24 Aug 2018

NZ Live: Avantdale Bowling Club

From NZ Live, 2:23 pm on 24 August 2018

Tom Scott made his name rapping about youth, disenchantment, and blurry nights out with the hip-hop troupe Home Brew. Now he's back with Avantdale Bowling Club - a fusion of hip-hop and free jazz.

Tom Scott made his name rapping about youth, disenchantment, and blurry nights out with hip-hop troupe Home Brew. Now he's a 34-year-old father living back in his beloved West Auckland suburb of Avondale.

The sometimes controversial musician talks to Jesse Mulligan about his new jazz-inspired hip-hop project Avantdale Bowling Club - an exploration of home, idealism, fatherhood and growing up.

After a five-year stint in Melbourne and records with @Peace and Average Rap Band, Tom and his partner moved back to Avondale when she became pregnant with their 18 month old son Quincy.

His time in Melbourne served its purpose - "I think I'd pissed enough people off here that I needed to go and find something new" - but once Quincy was on the way it was time to come home.

"I didn't want my kid to be raised anywhere but New Zealand. And it's even better that he can be raised in the same neighbourhood I'm from."

Tom says the feedback from his friends on the new album means more to him than its critical reception.

"I don't like to brag about making people cry but it seems like it's something that I'm good at … People just say they feel it in a way that explains their life. That's the highest compliment a poet could ask for, I think.

"It's my responsibility to write for my village."

Tom Scott and son

Tom Scott and son Photo: Cam Neale

Putting out a new album with personal lyrics is like "being naked out there for the world to judge you", Tom says, but he's kind of stuck with songwriting.

"I can't write about anything else. I wish I was a good crime fiction novelist."

The jazz genre is having a bit of a rebirth around the world, and Tom's Avantdale Bowling Club band are particularly inspired by '70s stuff and the new age sounds of Alice Coltrane, he says.

But don't go thinking he's gone highbrow.

"There's no genre worse than 'sophisticated music' so i don't want to be labelled as that."

Related stories

  • Avantdale Bowling Club: Track by track with Tom Scott
  • Tom Scott's guide to Melbourne
  • Tom Scott on life, love and Homegrown festival
  • Get the RNZ app

    for easy access to all your favourite programmes