11 May 2019

The Mixtape: David Farrier

From RNZ Music, 4:00 pm on 11 May 2019

When he's not making documentaries about competitive tickling or danger tourism, David Farrier enjoys listening to music. In this week's Mixtape he shares five of his favourite songs.

David Farrier

David Farrier Photo: Dan Rutledge

Old Man Gloom - Predators

They’re a very loud metal band.

I saw them perform in America last year as this tribute show because their bassist Caleb was killed in a traffic accident. Caleb was involved in a lot of different bands and knew a lot of people musically, and all his bandmates came together for one night and did a tribute show to raise money for his family.

It’s big and it’s loud and it’s abrasive, and it’s sort of my happy place.

I have always found heavy music incredibly relaxing and uplifting, so where a lot of people find pop music, for instance, an uplifting experience, I find the same with metal. It’s just my happy place.

I think it’s a lot to do with the rhythmic nature of the whole thing. That makes my head really happy.    

And I just like the scene in general. There’s no better show than a metal show, and I just have endless appreciation for the people who go, and the musicianship on display. I just have the most fun at those kinds of concerts.

Kirin J Callinan - Landslide

I went to see Liam Finn perform years ago, and Kirin was opening. I didn’t know him at all and I was just blown away.

His music ticks off a bunch of things I like: It’s incredibly abrasive but has some really poppy hooks in there, and just lots of weird loud noises. I get really excited if there some weird noise going on in a song.

This goes for if I’m listening to metal, or hip hop, or pop. If there’s a weird sample of like a jackhammer or a bit of construction equipment or other weird noise, something about that just makes me so happy.

Kirin’s song ‘Big Enough’ has gone really big online, and that’s very fun and silly, but then he can create a song like this one, which is a beautiful, emotive, quite powerful bit of music that I just adore.

Princess Chelsea - Yulia

This is the kind of pop that I like. It’s a bit warped, and a bit weird, and it’s catchy. It’s often got the weird noises that I like (that I talked about earlier).

I was already a fan of Chelsea’s, and then she did this song called 'Yulia', which was based on a story I’d done for Nightline.

Yulia is a ‘popera’ singer. New Zealand loved her. She sold a lot of records.

Then she fell in love with her manager Glynn. They put out a press release to all the major news organisations in New Zealand, so I was sitting at my desk one day and received this press release. It was written in the craziest way. There was a lot of positive affirmation, some talk about the multiverse… it was crazy.

I did a Nightline story about it where I got my mate Dan to read it out while he did rolly-pollies down a hill.

Anyway, Princess Chelsea turned it into a song, and I think it’s a good representation of how interesting her music is.

Nine inch Nails - Shit Mirror

All time favs of mine.

I first heard them when The Fragile [NIN's third album, released in 1999] came out. A school mate of mine gave it to me and said: “Check this out Dave, it’s like Moby meets rock!”

I guess he meant Moby is a one-man band like Trent Reznor, but when they tour they get a whole lot of people to play onstage. That was very novel to me at the time.

I loved it, and have followed their releases ever since.

Weirdly, Trent went to see Tickled [David's documentary about a competitive tickling racket in the U.S.], so I met him through that. I’d actually interviewed him years before when I was a real newbie to the whole Nightline thing. I was this little sweaty wreck who didn’t know what he was doing, and he treated me with respect and answered all my silly questions, and was just a really good person to deal with.

Fast forward to years later, he saw Tickled, then when we were sourcing music for The Tickle King, he let us use some tracks from his album Ghosts. That felt pretty special.

This is a song off their latest release Bad Witch. It’s a good example of them keeping things fresh and interesting.

Shane Carruth - As If It Would Have A Universal and Memorable Ending

He’s a director, writer, actor, and a musician as well.

Years ago I saw his film Primer, which is known in nerd circles as the most accurate, interesting interpretation of time travel on film.

Then he made a follow up called Upstream Color, and he let us use some of the music from its score in Tickled, which blew my mind.

I met him the year after we released Tickled. I’m sort of enamoured with him, I’m so impressed with him, and when I met him I didn’t want to let that on. I sort of pretended I didn’t know much about him. I played it cool, which was stupid.

He was a lovely man, and I love this song.


  • Bookmarks: Dark Tourist - David Farrier
  • The funny business of competitive tickling