Review: Pitch Black, live in London – Oslo, Hackney

PB4 leadImage courtesy of Michael Hodgson.

20 years after their debut at The Gathering, Pitch Black have satiated a packed venue of fans at London’s Oslo, in Hackney.

Living on different sides of the world, it’s been three years since Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free have performed together – though you wouldn’t have thought it. What they delivered was a high-energy, united and polished performance – no one would have guessed that they had also taken on the challenge of working with some new equipment for the first time. High risk perhaps, but we would expect nothing less from these true Kiwi pioneers of electronic music – and it paid off.

I arrived about an hour before Pitch Black hit the stage, to a crowd happily vibing to Radioactive Man. There’s something special about going to a gig attended mostly by Kiwis – there’s always a unique energy about it. When I interviewed them, Mike and Paddy had remarked on how they are now on a second generation of fans – and this was definitely evident from the people filling the room, eager to experience whatever they had in store for us. It’s the first gig I’ve attended in awhile where the over-30s/40s significantly outnumbered the younger generation… and everyone seemed to be happily straddling both the present as well as a space somewhere in their own memories. Smiles were abundant. Meeting and connecting with strangers was abundant. There was a lot of aroha in that space.

Paddy was there: vibing with the crowd to Radioactive Man. Chilling at the bar, engaging in conversations with fans. He was completely generous with his time and attention, as was Mike, for each and every individual that wanted to connect with them.

Then it was time for Pitch Black to take to the stage – no mucking about; things took off right away, and we were transported to a place – somewhere unique for each of us, yet experienced together at the same time. The synergy between Mike and Paddy on stage spread to the crowd in front of them. I’m a little too young to have been at The Gathering in 1996 – but last night, I felt as though I may well have been there. The crowd was a diverse and eclectic mix of people from all walks of life – travelling together with the beat, experiencing the music as an extension of their being. The only way I knew for sure that it was a room mainly full of Kiwis, was the lack of footwear… shoes abandoned, people leaping barefoot.  It’s completely fair and justified for Pitch Black not to categorise themselves within any specific genre… because their mix of styles really transcends that. And they are masters of what they do. I had an incredible night, on a journey through sound, where I honestly forgot I was in London in 2016. But let me be clear: this music is not dated. Michael and Paddy continue to push the boundaries of genre and of electronic music; of what is really possible with equipment. Still pioneering electronica… crossing multiple genres. Having experienced some of their new material from their upcoming album in September, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

It’s interesting to consider if these guys had been born in England, rather than New Zealand, that they might easily have been bigger than the Chemical Brothers.

To me, these humble Kiwi blokes will always have set the benchmark, for what electronic music should aspire to.

Seamless excellence from Pitch Black – left the crowd wanting more, left themselves wanting more. Like a fine wine, this duo only seems to get better with age.

 

Review by Charlotte Everett. May only be re-used with permission.

Advertisements

Looking to go to the theatre in London? Check out my review of “Boy in Darkness”

boy_in_the_darkness057 (2) LEADImage by Lidia Crisafulli; featuring Gareth Murphy.

If there’s one thing you must do while visiting London, it’s of course head to the theatre. More people attended London’s theatres last year than Premier League football matches.  But with hundreds of options to choose from – ranging from plays at the Old Vic, to the big West End musicals – how do you choose something that ticks all of the boxes, and is easy on the budget?

Might I suggest something a little different. The West End is wonderful, but it can be pricey, and you have the opportunity to see a lot of the big musicals in places besides London.  London is famed also for her many smaller theatres, where new works are created and daringly developed, and also where some of our most accomplished theatre-makers were born and nurtured.

The Blue Elephant Theatre is one such gem, tucked away in the South London district of Camberwell. If you’re looking to go “where the locals go”, the Blue Elephant is just the place.

Currently showing until April 4 is an adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s dark novella, Boy in Darkness. The Blue Elephant has enjoyed a special relationship with Mervyn Peake’s work, having already produced successful stage premieres of The Cave and Noah’s Ark. Boy in Darkness is the story of a privileged young teen escaping a castle; a story steeped in adventure, horror and the macabre. The novella has been re-worked as a solo performance by adaptor and performer Gareth Murphy, and directed by John Walton.

