New Zealand’s modern-day musical movement is captured in action on stage in Maori Television’s new series BASSLINE – premiering on Friday January 11 at 8.30 PM.
Presented by Te Awanui Reeder of Nesian Mystik fame and Helen Crown, BASSLINE is a series of events filmed in Auckland to showcase the cream of contemporary local music. Director Quentin Parr from Revolution Productions says the live atmosphere provides bands with an environment in which they “feed off” to deliver a highly energetic and visual show to the audience at home – something television to date has failed to truly capture.
BASSLINE allows viewers to get up close and personal with Kiwi artists through in-depth interviews and informative field stories, and provides a greater insight into the personalities and motivations behind New Zealand music. Che Fu, Katchafire and Cornerstone Roots are among the acts that grace the stage along with internationally renowned performers Shapeshifter and The Black Seeds who make their television debut with special tour episodes.
“New Zealand music – like our culture – is unique and the recent renaissance highlights the eclectic scope and diversity of the local music industry,” Quentin explains. “From Herbs to The Black Seeds, Aotearoa has been captured by bass-driven music. This type of sound has come to represent a generation and record sales are testimony to this.”
Coming up on BASSLINE:
CHE FU – Friday January 11 at 8.30 PM: Who better to kick off the series than one of the most influential pioneers of modern music in Aotearoa? As well as being one of the forefathers of New Zealand hip hop, Che Fu started his career as the heart and soul of Supergroove. He has created two platinum albums, numerous number one singles and has been the recipient of eight NZ Music Awards including Best Album and Best Male Artist.
OLMECHA SUPREME – Friday January 18 at 8.30 PM: Hailing from Wellington, this act truly reflects the diverse nature of the local music scene. Captained by Imon Starr, formerly of Rhombus and Nuvonesia, who has now moved on to form his own group with an original genre of music that he has labeled ‘Afro Futuristic Roots’.
SHAPESHIFTER – Friday January 25 at 8.30 PM: Exclusive live performances plus back stage with the boys during the Auckland leg of a national tour. Four music students from Christchurch formed this band in 1999 which has gone on to produce four albums, win countless BNet awards and be voted best live act in the people’s choice of the NZ Music Awards. Riddim Wise was only the second drum and bass album in the world to go gold.
ONE MILLION DOLLARS – Friday February 1 at 8.30 PM: Features the release of new album Soup Kitchen which follows the 2005 Energy State which had great press at the time (the NZ Herald judged this band as one of the country’s top 10 acts of summer 2006). BASSLINE talks to the group about the album and the unusual way in which it was recorded – in one sitting with a small audience of friends and relatives sitting in the studio.
HOUSE OF SHEM – Friday February 8 at 8.30 PM: Tipped to become a household name for roots and reggae fans around the country, this band hails from Wanganui and is almost entirely made up of one family. Spearheaded by Karl Perkins (formerly of Herbs and Mana), House of Shem contains five of his sons. A highly anticipated debut album is due to be released by Mai Music later in the year.
SOLAA – Friday February 15 at 8.30 PM: Originally formed in Christchurch in 1997 when the group’s keyboard player David Wright started up a band with old high school mates, Solaa has played alongside acts like Trinity Roots, Salmonella Dub, Shapeshifter and FFD, gathering an expansive fan base along the way. In 2006, they released their debut album Steps in Time which featured collaborations with Scribe, Ladi6, Nat Rose and Hollie Smith.
DIRTY RECORDS – Friday February 22 at 8.30 PM: Two of New Zealand’s top MCs – David Dallas and PNC – perform in this hip hop double-header from the stables of Dirty Records. David is part of hip hop tandem Frontline which picked up the NZ Music Award for best hip hop/urban album in 2006. PNC featured on P-Money’s 321 Remix and won the 2007 NZ Music Award for best hip hop/urban album for his debut album Rookie Card.
UNITY PACIFIC – Friday February 29 at 8.30 PM: Che Fu’s father Tigi Ness is the front man for Unity Pacific which released their second album Into the Dread in mid-2007. That followed their 2002 album From Street to Sky which is also the title of the biographical documentary on Tigi’s life. Director Bryn Evans talks about this legendary musician and revolutionary who stood up against some big opposition.
THE MIDNIGHTS – Friday March 7 at 8.30 PM: A regular on the summer festival circuit, this band formed in 2002 and have played alongside acts such as Katchafire, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Salmonella Dub and The Black Seeds since then. A recently released debut EP Hot Country is a pre-cursor to their up-coming album.
THE BLACK SEEDS – Friday March 14 at 8.30 PM: Live and exclusive on the Auckland leg of their national tour. This crew formed in 1997, has notched up gold and platinum albums, and gathered a large international fan base culminating in the recent record deal with renowned European-based labels Sonar Kollectiv and Rough Trade NL. Not only do their albums sell but they are renowned for their live gigs.
CORNERSTONE ROOTS – Friday March 21 at 8.30 PM: This band formed in 2001 after a session at the Raglan Musician’s Club. Within six years, they have not only produced two highly acclaimed albums but have played alongside reggae heavyweights Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals, Sly and Robbie and Lee Scratch Perry. Jamaican dance hall king Luciano has also recorded a track with the group on their latest album Free Yourself.
NESIAN MYSTIK – Friday March 28 at 8.30 PM: This Grey Lynn posse has been at the top end of the local music scene for five years, producing two highly acclaimed albums as well as several top 10 hits. The lads – including BASSLINE co-host Te Awanui Reeder – have supported major international artists such as Robbie Williams, Missy Elliot, Shaggy and The Black Eyed Peas and played to crowds in excess of 40,000.
KATCHAFIRE – Friday April 4 at 8.30 PM: The finale of the inaugural BASSLINE series. This popular ensemble from Hamilton has come to represent what is the heart of music in Aotearoa. In only a decade, Katchafire has produced three albums – Revival reached double platinum in Aotearoa – and played alongside reggae artists such as the Wailers, Third World, Shaggy and Damien Marley. Check out their new album, Say What You’re Thinking.
An insight into the heart and soul of New Zealand music through live performance, BASSLINE premieres on Maori Television on Friday January 11 at 8.30 PM.