The NZ Music Month Playlist Challenge
By Doug Peters.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, it’s pretty hard to miss the fact that every May people around the country celebrate all that is New Zealand music. And while we here at Ambient Light think that much of our music deserves to be celebrated on all twelve months of the year, we’ve jumped in on the bandwagon because, simply, why not partake in the fun!?
So meetings were held (ie: Doug, the fascist but benevolent dictator and sometimes photographer warbled down from his throne on high that the peasants were to partake or risk being drawn and quartered), and it was decided that he would lay down a challenge. Each fabulous artistic Ambient Light team member were to create a playlist of their top 10 favourite NZ songs of all time. And take to that challenge they did!
So read on below and take a wander through these special, eclectic playlists. Celebrate the music that is Kiwi, and perhaps find out a little bit about the team while you do so!
Editor / Photographer – Ambient Light
Doug says: “If anything this playlist shows what’s truly going on in my head. Despite my hard edged, rugged bogan looks – I can’t be pigeonholed into one style of music. It’s all great to me! Now if only we could convince Tami Neilson to duet with Bulletbelt, mixed by Josh from The Mercy Cage I could die a very happy man…”
Journalist / Photographer – Ambient Light
Sarah says: “Being of the eclectic lifestyle; a lover of the dark and all her secrets, my playlist will lead you down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinth: The hypnotic tones of Oscar Dowling will lead the way while His Masters Voice will convince you to shed the shackles of the conventional and give your soul over to the devils blues. As the industrial rhythmic beats of Disjecta Membra and Lichtbeuger course through your veins the guttural vocals of Seas of Conflict will tear at your throat. You watch helplessly from above as Headroller grinds the last of your physical form into dust. But there is no need to fear, your old self has been shed and now the grooves of Thee Rum Coves and The Echo Ohs will carry you back on waves of surfer punk to the shore. There you will walk barefoot through the cool forest, the sultry tones of Eyes No Eyes guiding you towards a glittering door where Andrew Keoghan will take you to Dani Keys for a stiff drink. So tell me – do you dare? Take a sip – and step into my lair …”
Journalist / Blogger – One Take Kate
Kate says: “Kicking off with the frenetic beats of the classic kiwi track ‘Shark Attack’ by the colourful crazy crew Split Enz this playlist offers something for every palette. Maybe you need some hip-hop energy to get you going on these cold winter days, ‘Runnin’ by David Dallas with a little Louie Knuxx’s ‘Body’ have got you covered. And there is nothing more motivational on a Saturday morning than the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of Aaradhna’s voice on the track ‘Wake Up’. Everyone should have at least one song from well known kiwi rockers Shihad on their playlist, and with a career spanning over 25 years why wouldn’t you? So what better than ‘All The Young Fascists’. And for those out there that like it hard, fast and oh so heavy you can’t go past a bit of Antagonist A.D and their song ‘Paul Allen’ (a nod to American Psycho) and the title track from New Zealand’s own horror film ‘Deathgasm’ by the irrepressible Bulletbelt. Top that off with some Xile and Saving Grace and you have the recipe for a perfect storm of NZ metal.”
Journalist – Ambient Light
Bridget says: “For as long as I can remember, I have had some kind of music playing device within reach. During the 80s I had my faithful transistor radio, and Kiwi classics like Split Enz, The Netherworld Dancing Toys, Peking Man and DD Smash were on high rotate. The 1990s saw the introduction of the NZ Music quota, and my interest in Kiwi music continued to grow exponentially. I listened to weekly radio shows such as Counting the Beat every Sunday night religiously, and bands like Shihad, Head Like A Hole, The Nixons and Headless Chickens quickly caught my attention. These bands became synonymous with my teenage years, and to this day remain some of my all time favorite tracks.”
Journalist / Photographer – Chalice of Blood
Mark says: “It may be weird to admit – but I have this distinct memory from my childhood as a 14yr old boy when Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Odyssey” was released in 1988 – I’d been exposed to various rock/metal albums thru my brother’s newly formed destiny as a guitarist – but I seemingly had no awareness of _when_ these albums had come out, and then I discovered Odyssey by myself and I fell into this expensive life of discovering and following musicians. This journey led me down many avenues and genres, with my own Christian background blurring with the love of metal ( I blame heavy brass/marching music ) – and this collection of 10 of my favourite New Zealand songs/artists over the years shows that eclectic nature – from my brothers own haunting melodies ( now a Tui award-winning artist ) to the insanely chaotic progressive/technical death metal of Ulcerate to the over processed, semi-electronic worship of Life Church, and back down to the seminal thunderous noise of early Shihad. New Zealand music is as creative, as varied, and as high a calibre as anything we might normally see with larger international acts. Come on a journey with me for 45 minutes, and witness both extremities of kiwi art.”
Journalist / Blogger – Sammi Sinister
Sammi says: “I am an eclectic person. I have eclectic tastes. I enjoy a range of music styles from old to new, from hip hop to soul. But when it really comes down to it, there isn’t much difference from song to song, genre to genre because the passion is there, right in the words. The meaning, the character, the heart. They all resonate inside me in one way or another, which is why this playlist is so amazing.”
Photographer – Mike Shoots Gigs
Mike says: “NZ Music has transformed radically since I first started listening properly back in the 70’s and 80s. It’s impossible to do justice to all the genres, bands, and favourites in a “Top 10” – so this list is really a “Representative 10”. All the songs mean something to me or transport me to a place, time, person, experience (and isn’t that the joy of music, after all?). Ask me tomorrow and I’d probably make a different list – I’m glad the other Ambient Light wordsmiths and image-makers are here to do justice many other classics that I’ve missed. Also, as one peruses the others’ lists, it becomes very clear just how deep and wide is the vessel that contains NZ Music – so many I’ve yet to discover – truly, our cup runneth over! #kiwimusicftw“
Matt Henry Mendonca
Photographer – Matt Henry Photography
Matt says: “Each one of these bands have a significant role to play in my involvement in the New Zealand music scene. From being some of the first bands I photographed in the Hamilton area to my first experience shooting an international band. The local scene is so tight knit and its a privilege to feel a part of it and knowing that I have made friends with these local bands who have my back and support me in supporting them. When listening to this mixture of Hamilton and Auckland bands it never gives the sense of it being just down the road – they have such international quality behind their writing, recording, talent and work ethics, that in this age of being connected globally with the internet – boundaries are only what you make of them and these bands have broken them. Each year I look forward to finding these gems in this beautiful Long White Cloud I call home.”
Photographer – Crawford Photography
Connor says: “Not only does New Zealand showcase some incredible talent within music but there are also strong communities and collectives throughout New Zealand which fuels the creativity of artists and musicians alike.”
Photographer – Photography by Megan Moss
Megs says: “Pick ten of your favourite kiwi songs & make a Spotify playlist for NZ Music Month he said…. sure no worries man…can do ! …pfft ….difficult as! Constants in my playlists since the first time I heard each of them, these songs all hold some kind of nostalgia for me whether a time, place, person …. or I just plain dig it! The 90’s through early 2000’s kiwi music in particular (for me) across many genres was a bloody awesome time especially, with band after band releasing a cacophony of glorious new music, or a rad new band emerging, or a ridiculously glorious show …. fitting just 10 bands in my play list let alone 10 songs is impossible but I hope you enjoy them as I do! x”
This content is a part of our NZ Music Month coverage, celebrating new and upcoming Kiwi artists. For more information on NZ Music Month you can visit their website.