D.I.Y essentially means if you want something to happen then you put effort into action and Do It Yourself, rather than waiting for someone else to come along and do it for you. It became an idea deeply embedded in the punk rock world but really it happens everywhere from Playcentres, community events and home repairs.
Good friends of ours, who were the band SABOT, advanced on this idea in one of their last albums called D.I.O – Do It Ourselves – much more communal, much less individual.
The act of making connections is essential, and then decently negotiating those relationships in the hope that ideas and plans develop is an ongoing process. It requires consideration of experience, articulating shared expectations, and discussions across cultural and regional differences. Add to this the challenge of conveying ideas and requirements across multiple languages, multiple timezones, multiple varieties of access to resources and continue to organize with an openness to collaborate without full control on the outcome. These are all great learning opportunities. Random and wonderful things can happen.
One random connection was many, many months ago when we were contacted by Gareth, one of the members of the Unstoppable Sweeties Show. Gareth offered to help us organize a bunch of shows if we were ever in his city of Liverpool. He stumbled across our music via a radio show (thank you Marina). It pays to remember to remember such generous offers. That initial connection was the genesis for our second leg of this tour.
This has been our first trip into the northern parts of the UK. We had shows in Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds. All shows were also with the Sweeties which provided a wonderful chance to hear more than once some of there great tunes and great compositions each really joyful, odd and skillfully delivered. After each show, except Leeds, we returned to Liverpool to rest. This was especially brilliant as we were also touring with a chest infection in tow.
The opportunity to be situated in one place for a few days makes small and unexpected spaces for connections with the local environment more likely. Here in Liverpool, while poking around in the massive cathedral, Chrissie met the artist, described by some as an outside artist, George Lund. We also learned the local history of a nearby barren section called Hitler’s Hill. The story goes that after the 1st world war Adolf came to stay with his older brother in Toxteth for several month before bro sent him packing back to Germany for being a lazy laggard. Years later the bombing happened, The Blitz. Liverpool was second only to London in damage sustained. Possibly in this campaign Adolf’s plan destroyed his brother’s home. Nothing has ever been built on that section, partly, we are told, to avoid creating a magnetic attraction for right wing romantics and fascists. There’s no plaques or any other sign of identification. Just a fence where the litter collects in a neighborhood where kids with lineage from all corners of this diverse world play soccer in the street.
In addition to all this, and on the day of our Liverpool show, we were invited to do a recording session for a series called POSTmusic. The audio sounds incredible and somewhere in the near future POSTmusic will post the video footage of this afternoon outing. Massive thanks to the warm support of Stephen Cole for doing the grunt work. We recommended you check out his band a.P.A.t.T.
This pattern of connections across time continued with the show in Leeds, organised through Danny, who sung in a band from Leeds called Jesus and his Judgmental Father, who we met in Paekakariki a couple years ago. His band was on tour in 2017 and we had the privilege of playing on the same bill on the night that the tail of a hurricane lashed the west coast of the island. That connection resulted in a brilliant night in the Wharf Chambers, the collective-run venue he is a member of in Leeds.
DIY has its challenges though. There is a massive culture of booking via promoters in the UK, and so it has been pretty hard to find a way in.
The advice we received was to start looking for shows in London at least 6-8 months out. So we began in October 2018, and now 8 days before we leave this part of the world we are still without bookings for 2 dates.
Social media is incredible though. We posted a couple of call-outs to the random world to see if anybody has any hints of help. This process in itself is incredibly inspiring. People get behind an endeavour, share posts, entire conversations generated by people we have no direct connection with, exploring their own networks to see if anything can be located for us. The net extends and friends connect to friends who connect to friends. It’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold. We wish we could throw a party for this spontaneous collaboration, this concert of connections, this flurry of mutual support for strangers across time, distance and relationship.
We don’t know yet how this leg concludes but already we are deeply gratified and satisfied. In the health world we’ve heard it said that establishing connection is the way back from the isolation of depression. These opportunities we have, the privilege of being part of the connecting of strangers in enthusiasm, is an inspiring and hope-growing experience. Thanks!
Had the loveliest experience today. Wandered into the balcony area overlooking the Lady Chapel in Liverpool Cathedral.
A man had laid out many large detailed drawings and paintings of the large ornate window at the end of the chapel.
