I spoke to Pat Stewart from Wellington-made band Brockaflowersaurus-Rex (and the Blueberry Biscuits). The 9-piece Neo-Soul, Experimental, Funk, Hip-hop, Soul, Jazz group is busy travelling NZ playing the awesome tunes from their debut album Build It.
So how's the tour going?
Awesome, it's going really good. We're in the van on the way up to Splore at the moment. I'm really excited, a couple of us went to the last one and the one before and it's so beautiful, such an awesome festival.
Are there any other musicians your excited to watch there or meet this year?
Heaps, really keen to see the Bamboo's straight after us; and DJ Shadow. Last time I saw the Cuban Brothers which are one of the most ridiculous and awesome live shows I've ever seen from a group of DJs. It was just ridiculously awesome; the dancing and singing and carrying on, costume changes, the dudes in roller-skates.
Amazing. I've checked out Brockaflowers album, Build it. It's wicked. Can you tell us a bit about the process of it coming together?
We started July 2012, originally to do an E.P but by the time we got our tracks recorded we thought we're three quarters of the way through to an album so mind as well keep going. It's been a real slow process but I'm pretty happy with how it panned out.
With 9 of you in the group, what's the song writing process like with so many people?
(Laughs) Pretty slow most of the time. A lot of jamming and workshops. I generally start something like lay down a sample and take it in to show everyone. Then split it into sections, work on it, then keep doing workshops till we're happy with it. Even songs that are on the album we're still changing now, we add and subtract from the songs.
Is there quite a bit of improvisation?
Yeah a bit, we build on improvisation. When we started there was a lot more improvisation but we're a bit more precise with the live performances these days.
There's a really fusion of sound in Brockaflower's music; what are some of the different musical backgrounds of the 9 of you?
All sorts really, we've got quite a bit of a Jazz background. Reggae bands, rock bands, metal, classical, everything really. We're all the sort of people who are very open minded with music so we draw a lot of influence from a lot of different places.
So what were you doing before you were with the Brockaflowersaurus-rex's?
I started at Uni playing jazz, which was my main thing and I've always been a big hip hop and soul lover. I then started making beats and jamming with some of the boys and bringing more people in.
So did most of you go to University together?
Some of us went to University together; I went to school with one of the girls and Ashton the Guitarist. We all met at different times, through different people.
Did you guys go online with your music first or start gigging in Wellington?
We did lots of shows before we even started recording. We built ourselves on live performances then started recording things a few years down the track.
Who does all the artwork for the album covers and website? (It's awesome.)
A guy called Tim Gau from Renegade tattoos, he's started to go solo, a really good old friend of ours.
I have to ask, how did the band name come about?
Well it's a long story and it's a short story. It was early on in the piece and there were a few of us who had been jamming. We went for a little trek through the woods and we found a bush. None of us could really decipher what it was. It was a manner of things; it was purple, it was green, it was big, it was micro it was macro - a very intense experience for all of us involved. We took what we could back to the lab we found it the Brockaflower. The spirit plant for all of us ever since.
So what else do you guys like to do in your down time when you're not jamming, writing or bushwalking...?
We play Frisbee a lot and go watch a lot of music. I like watching cartoons.
Have there been any international shows so far?
Not together yet. It's hard enough to get us all around the country, but we're working towards it.
Are there any set plans? Not as of yet, were still trying get a good hold on NZ.
Has there been any stand out shows for you in NZ yet?
They're all real fun, that's the beauty of the band as there's so many of us that it's always a party. The last weekend at Rippon in Wanaka was definitely one of all of our favourites it was awesome. Really well run, all the acts were good and a really great crowd.
Wanaka's beautiful isn't it; did you guys spend some chilled out time there too?
Yeah we flew down the day before to Queenstown, got a van and drove around. Was really cool getting to hang out in Wanaka and Queenstown as a band not having to work. Just getting to go for a swim, play Frisbee and eat a big burger.
Yes amazing, life changing!
Where can you see Brockaflower in three years' time?
Making music as a career, but you never know. It's our aim at least but by then we'll probably be across the ditch at the very least if not over in Europe- that's a big goal for us.
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