Friday, December 13, 2013

Before I begin

Tomorrow begins a great new chapter for me - I enter the studio to record my debut solo record.

It's the culmination of what's been a rocky year(excuse the pun) of work towards this end and, before I begin, I wanted to briefly express my gratitude for having got this far.

* To all those who have helped or offered to help me on this journey - thank you.

* To all those who have played a part in me becoming the kind of person who attempts this challenge - thank you.

* To all those who believed in the yet unproven potential of my crappy home demos - thank you.

* To all those who have encouraged me to keep going - thank you.

From tomorrow morning I will be taking on the biggest creative challenge of my life and I'll be doing my best to keep you in the loop with what's happening.

It's all very exciting and scary, so keep an eye on my websites for snippets of, what will likely be, another roller-coaster ride on my journey.

Monday, November 4, 2013

All go.

Good news people! I'm all booked in to record this damn album in December and should have songs trickling out from February next year...touch wood.

She's fighting it, but she's gonna happen and I can't wait to show you her.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Show announcement

Woah! I'm playing a show!

I'll be doing an acoustic set before the amazing Bonjah steps things up a gear in Kerikeri on January 24. This will be the first anyone will hear of my new music, which is set to start coming out in 2014, so I'd love to share that with you in person.

It's actually a great little story of how this show has come about. I grew up in Tauranga and lived next door to Regan, Bonjah's guitarist. We played much more backyard cricket and rugby together than music but we both left our high school and pursued this ridiculous music dream. While Regan headed off to Australia, with three other guys from Tauranga, to be a touring band based in Melbourne, I went all out in my travels... and headed to Auckland.

Over the past 10 years we've both been fortunate enough to find success in different ways and markets and I've always wanted to play a show with them. So when I was asked by Regan to get involved with this one, I didn't hesitate.

They're an incredible live act and certainly a Kiwi gem that most NZers haven't yet discovered. I have no doubt you'll love them - so please come along, enjoy it and claim them before Australia get dibs.

Ticket details here:

P.S - if music just isn't enough for you, Kerikeri has a chocolate factory.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Northern Hospital School

A little while ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to a little school in my hometown of Tauranga, the Northern Hospital School, to do some music mentoring for the NZ Music Commission.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of the kids there were new to the idea of song-writing but there a few who were active writers and some who were very musical.

I wanted to share with you two songs that I co-created with two of the students. My goal while there was to show how simple it can be to write a song and so these were just that: simple, fast creations that satisfy an expression. Down the road, these guys could easily take these demos to a band situation, flesh them out, get a real guitarist etc..and make them sound awesome. The point is that anyone can do this.

The first was a lyrical creation by Matthew Long that I put music to:

The second was written largely by Lucian (not sure of his surname sorry) - he wrote the lyrics and chords and I just arranged both into what it is now.

Not bad huh?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday pleasures

If you're looking for a nice way to spend your Sunday, go no further than the below.

First - load up this great article about Beck from 1994, written by Rolling Stone magazine right after he released Loser and made the world aware of something truly great.

Second - before you start reading the article, follow the below link for your soundtrack to the words. A beautifully emotive album by NZ group Bannerman. I used to play indoor cricket against the vocalist and songwriter Richie Setford so obviously that's one incredible reason for you to listen to it - the other is that this is the best NZ album I've heard all year.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why so quiet in here?

It's been a while.

I apologise for the lack of updates on here of late, it's been a difficult past few months as the music industry has chewed at the fat of my faith and confidence. I suppose this is coupled with the fact that I now work alone, so it's easy to get caught up in your own bubble of highs and lows.

After starting the year with the excitement of a flurry of new songs, an open road ahead and filming a video for a single (that you'll hopefully hear soon), my plans were soon caught up in red tape and the slowly turning cog of progress in this world. I also parted ways with my long-time management and am running my own ship until the right, new first-mate can be found.

So while progress floundered, so did my high hopes and, thus, my motivation for keeping my own wheels turning. So I officially apologise and I can say that I'm now back in my game and ready to run.

I did manage to achieve a few constructive things of late - mainly mentoring two schools in my beloved Bay of Plenty.

Firstly, I visited Western Heights High School in Rotorua where I worked with some seriously talented people. The thing that struck me most about them was their quite clear sense of self and style at such a young age. They aren't the teenagers of the 90s or early 00s (myself included) who, by in large, blindly followed what was handed to them by mass media and wanted to follow those examples. They are the result of a modern popular culture that comes at you from every angle and you can pick and choose what you fit in with and follow it. And this all came out in the music they played and wrote.