He spied my interest and said hello. We got talking and he said how he had made the drawings. Then he told me stories of how the cathedral was built and about his work as a painter, a performance artist and as a science fiction writer. We also discussed Metallica, a random connection to Auckland and the merits of doing what you love.
After big chats I said I needed to go. He asked if I would like a postcard. Before I could respond he dug his hand deep into a large bag and pulled out a bundle of about 50 postcards. He sifted through them and laid out 3 he thought I would like. I chose his version of the Mona Lisa. Then he flipped it over, asked my name and a wrote it on the back. Then he went to sign it. He began his signature and then said “you have to tell me when to to stop”. I let him swish back and forwards for a while and then said “stop”. He smiled the hugest grin and then wrote some links to his online spaces.
After more stories I eventually left.
It’s warm here in London, but sometimes a couple of layers are required when the temperature suddenly drops. That was not the case a few days ago when we were in the Czech Republic where one local told us that 34C was not a typical temperature for this time of the year. It was hot!
We’re back in London now after completing our first cluster of shows on our biggest tour to date. Before leaving Aotearoa we had about 33 shows scheduled across multiple countries but a few were not confirmed and we were still looking for other performing options.
We approached the booking of this tour like we had done previously: where would we like to go? where have we got friends? where is the good food? where have we been in the past and can continue to grow connections? We mostly follow a d.i.y philosophy which means hundreds of hours juggling multiple conversations across timezones. There are always many conversations early in the morning and late into the night in order to line up all the dots. It’s a bit like an octopus balancing on one leg while the rest of the tendrils are in the air attending to family, the day job and the random chaos of living.
But time and effort doesn’t always produce the result you hope for. By the time we land in London we still manage to have no shows booked in this city.
After a few days rest and recuperation from the jetlag we spend time with family and meet up with friends. One evening in Dalston while out for food we pass by a pub promoting an open mic evening. We spontaneously enquire if it possible for us to play, giving us at least one show in London and a practice opportunity before we fly to Czech the following day. And it was brilliant fun. There is something quite delightful in making an effort to be included into these generally local events. We meet some good people, and you never know who may be able to help sort out something else out somewhere.
The Czech leg also unfolded in unexpected ways. Our dear friend Romek, who had organized our previous tours as well as the current group of shows, became deeply unwell in April this year. It was heartbreaking to hear of his death in the weeks leading up to our departure. Romek had been a central event organiser for many years in Czech, as well as being guitarist for the pre-revolution era punk band F.P.B (recently reformed) and also guitarist in Už Jsme Doma.
We also expected to travel and play with Už Jsme Doma on this trip but again plans were scuppered as their bass player had an arm in plaster. But a positive upshot for us was that our friend Mirek Wanek decided to accompany us for the whole time and became both awesome guide and tour manager. Mirek also hosted us in his home and we had the pleasure of attending the local village primary school end of year event with his family.
Our final show in Prague was at the memorial event for Romek which was held in a venue called Meetworks. It was programmed with acts that Romek had help promote over the years. It was an honor to be able to acknowledge our connection with our friend and the Czech community around him. It was also a pleasure to perform on the same stage as great Czech acts like Už jsme Doma, Zuby Nehty, Plastic People of the Universe and Dunaj.
Finally we spend a couple of days at CESTA in Tabor. We first visited CESTA 15 years ago on our first trip to Czech. It was established by Chris Rankin and Hilary Binder, the power duo behind the group Sabot, as a ‘Cultural exchange station’ with a philosophy based on social justice and liberation. Hilary now lives in Italy, Chris had remained at CESTA. It is our extremely good luck that fortuitously Hilary is here helping Chris do the catering for a conference on activist wellbeing and care (I think) . These chances at reconnecting are one of the main reasons that we travel.
We return to the UK midweek for some rest time. We had tried extensively to book shows into this period but after contacting multiple venues in Poland, Germany, Amsterdam and Scotland we hailed in a grand total of zero offers. However, while on the train from Stansted back to our London accommodation and checking in on the old social media, a post popped up via one of the new connections gathered while looking for shows, asking for bands for a show at a London bar that had experienced some line up disaster. Some rapid text exchanges ensued and we scored the opening shot for a band from Portsmouth called Black Helium- a doom rock, stoner sonic barrage, skillfully executed and nice people to boot. The bar, The Underdog, was wonderfully receptive and welcoming. So all and all something that at one point felt disastrous turned into a perfectly good night out. The lesson is just to put yourself in the front of random opportunity and see what happens.
