7 Apr 2018

The Mixtape: Taite Music Prize finalists

From RNZ Music, 4:00 pm on 7 April 2018

Alex Behan gives us a sample of the music nominated for the prestigious Taite Music Prize, including tunes from Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid, Teeks, Fazerdaze and more.

Eight contenders, but only one winner.

Eight contenders, but only one winner. Photo: Image: Supplied/RNZ

Now in its ninth year, the Taite Music Prize recognises outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one recording – aka, an album.

Here, we bring together songs from each of the finalists, as well as look back at interviews they've done with us over the last year.

RNZ Music will be streaming the Taite Music Prize live on Tuesday, April 17 from 7pm.

This year’s eight finalists were selected from a lengthy list of 92 nominations submitted by record labels both independent and major.

Aldous Harding – Party

“Songs like 'Horizon' were challenging because that song is so much about the performance and me being with everyone. So it was difficult to translate it to a strictly audio thing.

“Making this record felt surprisingly natural to me. Not easy, but it didn’t stress me out.

“This is stuff that I’ve always been insecure about before. Whether what I was doing was coming from a place that is genuine enough for people you know? And I think now I genuinely want to make good music and good art. But I’m far more interested in doing something credible than something authentic.”  

RELATED: The Mixtape - Aldous Harding

Nadia Reid – Preservation

“I basically just self-released my first record and didn’t stop. I kind of just kept going. There was a natural building of people who were coming to my shows, and the opportunities we were getting, and I jumped on the wave and just let it happen. There was a natural, organic build and now it’s happening in a way that works.”

Hear the full interview with Nadia Reid, plus live performances of two previously un-released songs (video)

TEEKS – The Grapefruit Skies 

"I didn’t grow up going to church, but when I wrote 'Wash Over Me' I was kind of – it is like a redemptive song and it talks about becoming new and having a fresh start. I kind of had a hard year last year and I just wanted to start new.

"My grandfather was an Arch Deacon and he was sick at the beginning of last year so my dad asked me to sing a gospel song one time, so I decided to use this song as a dedication to him."

Hear the full interview with Teeks, plus live performance (video)

Fazerdaze – Morningside  

"I do try and play guitar like a woman. I’ve seen so many guys play guitar and I want to play guitar like I feel like playing it.

"Fazerdaze is my solo project and I write, record, arrange … When [the band] plays shows I don’t think people realise I’ve written everyone’s parts and I’ve actually arranged everything myself.

“I edited the 'Lucky Girl' music video myself and it’s crazy how many people comment on my looks rather than the fact that I produced it and edited it and played every instrument on it and edited the video myself.

“No-one comments on that! ... [I’m like] 'but, but - look at the art I made and the effort that went into it!'"

RELATED: She Will Rock You - Amelia Murray (Fazerdaze)

Grayson Gilmour – Otherness 

"I do actually use cassettes for degrading stuff. I might record something really cleanly and then want to ruin the sound or make it sound more ‘of a time’. Like it’s been jammed in a car stereo for two decades.

"So I’ll use [a] double cassette deck ... to record out my audio and dub it between cassettes thirty or forty times.

"Then I record each step of the way and perhaps time stretch it back into tune and into sync with other things. It’s a total labour of love and I love doing it because you get such weird anomalies popping up.

"I’m sure someone will make a plugin to do it eventually but for now, I’m happy to spend a few hours overdubbing the same thing on top of itself using cassettes."

RELATED: Headquarters - Grayson Gilmour (video)

Kane Strang – Two Hearts and No Brain 

"I did [think twice] about the lyrics but now I see the humour in it. The choruses are a very full-on reaction to a not very serious situation. There’s humour there. I don’t want people to take it super seriously.

"That’s probably what changed because when I wrote it, I was just being an angsty little boy.

"I think a lot of people do take it very seriously and think I’m this miserable person, but I put it on there to represent that formative time."

Hear the full interview with Kane Strang

Mermaidens – Perfect Body 

"I think we were very influenced by surf rock and it was kind of like party music the first EP. We were all really into the band Warpaint and PJ Harvey and Patti Smith. And also post-punk bands like Slint and Tortoise."

Hear the full interview with Mermaidens, plus a live performance (video)

The Bads – Losing Heroes 

Dianne Swan:  “Brett was in The Mockers and I was in When The Cats Away and I ran away to England. Brett was already there. We started writing together and formed a band over there called The Julie Dolphin and did some pretty cool things.

Jesse Mulligan: “Has it been romantic at some point?”

Dianne Swan: “It still is we think.”

Hear the full interview and live session with The Bads