Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To beef or not to beef!?

After much important and careful deliberation I have come to a conclusion on a question the world has been just dying to answer. That is, of course, which is better: beef Bovril, or vege Bovril?

The answer I have found myself is suitably very English - tis a tie. I honestly cannot tell the difference. Is that a good thing though and what does it mean for the world? Do we even NEED beef at all? Should cows even exist? This whole experiment has got way out of hand...

Anyway - back to the whole 'recording the events of my life' part of this blog.

The past few weeks have been pretty busy and the band have played some very cool shows in that time.

First off, we played at Westpac's Xmas party - the best corporate gig the band has ever played. We were playing for charity as our performance was auctioned off to raise funds for an organisation called 'Art For Love'. But we were looked after big time by the folks at Westpac who fed and watered us to the hilt which meant the band were in "high spirits" by the time we played made our surprise appearance on stage. The crowd went nuts and a few of us were accosted by some of the female staff both during and after the show...goodtimes.

A few days later we played a free show in Auckland city for Greenpeace which, again, totally went off. The band hadn't played a decent all-ages show in Auckland for ages, so we had a whole bunch of teens there singing along. Met a few famous peeps backstage which was pretty interesting - most Kiwi celebs are pretty down to earth and lovely but there are still a few who pop up now and then who are losers...quite enlightening!

For both of those shows the band was using our new in-ear monitors - we have been endorsed by a company called Ultimate Ears to use them and they're incredible. Basically I can have my own mix of the band's instruments and my voice right in my ears so I can wander wherever on or off stage and still hear everything perfectly. Plus they're molded exactly to fit my ears so I won't go deaf in 20 years time!

We had a big night after the Greenpeace show and had to be up the next day for C4's non-stop gig. Basically I woke up hungover as hell and had to walk in the blazing sun to do a set in front of nobody but viewers on the internet....twas very weird but after about 3 nurofens I came right...I think...THEN I had to drive to Tauranga for my old high school's leaver's dinner where I had to give, what was hopefully, an inspiring speech!

Was pretty buzzy speaking to them about "success". Made me really think about all the things I've accomplished over the past few years and how much I really have been lucky to have those opportunities. So that went alright and I got to see me folks for a lil bit as well as a bonus.

This past week gone was dominated by Xmas in the Park. Now, before you rubbish the whole thing I'll throw you a stat that qualifies the situation and me being in it: apparently it is the biggest crowd you can play to in the Southern Hemisphere apart from in Rio. So 200,000+ people turned up. And a whole heap of them were singing our songs back us. Was a truly amazing experience for us. I walked off stage feeling like I'd taken a whole heap of drugs - scientists/drug mafia out there, please find a way to bottle that!

From this week it's all about the band's summer shows which kick off this Friday night in Papakura - am hoping people come despite Greenday and Fleetwood Mac playing on the same night! Booo.

Also, someone on Twitter saw me driving my car around Auckland and 'tweeted' my number plate to the world...kinda scary huh??

Some music to listen to for ya too: posted a couple of old demo songs on my myspace page - they are called 'Rain' and 'Under My Tree'. Enjoy.

Filling in the blanks and gaps...

LOG: Nov 9 -> I don't even know what today's date is...or what day it is...

Every night is undefined for me - Monday night is not strictly a night for TV, dessert and putting washing away. Tuesdays aren't always for writing emails to neglected friends and family...and blogs. And Wednesdays are almost always the pre-cursor to an all-night Thursday adventure. Last Friday I got takeaways, watched a movie and went to bed before 10pm. And on Sunday I went to see Pearl Jam and came into all-too-close contact with the man himself, Eddie Vedder.

Anyway, I'm just going to go briefly recap, for the sake of my memory, some of the highlights and musings of the past few weeks.

* The All Whites qualified for the soccer world cup - very stoked. Midnight Youth's plans to get in on that party are underway!
* Saw The Veils - blew my mind. They are a seriously talented band and only god knows why they aren't insanely huge, in a non-pop way, right now. Especially in NZ!
* Aidan, my drumming pal, did his yardie in fine fashion - mucho entertaining.

