True Live Interview

Friday, April 25th, 2008 | Interviews | 1 Comment
True Live Interview

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to catch up… for those who have just heard you recently, who’s in True Live, and where did you all hook up?

True Live started as a loose pool of players involved in a regular jam night in melbourne, which progressed to become the core 6 piece unit you see these days. The band is made up of MC Rhyno, Thomas Butt (double bass), Tamil Rogeon (violin), Tim Blake (cello), Joel Mammone (drums) and Thai Mattus (keys). We cut our teeth playing our fingers off at shows around Melbourne every week for about years, as the profile slowly grew around us.

New single “Damn Right” dropped recently, when can we expect a second album?

The new album is in the final stages of production at the moment, and we are hoping for a mid-year release for it.

What’s the plan for the next couple years? Any countries you are interested to work in?

We’re talking to a label in Japan about a tour over there, and we have a few gigs penciled in across Europe and America that we’re working towards at present. It’s early days still for our international presence, as we’ve been really focusing on our presence in Australia and the new record.

You guys really shine in your live performance… Does that have anything to do with your name?

I guess that with a name like ours, which was actually merely a way to describe the original weekly gig we were playing, we have to put on a good show. We are all working musicians who make a living doing what we love, and in this industry if you don’t perform then you don’t get any gigs, so we’ve all learned these lessons the hard way. You have to play every single note as if your life depends on it, cos in a way, it does. And in my opinion it’s this attitude that makes a real performer great.

In the Australian Hip Hop scene you stand out from most other groups as conscious lyrically, and organic musically. Have you got any love for other Australian Hip Hop groups?

We don’t really see ourselves as a hip hop band so much as simply a band, which stops us from getting too bogged down playing a genre and frees us up to think about the music we write and play in a fresh way. Of course we draw from hip hop, but we also listen to a lot of soul, electronica, metal and jazz. We are good friends with many Australian hop hop artists, and plan on working with many more in the future. The upcoming Uni-fied tour is a testament to the universal appeal of what we are trying to do.

What about current international artists… who’s got True Live’s Attention in the Live / Jazz or Hip Hop scene?

I’ve been listening to a lot of J Dilla lately, as well as Gnarls Barkley’s latest release, Pete Philly en Perquisite and the new album by Autechre. They’re all great, strong albums.

Jazz seems to be neglected these days, at least as far as touring goes. How do you find audiences react to your full live instrument performances and solo’s?

The jazz element of a true live show is often a great release, as we place the moments throughout the set to help the whole performance breathe. We find this is much more effective than overkill, where too much of a good thing loses impact. The audience seems to really engage with the soloist, and from the volume of the cheers after a good solo, it appears to be very well received.

I know some of the group members have little side projects outside of True Live. Anything we should look out for that you guys are working on?

Rhyno and Tamil are at working on The Raah Project, where they wrote for and recorded an orchestra, then took the result and chopped and screwed it and added electronic beats, vocals, synths and all sorts of other things. Joel is involved with the Bad Boys Batucada and CMW, a hard edged hip hop project that I’ll be contributing some beats to, and Thai is always busy with his crazy jazzish band the 12 Tone Diamonds.

Were Black Eyed Peas better with or without Fergie?

I wouldn’t like to gossip, but I will say that when I saw them support Roni Size in 1998 (pre- Fergie) they were pretty damn good.

Will True Live ever bring a girl to the group? Who would it be if you did???

We do have female guest and backing vocals on our current album, and the new album will also have girls adding to the sound. generally it has all been to the end of creating a good solid bed to support Rhyno’s vocals, as opposed to an attempt to sex up an all-boy band. We have been touring with Bec Ari recently, who has been great.

Cool, thanks for taking the time… looking forward to the new album… what’s it called?

Now that would be telling…


Thanks for having me.

You can check out more from True Live at:

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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:


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 .

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…..

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Saturday, October 13th, 2007 | Interviews | No Comments

Firstly, where are you from?

I’m originally born and raised in Queens, New York. I call it the Q*Sector (a name that I came up with many many years ago). If you’ve ever heard of the famous Linden Blvd., that is the area where I’m from. The Lost Boyz helped put Linden on the map.

So you’re in Queens, New York at the moment, it’s an inspirational place to myself and hip-hop fans from around the world releasing artists like Run-DMC, A Tribe Called Quest and LL Cool J just to name a few. What’s it like being a musician in New York?

It’s a good look because it is such a renowned place. Like you said, legends came from out of this borough. Can’t forget about Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po (from Organized Konfusion), Kool G. Rap, Nas, Kwame, Mikey D (we go way back), Large Professor, Salt & Pepa, Roxanne Shante, MC Shan, Mobb Deep and of course 50 Cent.

What have you heard about the Australasian hip-hop scene from all the way over there in the USA?

I haven’t heard much about the Australasian Hip-Hop scene to be honest but I travel all the time and one of the benefits of that is that I get a chance to listen to other cultures of music. Good music is good music (even if I do not speak or understand the language). I’ve been known to collaborate with people from different countries and languages so it makes me stand out quite a bit from everyone else.

With so many paths to take in life… why music, and why hip hop?

