Archive for January, 2009

Batucada Sound Machine Interview

Friday, January 30th, 2009 | Interviews | 1 Comment
Batucada Sound Machine Interview

We talked size with Batucada Sound Machine…

(Interview with James Hughes, percussionist and band founder)

A 12 piece band doesn’t happen by accident, how was BSM born?
Dude, we are now 12 piece, but were at 15 during the early days!
It all started when I returned from a stint in Cuba and Brazil studying percussion and I got a group of players together at a local club in town. We jammed once a fortnight and mixed brazilian and Cuban rhythms with drum & bass, hiphop grooves etc. The night started getting a reputation and soon a few horn players turned up, and MCs started coming along. Soon followed a bass player, guitarist and pretty soon we had a full band…playing improvised jams. We got booked for a couple of big local festivals and since then its been a mad ride…playing festivals around NZ, Aus and the UK, and resulting in the studio album with Neil Sparkes last year.

Does size matter? Is it important that there are so many of you?

We have developed our sound so that each person has their own role. From the rhythm section to the percussionists, to the traxedos (horn section) to the vocalists etc. Each person is key. Obviously there are logistical issues, but that’s all part of the fun.

Your music has been described as an ADHD Melting Pot of sound – is this deliberate?
Well, not sure who that person was, but we’ll take it as a complement! There are intentionally chaotic moments within some of the tracks, but by and large – its all carefully orchestrated…unless the band leader is having one of his ‘moments’.

How would you describe your music?
I would call it super-samba-afro-funk, with elements of hiphop and pacific soul added for taste….hmmm yeah I like it.

Your live set is said to be ‘explosive’. Was it difficult to translate this kind of energy into your album ‘Rhythm and Rhyme’?
The recording process was a great experience. We enlisted Neil Sparkes to produce (UK, Transglobal Underground) and he came out to NZ to record with us for 3 weeks. We had demo’d all the tunes for him which was great as we really worked on making the tunes album friendly and not the extended mixes we play live. In terms of energy, we captured the vibe really well during final recording, and then tried to enhance that as much as possible in the mixing stage (we were fortunate enough to mix at Avatar Studios in NY).  The engineer at Avatar was a genius and were stoked with the final result. We are discussing releases at the moment in Aus and the UK – so stay tuned!

Was it hard to create ‘one’ sound with such a wide range of talents and backgrounds? How do you avoid ‘too many cooks’?
It’s a process for us, and often song ideas are created by one person and then developed by the rest of the band. There is a core group of 3-4 of us who do most of the song creation – which makes for a consistent approach. Often a song may start as a rhythmical or bass driven groove, and then we’ll add horn and vocal melodies, breaks etc until things materialize into something we agree on. Often it will take a few times playing live for the final arrangement to stick.

As well as there being so many of you, you also enjoy collaborating with other artists – recently Che-Fu – what do outside artists bring to the band?
It was great working with Che on the song ‘Smoke’. He was super professional in the studio and had researched the subject matter of the song (which was loosely about Cuban Santeria etc). He had all the lyrics down and new exactly what BVs he wanted to do…all in all he was in for a couple of hours and done.

Batucada Sound Machine feat. Che-Fu

We have also worked with Kevin Field (jazz pianist on Hechicera) and Lewis McCallum (saxophone guru on Vai Chegar) – both of whom really added great touches to the respective tracks.

You not only perform in English but other languages such as Portuguese. Would you describe yourselves as a ‘Kiwi’ band?
To be honest, were probably not a ‘Kiwi’ band…what is a ‘Kiwi’ band anyway? Define NZ music!? Can I ask questions?
We certainly are from NZ and love being NZers, but take our influences from other parts of the world as most bands do to differing degrees as well.

Where will you be performing over summer?
We have 4 gigs in Aus lined up:
Thurs Feb 12 in Melb @ The East Brunswick Club – w/ The Melodics
Fri Feb 13 in Sydney @ The Factory Theatre w/ Son Veneno
Sat Feb 14 in Canberra @ Carnival in the City
Sun Feb 15 in Perth @ The Becks Music Box, Perth Int Arts Festival

Then back to NZ for summer gigs etc and hopefully hitting the UK mid-year.