* I successfully moved into my new flat which I have named 'The Bach'. Since I own zero furniture, I was a little worried my room would consist of a bed and suitcases... BUT the guy I'm room-sitting for left a desk, some drawers, a couch and a clothes rack - I basically won domestic lotto. Below is a view of the doors to my room and the back yard...and the view from underneath our beautiful pohutakawa.

* I had a dream about these guys, Munch Bunch!, my fav character was Pedro Orange....I think...I DO like all things Mexican...

* Speaking of Mexican things....The Bronx's album, Mariachi el Bronx, is particularly awesome. Perfect for an evening meal with your dream lover in a Mexican cafe...
* Yeah, I saw Pearl Jam in a very cold Christchurch a few days ago and Eddie Vedder busted through the crowd to come meet me....and a few other thousand people who were standing a lil further back from the front of the stage...and I managed to do the whole crazed fan thing and cling to his arm/shoulder for a few seconds as he waved to the totally non-important plebs behind was a pretty magic concert - they even played Better Be Home Soon with Neil and Liam Finn which was rather fitting as I was on the phone to my sister in London at the time!
* Who knew Christchurch at the end of November could be colder than Auckland in the middle of winter? Brrrrr.
* I got new glasses!! Two pairs even! They're from a sweet brand called LA Eyeworks, so if you're in the market, then definitely check their frames out! LA Eyeworks

Things are starting to really heat up for the band - we have six gigs over the next two weeks plus a whole bunch of rehearsals and interviews. Highlights will be a couple of free gigs: firstly a Greenpeace-organised show at Myers Park in Auckland city: Planet-A and Xmas in the Park (apparently 80,000 people go to it?!?!).


Monday, November 9, 2009

Slap in the face!!

I've just given my self one of the above for being useless at writing anything on here of late.

The idea of this blog was to chronicle the events of my life so I wouldn't forget anything that went a round-about kind of way.

The truth is that for the past few weeks my life has been pretty uneventful. I was feeling, frankly, bollocks for most of that time during which the most I achieved socially was to head to Tauranga to get spoilt by my family and do some fishing (I got to crank out my sweet straw hat (rescued from road-abandonment) so I was happy).

We're into the time of year where corporate gigs dominate the band's agenda. We played in a quarry over the weekend for a xmas doo - awesome. And we've played shows for Air NZ and Myspace recently too. At the latter I met the good people from Welly band Family Cactus, who all come from great pedigree, and I was super impressed. Check them out over summer if you can!

We're also getting the chance to write a bunch of new songs which is exciting. We're pretty lucky to be given the chance to be a fulltime band, so we're trying to make the most of it. As the lyricist of the band it can be a bit tricky writing new songs in a studio as the words invariably come last in the process - so if we want to play the song live I need to work fast, which can sometimes be hard as I think lyric-writing is the kind of thing that largely needs to be a free and unforced process. So we currently have a number of half-complete songs with such amazing working titles as "Simon's Intergalactic Adventure" and "Simon Dallow".

The rest of this week for me is filled with more rehearsing, TV show filming(7 Days), a meet and greet session at Sylvia Park, a mate's bday party and an acoustic performance at a charity dinner. THEN! I move into my real, own room!!

Yes, my hobo/transient existence is coming to an end, for now. After about 6 months crashing in my car, on friends' floors/couches/beds, in relations' lovely abodes and a seaside mansion I will be living and paying for my own space, albeit temporarily, from this weekend. Am rather excited.

I'll tell you all about it soooooon!!

Listen to this song till then:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I had Bovril toast for breakfast this morning. It's one of my many true loves and something I can only have when in NZ and in a slightly settled state - this time crashing with my lovely Aunt and Uncle.

Toast has played a major part in my life from a very early age. A mildly contentious diagnosis of an allergy to dairy products sent a possible wheat-bix kid future packing (after a brief and not-too-bad a fling with cereal and juice...).

SO - since as long as I can remember I have eaten 4 slices of toast for breakfast every day. These slices come always topped with a brown spread. The selection includes (where available): Bovril (the undisputed King of brown spreads), Vegemite, Marmite, Promite and Our Mate. For a good few years mad cow disease put an end to Bovril, as it was a beef product, but it returned in triumphant style as a vegetarian spread that tasted EXACTLY the same as it did before...I love genetic this case...

I think I must be one of the toastiest people alive...I even used to race my sister, when I was little, to be the first one to eat a whole loaf of toast (these races quickly diminished in frequency after our parents were accused of malnourishing us due to our over-inflated bellies...).