The story’s root as a novella shines through in Murphy’s performance, which is a wonderful mix of storytelling and physical theatre. It lends itself well to being a solo work, with the performer craftily switching between the narrator and the story’s four characters with a smoothness as though reading a storybook.

The energy and physicality of the piece enables the adult performer to convincingly convey the young boy’s terrifying journey. The studio theatre has been converted to utilise a thrust stage that creates an even greater intimacy, pulling the audience into the dark depths of the boy’s adventure into the underworld. Murphy utilises the space to its full potential – climbing about not only Martin Thomas’ brilliant timber set, but also scaling the walls of the theatre itself, radiators, and clambering behind the audience.

The boy’s disturbing encounter with the unsavoury characters of Goat and Hyena sends chills down the spine, but is nothing on the evil that is to come later in the form of their lord – the apparent boy-eating Lamb. The presence of these three characters easily justifies the fear that dominates the boy – in his eyes, his facial intensity, his words and of course, his movements.

Boy in Darkness is a fairytale for adults that makes the Grimm Brothers look like Disney. If you’re looking for either something different to experience – or simply physical theatre and storytelling at its finest – be sure to check it out. And at only £12.50 full price (or a tenner for students), it’s an absolute steal for theatre in this fine city.

Blog written by and play reviewed by Charlotte Everett.

Boy in Darkness is on at Blue Elephant Theatre until April 4, shows Wednesday to Saturday, with all performances at 8pm.

boy_in_the_darkness004 (2)Image by Lidia Crisafulli; featuring Gareth Murphy.

REVIEW: London audience intoxicated by Wellington’s soulful Louis Baker

Louis1Photo by Karl Burrows.

It’s a rare talent to command the undivided attention of a packed London venue, but that is exactly what Wellingtonian Louis Baker achieved upon his return to London last week with a sold-out gig at St Pancras Old Church.

Louis provided an aural experience of sensory delights in a venue that reverberated with the sincerity and generosity of the performer himself. Opening with his well-known song Birds seemed a highly appropriate choice, as the set quickly took flight into the heavens themselves.

Two songs in, Louis remarked, “Playing in a place like this… I’m just warming into it… it’s such an experience; so good to be here – I’m just coming to terms with it”.

The intimate, candle-lit setting could not be better suited to a performer who is clearly motivated by the desire to share something of great value with his audience. The music serves as a vehicle for the values that Louis upholds himself and was proactive in speaking about: “I truly believe in us moving forward together as one people – that’s what this song Movin’ is about”… Just Want to Thank You is about intuition and trusting yourself… and his song Love, written when he was only 17, shares his belief in non-violence. Back On My Feet tells the story of how Louis’ journey with music has helped him get back on his feet – a journey that he is now sharing with his growing number of fans throughout the world.

Louis’ set overall provided a relaxed vibe that showcased the beauty and power of solo performance as well as allowing his soulful vocals to shine. Although alone on stage, Louis is not content with simply entertaining his audience, rather, he craves audience participation – vocals, foot-tapping, clapping – and the crowd is always happy to accept his invitation. Attending one of his gigs, you really get a sense in sharing in the music and creating something together.  He has a casual vibe and his interaction with his audience always allows everyone to feel at ease. His cover of Purple Rain was eagerly embraced, and he completely elevated the energy in the room finishing with his own Get Back. Clearly won over, the crowd roared for an encore, to which they were enthusiastically given a rendition of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.

Every time Louis Baker returns to London, his fan-base seems to have at least doubled in size. It’s hardly surprising, considering his immense talent and generosity as a performer – once you’ve been to one gig, you’ll be keen to go to them all. Definitely one to keep watching – be sure not to miss him next time he’s in town.

Review/article by Charlotte Everett. May only be re-used with permission. Originally written for NZNewsUK.

