By Ben Doy
Times x Two consists of best friends Cade'r and Zee – two beatmakers, singers, songwriters, record producers and all-round emerging young businessmen. Based in Auckland, their families hail from Zimbabwe and Iraq respectively and create catchy thoughtful music informed by a diverse range of influences.
The duo are performing at The Block Party which takes place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland this Friday May 20th. I caught up with Zee and found out some more about Times x Two.
How did Times x Two Form?
We met when we were eight years old at Primary School in Auckland. We both got into music at a really young age and were both into hip hop. So we connected that way. We used to walk home from school and freestyle rap at each other. Then at high school we tried recording music and one thing led to another we kind of made Times x Two. We really liked the music and we put it out and the response we got was really good and it’s been getting better ever since.
How did you pick the name?
We picked it because it’s just pretty much the two of us doing everything.; we produce all our own songs and write all our own songs. We have full creative control of our project Times x Two and it’s been like that since day one.
You both come from two quite different cultures, how has that effected your style of music?
Well our cultures are actually quite similar to each other. We both have Muslim backgrounds so that kind of connected us. In New Zealand it was quite hard to convey our message and we were quite different from most rappers and musicians here. But it makes us quite unique, we have are own style here and the things that inspire us area lot different than what other people have been inspired by.
How does your songwriting process work?
We have study room in my house, so we just come together and just work on it. Whatever we have we just kind of come up with it together, record it at the house and take it to the studio afterwards and refine everything. But with writing it’s usually a separate thing; we do our verses separately but with our choruses we usually write them together. So it’s pretty unified.
You’ve appeared a wide array of festivals and supported some impressive acts, what’s been your favourite show that you’ve played at so far?
I’d say definitely Rhythm & Vines last year. Usually if we’re opening for other acts or something like that, the crowd are kinda forced to be there. But with R&V we had a really genuine big crowd, there was an inflatable dolphin that was thrown out into the crowd and it was extremely fun. We had a really good slot and the crowd was just crazy… it was almost like the perfect show for us.
You must be looking forward to The Block Party coming up?
Oh yes, extremely! We’re really trying to put together a really good live set for that and it’s an honour for us to be able to play alongside Bone Thugs and Twista. When we were teenagers getting into hip hop and other rap, we were really inspired by them.
Do you have plans to make an album in the near future?
We have an EP coming out very soon. An album will be something when we are really settled, but we do have a body of work coming soon. We don’t know how many songs yet, probably about 5 or so. But it will give you a taste of our different genres and styles.
And after the Block Party is done, what are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Well we’re definitely working very hard on this EP. When that comes out we’ve got a plan to hopefully tour New Zealand, and hopefully Australia as well. If things keep going up from there then hopefully other places in the world. So if we want to kill it with our product we have to make sure our EP and the quality of our songs are high and the quality of our videos are really high. We need to make sure everything is the full package so that when we go out on tour everything looks really good for us.
The Block Party
Friday May 20th: ASB Showgrounds, Auckland (R18)
Tickets via TheTicketFairy