Secondly, I spent a few weeks looking after my parents' cat in Tauranga.

AND, while I was there, I spent a bunch of time at the Northern Hospital School. There were kids aged from 11-18 there and most weren't particularly musical, so it was a completely different challenge. My goal was to try and get across how easy it is to express yourself through writing and music and how simple a good song can be. Over the course of my time there we managed to write two songs together and they even helped me on some lyrics for one of my own.

My plans now revolve around recording this damn album. I've now got a confirmed budget and, over the next month, I want to assemble a crack team around me to tackle my songs and then get into a studio when the timing's all right. It will all most likely take longer than in my mind, but I'll be sure to keep you in the loop as my journey progresses.

Thank you to all those who are reading this and I promise to have music to show you soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


ANZAC Day is, to me, one of the most important national holidays that I get in New Zealand.

It makes me think of war - something that very few of my generation has experienced and something that I  think should never be taken lightly. There is a danger in this modern world to think of war and violence as having some kind of surreal existence - especially people who live here in New Zealand.

But ANZAC Day reminds me that most of the world deals with those things every day and humankind has dealt with for 99.9% of its existence.

I am one of the luckiest people in history - to have been born in this time and in this place.

So, thank you to those people who helped bring that about.

Every time ANZAC Day rolls around I play John Williamson's version of 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" - it's an incredibly moving song. And though it talks about Australia's place in the First World War, it could easily be about NZ.

So this year I thought I'd pop down my own version to throw up some tribute - I hope you enjoy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dead Confederate

I've harped on about these guys before but I somehow missed the fact that they released an EP last year and have just released another album.

The EP, Peyote People, a more blues-themed record than their previous more grunge-inspired albums - especially Wrecking Ball. It's much less angsty and more listenable - I mean, you don't necessarily have to pissed at something to listen to this one. It's awesome - if you like Alberta Cross, who I've mentioned before on here, and not liked the previous Dead Confederate album, then try this EP out.

And now, the new album - In The Marrow - has JUST been released this month. AND...for whatever reason it didn't come as good as the EP did on first listen. I'll give it a few more goes - but for now, just check out the EP and run with that before you head the way of the album.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On TV...sheeeeeit.

Ok, if you've been following me over the past six months you may now be getting the idea that I'm making a habit of throwing myself a lot of curveballs.

The results of one of these in particular are now out.

I first told you about this late last year - I would be hosting a TV series of sorts that would be broadcast on all Air New Zealand planes with in-seat entertainment. Well, now it's live - after, it seems, some nervous vetting by Air NZ and the businesses involved - and so, if you're travelling internationally you can check me out making a fool of myself around NZ. You just need to find the series somewhere in the travel section I believe - it's called BGTV.

You can also view edited versions of the clips online - so check them out, but please watch them with the knowledge that this was my very first TV effort...with no training, script, etc... so go easy on me!

Here's me getting boozed on the job.

Friday, April 12, 2013

At the centre of the world...

At the centre of the world
There's a simple little phrase
You always talk to strangers
And entertain the fools

At the centre of the world
There's a cunning little phrase
"A ghost you cannot walk through,
Is a ghost that's not for sale"

At the centre of the world
There's a letter on your back
It grows each day with interest
And no soul collects the tax

At the centre of the world
It's a fight to stand alone
But for some it's cotton candy
In a fairground gypsy store

At the centre of the world
There's a pretty little girl
The strangers always gander
While the fools, they sing and burn.

At the centre of the world.
At the centre of the world.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Keep on Movin'

Firstly - I'd just like to say thanks heaps to all those who contributed to my Demo Wars over the past five weeks. It's been a great experiment and one that's generated a bunch of ideas and more knowledge on my songs and how they affect you guys.

NOW, I'd like to challenge you to another way of contributing and being a part of my musical journey.

The challenge is to create the artwork for the first single I'll release under my own name.

It's a challenge that involves only one stipulation - it must include your version, in any context or size, of the image below.

Basically, the one I like the best will be released as the digital artwork for the single and I'll even give the winner a sneak peak of the song itself before it's heard by the general public.

If this takes your fancy, please email me at for more information and other, more boring, requirements.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Demo Wars - Week Four (The Battle of You)

Well, it was close for most of the week, but it looks like Blitzed has taken out the title in the Battle of the Sun...I posted a picture of a can of DB Bitter on my HUGELY-followed Instagram account which may or may not have swung the balance.


We're taking it down a little for some slow tunes. These two are very similar in vibe and I could never use both on the same record unless some major changes were made to one. But, I'd be happy to use just one at this, again, I need your help deciding which is the luckiest.

