When New Plymouth hip hop artist Louie Knuxx touched down at Wellington Airport in November last year, it’d been six years since he’d stepped foot on New Zealand soil – the result of various warrants out for his arrest.
Knuxx had been living in Melbourne in a sort of exile. When he contacted the Justice Department to see if he could come back to play some shows he was told that if he tried to enter his homeland he'd be arrested.
Fed up with missing major family events, in November last year, when his sister got married, he decided to come home.
He was told again he'd be refused entry to the country, but took the risk. “I flew into Wellington because I figured that will be less chance of getting caught up in Customs there ... when I got there I was like man this is kind of like a tin shed.”
In Australia, Knuxx had found himself in hardcore and punk circles rather than rap music ones. He puts that down to his appearance. “Because of the way I look, if I go around insecure men they feel threatened by me, even though like I'm a nice, polite person.”
"My appearance is the environment I grew up in, the places I've been, like I got my first tattoo in jail. With the violence, that was something I just learnt and was normal and natural.
“A lot of it [tattoos] was anti-social, which is weird now because now it's kind of like flipped on its head and being heavily tattooed is very mainstream which puts me in a weird position.”
LISTEN to Sam Wicks interview with Louie Knuxx about his new album PGT/GRR: