9 Dec 2023

Home Brew's Tom Scott on their first new music in 11 years

From Music 101, 2:45 pm on 9 December 2023
Album cover image for Home Brew Run It Back

Album cover image for Home Brew 'Run It Back' Photo: Supplied

After a long hiatus, Kiwi hip hop royalty Home Brew have released their first album in more than a decade.

Run It Back landed on 8 December, marking the Auckland group's first official release together since their number one self-titled album rocked Aotearoa music a little over 10 years ago.

Tom Scott joined Kara Rickard in the studio to talk about the new album, the long break in between albums and the growth and struggles in between.  

"It feels good. Making the album was amazing and I'm so proud of it. It's a beautiful thing," Scott says.

In some ways, Run It Back marks coming full circle to revist where they were when their first album was created, but with a fresh approach, and in some ways it reflects new growth.

Without a new perspective on making music this album probably wouldn't exist, he says.

Tom Scott

Tom Scott Photo: Supplied

"These days we can understand that the music ain't yours. It don't belong to you - you make the music and then it's for the people. It's only ever what they say it is ... it was never what you thought it was - it never was that. It's only what it is to someone else.

"So letting go of the ego and the critic in my head - that's what I've got to do."

The lyrics in the new album return again and again to tough times and processing trauma, and Scott says that was an important central idea underlaying what they were trying to do.

"It's the blues - Home Brew. My old man raised me up on Amos Milburn, he wrote the song 'Bad, Bad Whiskey' and my old man's band ... they used to cover it, so I grew up on that song, and songs like 'One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer'.

"There were all these beautiful songs about drinking, but underneath it all it's like he's sad that he's lost his girl, or he's drinking again cos he can't get over his trauma.

"Home Brew was always that, a way of processing our trauma through the blues in a way, or hip hop. This album wouldn't probably have been what it was without the trauma involved and the things me and Haz were going through at the time, and it just so happened that we had the blues."

It's a break up album, he says.

Meanwhile, some of the earlier Home Brew songs that Scott at one stage found too emotionally raw, now have a new life and new meaning for him too, after the new meanings fans gave them superceded what they were created from.

In the 11 year recording hiatus for Home Brew they've had other projects they were working on, and this was the right time to come back to the Home Brew, Scott says.

"I think I compartmentalise things a lot to make things easier ... but as I went on throughout the years I found it easier to be all the parts of myself.

"I didn't just have to be a performer who's focused on the fine parts of the music and picking everything apart like I do in ABC [Avantdale Bowling Club], and the compositional stuff that we do in ABC. I didn't just have to be a performer that's jumping over the speakers like I do in Home Brew.

"I can do it all to be real, and that's what makes a good show ... You don't have to be just be one thing in life I think. I used to just pigeon-hole myself into playing these certain characters, but the truth is we are all nuanced.

"I really felt like after all these years - even though it's 11 years too late - I finally knew how to be every part of myself."