End of leg 1
And that octopus with seven legs in the air still looks like a brilliant dancer to us.
From their site:
“25 years of tenzenmen! 15 years since the label launched! 5 minutes since last looking for new music from around the world!
Really, anniversaries and longevity are not that important. Over time, though, tenzenmen has built up an intimidating catalogue of music. As tenzenmen policy dictates working with ANY genre of music it can be frustrating for tiny punk minds to listen to some furious hardcore that has them bouncing around their bedrooms only to find the next release is some obscure harsh noise project. But there will never be any compromise! tenzenmen is here for the adventurous.
The 20/20 revision series is an effort to help music explorers discover some of the delights held within the tenzenmen catalogue. Number 1 in the series, available now, is a free download featuring tracks from the first 20 releases. In other words, the ubiquitous compilation album. But I like to think of it more as a mixtape for a potential loved one.
To help out our tiny punk-minded listeners I’m hoping you, the good friends and explorers of tenzenmen can help disseminate information by forwarding this email, sharing links to friends, doing whatever it is that kids do these days instead of actually making mixtapes. I and all the artists involved with working with tenzenmen would very much appreciate that.”
It’s immensely exciting to announce the Orange Time Tour for 2019:
- 11 Tue London, Dalston : Venue : The Rocksteady
- 12 Wed Ceske Budejovice : Venue – Velbloud Music Bar
- 13 Thurs Prague: Venue – Cafe V Lese w/Zuby Nehty
- 15 Sat Brno: Venue – Stará pekárna
- 16 Sun Prague : Venue – Meetfactory :Romej’s Not Dead
- 20 Fri London : Venue – The Underdog London w/Blqck Helium
- 25 Tue Liverpool : Venue – Kazimer Stockroom w/Unstoppable Sweeties Show
- 27 Thurs Nottingham : Venue The Golden Fleece – w/Unstoppable Sweeties Show
- 28 Fri Manchester : Venue – Old Abbey w/Unstoppable Sweeties Show
- 29 Sat Leeds : Venue – Wharf Chambers w/Unstoppable Sweeties Show
- 6 Sat Boskovice Festival Czech
- 12 Fri London : Venue – TBC
- 13 Fri London : Venue – TBA
- 17 Wed Chiang Rei THA
- 18 Thurs Chiang Mai : Venue – Thapae East Gate
- 19 Fri Bangkok : Venue – Jam, w/LowFat , TABATA MITSURU and Yoga From Hell
- 20 Sat Kuala Lumpur TBA
- 21 Kuala Lumpur TBA
- 26 Fri Keningau : Venue – Nosebleed Garage
- 27 Sat Kota Kinabalu : Venue – MarsKK
- 30 Tue Yogyakarta IDN
- 31 Wed Yogyakarta IDN
- August: 1 Thurs Yogyakarta IDN
- 3 Sat Guangzhou: Venue – TBA
- 4 Sun Shenzhen : Venue – Brown Sugar Jar
- 8 Thurs Wuhan : Venue – Prison
- 10 Sat Beijing: Venue – School
- 11 Sun Beijing : Venue – Temple Bar
- 13 Tue Beijing: Venue – DDC
- 14 Thurs Seoul : Venue – Haroo Spacebus – Bulgasari Special
- 16 Fri Seoul : Venue – Strange Fruit
- 17 Sat Seoul : Venue – Bbang
- 20 Tue Tokyo : Venue – Ogikubo club Doctor
- 21 Wed Tokyo : Venue – Aja-Bar
- 22 Thur Tokyo : Venue – Nishi-Eifuku JAM
In an age of growing awareness of being part of a responsible global citizenry, we will offset our transport/Carbon Footprint using the local service Ekos. We encourage all traveling creative people, and all others, to do the same.
A line up of some of Wellington’s best bands featuring female-identifying guitarists, bass players and drummers, including Hex, Womb, Linen, Mr Sterile Assembly, and Oonaverse. With Mean Wahine DJs from Death Ray Records!
