One of the best things about the TUNE! project is seeing the diverse range of influences different artists reveal. The spectrum of musical collections is a great reminder that nothing is monolithic. It is easy to assume graffiti writers and street artists are all simple stereotypes (hooded vandals or hipster artists), the reality is, of course, not so monochromatic. For this edition of TUNE!, we talk to enigmatic local graffiti writer, photographer and urban explorer PK, who drops an eclectic mix of tunes, from Grace Jones and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to Dam Native and The Birthday Party, a perfect example of spiraling influences…
PK: Music is my second biggest obsession (the first isn’t hard to guess!). I think music is definitely the cooler of the two. I don’t often listen to stuff while I’m painting or going about my day now, but I have fun memories of boosting around on all night missions as a teenager listening to my punk cassettes and BBC One In The Jungle mixes. I wanted this list to have a bit of everything I enjoy but it got to like 50 songs so I cut it down to a lucky 13 that I think represents most of what I’ve been listening to recently…
Burning Witch – Stillborn
Lydia Lunch – Friday Afternoon
Joanne Robertson – Hi Watt
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – E to G
Flipper – Shed No Tears
Townes Van Zandt – White Freight Liner Blues
Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence – Grey/Afro
Scraps – Baby Baby
Grace Jones – Me! I Disconnect From You
Strawberry Switchblade – Trees and Flowers
The Birthday Party – Sonny’s Burning
Dam Native – Battle Styles
Marilao – F*@k Me Moon [Morph]
TUNE! is an ever-growing playlist of the music that inspires our favourite creatives – stay tuned for our next edition!
The next entry in our ever-growing playlist of music that inspires our favourite creatives comes from graffiti artist Peaz. With a mix of hip-hop, low-fi, pysch and blues, these cuts are a perfect blend and reflection of the artist’s tastes and a world view that is about the present and the importance of expression and experiences…
Peaz: I love all kinds of music, especially depending on which part of my life journey is being experienced. Everything from early psychedelic rock to the newer styles, doom, hip hop, blues, jazz and metal. Much like graffiti, I especially value artists with a message, who have a story to tell. There is a lot to be said for music and art that makes us look a little deeper and think a little differently. Most of the artists listed here constantly remind me of what’s really important in life and existing, much like being active as a writer. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and being here, now; living in every moment and expressing oneself as authentically as possible. It’s almost impossible to sweat the small stuff when creating and experiencing, so I suppose that’s what makes music more meaningful to me.
Tattoo artist, painter of gory monsters and creatures, maker of miniatures and custom toys, illustrator, Smeagol describes himself as having his “fingers in all the pies”. This wide ranging creativity makes it understandable that his taste in music would be equally diverse. After sending a killer playlist of 10 tracks that span the alt 90s vibes of Jane’s Addiction, the verbose wordplay of Aesop Rock, the energy of Misfits, the grooves of Modjo and even the croon of Chris Isaak, he explained 30 might have allowed him to fully cover his eclectic tastes. Oh well, it looks like we will just have to have more volumes of Tune! with Smeagol in the future…
Ironically asking a near deaf artist their favourite songs is probably a bad idea, but my art and lifestyle revolves heavily on music. From birth my parents enforced a good taste in music so to say, 70s staples like Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, and on and on…
My childhood was straight 80s and 90s baddassery. Grunge and alternative was life: Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Garbage… In between then and now, I’ve picked up on every genre in between and I literally listen to anything, hip hop mainly, but rock, metal, dance, DnB, soul, 90s trash, punk… Gimme something I haven’t heard please! Thanks for listening to my Ted talk.
Jane’s Addiction – Jane Says
Queens of the Stone Age – Burn the Witch
Aesop Rock – No Regrets
King Geedorah – Take Me To Your Leader
KMD – Sweet Premium Wine
Misfits – Hybrid Moments
Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Ramirez – The Fo Five
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Giannis (feat. Anderson .Paak)
Follow Smeagol on Instagram to see all of his creative goodness!
The latest contributor to our ever expanding playlist Tune! is our pal Daken – our favourite graffiti, comics and bootleg toy enthusiast. When he provided us with his selection of five songs that inspire him as an artist, he admitted it was not an easy task, pointing to evidence of a scrawled page of ‘almost’ cuts that didn’t quite make his final list. Daken’s selection is influenced by his creative endeavours and, importantly, his role as a father, music serving as a bridge between his youth and his children. With a mix of hip-hop, Emo and the genre mixing Gorillaz, it is a road trip through a few eras, which is, to borrow a phrase, “for the children”…
Music is the closest thing I will get to time travel in my lifetime. Not to say I don’t listen to contemporary artists, I listen to a wide range of stuff. But two years ago a couple things happened. I became a father and I found a new art medium: bootleg art toys. Being a father lends itself to reflecting on one’s own childhood experiences. Trying to work out what makes you, you. Working in this new medium that invites play, wonder and nostalgia, my listening habits seem to be a higher percentage of things I listened to as a kid. Certain albums, artists, songs or even lyrics acting as doorways to memories I can pull on, to pass onto not only my art but to my children too. I hope you like these memories I put together for y’all. Stay dope, peace homies.