No great stories behind these ones - they're love songs.

Thanks so much for your support with this little project so far my people, it's very much appreciated.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Monday, February 18, 2013

Demo Wars - Week Three (Battle of the Sun)

Two weeks into this experiment and I'm enjoying the feedback - I'm definitely getting a good idea of what songs get through to you guys.

We've had a slow week and a blues week - this week is a general upbeat week...summer-themed, which I think is highly appropriate. Both songs are pretty experimental in what I'm writing as well.

First up is a song I co-wrote with mates around a box of DB Bitter back when it was still 4%...glory days. I have since re-worked the lyrics/melodies and this version is yet to have its bass-line or guitar solo included in it, so it's still very basic. You'll get the idea though.

The second is a song I wrote during the absolute joke last summer was in New Zealand. I like to think this was my own little "sun-dance".

Just to remind you, these "Demo Wars" songs are ones which I am unsure about as additions to my proper recording sessions - you are very likely to influence whether they get there or not, so please don't hesitate to vote or, even better, leave a comment with your thoughts.


Exhibit A

Exhibit B


Monday, February 11, 2013

Demo Wars - Week Two (The Battle of the Blues)

Right - thanks to everyone for their feedback on week one of Demo Wars. It's all been super helpful so far and it's to be able to share these ideas with you.

Week One seems to have been fairly conclusive - So Easy took out the battle. I wrote that one whilst half-asleep in a hammock at the start of this crazy summer we're having in New Zealand - so maybe all the Kiwis can relate to the vibe right now.

This week sees two bluesy numbers vying for your acceptance - I think it could be a tough battle. One is an old one which some of you avid followers might recognise whilst the other is very new.

The first - Drain My Pockets Dry - was written about five years ago. I played it a few times live with Midnight Youth but the band never really bought it...which could be a bad omen! But I've re-worked it since then, and I've always loved it, so I'm giving it another chance.

The second is Bleached Blonde Hair which really needs a full band to get across where I want it to go - in the meantime it has some interesting backing vocals filling the gaps where Chuck Berry should be.

So here goes - listen away - and if you're just joining the fun now, feel free to wander back to week one to have your say there as well.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Monday, February 4, 2013

Demo Wars - Week One (The Battle of Love)

I'm just gonna quickly go over the idea behind this Demo Wars thing again before (hopefully) you scroll down to the listening part (or you can do that and read this after you press play on the first track...).

These are raw song ideas. They are not meant to sound finished or polished, because they're not. I've deliberately left them that way so that these sketches can, hopefully, go all technicolour on my ass in the studio. BUT - to me a good song can be seen in the sketch, it has the potential to reach you with or without 'Zach-Tyler America' producing and mixing the track for a couple of grand.

So before I book him, I need your help in deciding which ones to use. 

Here goes....a couple of softies to begin...

The nature of song-writing is that a writer will often create songs sourced from a similar muse - and that's awesome - but people don't want to hear 12-15 of that vibe. I have a number of songs that I love that, unfortunately, do sound similar. Yeah, I can do one on piano and the other on guitar but that's cheating. So some tough calls have to be made...or not...I'm after impressions, so pick your favourite or pick them both.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B 

Please feel free to comment on the songs or, if words come hard, vote in the poll below - everything is appreciated.

Which song wins the war?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Demo Wars!

Ello ello to all!

I hope, like me, you've all had an amazing festive holiday - wherever you are in the world. You can probably guess by my lack of updates of late that mine has been particularly indulgent. But now I'm back in creation mode, plans are in place for a big 2013 and I'd love for you to play a big part in all the fun. Starting next week.

Why next week? Well, I just had this idea, so the timing suits for this man of spontaneity - next week is when I am going to begin sharing with you home demos of what will become my first solo release. The reason for this is that I want you all to have an input into what songs I'll take into a proper studio.

I'm going to call this enterprise "Demo Wars"!

Every week for the next wee while I want to reveal two songs to you that are battling to be a part of my final lineup - often because they are quite similar in sound or vibe and I don't want the record to be monotonous.

What I'd love, is for you to let me know which ones 'get you', which ones draw you in and make you want to hear how they'll develop in a studio situation.

I'm going to run a poll every week on my Facebook page and also collect comments both there and here on this blog.

I realise that there's only so many of you listening, but I'll appreciate any and all feedback. I no longer have a band to provide 'quality control' so it's now you who have the job of either praising me, giving me the silent treatment or simply shooting me down. And don't worry about the latter - I have a thick skin....hopefully!

 So come Monday, NZ Time, the games begin!