What does the future hold? Will you get bigger in 2009?
We wont be growing band numbers that’s for sure!
This year, we are looking to release the album in Aus and also tour the UK and Europe…things are coming together well, and we have interest from a number of festivals over there…
So yeah…gonna be huge!

You can check out more from Batucada Sound Machine at:


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Batucada Sound Machine hit Australia

Saturday, January 24th, 2009 | News | No Comments
Batucada Sound Machine hit Australia

New Zealand’s 13 piece hip hop, funk, samba mash-up group Batucada Sound Machine are bringing their crazy Brazilian percussion based performance to Australia for a week long tour this February. As they explain, “Loosely translated, ‘batucada’ means percussive samba jam, which aptly summarises BSM’s musical roots. BSM began in 2003 when five passionate drummers met once a month in the dimly lit lounge bar of Galatos nightclub in Auckland to experiment fusing ‘batucada’ with more local beats and influences. Before long, a talented group of diverse musicians had joined in and the band had grown to 13 members”.

Batucada Sound Machine – Rivers of Rhyme

With the individual members of the band involved in various solo and group projects outside of BSM, you might recognise some of them from earlier works, most recognisably in upcoming MC Hazadus showing his own style of soul infused vocals after years of fame in Che-Fu and The Krates.

If your able to make one of these performances then your in for a sweet night, and from what i’ve heard and seen in their performances locally and in Europe, you might need to get your boogie shoes on for this one.

Batucada Sound Machine will play:

Feb 12 @ East Brunswick Club, Melbourne

Feb 13 @ The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Feb 14 @ Canival In The City, Canberra

Feb 15 @ Becks Music Box, Perth

Feb 28 @ Music Mountain Matakana, NZ

You can check out more of Batucada Sound Machine at:

and you can check out the interview we are doing with them over the next week


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Braille – Cloud Nineteen

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 | News | 1 Comment
Braille - Cloud Nineteen

Whenever I am in Sydney I try to take a moment to pop into D2MG Hip Hop academy. I do it cause it’s cool to see local outfits who are really passionate about hip hop, and who are putting in time to give back to the community that has given so much to them while they were coming up. Last time I was there I heard about a book written by Jeff Chang called ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – A History of the Hip-Hop Generation’. About 80 pages into this now, I have no problem recommending it to anybody who is interested in the roots and history of hip hop culture, and find myself bringing it out whenever I board that train, take that break, or hit that bed. So when I received a link to the ‘Cloud Nineteen Initiative’ that Braille Brizzy and S1 are working on in USA at the moment, it was truly awesome to see the new generation talking and walking the path that has been established right from the outset of the culture and ideology of real hip hop.

Musicians inevitably flirt with the relationship between doing what they feel is right and meaningful with their music, and doing what is financially beneficial and sustainable career wise if they want to promote their music in a way that will reach greater audiences. In a perfect world musicians can get out there doing what they dream of and all the rest will fall into place, with so many artists around nowadays however, and the masses not always following the conscious but rather fashionable and current trends, I admire the way these guys have put themselves out there regardless of the consequences to give back just simply cause… it feels right.

So if your feeling the vibe, and if you too beleive it’s important to give to the next generation then show some love to the ‘Cloud Nineteen Initiative’.

I know I will be

You can check out more on Cloud Nineteen at:



Pataphysics Interview

Monday, January 19th, 2009 | Interviews, VG News | No Comments
Pataphysics Interview

Pataphysics took the time to chat with us recently on his new sound that had me surprised with Australia’s developing hip hop community… interview below…

Thanks for stopping by… after seeing your performance a few months ago I was intrigued to learn a little more. So where and what have you come from?

At the moment I’m really into ideas about creation blending Astrophysics and Maya.