Jessie Rawcliffe is our next contributor to Tune! our ever-growing playlist of the music that inspires our favourite creatives. Jessie has built a reputation for her stunning works, often portrait-based, and constructed with intricate, painstaking detail. Her painting of Pōneke based tattooist and artist Richard Warnock is a finalist in The 2022 Adam Portraiture Award, a biennial competition and exhibition held at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington. The Adam Portraiture Award is considered Aotearoa’s most prestigious painted portrait award. The first time she has been selected for the exhibition, Jessie’s painting is one of 45 works on public display from 26 May to 14 August.
Music has been an ever present part of my life – it’s affected the people and aesthetics I’ve been exposed to and has been a way of connecting with others. It’s fair to say that it’s influenced what and how I make.
There’s plenty of music I love that won’t get played while I paint. I’m looking to get into a dissociative state. Having to change album is a massive buzz kill and I’m haunted by that stupid sound my UE Boom makes when it turns itself off.
As problematic as Spotify is, I heavily rely on autoplay from the first thing I pick to give me a few hours of agreeable background noise. I’m only partially listening.
Each of these artists lead in a direction I like going.
MF DOOM – A.T.H.F (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
Minor Threat – Betray
Idles – Colossus
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
[Video contains mature content]
Night Lunch – Haunted Mill
Follow Jessie on Instagram and check out our expanding playlist in our other editions of Tune! right here on our blog…
In preparation for his upcoming exhibition Even in Darkness (opening at Fiksate on April 1st, 2022), I was lucky enough to sit down with Jacob Yikes and chew the fat over not just the new work he was getting ready to present, but a range of topics. Music was inevitably on the table, and it has long been known how central music is to Yikes’ creative practice (from song titles used for shows and works, to his choice of accompanying soundtracks for exhibitions), serving as a constant companion to his work.
When I asked him to put together a playlist for Tune! he jumped at the chance and sent me a list of a dozen songs within a day. Then he sent me a new list the following day. It was clear how much of a role music plays in his process and life. The music is, much like his art, evocative and transcendental, smooth and yet dark. From Miles Davis to Mara TK and a choice cut of independent hip hop and jazzy down beats, this is a truly killer playlist that needs no lengthy introduction…
Mara TK –Highly Medicated
Blockhead – Give Them Their Flowers
Khruangbin X Knxwledge – Dearest Alfred (My Joy)
Blu – amnesia
Skyzoo – Free Jewelry
Med, Blu, Madlib, feat. Anderson Paak – The Strip
Ivan Ave –Phone Won’t Charge
eLZhi, feat. Royce da 5’9 – Motown 25
Oh No- Elegant Smoke
@peace –Fine Night
The Doppelgängaz –Boston Beard
Miles Davis – Blue in Green
Even in Darkness, a selection of paintings by Jacob Yikes will run from April 1 to April 30 at Fiksate Gallery, 54 Hawdon Street, Sydenham
Next up on Tune!, our ever-expanding playlist of the music that inspires our creative friends, is Dr Suits. If Dr Suits is painting in his studio space at Fiksate, chances are there is a classic Reggae, Ska, Dub or Rocksteady vinyl playing. With an impressive collection of vintage and re-released vinyl (trips to Ride On Super Sound are a common occurrence), the music is a strong influence on his creative process, setting the mood for for his work and manifesting in various ways. For Tune! Dr Suits takes us on a trip through these vital and influential genres…
Music is a fairly important part of my creative process. I use music to help me get in a calm and consistent frame of mind. To do this, I like to play vinyl, predominantly Dub, Rocksteady, Ska and Reggae. The older the better. What I like about this music is its experimental and honest imperfections you can hear in the music. The artists are more about exploring a concept rather than trying to perfect a composition. Plus I generally love any old Jamaican music!
Playing vinyl means I’m engaged in the act of listening, its much more tactile. I like the physicality of flicking through the crate and experiencing the artwork, opening the cover, admiring the details on the insides and the sleeves. Each record will have 4-6 tracks on one side, this means every 20-30 mins of listening, in no time, I’m back there exploring the music again. So, although I like the tunes, I also love the vintage graphics, photography and bizarre outfits of early avant-garde experimentalists of Jamaica.