All Blacks “Remember Them” in London – WW100

New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team flew into London yesterday morning, and last night an intimate wreath-laying was conducted at Hyde Park Corner to remember the thirteen All Blacks who lost their lives in the First World War, as well as all soldiers who paid the ultimate price on the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Amidst jetlag and a hectic schedule having only just flown in from Chicago, current All Blacks Dane Coles, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano and Ben Smith attended and participated in the centenary commemorative ceremony, arranged by the New Zealand High Commission and New Zealand Defence. They were joined by New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey, as well as High Commissioner to New Zealand  HE the Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, DA Brigadier Antony “Lofty” Hayward and a small number of New Zealanders and friends of New Zealand in England. I was also in attendance, as one of six representatives from the NZ Society UK committee.

WL4 LockwoodWL2

High Commissioner Sir Lockwood opened proceedings by welcoming everyone to the New Zealand Memorial at London’s Hyde Park Corner. He detailed the stories and brief biographies of several of the thirteen All Blacks who never made it home from the Great War, before listing the names of all thirteen. New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey then addressed the intimate gathering and personalised his remarks with the story of his own grandfather being wounded in the Battle of the Somme. Brigadier Hayward concluded spoken proceedings with a poem.

Following the wreath-laying and Last Post, London Maori Club Ngati Ranana led the gathering in Whakaaria Mai, and then performed the haka made famous by the All Blacks – Ka Mate.

WL5 bugler

Rugby was played at various points during the First World War, including an ANZAC match on the island of Lemnos during a respite from Gallipoli. The soldiers were forced to play with a football in place of a rugby ball, with New Zealand thrashing their counterparts 13 tries to 1. New Zealand also won 40-0 in another game played against France in April 1917 for the Somme Cup. 60,000 watched the match in Paris.

The world champions are in London to face England at Twickenham this coming Saturday, 8 November. They will take to the field wearing specially developed remembrance poppies. Impey stated, “World War One took a massive toil on our nation and our All Blacks were a part of that story. Over the next four years, New Zealand Rugby will play a role in sharing rugby’s contribution to the period and it’s an honour to be in London to mark Kiwis contribution to the Allied efforts”.

The thirteen All Blacks who lost their lives in the First World War were Albert Downing, Henry Dewar, Frank Wilson, Robert Black, George Sellars, James Baird, Reginald Taylor, James McNeece, Dave Gallaher, “Jum” Turtill, Eric Harper, Ernest Dodd and Alex Ridland.

WL3

Article by Charlotte Everett; may only be used with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images.

INTERVIEW: Artist Mandii Pope

Mandii Pope is one of New Zealand’s greatest creative exports: an acclaimed artist with exhibitions across Europe, Dubai and the UK, and with many works in both private and commercial collections across the globe. Her work is often seen all over the UK, be it her emotive spin paintings – or out in public spaces, you will find her book benches, a bus painted like Buckingham Palace, a Darth Vader Gorilla or a dolphin warplane to name but a few. Senior royalty have even added the finishing touches to one of her artworks. An iconic member of the Kiwi community in the UK, Mandii is often seen out and about at London-Kiwi events, and supports the community in a variety of ways. She has now returned to New Zealand for the first time in six years to be part of the Christchurch Stands Tall Giraffe sculpture trail – I grabbed the opportunity to find out more about the art, and about the lady herself…

Tell us where you’re from in NZ, when you came to the UK, and why?

I’m originally from Auckland. I followed love to the UK! Justin Bade came to London to gear up 42 Below. We’d been friends for years; I left my happy life in NZ after a romantic month in Rarotonga for the thrill of “what if”. 11 years later, 42 Below is a great success story, Justin and I remain friends and to this day is the best decision I have ever made in coming to London to chase my dreams.

How was it first settling in to life in the UK – both in a general sense, and in terms of your career?

