Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: If DJ was your trade

Being a DJ is the best and worst of jobs. When it falls into place, it's brilliantly affirming: you're the king or queen of the moment, the people are with you and you are their joy. On a bad night, it's a very lonely place indeed.

All that counts double if you happen to be a working DJ playing several nights a week in venues where the punters may or may not be into what you're doing. But it's good for stories, and we aim to get a few of those told at next weekend's IRL at the Golden Dawn in association with Orcon.

Our key interview is with AJ Bertenshaw, the founder of Serato, the New Zealand company whose products – most notably Scratch Live, which allows digital music files to be manipulated with special time-coded vinyl on conventional turntables – have revolutionised live DJing and made it a global leader.

Serato has a verrry interesting announcement to make, which you'll hear about next week.

Meanwhile Esther Macintyre will talk to Aroha Harawira, who has bucked gender stereotypes to become one of the country's most in-demand club DJs.

We'll have a short set from Tobi and MC Silva of Jafa Mafia, stalwarts of Auckland's underground dancehall reggae culture, who debut at their new (and hopefully long-term) venue at the Edinburgh Castle that very evening – patties, jerk chicken and all the bass there is.

And then Aroha will join hip hop godfather DJ Sir Vere, Murray Cammick, Tina Turntables and DJ Dubhead (who is currently celebrating 25 years on the airwaves at bFM) and Esther and me to answer questions and tell stories about being a DJ.

I think it'll be a good afternoon both for people who want to know about the craft, and for all the other DJs in town (note: you'll have an excellent opportunity to take the piss out of your mates by submitting questions for the panel).

So that's 2.30-5.30pm at The Golden Dawn in Ponsonby, October 3.

It's free, but as usual, you'll need to RSVP here.

And if you can't make it, it'll all be live on the internet thanks to to the wizards at 95bFM.

Thanks Orcon!

PS: Note also that Dubhead and Stinky Jim are celebrating their respective 25th radio birthdays with a boffo gig at Neck of the Woods tomorrow night.


Hey, this is cool. Chills founder Martin Phillipps has been chilling (see what I did there?) in London and doing the odd solo show in advance of the new Chills album. And this week, he got up with Liam and Neil Finn and did 'Pink Frost'.

There's another video from further back that's also worth a look.


Eddie Johnston has signed, as Lontalius, to the New York-based Partisan Records and for his first release has matched a soft, vulnerable tune with a video of him doing one of the more vulnerable things you could do on camera: learn to ride a bike. I don't know why he couldn't ride a bike (I blame the parents), but it works beautifully as an image. And it's nice the way it casts friendship as love.

Also from the foaming cultural crucible that is modern Wellington, the Phoenix Foundation employ Oscar-winner Bret Mckenzie to dig a hole for himself in the video for the title track of their marvellous new album. I really, er, dig how this ends ...

And in a third work of moody light, Nadia Reid's strong, melancholy 'Call the Days':

The degree of international media support for for all three is worth noting. Ed's video was premiered by i-D, Nadia's was featured by NPR Music and The Phoenix Foundation's was the subject of another Guardian story.


It's really good to see former Big Day Out promoters CRS back with a plan for Western Springs. I'm not surprised they're back at the Springs – so much work went into getting the consents for the first (and now last) Big Day Out on the site that it would have been a shame to walk away.

The Big Day Out organisation and brand wasn't really worth anything any more, but the name of the new festival announced this week for March 19, 2016 – Auckland City Limits – is very much a nod to the company that acquired the Big Day Out, C3 Presents, which has run the Austin City Limits festival for years.

C3 itself has been subsumed by the giant Live Nation, so the pulling power in terms of lineup will be considerable. But in the first instance I'd be looking to Byron Bay Bluesfest, which happens across the Tasman the following weekend. In which case: The National, The Wailers, Steve Earle – and Tom Jones!

It seems pretty clear that Auckland City Limits won't so much be "Son of Big Day Out" as "Parents of Big Day Out". Kids under 10 get in free with a ticketed adult and there will be a "Kiddie Limits" zone. Which, when you look at who lives in the surrounding suburbs, makes sense.

Who won't be happy about this: the promoters of WOMAD 2016, which appeals to a similar crowd – and takes place on the same weekend, in New Plymouth.

Which leaves the indie kids to Laneway, which is of course returning to the Silo Park site for one more year. The lineup announced this week doesn't contain an act that makes me think "OMG! I must be there!", but it's quite an interesting one. I'm well up for another viewing of Flume and a first look at Shamir, and I wouldn't mind Health, Grimes and Beach House either.

But for local music nerds the real interest is actually further down the bill. This will be a big show for Lontalius – and a debut for Leisure (a long-worked-on project featuring Jordan from High Hoops and friends), Scuba Diva (aka Lorde's keyboard player Jimmy Mac, interviewed here) and new next-big-thing Auckland producer Baynk.

With McLaren Valley featuring Flaming Lips and Disclosure (with, you'd have to assume, a certain special guest) and Splore still to announce, it's a busy summer ahead.

But you know what? Whoever books Jamie Xx gets my love.


Vinyl-heads: Discogs finally has a mobile app.

Lawrence Arabia has a solo tour featuring new songs next month.

And we've finally been able to get Chris Bourke's magnificent Silver Scrolls history posted at Audioculture.



None bigger in the world this week than 'Magnets', Lorde's collaboration with Disclosure for their new album. She doesn't seem to know how to make a bad one. It got its world premiere on Zane Lowe's Beats One radio show:

And the two New Zealanders talked a bit about how it came together:

There's also a teaser here for the video.

Tom Healy's Paquin project is back from a fairly long layoff with some more freaky electropop. Free download!

95bFM favourite Boy Wulf has a new album (iTunes / Spotify)and it's pretty cool. You can hear four of the tracks on Soundcloud:

A nice new Dan Aux touch-up of Maala's 'Touch' (free download!):

And a first taste of Scuba Diva. Swooshy, beaty and slightly delic:

Finally, I'm delighted to say I've secured a new sponsor for the Friday Music post. More on that next week.

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