It’s hard to pick 5 albums, so I’m going to aim to cover the genres listed above…
Jackie Mittoo – The Keyboard King
The Skatalites – African Roots
Lee Scratch Perry – Cloak and Dagger
Studio one – Rocksteady Got Soul
Trojan Records – Rudeboy Rumble
Tune! is an ever-growing playlist of music that inspires our artist friends!
The latest contributor to our expanding creative playlist is Josh Bradshaw. Josh’s list is a reflection of his evolution over the last two years, where his shift from a certain artistic persona and style represents his desire to make work more honest and true to himself. His latest body of work is defined with an anarchic quality that investigates materials and methods of acquisition and draws a fine line between urban decay and beauty. In that regard, his selections for Tune! are raw and aggressive – classic punk and hardcore, from Minor Threat to Descendents, reminders to not pander to a market, but to disrupt and keep pushing…
For the last few years I’ve found myself witnessing an uprising of particularly flimsy shit being made for the sake of nothing except maybe looking ‘trendy’ or ‘urban’ for all the Merivale Mum’s who might happen to flick past your sweet new artist profile double page spread in NZ House & Garden Magazine. I can’t sit here and claim I’ve never been a part of the problem however, I’ve made more than my fair share of sellable crap for the masses. Nowadays when I’m producing new work, I have to listen to music that is going to keep me honest and not settle for making mediocre shit for no reason. I have to listen to music made by more important people that actually have something to say from a more important time than myself and the lame filtered positivity Instagram era that we are all currently living in. Here’s a few favourite albums and discographies I listen to whilst working because who the fuck has time to curate a playlist or change a song every 2 minutes. Keep it aggressive not flimsy.
Dead Kennedys – Kill The Poor
Bad Brains – Bad Brains
Descendents – Milo Goes to College
Tune! is an ever-growing playlist of music that inspires our artist friends!
The next contributor to Tune!, our evolving playlist to make art to, is Mark Catley. With his strongly pop culture inspired paste-ups (from Star Wars to Masters of The Universe and David Bowie) and his alter-ego as DJ Hairdresser on Fire, it is little surprise that music is such a central influence on Catley’s creative practice. But perhaps even more interesting is his late stage initiation into the magic of music, including a humorous story about the RPM speed of a vinyl. The variety of selections has been a striking feature of this series and Mark’s picks are further evidence of this trend, from The Smiths (Hairdresser on Fire is a Morrissey reference) to ABBA and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, as well a few other surprises. So join us as we find out what tunes make Mark Catley tick…
To a lot of people, music is just background noise. Something to have on quietly while you go about your daily life. For others. Music really matters. I fall into the second category. Without music, I doubt I would be alive today.
Music has been there for every special moment in my life. Connecting all the mundane moments in life to the truly magical events or even just reminding me of the various heartbreaks. Like most artists I tend to work with music surrounding me. I also try and pick a song title to name a lot of my art, where suitable.
I didn’t listen to music growing up. If we had the radio on, it would have been the Christian station, Radio Rhema. Even then I really only listened to the Old Testament bible stories told by robots (I mean who else does an eight year-old kid get to read them stories from 2000 years ago?) So when the other kids at school would talk about music I would more often or not just pretend I knew who or what they were talking about. It got to the point where I once had to make up a poem for some class competition about a local radio station. The teacher obviously could see I had no idea what the subject was and so just glued the entry form, poem side down with the brightly, coloured picture facing outwards. I remember feeling really bummed out about that.
But hey, life got worse…
The Seeds Were Sown: Tears for Fears – Sowing the Seeds of Love
The first musical object I ever owned was a 7” vinyl single I won from the Christchurch Star in the 1980’s. It was the Tears for Fears single Sowing the Seeds of Love. I had no idea what the song or who the band was but I was so ecstatic to own my very own record that it didn’t matter!
It’s a big, bombastic, throw-everything-into-the-pot, 80’s single. It also features an amazing over-the-top music video which won many awards.
The funny thing was, as me and my sister never played music on Dad’s stereo, we had no idea there were different speeds for different size records.
Every day after school I would rush home to play the one item of music that was mine… at the wrong speed of 33rpm instead of 45rpm! It wasn’t until a friend flicked the switch on the turntable that I got to hear it at the correct speed. Funny thing is, to this day I still think the correct speed sounds too fast!
Living the Siamese Dream: The Smashing Pumpkins – Hummer
Once I discovered my own music at high school I was in deep.
I found out you could get CD’s from the local library and borrowed Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins. I would then copy the CD onto a tape and play it on repeat. This album just blew my newly forming teen mind. Those dreamy guitars, those crazy vocals! I was hooked.