I came to London on a red carpet. We lived in Knightsbridge, my job was £50K per annum, and we led a glamorous life. We broke up a year later, and the company I worked for went into receivership. I ended up pouring pints in a gay bar in Soho at night for about £5 per hour before tax, and a film set during the day for free. I had nowhere to live, so the pub owners after a week of knowing me offered me their flat in Leytonstone. I averaged an hour’s sleep after I’d finished my night shift and I travelled 90 minutes on the night bus. I’d get home around 4.30 or 5am, and I’d be gone again by 6ish to be on set by 7am. After 4 months I was exhausted. A friend came back from travelling and was my saviour – thanks to her, I ended up settled in both the same flat and job that I’m still in 10 years later. I have two lives: as an artist, and an office job – both complement each other nicely. My office job keeps me safe and the people I work with have been like family to me in the UK. They have supported my full-time art career from day one, and supported me with an art studio to make spin paintings for 4 years – plus a Darth Vader Gorilla and a large corporate commission. I miss NZ, but London is where I need to be art-wise. There are so many opportunities the UK. I’m working to a 10-year plan and opportunities are plentiful after years of hard graft and determination.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

I’m a sponge to my environment. If it’s a public art sculpture, I like to utilise the organic shape of the sculpture and keep to the theme of the brief or project. The cityscapes are places visited. My spin paintings are emotive, fun to create and are the format of my current artworks. I’m very guided by a greater force and my intuition guides me to most of my inspiration. Sometimes I just get an idea and it explodes from there. I have a couple of hundred ideas for my NZ-themed spin paintings; I just need time to paint them all. It was great fun creating a colouring book for Kiwi-run Ziggle-Itwhich has seen me now turning my sculptures into colouring adventures for the kids. Ziggling-it is colouring fun for adults, and I seriously recommend it!

What are some of the career highlights of things you’ve worked on while you’ve been in the UK?

All Wild in Art projects are completely epic… Also a 15ft Big Ben BT Artbox for Childline in 2012, designing the Bagpuss costume for the VLM for Hospices of Hope, painting with royalty a couple of times, working on 60 Minute Makeover, film sets, painting the UK New Zealander of the Year, solo exhibitions in Cork Street and Dubai… They keep coming!

You’ve done a lot of work for Wild in Art. Tell us what they’re about, and what you’ve worked on for them?

Wild in Art are absolutely massive in the UK, and are taking over the world! Their sculptures raise hundreds of thousands – if not millions – for various charities around the globe. They have four or five public art trails in the UK and one on another continent per year. In 2012 it was Lions in South Africa; 2013 Rhinos in Australia – and this year, it’s giraffes in Christchurch, New Zealand! A Wild in Art trail consists of a town, a charity, and anywhere between 20-70 sculptures decorated by local and famous artists which are sponsored by local businesses, and then put on display for the public to enjoy, take photos and create memories… The sculptures are then up for auction, where all proceeds go to charity. Miniature sculptures are created by schools of a similar number. These projects bring enjoyment to entire communities and raise huge amounts for charities who need it. I’ve just completed my 11th public art sculpture – 8 have been for Wild in Art, with more to come in the new year. 2013 was a talking, breathing Darth Vader Gorilla (@DarthGorilla); 2014 has seen three book benches for Books About Town, a WW100 warplane dolphin named @TrevorWarphin for Wild Dolphins in Aberdeen, a Buckingham Palace bus for TFL’s Year of the Bus, and two giraffes for Christchurch Stands Tall: @MoaGiraffe, as well as designing “The Longest Girink in Town” giraffe (painted by Sarah Greig).

mandii trev

Your latest London project is the TFL Year of the Bus sculpture trail. Tell us a little about that?

There are 60 bus sculptures – 40 in London, with 20 to follow in Croydon in late November. The buses are celebrating 125 years of the bus, for Transport for London (TFL) in conjunction with three charities: Transaid, Kids Company, and the London Transport Museum. Mine is Buckingham Palace Bus. You can download an app to find them (search for “Bus Art – Year of the Bus”). Later in the year they will be up for auction, and the money raised will be divided between the three charities.

You’re in NZ at the moment working on Christchurch Stand Tall. What does this mean to you personally, and how did it come about?

