Louis Baker has been on a bit of a journey in the past year. He's recently released his second single ‘Birds' to great acclaim and is now prepping up his self-titled EP before playing Rhythm and Vines this summer.
As I ask him how he is, Baker says he's excited preparing for Cody ChestnuTT'sshow in Wellington. "I can't wait to get on stage and play, and then see (ChestnuTT) play. He's the man". The 24 year old Wellingtonian, a musician and guitar teacher, is no stranger to playing with his heroes. I'd previously met Baker after a gig for the 9 piece band he is part of, full name: Brockaflowersaurus Rex and the Blueberry Biscuits. He made theAuckland gig with minutes to spare, having opened for soul-funk giants Fat Freddy's Drop that same night in the capital.
For Baker, that rush was a rewarding experience - he's a humble guy indeed and his speech permeates in stream of consciousness waves. Hearing him today, I definitely get the feeling his accomplishments haven't gone to his head.
Last year, Baker secured a coveted spot at the Red Bull Music Academy in New York, rubbing shoulders with his idols. He was the guy who asked Questlove about the forthcoming D'Angelo record, then gifted him with a paua shell.
He also met hit making producer Just Blaze and actually hung out with him. "I went up to his apartment in Harlem and he wanted me to sing on a hook, which didn't end up working out - but I also sung backing vocals on a song for (hip hop supergroup) Slaughterhouse. I got to meet Royce Da 5'9 very briefly too. It was a buzzy experience for me, man. But I got on really well with Justin (Smith, Just Blaze's real name) on a human level, laughing together and having him demonstrate heaps of new things. Seeing all the platinum plaques on the wall, it was intense. I'm just a boy from New Zealand."
You also know that home is where his heart is for him.
"(Before going on stage), I think about what matters to me. I think about my family and my friends, as well as where I come from and what music has always been about to me personally. That's a big part of the process, and it's growing. I'm getting to that point where I'm getting more confident on stage. It's constant. I'm just trying to find the right sound."
It is that sound that gained Baker a spot at the Rhythm and Vines and Rhythm and Alps festivals, having already played at the former last year. He's planning to keep things interesting this time around. "I'm doing the solo thing, but also have the four piece band there for a part of the set". For his new single, Baker keeps a simple approach. "I try and do (Birds) solo as much as possible. Other songs that I've written, like Movin' and Alone, include the band. It's the light and dark in my music that I want to keep, the different colours that take you to a different place."
We talk about the indescribable vibe that Rhythm holds. I say it's quite isolated, being in Gisborne. Baker is just grateful for being able to play there.
"It is quite isolated - when you catch a flight up there, you go on a 15 seater plane and it's swingin' round all over the place, which is a cool part of the journey to R&V. I have really good memories and it's just a pleasure to play at a place like Gisborne. The stage I played at last year, the Red Bull Music Academy stage, was small with a tiny grassy bit for people to sit on, so I had many people come and talk to me afterwards. After my set, I walked out there and got amongst it, saw heaps of amazing music. I've also been (as a punter to R&V) around 06/07. I probably drank a bit too much as one does in such an occasion...I think I enjoy being a musician a bit more. The vibe is really cool."
Baker isn't really aware of the acts playing on the bill this time, which explains who he is. He'd rather show up and "not know what's happening". I tell him Shapeshifter is playing, and he says they're always a good time. You can tell he's instead focusing on where he's going, and his self titled EP that comes out next month, produced by Andy Lovegrove from the recently reunited Breaks Co-Op.
"It's all about the EP at the moment. I've got a North Island tour late November in support of it. Now the EP's finished (being written), I'm focusing on writing for my album. Who knows when it will be out."
Whilst we wait for his new tunes, the 9 headed Brockaflower also have their album coming out in January.
A lot is on this guy's plate. As covered before, being in the presence of his heroes hasn't fazed or bewildered him. When he called himself "just a boy from New Zealand", you'd think he'd be shit scared of all this pressure, a pebble thrown into a large, looming lake. But he's calm and collected about everything.
This boy from New Zealand is on the way to something great. One humble step at a time.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
Due to incredible demand, internationally renowned award-winning musician, comedian, actor, writer and composer TIM MINCHIN has today announced a third and final Auckland show as part of his Australasian tour of his live show BACK.
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
With sounds primed for a hot summer ahead, Christchurch four piece Mako Road have arrived with the perfect soundtrack for long nights, cold drinks and hazy days with the ‘Local Safari’ EP, which releases today.
“Music can bring us all together, it bonds us, it strengthens us...” this song “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been dedicated to Toyah Cordingley.
Please spread the word to anyone who loves the song, or has lost someone too early also, feel free to leave any dedications in the comments of which we will share direct for Toyahs’ family and the band to see.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.