Your performance is exactly that, an actual performance rather then just a band. Do you see music as a vehicle for expression?

Yes definitely.  Almost everything we do is an outward expression of our inner.  Music and Art are some of the more tangible of these expressions. For me music can capture feeling or emotions through melody which cannot be described by words.  While lyrics can touch on ideas and moments many people share but do not voice.  Music

Both rapping and playing trumpet are fairly taxing activities; does it wear you out doing both simultaneously?
Nah, been doing it for a while, it’s all about breath.

I’ve seen you playing quite a few instruments, in other groups than Pataphysics also… with which instruments & bands do you play.
I play trumpet and vocals in a stack of different crews.  As well  as that I play drums with Trillion and Project nRt, playing some bass with Rosie Burgess,  electric piano and organ in UDL (Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers), play guitar in this band I teach at Kensington community High School, and will be playing Tin Flute in a experimental Jamaican folk band Lotek’s working on.

Pataphysics - A short introduction

In the music and performances I have seen so far, you seem to have an underlying theme or message… how would you explain that message to someone who hasn’t heard your music?

The biggest theme that I feel runs through my music is one of positivity.  The message I guess is the one I tell myself, awake, understand, and ask questions. We aren’t powerless, there’s always a solution to a problem.  Today there are a heap of forces around that prevent truth and real dialogue.   Things are not always as they are portrayed to be, I am by no means a conspiracy theorist, but I do like to present an alternate view of things that we are fed .

What’s your take on the music scene in Australasia at the moment? Is anyone taking your interest?

There’s lots of music being made of all variety.  I am a huge fan of Rosie Burgess and Jemi White.  Also really enjoy Monkey Marc premier producer as well as another local lad by the name of Paranym.

And what about the international scene?

Morgan Heritage is the Bomb. Also Dead Prez.

Who were the artists you were bumping when you were developing your sound?

When I was little PE, NWA, Cypress Hill and Bob Marley are bands that influenced me greatly.  Later on in years, Miles Davis and The Brown Hornet showed me the freedom you had with music. Hendrix had a huge effect on the way I play trumpet.

Thanks for taking the time man… look forward to hearing more.

You can check out more of Pataphysics at:


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CunninLynguists – where you at?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 | News | 1 Comment
CunninLynguists - where you at?

CunninLynguists… can I get away with saying that? You can if you’ve heard of this three piece hip hop group consisting of Deacon The Villain, Kno and Natti (a later addition) from the southern states of America. Listening to Braille’s new album ‘The IV’ recently, I have been treated again to some of the production wizardry from Kno. Now 3 years since the release of their third album ‘A Piece of Strange’, I found myself asking… Where you at CunninLynguists?

Originally hearing their album ‘Southern Underground’ released in 2003, these guys marked a new generation of southern hip hop for me, which these days is too often full of childish hip pop (obvious exceptions like Outkast exist). CunninLynguists take a playful stance when making observations about the world, shedding light on the more serious things in life, while focusing on the simple pleasures in life. Working with some of the other more conscious and politically active names in hip hop including Cee-Lo, Immortal Technique, & KRS-One, Cunninlynguists have also shared the stage in 2008 with Australia’s own Hilltop Hoods for an

American tour. With some of the fastest raps, intriguing samples from all genres of music, sharp playful wit, and picture painting stories, CunninLnguists manage to cover most of the emotions that hip hop explores, and they do it with soul.

Soul and Gospel play a big part in CunninLynguists music, vocally and structurally, they even had an angel feature on one of their tracks ‘Seasons’ (Lauryn Hill). Their southern gospel influence is what truly separates them from other artists, the soul influences that stand out in both their music and lyrics creates an authentic vibe to their experiences, putting you in their shoes in such powerful pieces as ‘Rain’ and ‘Love’ feat. Tone Deff.

7 Years

4 albums

2 Official mix-tapes

1 Awesome group

CunninLynguists - KKKY

You can check out more of CunninLynguists at:


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