If you had a basketball in your hands when you were very young and you shoot and dribble long enough, you would probably love it forever. You become extremely good at it and eventually it may become your profession. I was exposed to Hip-Hop from the veryearly stages of it and I have an understanding and appreciation of it. I’ve mastered it and I love the energy you give and recieve from it. When I’m on stage and I’m puttin’ in work and the crowd reacts in a positive way and throw their hands and fists as well as their luv back at me, it is a wonderful thing.

You’ve worked with a lot of artists in your career so far, what experience do you think you’ve taken the most away from and enjoyed the most?

You never stop learning about Hip-Hop (even though I say that I mastered it). You can always learn more and experience more. I learn from other cultures and it makes you more complete when you are exposed to such variety. I recently did featured on Veronique Lalouette’s album in South Africa when I was on tour there last year. Her alias is ‘V’. She was a finalist on IDOLS (that is the South African version of ‘American Idol’). She sings and I dropped a verse on it. Things like that are cool for me because it builds up my resume and I get to network on a worldwide level. People ask me to collaborate all the time on their albums and I’m cool with that. However, I am signed and under management so the proper procedures have to take place in order for it to happen. When I finally come to the Australasian territory I hope to work with various outlets there. That goes for record companies, booking agencies, festivals, magaizines, television, radio, media outlets or whatever. Ladies, we can ‘network’ too!

Throughout your career you have labeled profanity as a cop-out for emcee’s with limited vocabulary and skills. How do people respond to this view?

I stick by my comment but let me elaborate on it a bit……I never said that I wouldn’t work with someone who uses profanity. Even Chuck D uses profanity once in a blue moon but Chuck D is not recognized by that. He is recognized by his talent, voice delivery and lyrical content. A highly respected emcee may utilize a curse or two to emphasize a particular point. However, these days, emcees use it out of context and throw it onto a song ‘just because’. If it has no validation or purpose to add to the song then why even bother to use it? Radio in the US won’t even play it unless you have a radio edit (not talking about outlets such as Sirius Satellite Radio). It sounds really stupid to hear a song on a radio that is played 90% backwards because it is curse-filled throughout. I’ve heard love songs with emcees spittin’ a 16 bar on it with curses on the majority of the verse and the stuff they say has absolutely nothin’ to do with the song’s concept. What does your verse even have to do with love?!

A lot of emcees have a very limited vocabulary and that is why all their songs and albums sound the same. They sound redundant and repetitive. It’s like listening to an entire album with one very loooooong track. You can’t even tell the difference! That is why I respect the emcees who put in work and take time to write as well as some high quality thought. For those who don’t, you need to recognize and step your game up! This ain’t the time to be spittin’ and mastering the ‘Barney’ and ‘Telletubby’ wordplay delivery. People don’t pay good money to go to your shows to hear the alphabet (at least I hope not). Let’s upgrade, people!

Your new album “Bringin’ Da’ Yowzah!!!” is soon to be released in Australia, can we expect any collaborations on it?

I have a few special features on it. I got my dawg Late and 10Shott from West Midlands in the UK (they put in some serious work – big-up to ‘Wolftown’). I also have Promoe from ‘Looptroop’ (he is a keen example of a lyricist who puts in deep thought – I’ve known him since 1997). Promoe had cursed on the original version of our song together but we had to edit it out [LOL]. I also have the legendary Mikey D (formerly of Main Source) on my album. In case the new generation doesn’t know who he is, he’s the emcee who took the belt from legendary Grandmaster Melle Mel (of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five) in the rap battle for world supremecy. He also gave LL Cool J his rap name (newjacks, do your research on it). Last but not least, I have BK’s finest emcees, Tah Phrum Duh Bush and Coole High (these are my dawgz right here). I am also part of a rap squad called 3DA which stands for ‘3 Dyffrent Anglez’ (Tah, Coole and myself). That is something you will hear more about in time. We represent our organization ‘Flow Federation’ (spread the word). Headz who love that true essence of Hip-Hop will truly appreciate the Bringin Da’ Yowzah!!! album. It’s a good look!

You talk about the pioneer’s who “keep it real, with the mass appeal”. Who were the pioneers that shaped your craft on the way up?

Wow, where do I start? I grew up listening to The Trecherous Three, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Cold Crush Brothers, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Whodini, Boogie Down Productions (BDP), Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Finesse & Sequence, The Juice Crew, Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force, Mantronix, Just-Ice, Digital Underground, Mr. Magic, Cipher Sounds, Busy Bee, Sugarhill Gang, Funky Four Plus One More, Oran Juice Jones, MC Lyte, Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde, Full Force, Whistle, T-La Rock and the Fat Boys.

It’s great to catch up with you Fury, before we wind this up… there are so many people in this world with talent and desire to make music, do you have any advice on what separates those from who dream and those who do?

Yeah. Try to stand out and make your own identity. There are so many artists out there who are nothin’ but Xerox copies of other Xeroxes who copied from themselves from someone else. Respect the game of Hip-Hop and the game will respect you back. Also, do your best to be a respected artist and master your skilled trade (sometimes a good name is all you have). You may swing a bat in you hands but that doesn’t put you in stripes and make you a ‘Yankee’!

I wanna give a shoutout to everyone in the Australasian territory, The Very Good Agency and the rest of the planet. All is welcomed to show me some luv by signin’ my guestbook at as well as posting a comment on my official MySpace page at As long as my ‘furyous’ rhymes are on the menu – nonstop Hip-Hop will continue. Hip-Hop forever, y’all!

Cool. Thanks for stopping by.

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