I’ve been a big supporter of this project as soon as I heard about it a year ago, regardless of if I became a part of it or not. I believe in the project, the product and the people of Christchurch, and I really hope New Zealand realises how incredibly huge this is to have Wild in Art come to Christchurch. I’m the only Kiwi in the UK to have painted so many sculptures for Wild in Art, so it was super special to receive a phone call from Wild in Art Director Charlie Langhorne, who decided out the goodness of his heart to give me his own Air New Zealand ticket to send me home and be a part of the Christchurch Stands Tall project. It’s been nearly six years since I’ve been home, and it has been so special to be amongst a bunch of super-talented Kiwi artists at Giraffe HQ. One fellow artist – Justine Ottey – even surprised me with aTip Top container full of freshly backed afghans! Made my day! I have two giraffes; one is the famous red-and-blue spotted The Longest Girink in Town which I designed (painted by Sarah Greig and sponsored by Buildtech), and the other is Moa Giraffe (which I designed and painted), sponsored by Dulux New Zealand. Dulux chose my Moa design because of their huge involvement work with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and environmental conservation. Dulux have been great supporters of the project, supplying all paints for 50 schools, as well as the artists in Giraffe HQ. Back in the UK I use nothing but Dulux paints – I don’t like the expensive artist’s paints anymore, so I am a natural advocate for my sponsor. A match made in heaven! The Giraffes have just had a coat of varnish from Urban Hygiene and are looking magnificent! Campbell Live reported that they could sell for NZD $10,000 each. These sculptures have sold for £55,000 and £60,000 GBP each in the UK on some trails, so they have potential to raise so much more.

Mandii giraffes

I understand that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, put the finishing touches on one of your paintings. Tell us about that!

Ceilidh Dunphy from the NZ High Commission recommended me to the New Zealand Women’s Association (NZWA) as a live art artist, to paint a very special painting on Waitangi Day at New Zealand House in the presence of HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. I was chosen as I had painted Buckingham Palace live for King Edward Hospital with the Duke of Kent in previous years. President Jane Thomas and I decided a cityscape of Clarence House (residence of HRH) would be most fitting. I completed the painting with a portrait of a Maori warrior (Bruce Simpson from Ngati Ranana, the London Maori Club) in the foreground with a Queen’s Guard. The Duchess of Cornwall was a fabulous sport when I asked her to paint a few windows. The painting was then up for auction a last month, and all proceeds went to a WW100 charity for NZ soldiers.

mandii camilla

What’s next for you?

As soon as I land back in the UK, I have 10 days to paint current 2014 UK New Zealander of the Year, Eric Tracey. I also have an Egg for The Big Egg Hunt, two magnificent Wild in Art Dragon sculptures for Go Go Dragons, plus many more submissions for Wild in Art projects of Buses, Owls and Barons. I still have a 100 or more NZ-themed spin paintings to complete as well. I’m due for another big exhibition, so I’ll make sure that happens next year. The world is my oyster, anything is possible – and I’m up for all of it.

You can find out more about Mandii here.

All photos courtesy of Mandii Pope. Interview by Charlotte Everett; may only be re-used with permission.

INTERVIEW: Anika Moa

I grabbed the opportunity to chat with Anika Moa for NZNewsUK ahead of her recent London show on October 30.

Anika, you are one of NZ’s most iconic singer-songwriters. How did you get into music, and had it always been your dream?

Anika: Hi! Both of my parents are singers who travelled all over New Zealand, so I was born into it. I truly fell in love with music at high school because it was so much cooler than maths or science. I started writing at 13, and grew from there. Such a nerd! My dream is to write for other people such as Beyoncé. Haha! I wish.

You were picked up by Atlantic Records in the United States as a teenager. You were determined to stick to your own unique style of Kiwi-folk acoustic songs… did the record company have other ideas, and how difficult was it to remain authentic?

Anika: My record company were amazing. Not only did they want to nurture my needs, but they waited for me to grow a bit musically. I toured my first album all over America and it was so full on, I got homesick and had to come home… That is where I discovered that I had to do it in my own country before I went anywhere else.

You’re now mother to twin boys. How has it been, juggling family life with your music career?

Anika: Having twins is soooo hard but sooo amazing. My sons have inspired me to work harder and my heart is full of love for them. I write less but when I do, I really make the most of it!! I’ve released a baby album called Songs for Bubbas that I released last December and it’s been a huge hit – even more so than my actual adult albums. LOL.

You’ve been recording your fifth studio album. What can you tell us about it?