I will sleep easy tonight knowing that, upon waking to the world tomorrow, I can start my day on a supreme high, the always-giving high of toast.

It's good to be back in NZ.

I want this t-shirt.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The pitfalls of singing

It's been a beautiful three days in Australia on our latest wee-trip over here. We've seen very few clouds and had some great people see a showcase in Sydney. Since then we've been in Perth with 30-degree heat and a buzz in the air around the first year of a new festival they're hosting called One Movement.

So all is beautiful, right? Wrong...

For the past 10 days I've been battling some kind of virus which my body just doesn't want to kick. I've only really had a few days out of those 10 where I was actually down and out - but the others have been plagued with a killer sore throat.

Now, that would be fine if I played piano, or any other instrument in my band - playing guitar? sore throat? All good. Not with singing though.

So I've been going to bed early while everyone else parties, not drinking, eating well and taking about 10 pills of various, promised, healing ailments. And no luck so far. Which is kinda depressing to be honest.

There is no worse-a-buzz on stage for me than struggling and worrying about where the next note is going to come from - and it has the opposite effect of adrenaline on the body. Instead of the music slowing down in your mind and your body relaxing into another world, it makes the music double-time and stiffens you into the microphone stand like ivy to a tasty brick wall. Aaaargh!!

SO, I'm going to try a few new things out today in warming up for our show here in Perth. No alcohol (haha, new!), morning warm-up in hotel gym, another quick run before the show and all that accompanied by some serious scale-humming.

So I better get to it. Just to contrast the mood of this post and to right my attitude for the day, I'm gonna pump this song! Perfectemondo!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lisa Mitchell

If Alexis Bledel (from Gilmore Girls) could sing, she'd sound EXACTLY like Lisa Mitchell.

Which is a good thing.

I'm out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


These be busy times.

Hence my lack of blogging lately.

A lot of that is due to preparing for the "night of my life", the NZ Music Awards (I don't think it will be quite the night of my life...).

This awards night is the flash and shiny event of the industry calendar and it lives up to its reputation - all the stars come out, the posh food and drink is served, there's scandal and drama(in a very NZ sense) and a whole lot of hype.

The main thing I'm looking forward to is catching up with other muso and industry friends and maybe meeting a few legends along the way.

The 'official program' compiled by the NZ Herald has listed a bunch of award predictions made by me which are a load of bollocks as they asked us who they thought would win before there were any nominations - and they don't explain that in the article. SO - here are my open and honest predictions(not a wish-list) of how the night will pan out for NZ music's superstars!

Album of the Year: Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
Single of the Year: Brother - Smashproof
Best Group: Fat Freddy's Drop
Best Male Solo Artist: Savage
Best Female Solo Artist: Ladyhawke
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Ladyhawke
Best Music Video: Chris Graham - Brother (Smashproof)
People’s Choice: Smashproof
Best Rock Album: Mint Chicks - Screens
Best Urban / Hip Hop Album: Savage - Savage Island
Best Aotearoa Roots Album: Fat Freddy's Drop - Dr Boondigga and the Big BW
Best Dance / Electronica Album: Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
Best Gospel / Christian Album: Parachute Band - Technicolor
Best Classical Album: Wouldn't have a clue...

Now I know you're thinking that it's me being all Kiwi and not predicting any wins for my own group on purpose - the thing is I really believe that we won't win any of those awards. I don't think we've won the respect of the industry(the people who vote on these awards) and I think it will take another album or so before we do, if we do - just due to the style of our music and how it's perceived to be so un-Kiwi.

It's awesome that these awards don't really matter that much in determining success in NZ - the NZ public have really got behind us in buying our album and coming to shows already. However, if I have got the wrong impression from the people around me and we do win some awards then it will definitely help us in our journey, especially overseas.

All in all it's awesome just to be recognised through our nominations - we've worked bloody hard as a band over the past 4 years and have made a lot of sacrifices - so a BIG night of celebrating is ahead!

There are a bunch of NZ bands and musicians who will get no press or recognition for their work this year though (are the bNet awards still going?) and there have been some amazing releases.

