19 Feb 2019

Electric Avenue: Three Kiwi acts not to miss

From RNZ Music, 4:00 pm on 19 February 2019

The Electric Avenue music festival returns to Christchurch's Hagley Park this Saturday. RNZ's Katie Todd picks three local acts not to miss.

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Photo: Supplied/RNZ/Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The day-long festival will feature sets from Shapeshifter, Netsky, Rudimental, Aloe Blacc and Orbital.

Amid the big names, there are some excellent homegrown up-and-comers you shouldn’t miss.

Here are three picks from RNZ’s Katie Todd.

1. Yoko-Zuna, Melodownz & Raiza Biza (1.50pm, Park Stage)

This trio of Auckland acts have a lot of zzzz's in their names but are far from snoozers.

Four-piece hip-hop/electronic/jazz group Yoko-Zuna are moving and shaking across the EDM scene with a sound they say "hasn't been previously seen in New Zealand," including sub-electronic frequencies, melodic moments, and immense bass-synth-fuelled drops.

In just three years they've dispatched two albums and an EP, played sets at Rhythm and Vines, Northern Bass, Splore, Soundsplash and Homegrown, and fused their skills with a number of big-name New Zealand vocalists.

For Electric Avenue, Yoko-Zuna have recruited the vocal capabilities of Melodownz (Bronson Price) who rolled onto playlists with his debut album Avontales last year (think a sharp, gritty Home Brew) and Hamilton-based Rwandan rapper RAIZA BIZA (Ray Ruzibiza), who has used smooth baritone and contemplative storytelling to accrue an international following.

2. Leisure (4.40pm, Park Stage)

Leisure's sound is a mellow amalgamation of soul, pop and synth. The five-piece Auckland band made waves on SoundCloud in 2015 with the release of their single ‘Got It Bad’. Later that year they signed to Saiko Management, the boutique music management company known for scouting out talent including Lorde.

Leisure dished out a fresh selection of tunes late last year and have been coasting around the country performing them - but they're already accruing demand to perform overseas.

3. Cymbol (5.15pm, Cosmic Stage)

The indie-dance sensation Cymbol, aka Shivnesh Sumer, slithered onto airwaves with a catchy number called ‘Best Friends’ last July. But the Auckland producer has been making music for much longer under the moniker Cymbol 303. In 2013, he clocked up thousands of streams with remixes of Lorde's ‘Tennis Court’ and Eric Clapton's ‘Layla’, and in 2015 he released a conjoint album called The Cycle with fellow Kiwi artist This Pale Fire.

Sumer's colourful, hook-driven, electronic tunes have earned him an international record deal with Tinted Records and time on the big stage at Rhythm & Vines, Homegrown and Our House. He promises a debut solo record in the near future, including collaborations with musicians from at home and abroad.

  • Orbital bring live show to NZ
  • LIVE SESSION: Yoko Zuna perform songs from their new album Voyager
  • High Beams ft. Che Fu live at RNZ
  • Tastes Like it Sounds - Melodownz
  • Electric Avenue takes place this Saturday, 23 February at Christchurch's Hagley Park.