Thursday, May 01, 2008

NZ Music Month

The month of May has over the past years been given up to celebrating New Zealand music. It amazed me when I first moved to Auckland,just how little attention was paid to homegrown music, here the market was & still is to a great extent dominated by American sounds. Having moved from the UK where there is a thriving market for homegrown talent & one that leads the world when it comes to trends & idea's it was quite a shock. So for the first few years I did nothing but listen to & buy Kiwi. For a small island Kiwi's really do produce some great stuff, trouble is, they don't really listen to it or get behind bands. Then along came Kiwi music month & the governments decree that the airwaves must have a quota of local music on their play lists. Unfortunately the bands around at the moment have all taken their musical inspiration from Green Day & everything sounds American with a few exceptions. It is as though we are embarrassed about writing & singing about our own experiences & culture. You only have to listen to Pacific Islanders rapping in American accents to realise that they are full of shit. Sing about your own lives for God's sake, add things from your own culture be original instead of copying the mannerisms & dress codes of another country. Same thing applies to other formats, when I write I do not try to imagine that I am living in America, I write from personal experience & try to use musical idea's & themes that influence but do not dominate my writing.

The other thing that struck me here is how hard it is to make a living as a musician in New Zealand, I am glad that music is not my main source of income. Bands here really cannot make enough from sales or touring to survive, problem is if they go offshore to earn a living in the USA or UK they sink without trace as those markets have so much more competition, current exceptions been Flight of the Concorde's in the USA & Crowded House, Datsuns in Europe. It is a romantic image of the starving artist in their garret, but here it is a reality.

Listening to :

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