Monday, May 18, 2009

Moving to The Netherlands, and touring Europe

We've got some big news, we're moving from Wellington, New Zealand to the Netherlands! We're actually on our way already, I'm sitting in LAX as I type, hooning their free net.

We're doing a 2 month tour starting tomorrow, about 40 dates in Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and France. That'll be the longest tour we've done by a looong way (we did 6 dates in Australia last year?), so it's our first proper tour I guess.

Johanna has a Dutch passport, her mum is Dutch. I've got a working visa. Johanna has a few reletives that we can stay with at first.

We're moving to The Netherlands to try and get a new perspective on everything. I love New Zealand, but I've been finding that lately I've started becoming quite cynical about a lot of stuff, particularly music things. So by dropping ourselves in the deep end I might be able to shake off those cynical feelings and get a new take on it all. Also, how much fun will it be to live in Europe? Lots!

We'll miss all our friends in NZ, and it'll be really sad not to have all the people that have supported us. But maybe that change is just what we need? Who knows!

We're going to update the blog really regularly with a tour diary, so add it to your reader or what have you and see a little bit of what it's like to tour through Europe :)

Oh and check out how LA uses celebrity rape to market themselves. Genius.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We played a hip hop show

Like I was saying in the last post, we pretty much exclusively share bills with rock bands. You know, bands with drums kits and guitars. This show was a bit different. We were invited to play with Tourettes, who's this excellent poet, writer and rapper. Opening the show was Tommy Ill.

There were no drum kits, no guitars. In fact, the other two acts just used their mics and had DJs backing them. And it was lots of fun. There was a solid turnout, people were really into it. And not one person had that look on their face like "WHERE ARE THEIR GUITARS DID THEY EVEN HAVE TO REHEARSE TO PRODUCE THIS MUSIC". Am I getting bitter and twisted about that? I think I am. I really need to relax, haha!

Anyway, the next day Tourettes and his friends who performed with him came over to my place to record a few verses for a mix tape we're putting together. It was a spur of the moment thing, so they did a few verses of their own stuff, which we're putting into some of our reworked stuff for this free mixtape. Anyway, they were a real pleasure to work with, it was interesting and exciting, and we'll do some more stuff with them real soon!

Us and Connan Mockasin and Liam Finn do Wellington and Auckland

So this is the second half of our little four date New Zealand tour that we did with Connan Mockasin. This time we were joined by Sir Liam Finn, of international Letterman and Jools Holland fame. He played guitar and sang with Connan in the band for both these dates.

The Wellington show was at Happy, which is this tiny little folky bar down a back street. I really like it there. Johanna and I felt for the first time on the tour that we were pretty badly mismatched with Connan at this show.. People were there to see people strum a guitar and sing a harmony. You know, that sort of musicianship. And there we were using laptops and such what. It actually went pretty well for us and we had fun, even though we felt that people weren't too interested. Perhaps we should stop playing with rock bands all the time? Perhaps the expectations of the kind of labor going on onstage are too different. Aaaanway, Connan was of course fantastic. In his Snat suit and all, made by the lovely Thaana!

A week later the local University magazine published a review that SLAMMED us mercilessly. This is just one in a series of really rough reviews from that magazine. At one point the reviewer expresses surprise and disgust over hearing us layer an acapella from one song over our own song. Which comes back to that whole expectations thing (as if a mashup is something remarkable??). Anyway, Johanna saw that reviewer in the street a while later and the girl looked away awkwardly. So.. there. Hmm

The Auckland show was the weekend after. We drove up to Auckland with Thaana, with all the other guys up there already or flying or something. When we got there we went around to Liam Finn's parent's house where people were hanging out. I'd never been there before, and it's really really impressive. Liam's dad is of course Niel Finn (of similar Letterman and Jools Holland fame), and he's turned their inner city house into this big recording complex. It's amazing. The guys from Wellington band Family Cactus were up there recording something or other at the studio, so we hung out with them and killed time surrounded by Crowded House labeled flight cases, Wurlitzers, Paul Mcartney's old bass guitar, sensual studio mood lighting and more things like that. Even the studio's kitchen sounded lovely.

For this Auckland show Lawrence Arabia was joining in Connan's band, along with Elroy Finn (Liam's brother). Opening the show was The Family Cactus, and Bear Cat played too. It was a cool show, there was an appreciative crowd there and everyone had fun. Connan's set was a huge party on stage, partly due to the fact that the stage is teensie tiny. But also because the combination of Liam Finn, Lawrence Arabia and Connan Mockasin along the front of the stage is dynomiiite!

So that's our little tour with Connan. It was great to get to know those guys, and to see Connan play a whole bunch. Keep an eye on him, next thing you know he too will be of Letterman and Jools Holland fame. I kind of miss him already..