Wellington Museum/ DJs from 7:30PM, Bands 8:30 PM/ FRI 24 MAY / $10.00 / CASH BAR
Brimming with frustration, imagery, and verve, New Zealand-based rock duo HEX (Kiki Van Newtown and Jason Erskine) deal in subversion: a discordant, electric experience under the umbrella of sonic twilight. Since 2015 HEX have toured throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the USA, opening for major acts including Dinosaur Jr and The Kills. HEX spent 2018 touring the U.S including official showcases at SXSW, and being covered by The Chicago Tribune and NPR, who said “HEX calls its sound “witch-rock,” and damned if it doesn’t sound like, well, witch-rock: dark and sinister, gritty and ethereal, muscular and feminine. The portentous epic “Sight Beyond the Line” storms and billows with ominous intensity, driven in part by the commanding presence of singer Kiki Van Newtown.” Their next LP ‘Big Woman’, due for release in late 2019.
Part punk, part noise, math rock, free-form squall, mr sterile Assembly are not easy to box, and are quite happy about that. Described as “A jolt of pure creative spirit married to social commentary, and damn good fun!” by NZ Musician, the punk duo have toured their socially conscious lyricism and organic odd time-signature mayhem across the globe. As Nick Bollinger says, “Catch them if you can. There’s nothing else like it.”
Armed with her trusty Axe and a Peavey Rage, Oonaverse (Bek Coogan) has made an art out of breaking down the barriers between performer and audience. Described recently at the Audio Foundation’s Nowhere Festival as “NZ’s first lady of rock’ n’ roll yodelling and a veteran of counter culture,” Coogan was the only member of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra to ever jump offstage and crowdsurf at a gig (much to the surprise of the seated audience). She supported Bonnie Prince Billy on a tour of Germany with the band Full Fucking Moon, and once wrestled a person-sized replica of the Palmerston North clock tower and won, riffing over it in a symbolic victory over concrete and patriarchal linear time. Is it art? Is it music? Will it hold together?
Made up of twins Charlotte and Haz Forrester and their sister Georgette Brown, Womb creates oceans of sound – from alt-folk soundscapes to the outer boundaries of dream-pop, where swirling synthesisers intersect with tenderly plucked guitars and otherworldly singing. With two albums under their belt, the trio is set to take on a ten-date tour of China in 2019.
One of Wellington’s buzziest new bands, Acid Rock trio Linen’s sound combines beefy grooves with fruity riffs, to create a long lasting mood. Guitarist Emerald, Bassist Kate and drummer Tom are always seeking the chance to create, establishing a body of work that feels authentic and personal. They were a standout act at the 2019 Newtown Festival.
Death Ray Records’ (RIP) mean Wahine Djs will start the night off at 7:30PM.
Update: all $$ collected will go in solidarity to the affected Muslim communities of Christchurch after the recent white supremacist Attacks on two mosques.
Come along to Valhalla for the converging of threes.
An evening of gargantuan goodness
The three-headed beasty of Ghidoragh pounding out epic, frenetic tunes like spitballs of sound.
Unsanitary Napkin – a three-piece power house channelling a punk fury – like serenades for the spitting heads of Trump/Jones/Kavanagh – the Axis of Deceivable.
mr sterile Assembly – 1+1= 3 for this lot, sharpening claws for an impending international trip of weirdness with a bunch of tunes looking for a place to settle, best danced with three left feet.
Get it in your ears!
a drive around the block is statistically insignificant in terms of the overall impact on the climate. That said, when a million turn an ignition key, it moves into the collective realm of statistical, and planetary, significancy. The heat is on.
Interpretation of Timothy Morton
So we just bought carbon credits to offset our trip to Tokyo and Seoul. And it’s an easy thing to do.
From memory, Naomi Klein said in her book This Changes Everything, that a transition away from high-carbon to low-carbon activities is essential for ongoing viability of life on earth. She cites creative endeavours, such as the arts, as being a low-carbon activity to encourage. That’s a nice thing to hear if you make things such as music, it has a feel-good buzz to it, a pat-on-the-back for not launching tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere willy-nilly by being a ‘dirty polluter’.