The Pumpkins were also the first proper big gig I ever went to. It was May 1996 and I was still at high school, so I sent my dad along to wait in line and get the ticket. None of this fancy online buying tickets. I was always grateful my Dad was able to do that. I also once spent a lonely Christmas day in London pretty much by myself with a cheap bottle of wine and a borrowed copy of Siamese Dream. (Best Xmas ever? Maybe not… but still pretty good).
Litter on the Breeze: Suede – Trash
I’ve always felt more in tune with the English way of life and their style of music and moods. Give me a nice rainy day over a bright, scorching hot sun any time. Trash by Suede sums the band up perfectly and is so 90’s it hurts. But I love that pain. (when I first started making my street art and other work, I worked under the name Trash Design. I was told to change that to something else, so I just went with my boring real name. I’ve since been given another way cool handle to use, Bossk-Cat, but it seems too late to try and change now!)
I haven’t got a stitch to wear: The Smiths – This Charming Man
Sure, lead singer Morrissey has turned into an utter twat over the last seven or so years (I won’t say anymore on that subject), but The Smiths as a band have an almost flawless body of work. I did have fun pasting up various The Smiths singles posters around Christchurch years ago. There can’t be many other cities that can say that. This Charming Man is always guaranteed to get me up dancing.
I’m picking up good vibrations: The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Like most nerdy music lads, I got into the Beach Boys years ago. I could link in some deep cut, but really, if you listen to Good Vibrations and don’t feel happy, something must be seriously wrong with you. I had the joy of watching my daughter (Alba, who is two-and-a-half) dancing with sprigs of parsley in each hand to this song recently. I must have been at least 17 before I did that.
My late father did like some ABBA and I found a cheap copy of ABBA Gold on cassette tape. I would drive around in my blue VW Beetle playing it in my car tape deck for a laugh in the late 90’s. But I started to genuinely like the tunes. Hell, I even gave a 10-minute talk on how amazing
ABBA was at a Polytech presentation in the late 90s. They really are a perfect ‘pop’ band. It’s interesting to see the band is about to release a new album, their first in 40 years, and it’s not just some cash tie-in. I mean, this band turned down $1 billion dollars to reform in 2000! Anyway…it’s hard to choose a favourite from ABBA. So let’s just go with S.O.S.
Everyone you know someday will die: The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??
Death…it’s going to get us all one day. It’s hard to remain in the now and just enjoy the people in our lives. This track by the Flaming Lips always brings a tear to my eye. Just another of those ‘perfect pop songs’ by a band just doing what they do. I also had the pleasure of dancing with the Lips up on stage back in London circa 2003. I was dressed as a parrot. I have a photo of me and the band taken by Beth Orton somewhere (I still can’t believe that I had the cheek to ask Beth Orton to take a photo of us all!).
Cause you are gonna: William Shatner – You’ll Have Time
William Shatner released an amazing album titled Has Been back in 2004.
It was produced and arranged by Ben Folds with most of the tracks written by Folds and Shatner. It’s an album that shouldn’t work, but it just does.
Shatner’s over the top delivery is just perfect and a lot of the songs are really heartbreaking. One song is about finding his wife drowned in the pool and another is about trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
They get me every time.
But today I want you to hear this track from Bill. People either love it or hate it. I suppose we don’t like being told we are going to die. I would also often clear people from the CD store I managed with this track… Ahh, the looks the locals in Merivale gave me. Priceless.
Bad dreams in the night: Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
With the arrival of my daughter, Alba, I wanted to make sure I play more music made by strong females. I do tend to be male-centric with my listening. Not entirely sure why. I suppose it’s who I relate to with the lyrics and singing style. But Kate Bush is here, for all her uniqueness. She played the music game her way and got away with it.
Her first ever released single was Wuthering Heights which to this day is still her most famous track. She wrote the song after catching the ending of the 1967 BBC adaptation of the 1847 novel. She was only 18 at the time and recorded the vocals in one take. Only toured twice 1979 and 2014 and sporadically puts albums out when she feels they are ready.
I could easily select any of Kate’s work, but will just stick with her first offering.
It’s not always music…
More often than not, I work alone and sometimes you just get sick of tunes and music and need a break from everything. The following are my go-to for a ‘no music playlist’:
Casablanca – Full soundtrack with film bites
Max Richter – 8 Hours Sleep Score
Steve Roach – Structures From Silence
This 29min ambient track is just sublime. It’s like a direct shot straight to the brain of pure “weightlessness”. I often fall asleep to this track.
And finally some audio books:
The two Alan Partridge books read by Alan Partridge, I, Partridge and Nomad are hilarious. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman is not only one of the greatest stories EVER, but now it has also been made into an audio book with a star-studded cast. Listen to it, before the Netflix show begins next year…
Follow Mark on Instagram and Facebook and keep an eye out for the next issue of Tune!