Here's my Top 5 NZ albums of 2009 (so far):

1: The Mots - The Mots
2: The Veils - Sun Gangs
3: PNC - Bazooka Kid
4: Dictaphone Blues - On the Down and In
5: The Woolshed Sessions - The Woolshed Sessions

Look them up, buy them and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Books are like childhood summer-flings I never had....they are:

* All-possessing.
* Fantastic (in a fantasy sense).
* Trans-formative.
* Time-bending.
* Much better than movies.

I'm currently completing a Nick Hornby double-header of High Fidelity and A Long Way Down while I have the time on tour.

After taking about 6 months to read Shantaram(awesome) I've managed to plough through about four books in the past 3 months which has been rather satisfying and nostalgic - I think I read more books when I was 10 than I do now!


After a jam-packed week of filming two music videos, playing a show in Christchurch, attending a band-mate's 21st, going to Christchurch again for the Silver Scrolls and then a show in Dargaville - I'm back in Australia.

There was a bit of drama along the way - apparently we trashed a hotel in Dargaville which is a bit weird to hear. The place reckoned we left a "used tampon" in the would five GUYS in a band manage that? Unless Matt has a deep, dark secret....

Quite hilarious.

So now Si and I are in Oz doing promo for the band in Sydney and Melbourne. We've just released our first single over here so we're busy trying to get these Aussies to fall in love with us....Si's ginger mo is helping markedly.

We've got a show in Melbs tomorrow night, then in Sydney Friday night and then we play at a festival in Brisbane called Sounds of Spring on Saturday. So fun is looming.

For now, check out the winner of the Silver Scroll for 2009 - Lawrence Arabia's Apple Pie Bed. Had the pleasure of meeting both himself and Luke Buda who are both cool and make cool music.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bouncers etc.

Bouncers love Midnight Youth.

This might seem like a strange observation to make. But it's not to me. I never expected large men with possible gang-connections to like the music I create. But it seems they do...

After a show I usually get some sweet handshakes, some awkward handshakes where I don't quite understand which combination of shake/fist/hug to use and also some classic behind-my-back comments like "shit, that four-eyed c*** can sing!".

It's always a good way to end a show.

We played in Christchurch last Friday night where this kind of thing happened and, after leaving the venue and deciphering the local handshake, it was followed by another bizarre moment.

I bumped into a fan of the band clutching around 7 of Aidan's drumsticks (pretty sure he stormed the stage itself after we played) who wanted a chat and a photo. All cool. He then offered to lease me a couple of acres of the 2900 acres he was soon to be claiming as Maori land. The lease came with free entry and use of one of the 26 swimming pools he was going to build beside his future estate house where he will be living with The Veronicas. Awesome. I then took some snaps with him and he insisted on two varieties of picture, each with him wearing a different colour sparkly fez. I swear I didn't dream this.

We're heading back to Chch tomorrow for the Silver Scrolls, something that could sound rather antiquated...I'll try to explain.... when someone says scroll to you - do you think of a) a paper manuscript, rolled and sealed with wax. or b) a yummy leavened treat from Baker's Delight?

Actually, I think I've just got some midnight munchies....BUT have a listen to the other finalists for the Silver Scroll - many NZers will not have heard these songs which is a shame, it seems there's either mass commercial radio-play or bNet radio-play for good NZ songs and nothing in-between. What happened to Channel Z...??


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blogging - it's like homeopathy for my brain.

I have a horrible memory.

This makes me dangerously close to being socially-retarded (apologies to those who dislike that word). It also means that I forget things that happened to me even a few weeks ago.

SO - what better way to remember the things I've done than to start a blog that recounts those things.

See, this is better than starting a diary/journal because a) it might get lost and the backup memories will be gone forever and b) a small amount of (most-likely) crazy people can even tell ME what I've been doing and/or thinking. And that might help me a lot.

So, with a positive frame of mind I'm entering into this untested world of internet medication.

I will begin by reminding myself of my current situation in life:

* Homeless
* Penniless
* Pet-less (this annoys me)
* Knack for writing songs
* Short-sighted (literally)
* Long-sighted (non-literally)
* Look kinda Jewish (in a hot way)
* Have best friends and family one could dream of
* A bit of a crime-magnet
* Great teeth
* Van Morrison rules
* Looking forward to summer.

There. That's all I can remember for now.

I'm probably going to forget to ever update this thing....