Archive for December, 2007

Pete Philly & Perquisite Interview

Sunday, December 30th, 2007 | Interviews, VG News | No Comments
Pete Philly & Perquisite Interview

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to share with us a little mind state…

From the sound you guys have created together it seems you have an intimate understanding of how each other works. How did you guys meet and how long have you been collaborating?

We’ve been collaborating for about four to five years now. We met through a mutual friend who thought we should hear each others music..

Did you guys work individually with many other artists before you realized that the two of you were the right combination?

Pete: Well, I used to be in Funk bands, soul bands and drum & bass bands. Before we decided to make an ep together.
Perq: I’ve always released my instrumental solo stuff on my own label Unexpected Records.

Who are some of the artists you played in your first cars? Were any influences from the ‘Golden Era’ of Hip Hop (’93 & ’94) when artists like De La Soul, and A Tribe called Quest were redefining Hip Hop?

We like melodic hip hop so those artists are artists we have listened to. However I think we listen mostly to music outside of the hiphop genre. I (Pete) am really into soul music, rock music, Latin music and broken beat stuff.
Perq: I’m into old stuff like the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, but also MIA. Right now I’m really into folk music from Chile and Africa. We’re both into Jazz though of course.

Your first two albums, video clips, and virtually everything you have done together carry a completely unique style both musically and fashionably… what is styles relationship with music?

Funny you should say that, cause we’re not really into fashion. But we do want to represent who we really are. We both dress casual with a hint of hip hop in there. We like the fact that the Time Flies cover art for example looks like it’s a classical tune done by a string quartet or something. Our fan base in Europe is really diverse because of these kind of decisions I think (musically and stylistically).

Pete – without emulating your predecessors; your flow has set a new benchmark for artists to follow, how did you come to find that voice?

Thanks. I believe that as an artist and as a person I’m simply the sum of my experiences and my inspirations. Coming from a Caribbean background (I came to the Netherlands when I was six), going to an American school. Growing up though with a sober Dutch sensibility, combined with the fact that I don’t really feel the need to copy paste the American themes have gave me my own story to tell. I’d like to say I sample the best out of every culture I feel connected to and because of my international upbringing and the multicultural place that is Amsterdam, for me, it’s easy to do.

Perq – you cross over so many styles in your production, what do you use to make the beats in the way of software, instruments, people, etc?

I started making beats when I was about fourteen. I got this tracker program off of a friend of mine and I’ve been making beats with it ever since. I combine it with cool edit pro to record my string arrangements on the cello for example. People tend to think that I use a lot of live instrumentation though this is not the case, other than a guitar or a saxophone solo every now and then. I think 80% of my music is sample based. The way I program things like bass lines some people think it’s being played live, which I guess is a compliment.

Since you dropped your second album “Mystery Repeats” you guys have been touring a lot. Where have you been traveling and where’s up next? Can we expect to see you in Australia and New Zealand any time soon?

We definitely want to go to Australia and New Zealand! For the next few months our main focus is on Europe and Japan. After that anything should be possible.

What was it like to work with Talib Kweli? Have many artists coming out of Brooklyn had an impact on you over the years?

Well Biggie of course. I think a lot of the older stuff Talib and Mos did was really exciting. At this point I believe as artists Perq and I are going in another direction than they are. But the older stuff is great. Kweli is a cool dude, he really was impressed to see two young kids with nobody backing them up at the time, making the moves we were making with honest music.

I’ve heard you guys like to step up each others game with a little bit of healthy competition… So who’s cooler?

Hahaha, I think I’m cooler, which probably goes to show that Perq is.
Perq: I think it depends on what situation we’re in. We’re both very different haha..

Both of you are still relatively early in your careers (especially considering your accomplishments). What direction do you think your music will take over the coming 5 – 10 years?

I think we’ll keep writing songs with a hip hop twist while tapping from other genres to keep it interesting. There are so many interesting ways to make music and we’ve barely started exploring them so… Keep checking us out people!

Nice to catch up with you both, your music is so well received in Australasia as it is around the world and we hope to see you performing on our shores soon…

You can check out more from Pete Philly and Perquisite at:

www.petephillyandperquisite.com
www.myspace.com/petephillyandperquisite

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Ara Adams Interview

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 | Interviews | 1 Comment
Ara Adams Interview

Hey Ara, It’s nice to get a chance to talk with you so thanks for taking the time man… I’ve seen you in action from afar as well as up close over the years, whether its been performing onstage or organizing things behind the scenes you pretty much do it all from what I gather… So i’m going to start with the usual questions to catch up those who aren’t as familiar with your history, and then maybe we’ll go a little bit deeper… Sweet?

