When Richie and I launched our blog, it was the 23rd of December, it was the day of my final radio show for the year and the day before I started my first proper holiday for 2015. Yes, I get to travel to other cities and in 2015 clocked up 3 trips to Australia and 2 to Fiji, but what people often forget is that I'm traveling because I'm working. It's true, going to music festivals is a lot of fun, as is playing music to fans in new places. However, it's still taxing and that coupled with the 24 hours that I spend on my own on the radio per week; well I have to admit, I was well and truly burnt out.
So this Christmas and New Years, I took a bit more time out for myself. My Mum came up to Auckland, we had a quiet Christmas and ate all our favourite things, I exercised, we drove up North, it was perfect. I had intentions to write some blog posts, then remembered that I had taken this holiday for a reason.
Auckland is an interesting city to be in at this time of the year because it's pretty much a ghost town. You'll see the odd tumbleweed and a solitary woman in activewear pushing a pram down Ponsonby Rd, desperately searching for somewhere open that will serve her an extra hot cappuccino with no froth. I like how quiet it gets.
However, come December 29th, I'd had enough downtime and needed to suck some music into my pores. Bass music. Another decision I'd made for the break was not to kill myself by traveling to DJ at multiple New Year's Eve festivals around the country, and to just take things easy and focus on Northern Bass in Mangawhai (only a 90 minute drive from Auckland). I made the right decision.
We attended Northern Bass on the 30th of December and I saw some acts that I had been dying to see live. Foreign Beggars, Keys N Krates, Skepta, Andy C and Spor were fantastic. However that night, it was Swindle who stole my heart. I'd had his music recommended to me by my good mate Jay Bulletproof (whose earlier set also rocked), but it wasn't until I heard the Swindle remix of Little Dragon's song "Klapp Klapp" that I really started to take notice. He has a distinctly jazzy sound with a gritty UK edge; grime, trap, rap, future bass, drum & bass, house - it's pretty hard to define what exactly his sound is, which is one of the things I love about him.
So there I was, dancing on the stage with a crew of friends, all of us enthusiastically shouting each time he spun a new track. He's not only a fantastic producer, but a sick DJ too. I predict great things for Swindle in 2016.
Here's a tune that I really dig from his 2015 album Peace, Love & Music "Mad Ting" featuring JME.
On the 31st of January it was my turn to perform. I played an early afternoon set to a small-ish crowd, but by the time I finished I had a solid and appreciative crew out in full force. I love dark, dirty, wonky House Music, and that's exactly what I played. You can listen to and download my DJ set below.
The rest of the evening had many highlights including Homebrew, Ladi6 and Slum Village. However it was when Brazillian Drum & Bass legend DJ Marky took the stage, accompanied by my good mate and collaborator Tali on MC duties, that the night really kicked into full swing. Watching the set from the stage, the duo had an effortless synergy, despite not having seen each other for a long time. The crowd loved it.
This was all topped off with a memorable set to bring in the 2016 countdown by the legends who are Shapeshifter. It's no secret the guys are bogans at heart (much like me), so I particularly enjoyed the moments when they unleashed their metal guitar riffs on the crowd. I had planned to make it a long night, but decided at the last minute to pull pin after their set and was in bed by 1.30am! There were other acts that I was keen to see, but I'd had so much fun over the two days; I didn't feel like I was missing out. Waking up on New Year's Day without a hangover was a pretty incredible feeling too.
I have to take my hat off to Gareth, Bee and all the crew at FuZen Entertainment for making the event so great. It's grown exponentially in the past couple of years and often promoters struggle to meet the demands that such rapid growth puts on their infrastructures, but I believe they aced it. I hope to return at the end of this year and who knows, if I allow myself to have a bit more downtime throughout the 2016; I may end up playing a few more gigs over the Christmas / New Year's holiday break.