But then we hop on a plane to go and play random weird tunes elsewhere because we can. Carbon, say hello to the atmosphere. And though it’s highly likely the plane will still have dumped that much carbon without us on board, the fact remains that we are on board, we have added encouragement to the intercontinental flight network [it is an amazing thing!], and we know that the impact of such events collectively cumulate into an unfolding hyperobject called Climate Change. [Again, read or watch Morton’s ideas on Hyperobjects].
How to mitigate such impacts? What’s a personal responsibility in this regard? How to offset the negative impacts of a positive endeavour? Talk to EKOS.
Ekos makes carbon footprint measurement and offsetting accessible for businesses and individuals. Our carbon credits come from our own carbon projects that grow and protect indigenous forest. These projects do more than capture carbon: they reduce erosion, help to clean waterways, improve biodiversity and provide sustainable income for local communities in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. [from website]
Carbon offsetting is easy. This is the second time we’ve used EKOS to help carbon offset our tours and they are super helpful. You can read about the first time in the post, Out of step to not offset. They assist to calculate the impact of flights, trains, taxis and other transportation required. To offset our trip to Tokyo and Seoul we paid approximately NZ$240, that covered all transport as well as any other calculation we were unable to supply.
Carbon offsetting means planting trees. Planting one tree sequesters about one ton once fully grown. One ton is statistically insignificant in the grand scheme of things. However after planting one million trees, and then multiply that further, then it does start to have some statistical, and actual, significance. Let’s plant some shade.
We would encourage all touring act, big and small, to investigate offsetting your projects where possible. There may be local equivalents in the areas where you live. Check it out.
We wrote this last time, seems worth saying again: “We hope other creative practitioners and festival organisers can hook up with a services like Ekos and make reducing their carbon footprint a regular and expected part of creative responsibility and activity. “
Playing at Snails on Friday 16 November in support of the tour act Zaïmph from NYC.
From the AltMusic promo:
Altmusic is proud to announce a nationwide tour for New York psychonaut, Zaïmph.
Zaïmph is the solo project of artist, musician and performer Marcia Bassett. Zaïmph’s recordings and performances shimmer with a dense, dissonant and often unsettling electronic aura, shot through with flashes of meditative beauty. Her preferred sonic toolkit includes prepared guitar, keyboard, cracked drum machines, custom-built noise/drone boxes, processed environmental sounds and tabletop effects.
As a co-founder of Philadelphia’s shambolic psychonauts un, tectonic drone pioneers Double Leopards (with Jon Chapman of Dunedin’s EYE), and the psych-folk drone trio GHQ, Bassett is deeply entwined with the American noise underground, and has mapped regions still only dimly understood by subsequent sonic travellers. From 2003-2008, Bassett joined Matthew Bower in Hototogisu, where her mastery of cacophonous eardrum shred achieved monolithic proportions.
Bassett’s releases have appeared on a variety of independent labels including Hospital Productions, Utech Records, Volcanic Tongue and No Fun. Although Bassett has released a number of recordings on her now retired Heavy Blossom imprint, she continues to showcase Zaïmph and other aesthetically allied projects on Yew, a label she founded in 2012.
“It would be tough to write a history of the last two decades in underground music without including Marcia Bassett … and any angle would have to include Zaïmph, Bassett’s solo project. Through small-run releases on numerous labels including her own, Heavy Blossom), Zaïmph has carved out a unique take on decaying feedback, assaultive fuzz, echoey ambience, and abstract expression.” – Marc Masters, Pitchfork, The Out Door
“…blasting a hole through the flimsy wall that separates ‘dark psychedelic’ and ‘free drone-rock’.” – Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic
:::: NZ TOUR DATES ::::
Wednesday 14th November:
Auckland – Audio Foundation with Rachel Shearer and Rosy Parlane
Friday 16th November:
Palmerston North – Snails – with DSLB and Distance
Saturday 17th November:
Wellington – the Pyramid Club – with Thomas Arbor and Ludus
Friday 23rd November:
Christchurch – Dark Room – with Teen Haters and Scythes
Saturday 24th November:
Dunedin – Blue Oyster Art Project Space – with Ye and Gate
Wednesday 28th November:
Auckland – The Wine Cellar – with Psychick Witch and Astrolabe
Been a while since we had a show in Wellington, and gonna be nice to be back at Moon. It’s our first show back after the Tokyo/Seoul tour so should be crackling….
Will be nice to play with Pom Pom from Palmerston North, and Good Fuck from Wellington.