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RIIKI

Interview with New Zealand musician RIIKI

Copyright: RIIKI

Hello! What’s your name? Introduce yourself!

RIIKI: Helloooo derrr I am RIIKI, I’m a New Zealand gal and I’m 20 years old.

The pandemic has been pretty crazy? Where are you now and what have you been up to lately?

RIIKI: I am currently in my hometown in Wellington, New Zealand with my family.

It’s been such a mental time the past couple of months, but feeling super grateful that NZ is back in level 1 now with very little cases. So I’ve been catching up on life with pals, getting back into music routine and keeping myself busy with hopeful future plans now that I can!

How has the pandemic shifted your creative process? Have you been writing differently lately? Communicating with your collaborators and fans in any new ways?

RIIKI: It definitely messed with my mindset for a lil bit! Just very new ways of living/thinking/dealing with things. At first I was super excited to have lots of time to write, and I did for the first week solidly, but then I had a patch of feeling pretty unmotivated and uninspired due to circumstances. It totally challenged me, but I’m super grateful for it because it has forced me to think and create in different ways I didn’t realise I was capable of. For example, connecting with others and creating completely online. I’d planned to make this the year for playing live shows, but it was super cool to connect with people all around the world through live streaming, I did a couple of those.

Your latest release Share Your Luv is incredible! Tell me more about it!

What inspired you to write it, what’s the overall backstory?

“I would love to see people cross boundaries and make whatever music they want to without thinking if it sits in one playlist or the other.”

RIIKI

RIIKI: Tis very kind of ya, thank you! Basically ‘Share Your Luv’ is about sitting on the receiving end of a friendship/relationship where the other person unexpectedly turns their back on you. I’ve stumbled across a couple of experiences with this which has caused a bit of heartache. You’re shown a side you didn’t really know existed and it hurts because you loved that person and it may suck for a while, but the track is also a celebration of realising that you’ll get by without them. The narrative seems like something a lot of people have gone through. I’m usually the person helping others in this situation, but experiencing it first hand just makes it so real and fully understandable. I want others to know that if you’ve been through something like this too, you’ll come out on the other side stronger.

What/who are your greatest musical influences?

RIIKI: I have a list that is waaaay to big holey cows – Beyonce will always be a childhood fav, same with Jeff Buckley, James Blake and Radiohead. Currently listening to a lot of Steve Lacy, Toro y Moi, Jorja Smith, Dua Lipa, The Japanese House, The 1975, DIIV, Tom Misch, The Booyah! Kids… If I keep going I’ll have a list of 2000 artists.

So much is changing lately! What do you miss most? Do you have any favorite live shows from the past?

RIIKI: I reallllly miss being around people all day while working! And meeting new people face to face! I performed in a lil gig in LA back in Feb which was pretty magical. 121 Festival was a new festival which debuted a week before lockdown, so playing that and being there before the craziness, I will always remember it.

What would you like to see change about the music industry?

RIIKI: I would love to see people cross boundaries and make whatever music they want to without thinking if it sits in one playlist or the other. Crossing genres is becoming more common nowadays, which is so sick. I would love to see more females owning itttt behind production and the mixing desk – there is such high demand for it and I too am trying to better myself at these things!

What is your advice to aspiring creatives?

RIIKI: Focus on having bundles of fun! Take in the joys of everything!

Remember why it is you wanted to do what you are doing, you should get a credible amount of satisfaction, release and happiness and by doing this you’re set up for achieving to crazy high heights. 🙂 How exciting!

Any other fun stories or things you’d like to talk about? Surely, there’s a funny story that the world must know.

RIIKI: I was in a hotel last week and somehow accidentally ordered a ham and cheese toasted sandwich which got delivered to my door at 3am and woke me up…

very random and weird and probably not that funny lol.

What’s the creative industry like in New Zealand? Any concert venues, record stores or restaurants I should check out when I visit?

RIIKI: New Zealand has the most vibrant creative culture! Where I live here is known as the creative capital of NZ, so there is always lots of colour and extravagant events tucked around the city. It inspires me a lot! If you were to come to my hometown in Wellington, you’d have to check a gig at the venue San Fran on Cuba Street, pop into Slowboat records and eat as much as you can at the restaurant ‘Chow’, so yommmm.

See Nicholes’ most interview with Pollyman!

Check out RIIKI’s Facebook page for more!

Nichole Heller

2020

An interview with Pollyman

Pollyman | triple j Unearthed
Copyright: Triple J Unearthed

There are a few ways that you can spot an old soul. George Carroll Wilson is certainly one. His taste in classic rock and charming personality are just a few of the things that prove this guy has something special. George is the frontman of Pollyman, a Melbourne based rock band. Sweet tunes like “Quokka” and “Japanese Rock and Roll” are just two of the many rockin’ songs off their latest release. The trio originated in Victoria a year ago and came out with their debut album, the self-titled Pollyman. George sings and plays all instruments on the record, but he is skillfully accompanied by brother Fenn Wilson on drums and Alister Hull on Bass, who perform with him live. Inspired by glam rock and music from the late 1960s and early 1970s, you are guaranteed to blast these blokes’ jams in the car or headphones anytime. 

Melbourne is where George and Fenn were born, but the pair were raised in the small beach town of Clifton Springs. Their next stop would be back to their native Melbourne, arguably the best city in Australia. Alister Hull (pretty cool name I must mention, might become a future tattoo) is from Bourke in New South Wales. Alister met George when George was on the road with his mum’s band at age nine. 