Where did it all start? What did, has, and still does inspire you?

Where did it start aye? I would say it started when I was a kid just being around my dad and uncles when they use to have their (ahem) ‘many’ guitar garage parties which always mysteriously ended up at our house. Haha. Good times when we were kids. Music was kind of ingrained in me from then. I didn’t actually pick up a guitar though until I was at college and that’s when I was doing kapahaka hard out so I was the guitarist for our group. I always wanted to play bass since I heard Ardijah back in the 80’s but I didn’t get one until I was 20 which was in 1995. I was content to just jam away with a few mates until I went to see the EAGLES live at Western Springs 25 November 1996. I was brought up on the Eagles and seeing them live lit the fire inside me to aspire to be a professional musician. From that night forward, thats all I thought about. Not long after I joined Katchafire, and that shot me far beyond what I ever thought I was capable of achieving. Realising that I could reach places that I thought was only held for the lucky, or selected few, I decided to quit Katchafire and continue my quest for learning and growing, and doing it all over again!! Some might think Im crazy – I can confirm that I am. I fully believe that I can do it all over again and Im loving the ‘freshness’ that I am now bringing to my own music. Something that I felt I couldn’t do while staying in Katchafire. So now Im putting in the hard hours learning, growing, jamming and I am so keen and eager to get back out on the scene starting from square 1 again. Yeeah that’s what keeps me amped. Ask my wife – she’s sick of hearing about it hahaha!!

You played bass for Katchafire for 6 years as well as taking a central role in management and organization of the group. Katchafire has built up a massive following in so many places now, and have toured around all corners of the world. Must be a pretty amazing feeling after starting out as a Bob Marley covers band on the New Zealand scene eh? How did that unfold?

Yer it was a massive feeling to go from a straight covers band to playing mostly originals. It unfolded because we could all see that people were still vibin hard on reggae music even though there was really nothing out in the charts or on radio. Once you can see people vibin to the music the boys started writing our music and slowly intergrated it with our covers sets to see what the reaction was. Every now and again we would play at festivals and road test our originals on the public and it was bumpin. We got told by radio directors that reggae music was a waste of time if you wanted radio airplay cause no one listens to it. Fortunately Mai FM believed in us, they jammed the tracks, and the next thing you know we won a NZ Music Award for the highest selling single which proved that people wanted to hear it. After that came our first album REVIVAL, and the rest is history… The management side of things was really a Labour of Love. I worked tirelessly on our bookings, finances, website, etc…. while Mai FM worked on the distribution, radio and tv airplay, and between the two of us we managed to get the profile of Katchafire to decent place. Both parties have now moved on though but it has been rewarding to see the fruits of your labour appear.

I understand that you have recently left Katchafire to pursue your own musical path. Whats your new passion? what led to your decision to choose this new path, and how did it feel leaving?

My new passion is to do it all over again!! Play live at all the cool clubs, at all the cool festivals and bump some new sounds. Yeeyah. Luv that shit!! The reasons behind my decision to leave was a lot of reasons! In a nut shell it came down to ‘it was the right time.’ It was a mixture of spending more time with whanau, needing to move back home to Paraparaumu, personality differences within the band, different priorities for me, and the fact that my musical taste and ambitions were different to where the band wanted to go. Ultimately I knew on 17 June 2006 (Im good with remembering important dates haha) that I knew I had to leave the band to have a shot at fulfilling my potential as a musician. I knew staying in the band wouldn’t allow me the room for me to grow so the decision was quite easy in the end. When I left I felt free again – free to start all over again and free from the world that we had created when I was in Katchafire. Life while in Katchafire was massive, but when you start havin kids, and your kids don’t wanna know you when you return from 6 weeks overseas, that really fkn sux!!! So while it is an awesome lifestyle for most people, I had changed and therefore I needed to change my surroundings which saw me depart from Katchafire.

You’re involved in the business side of music as well as writing & performing right? What exactly do you involve yourself in on the business side (booking, promoting, marketing, labels) and was your involvement by choice or necessity?

Good question. Yer I am involved in the business side of music while I continue to work away on my own material. I am involved as a booking agent and my clients include Katchafire, House of Shem, Opensouls, Cornerstone Roots, Unity Pacific to name a few. I actually don’t mind this suit of work as it keeps me in touch with a lot of venues and festival organizers which I am hoping to use when I am ready to hit the stage again. But YES, the decision to do this is by necessity. I have to somehow pay my mortgage, feed my family and pay the bills so I do this work while I chip away in the studio. I am very very grateful that I could leave Katchafire, and still make a living in this NZ music industry. I work hard and I jam harder so as long as I can keep that balance its all good. If there does come a day when I can give away this music business side of things I will. I wake up excited in the mornings to make music, not to ring up to book gigs, but its still a great job nonetheless!!

