Cafe on Saturday [UPDATE: we're back at unrestricted Alert Level 1 gigs]. Celebrating the release of his dark-pop student radio hit 'Body Rhyme', plus some exceptionally swanky new merch, Woods' tour hits the South Island next week before wrapping up in style in Pōneke this April.

For Ben Woods' Here's 5 feature, we asked him to imagine: "your band have been waylaid in a snowstorm before tonight's Big Show. Luckily you have a time machine and (Bill & Ted style) you can assemble a five strong backing band from any point in Aotearoa’s musical history." Scroll downwards to delve into his excellent selections and insights on each artist, and don't miss Woods at the following dates...

Undertheradar proudly presents...

Ben Woods New Zealand Tour

Friday 12th March - Whammy Bar, Auckland w/ Emily Edrosa, Louisa Nicklin*
Saturday 13th March - Leigh Sawmill Cafe, Leigh w/ Emily Edrosa*
Friday 19th March - Loons Club, Lyttelton w/ Violet French, The Horrible*
Friday 9th April - Dharma Bums Club, Blenheim w/ Ryan Fisherman*
Saturday 10th April - Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington w/ Avant Glass*
Sunday 11th April - Newtown Festival, Wellington

Tickets available HERE via UTR*

1. Stefan Neville (Pumice, Coolies) – Drums / Semi Abrasive broken tape BV’s

Stefan’s music came into my life after catching him (I’m pretty certain) at that last Camp A Low Hum new year’s festival when Pumice and Coolies played. I loved the buzzing of his little machines, his gross lyrics, and was compelled by how he tied together classic song tropes and other surreal worlds of sound. It’s like he was making Top 40 bangers in a terrifying parallel universe, and somehow slipped through a wormhole to Auckland.

His drumming on the Coolies album Kaka has so much weird jazzy feel, but also feels, sometimes, like it’s about to fall apart. It might be my favourite part of the album.

Check out this video of him with Rackets & Chris Knox ––

2. Paul Kean (The Bats, Toy Love) - Bass / Potential Tour Manager

All through Toy Love and The Bats you can hear his melodic mark. Paul’s lines are not only the backbones of these great songs, but they also work as nifty sub-melodies that get injected in the open space in between vocals and sloshing guitars.

He’s classic, so he’d keep the band’s morale up, but also, I get the sense he’s a bit of an organiser which would be helpful, as I currently try manage my own tours with the memory and attention span of a Shubunkin.

Stone cold classic! ––

3. Lucy Hunter (Opposite Sex, Wet Specimen) - Piano / Ghost Voice

Lucy scared me the first time I saw her play in Opposite Sex. It could of been what I’d been consuming with a few colleagues at Otautahi’s most disrespected, vaguely Rastafarian themed cafe, but something about her and Tim’s entwined barking over Reggie’s guitar that sounded like pig murder made me feel like I was in incredible danger.

Years later we’re great friends, and those same sounds bring about a peaceful glow within me. I’ve been lucky enough to tour with Lucy, and even have her in the band a few times. There’s no-one else I’d rather have on the false ivories. I’ve seen her perform solo material where she glides across the piano, losing traction of where her fingers are landing until the feeling overtakes her and she plunges her head into the keys. It’s so amazingly dramatic and gothic.

She’s one of those people where it feels like they’re playing precisely all the wrong notes with the right ones, so that you slowly forget about the whole spectrum of harmony and everything just stands together perfectly — like a recording.

Watch this live clip of her in a crypt! ––

4. *Wildcard* 1982 Richie Venus or 1997 Darcy Clay - Guitar / Band Tension

A bit of fire in the band keeps everyone sharp, so I thought one of these old guys could really stir things up. I can’t decide because I feel like Darcy would fit the band better but he would be probably pretty tough to handle, due to him getting really smashed all the time. Richie might be a bit easier to deal with, but he’d probably get super annoying to be around, plus he’s probably (at least in this 1982 version of himself) an egomaniac. Either way they’d probably get kicked out and replaced by local guitar hero Joe Sampson pretty quickly.

P.S I have a deep respect for RV and DC.

Check out this nice interview with Darcy ––

5. Charlotte Forrester (Womb) – Vocals / Cello

The first Womb album, Splitting the Head From the Body, left such a big impression on me. Me and the people I was living with at the time had it on the turntable for months. We’d put it on whenever we cooked together, or when we sat in the lounge by the fire in winter. I think it burnt itself into the back of my head.

Charlotte’s voice sounds perfect always. It has a real psychedelic quality as her notes bend into each other. I finally got to see Womb when they performed at a show that I was asked to curate at the Christchurch Art Gallery, and they hypnotised everyone. It felt very magical. A massive part of that was Charlotte’s voice. And also she plays Cello!


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Ben Woods, Emily Edrosa
Fri 12th Mar 8:00pm
Whammy Bar, Auckland
Ben Woods, Emily Edrosa
Sat 13th Mar 8:00pm
Leigh Sawmill Cafe, Leigh
Ben Woods, Violet French
Fri 19th Mar 8:00pm
The Loons, Lyttelton
Ben Woods
Fri 9th Apr 7:00pm
Dharma Bums Club, Blenheim
Ben Woods
Sat 10th Apr 8:00pm
Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington
Newtown Fest
Sun 11th Apr 1:00pm
The Office Bar, Wellington