Anika: It’s simple, elegant and heartbreaking. The usual, but with strong beats and my producer Jol Mulholland makes it. We wrote the songs together and it was a slow, easy process. I will release it and then tour it everywhere I can! I hope you love it.

You’re playing Bush Hall in London on October 30th.  How do you find the vibe here in London?

Anika: I’ve lived in London so I’m happy to be going back to see all the old haunts. I love the live music scene and catching up with old friends. It’s super exciting being there – I also see my family in Gloucestershire, which will be fun, fun, fun!

What are you most looking forward to with the London show, and what can the crowd expect?

Anika: I can’t wait for people to hear my new stuff. I want them to swim in it and my voice, and to have a drink and listen to my intensely strange but awfully good stories – and to be taken back to life in New Zealand.

Will you have any “down time” in London – and how do you plan to spend it?

Anika: Downtime with friends and family and beer. LOL.

After London – what next?

Anika: Spain! Part holiday part music conference, then back home to nearly summer in New Zealand. Yay!

Interview by Charlotte Everett. May only be re-used with permission

INTERVIEW: Thomas Oliver and Louis Baker

Next week welcomes Thomas Oliver’s debut show in London, as well as the return of Louis Baker to UK shores. The singer-songwriter friends – who have burgeoning solo careers – are taking this opportunity to play a double bill show in London before their duo performance at the Edinburgh Festival, and solo stages at Sziget Festival, Budapest. I grabbed the chance to chat with them.

Thomas and Louis

Louis, you’ve made quite an impression the last couple of times you’ve been here – how does it feel to be coming back?

 

Louis: It’s a joy to be coming back to the UK. I am highly fortunate. I have an outstanding manager (Cushla Aston at Aston Rd), so things run smoothly and I’m always taken care of. Aston Rd is very supportive of my career, helping to make this trip possible. Last time I was over this way, I did shows at Field Days Festival, and Sonar in Barcelona, Spain.

Coming back this time with Thomas Oliver and Cushla is a fresh thing for us all, and we are super excited!

Thomas, this is your London debut. How are you feeling about it, and any expectations?

 

Thomas: I am really looking forward to finally getting a chance to try to understand the sheer size and depth of activity in London. It’s hard to comprehend from the mellow streets of Wellington. I really want to ingest as much of it as I can while we’re there – food, drink, live music, art, culture, architecture, history, countryside, everything! Our manager, Cushla, lived there for years, so we’re fortunate enough to have someone who can show us what’s up! There are also a few musicians and label owners over there whom I have collaborated with but never met, so I look forward to meeting them, as well as anyone else I can, and of course catching up with all our Kiwi friends living there. I hear it’s sizzling there right now too, so that will be welcome change from cowering next to the heater back home!

You guys are friends from back in New Zealand – how did you meet, and how has this joint-tour come about?

 

Louis: Wellington has a close musical community. Thomas and I met at a show I was supporting him on at a small cafe down Cuba Street one night, where we played to around 20 people. This friendship flourished through our common love of music and musical taste. To this day he stands as a sort of musical mentor of mine, helping guide and connect me with some key people that I work with today. A tour together has always been on the cards. It makes me so happy that we now have this opportunity to play our songs for people in faraway lands.

Thomas: Music brought us together a few years back – the Wellington music scene is very tight-knit and supportive, so everyone knows everyone (almost). Louis and I really connected over our desire to create music with emotional resonance, and we’ve been friends ever since. We’ve toured together many times, and played many shows on the same stages, but, for some reason, it wasn’t until recently that we actually started playing together. We got asked if we would play as a duo for a festival in New Zealand called Homegrown, on the Red Bull “Sound Lab” stage which was all about artists coming together with other artists and working together to create something new. And we enjoyed it so much that we decided to do some more of it! And we’re stoked to have the opportunities to do it on the other side of the world.

 

Thomas, you’re internationally considered as one of the leading players of the Weissenborn lap-steel guitar. What can you tell us about the instrument, and how did you become interested in playing it?