Although Pollyman have been making a name for themselves in Melbourne’s various pubs and clubs, this is not George’s first band. In year 7, he formed the Tiny Giants with a couple of coastal pals named Jasper and Etienne, at first playing rock covers of bands like Jet before writing and performing original psychedelic rock and pop. They were active from 2011 until 2018, and it was around 2015 that George started writing and performing his own songs solo. After a brief band experiment in 2016, George’s last year of high school, he remained solo until late 2017, when his brother Fenn joined him on drums. About a year later, after many gigs and the recording of George’s debut album, George and Alister reconnected at a show in Melbourne, and Alister was quickly made the new bassist of Pollyman.

When asked, how does it feel to have Pollyman’s debut album out? George replied, “it felt great. I recorded the album when the band was still only me and my brother…I’d been recording demos the whole time.” George recorded four tracks on tape machines in rounds of two weeks at a time. Yes, tape. It’s making a comeback in Melbourne’s music scene. George is particularly a fan since it “has a warmth and unique clarity.”

Fret about it as much as you like but at the end of the day if you think it’s good and honest, then that’s good enough.

George’s advice to new artists and songwriters is pretty straightforward. He suggests that you can “fret about it as much as you like but at the end of the day if you think it’s good and honest, then that’s good enough. Don’t worry about doing things to please people. Be yourself when you’re performing and writing. Just keep trying and it will all be okay.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. 

The old soul also released some pretty groovy music videos for the songs “Japanese Rock and Roll” and “Inhibitions” with his co-director Willem Kingma. Channeling Bowie and Jagger, “Japanese Rock and Roll” looks like an ode to glam rock and the Japanese flag. Something you wish you saw on Top of the Pops in England on the telly. “Inhibitions” looks like Wes Anderson finally started to listen to cool music and made a video for it. Filmed at significant locations to the artist’s past, this video is a great way to take a flashback into the band’s memories. 

Keep a lookout for their new single called “Dyin’ Alone,” a funky political song on Bonsai Records which will be out sometime in the near future. 

For fans of  Blur, Teenage Fanclub, Jeff Buckley, Small Faces, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Big Star, Raspberries and Cheap Trick: check out Pollyman on all streaming platforms now!

By Nichole Heller

An Interview with Essie Holt

August 3, 2020

Copyright: Anna Hay

1. Hello! What’s your name? Introduce yourself!

                        Hey! I’m Essie Holt and I make indie-pop music. I’m currently living in Syd, but originally from Melbs. 

2. The pandemic has been pretty crazy? Where are you now and what have you been up to lately?

I’ve been isolating in my Sydney home with my girlfriend and housemate. We made a little studio in the attic so I’ve been spending a lot of time up there writing some new music

3. How has the pandemic shifted your creative process? Have you been writing differently lately? Communicating with your collaborators and fans in any new ways?

I think it took me a while to start to be creative again. Covid hit just as I put my EP out, and I needed a little writing break during this time. But now I’m back and loving playing around with production myself. I think I’m writing my best work right now

4. Your latest release Silent Wars is incredible! The EP was released in April. Tell me more about it! What inspired you to title the EP and the opening song, what’s the overall backstory?

Oh thank you. I wrote the EP last year and it was a huge year for me – I came out, ended a long term relationship, moved to Sydney. Gained a lot of friends, lost a lot of friends. It was a pretty crazy time and the EP goes into all of it. 

5. The style and sounds created in your music is super refreshing and peaceful. My favorites on the EP are “Lover X Liar” and “When We Dream.” What/who are your greatest musical influences? 

I love that you love those songs, as they’re my current faves too! Right now I’m listening to a lot of Sylvan Esso, Chairlift, Caroline Polachek. But growing up I loved Missy Higgins SO much. And Megan Washington has also been huge for me over the last decade or so. 

6. So much is changing lately! What do you miss most? Do you have any favorite live shows from the past?I was just starting to get to play my first festivals towards the end of last year, which was so fun. I’m super keen to tour my EP also – hopefully towards the end of the year! I’ve seen so many amazing live shows over the last few years, but Feist was a huge highlight!

7. What would you like to see change about the music industry?I think just a little more education around how things work. As artists we’re super creative and sometimes it’s tricky to get a grasp on the business side of things, especially when you’re starting out and don’t have a huge team behind you. But there’s so many amazing people out there who are just a coffee away when there’s grey areas.

8. What is your advice to aspiring creatives? What do you wish you would’ve known during the creation of the last EP?I think just do things at your own pace, money wise. It’s easy to spend a tonne of money on music, but at the end of the day if you’re writing good music and finding a way to connect organically with an audience, that’s gonna make the biggest impact. 

9. Any other fun stories or things you’d like to talk about? Surely, there’s a funny story that the world must know.Ok so I’ve recently moved house, and there’s this HUGE dog that lives on my street. I’m talking massive, like the biggest dog I’ve ever seen kinda vibe. Anyway, the other day I was sitting at a cafe and this dog literally STEPPED on a chihuahua. It held it under its paw for a few seconds and then walked off. The chihuahua was fine, but my god I’ve never seen a dog this big in my life. The whole street talks about it! 

Check out Essie’s latest release with HANDSOME, “The Walker” here:

Read more from Nichole Heller!

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