In my experiences, some crazy things go on when your touring, some great, some not so great… anything come to mind when I say that?

I remember falling through the roof once at a venue in Napier and being knocked unconscious… Crack up when you think about it now!! Yer there are bad times, but all I choose to remember is all the fun stuff. The jamming on stage, the awesome people you meet, the different cultures you encounter, meeting famous people. I mean, I NEVER EVER thought I could go to the UK or HAWAII without paying a single dollar – in fact they give ME money to jump on a plane to jam in front off them. That’s crazy to think that people thought that highly of you and your music. I’ll remember those euphoric moments on stage – that’s what you live for and that’s what I’m striving for again. Those moments of magic where everything and everyone is connected thru this thing called music. Luv it!!

I’ve spent the good part of my life in Aotearoa (New Zealand) watching such a beautiful array of solo artists and groups spawn. For me, I’m talking about Che Fu & the Krates, Trinity Roots, The Black Seeds, Otautahi Allstars, Fat Freddy’s Drop, project nRt, Salmonella Dub, Cornerstone Roots, Bic Runga, King Kapisi. There are far too many to mention, but if I have missed a few who you wouldn’t have… who would they be? And who are the new kids on the block to look out for?

Definitely Kora, Shapeshifter and Opensouls! The sounds of kinda changing here to with this electronic/jazz/soul/funk vibe thing. Of course NZ music can never be one genre as we like to mash it!!! But there are sooo many good NZ bands out there on MySpace its inspiring! Check out The Constituents, Harbour City Electric, Bluevibes to name a few. Mark de Clive Lowe is a huge inspiration to me too as he is one person who is doing what I want to do. He jams a whole lot of loop based stuff, and layers all the parts in live, then drops different things in and out, and that’s exactly what I want to do. I didn’t even know there was anyone doing it till I started searching and then Blam – there he is!! So check out Mark’s video’s on MySpace if you into live loop based jammings.

With all of your success and I suppose happiness so far, what’s the next dream for Ara? and what are you doing to turn your dream into your reality?

Bro, I’m a big dreamer…. And I’m big on making them come true too. I’ve already said it above but I want to taste the success again of people vibin your music live again. From the smallest coolest club in NZ to Japan, UK and Europe!! I also want to get to a point where I can live off my music and get that free hold beach house. Not a day goes by that I am not doing something to further my music. I am into learning and researching magazines and websites for tips, I jam a lot in the studio and with other people, and I listen to a shit load of other peoples music that inspires me. I love to think ‘outside’ the square a little and experiment and try other shit. I’m really getting into this whole new electronic/jazz/soul vibes right now.

Are you a musician or an artist? Back it up brother.

I suppose I would say I am both. A musician is someone who can play music, an artist is someone that can create pieces of art (music, paintings, sculptures, ete…). I suppose you would therefore say I am a Music Artist. Sounds pretty anal aye…”Hi Im Ara and Im a Music Artist.” I don’t know bro, Im just a Maori brutha with visions of big dreams in Music. Call me what you want haha!!

We know you play bass… what’s your approach to the new album. One man band, collaborations… how will it play out?

Definate collaborations. I don’t really find too much joy with it just being all about me. I love to feed off other peoples energy and vibes. As long as we are on the same wave length its massive seeing where things can go and how things change when working with other like minded people. I play bass, keys, guitars, sampler and I get my bro to jam drums over the programmed drums…. Its makes the beats sound even fatter when combing those two elements. I really want to work with singers and lyricists that feel have a Soul and a Vibe about their voice which has emotion in it. If you can infuse that voice into the music that’s the shit right thurrr!!!! Man I wish I could sing…..haha. I also want to work with other like minded musos – anyone who feels they get into a huge sound of a melting pot filled with reggae/jazz/soul/funk/electronic give me a call!! So if you jam or you sing holla at me on myspace.com/bastionafro .

I really want to make my name is a Live Artist first and foremost. If albums and all that comes then that’s all good but I really want to be a Live Artist first. You cant beat that energy and vibe when its happening live.

Cool cool, all of the crew at Very Good are looking forward to hearing your new sounds. What we’ve heard seems to be very diverse with a mixture of influences and styles and it’s going to be a welcome break from the norm. Cheers for taking the time and the best of luck with everything.

Cheers for the interview and sorry for my long ass winded replies. Now its off to my studio to jam…..

www.myspace.com/bastionafro

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