 

Thomas: Of all the musical instruments on the planet, the Weissenborn is my favourite. For me, it sits somewhere between an acoustic guitar and the human voice; a guitar because of its 6 strings and the hollow chamber, and the human voice because of its infinite intonation and its raw and distinctive character. I started playing when I was 17 as a result of being captivated by Ben Harper’s first album, Welcome to the Cruel World, upon my first listen. I stared at the stereo, trying to decipher what this sound was. It sounded similar to a guitar, but it was deeper and richer and scratchier, and I just had to know what it was! I soon learned that it was a Weissenborn, and soon after I had one of my own. But I never knew at the time just how deep my love affair with it would run!

 

You’re going on to play the Edinburgh Festival after London. Have either of you played Edinburgh before, and what can our readers there expect from you?

 

Louis: I can’t wait to get to Scotland and be immersed in its vibe! Edinburgh will be a new place to play for both Thomas and I, and the show will be a duo set as part of New Zealand Season at the festival. We have unique and distinctive sounds, and I think that people can expect nothing less than an all out, expressive, soulful and uplifting performance.

Thomas: We’ll be doing a full duo set in Edinburgh. We have a good time playing this way. Some songs are all about Louis and I just do what I can to make him sound better, and some songs are the other way around, and then some are just the meeting of our minds in real time. It’s a progressive dynamic that we both enjoy. I’ve never been to Edinburgh before, but I am eagerly awaiting our time there! As a kid, I had bookshelves full of books about castles, and I used to draw castles in the back of my school books when I should have been paying attention. I was probably the only 10-year-old who knew what crenulations were. Haha. However, despite my obsession, I have never seen a castle! So, whilst I’m sure many people over there are entirely accustomed to the idea of one of the world’s most amazing castles right in the middle of the city, it excites the hell out of me!

Any plans for how you intend to spend your time in London and Edinburgh, other than gigging?

 

Louis: Travelling is one of the most life-expanding things to do; I love it. There are places to go and people to meet! I think it would be rude not to get involved in the local food, nature, whisky, markets, sightseeing, and the arts.

Thomas: We plan to do a bit of driving to check out some English and Scottish countryside. I hear it’s remarkable. There’s a few clubs I’d love to check out as well (especially Fabric), and Cushla knows a few amazing restaurants which I’m sure we’ll make the most of! Aside from all of the things I mentioned above; the culture, the castles, the art, the history, I just want to feel a part of the place, alongside the company of my friends.

 

After your UK duo shows, you’re taking up solo stages at Sziget Festival in Budapest. How are you feeling about the festival, and what do you expect the crowds to be like there?

 

Louis: To be able to perform at a festival like Sziget in Budapest – playing musical creations of your own to people for the first time – is a dream come true. It has been an aspiration of mine ever since I was a young boy to play around the world so I am fizzing. In my limited experience, European crowds are very warm and receptive so I look forward to this very much.

Thomas: To be honest, it’s really hard to know! The line-up is so amazingly diverse. Everything from NOFX, to Deadmau5, to Louis Baker, to Queens of the Stone Age…I expect there will be a lot of open-minded music lovers there. And it will certainly be the biggest festival I’ve ever played at. I just hope I’m not playing at the same time as NOFX…Haha. I collaborated with Black Sun Empire a couple of years back, so I was stoked to see them on the bill, and I look forward to catching up with them again, as friendly faces will be most relished in a 400,000 strong festival!

What’s next for both of you after this tour?

 

Louis: I have a lot of plans for my career, and visions of where I’d like to go with it. When I get home I will be back into song writing, performing, working, teaching and more shows in NZ and Australia.

Thomas: I’ll be heading back into the studio to keep working on my next album. I’m about halfway through it right now, and I’m amped about where it’s heading and how it’s sounding. Come November, it looks as if Louis and I might be touring NZ together again, so I look forward to that. But for now, my mind is purely set on the UK and Europe!

Thomas Oliver and Louis Baker will play a FREE double bill show at London’s Bedroom Bar, this coming Wednesday 6th August (on stage at 8.30pm), and will feature in the NZ Music Showcase of the Edinburgh Festival on Monday 11th August (on stage at 10.15pm).

This interview originally featured on NZNewsUK.

I also interviewed Louis Baker when he was in London last year – you can check out the original feature here.