The Experiment 2018 x Lowtide


For any artist, experimentation is what pushes us to the next level, an experience outside of what we know to be comfortable, yet still comes from a very raw and natural place. Bringing the new into the now sparks a surge of adrenaline and is a method not to be underestimated. To explore, to discover, but more importantly to try. 

A line up of artists curated by Monstervalley, Lowtide, and A Label Called Success did just that at " The Experiment" International Arts and Music Festival live from Whammy Bar. We caught up with a few of the acts who performed on our stage for the low-down on what went on and why this event was so important for the creative community. 

Photos by Vito Nicholas

Silas McClintock aka Bobandii


What did you experiment with that was new for you?

The whole idea of theatre was new for me, I havn’t tried anything like that since drama in high school. Putting it with a rap show was super challenging, but it’s definitely something that I want to explore further. It’s also the first time I have performed with people who aren’t playing the music, so it was fresh for everyone involved. We all had such a blast

Describe your experience and how it made you feel?

I have this kind of second personality when I’m performing, Bobandii takes over and I just go crazy. I was so nervous the whole way up to it. I’m usually really good with nerves, but this show in particular really knocked me. As soon as the performance started I fell into character though, and I had so much fun.

How did the audience respond ?

From what I’ve heard people were really engaged in the idea, they gave me just as much energy as I was giving them. Who knows, maybe it was just a product of the overall environment. The festival as a whole was such a buzz! What really got me though, was the people I was performing with. None of them had ever done a stage performance before, and we had literally no rehearsals! One of the girls, Janine signed up to perform 20 minutes before it started. But they all got right into character and bodied it. The post-show vibes were electric.

What was your highlight from the night?

Keith & Native Bush we’re insane. I was crying in the crowd. No lie. That is gonna be some pivotal music if those guys team up for a release.

Why is experimentation important for you personally and the wider creative community?

I think if you boil it down, Art is a form of philosophy. It’s how ideas and perspectives are created and developed within the community as a whole. If we all just stayed in what is considered “safe” and guaranteed to work, the world would be boring as fuck. How do you approach freestyle? - How do you respond to Keith...' 's music? I have no idea, I think my freestyles are bum as fuck ha. Every now and then though, the environment triggers a flow state and I find it super easy to talk my shit. Keith brings that out in me. You can see it in their faces, in the way they move their bodies while they are playing. It’s infectious, you can’t help but find the magic in the moment with those guys. One of my favourite emerging bands for sure. Big up to Keith!

Rhohil Kishore 

Rohil MS 2.png

What did you experiment with that was new for you?

Nothing in particular; we’re used to killing it. When you’ve got a band with the musicality of Michael Gianan and the presence and sound of Daniel Mckenzie, the music plays itself.

The band was a lot dirtier and you had some different players that night (on bass and trumpet). What do they, and the regulars bring to the table?

People slept on Jack Thirtle for a long time over 2017, but the man has his sound, and he knows I got nothing but faith and trust in him to play in my groups. The fact that he’s hitting a New Zealand wide tour with Stan Walker in a few months shows why I trust him. Thirtle brings an elevated sense of musicianship as well as an incredible ear. He hears my sound before I even hear it. Jimmy Olsen on the bass had a big part in ensuring that ‘dirty’ sound was prominent. He’d consider himself a metalhead up until a year ago, but I love what he’s been doing, and I definitely vibe his sound. He’s probably the most bullshit intolerant motherfucker I’ve ever met. Everyone that plays in my band or that I entrust with a show is like a brother to me. That chemistry not only bodes well in performance, but it also develops a chemistry and cohesion for the sound. It allows me to express myself without having too many things to worry about. BEATBOXING: I never knew this was going to happen, and I was certainly not sure of what to expect, but I felt like I kicked some ass (and was also humbled) on a few occasions. It was just dialogue, it was improvised, rhythmic language; I probably learnt more about Homeboy while playing alongside him than I did when speaking to him afterwards. It’s all about musical language and vocabulary, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting as fuck.

How did the audience respond ?

The audience were fucking terrific. There was an endless amount of energy being thrown at us, and I remember playing a tune in an odd time signature but they still found a way to groove to it. They were on a mission to have a good time that night. I also credit the cuties in the front who set the vibe for the rest of the audience. Hit me up.

What was your highlight from the night?

Seeing the room overflowing with people. It’s almost unheard of, especially in New Zealand, to have rooms filled with people vibing jazz/improvised music, but any time I seem to have a creative project or be apart of one, the response is overwhelming (deservingly so).

Why is experimentation important for you personally and the wider creative community?

People don’t know what they like and dislike. There’s a lot of bullshit and negativity surrounding jazz because it can be so difficult to process but, the joy of it IS the fact that you may be uncomfortable, it IS the chance that you might not understand it, it’s the pleasure of seeing musicians struggling to attain the sound that they envisage. It’s the manifestation of thousands of hours of contemplation, practise and commitment to an ultimately unattainable goal: to express oneself without limitation. Discrediting the music because your ears are trained to radio pop isn’t the fault of the extremely passionate, skilled musicians. Jazz doesn’t sound one particular way. We played it, and just as it would’ve been in the 60’s, we had a room full of people dancing and enjoying themselves to it.


Pipiana Miyagi aka Native B


What did you experiment with and what was new for you?

This show was the first consciously curated multi-discplinary performance as Native B (with Keith); a lot of energy went into it. I took the loose theme of Dracula as an oppurtunity to reflect on the nature of consumption. The vision was clear - the mating ritual between a female and male praying mantis is so beautifully metaphoric and symbolic of sacrifice (for those who don’t know, the femal bites the head off the male during mating around 50% of the time) which is a constant theme in my mahi so this was a chance to express that in an experimental way. 

- Sacrife is about understanding what is necessary to create or contribute to the best possible outcome, for something bigger than yourself. A male praying mantis knowlingly sacrifices his damn head in the name of RECREATION. And the female becomes a stronger mother for it. What are you sacrificing?


How did the audience respond ?

It was easy to open up and be present because the exchange was so pure and it was just beautiful. Keith were feeling it too so I knew we were all on the same frequency. Blessings to the artists who performed before us and the way Lowtide had curated the night to that point, because the energy we walked into was abundant and everyone contributed to that. Afterwards I was really overwhelmed by the response... I'd never had people come to me so genuinely emphasising emotion. The art made them feel something, and that brings me so much joy. It's all about the message - the langage I use might not resonate with you directly, but you can connect to where it's coming from. 


You’re singing about things like western disorder, besides sacrifice, what’s the inspiration behind this music and the effect you want it to have on others?

The line about western disorder is from a track called 222, and is me navigating time within a western construct where time is used systematically, to give 'order' and structure... and I'm wasting away in it. The essence of what it really respresents; exsistence beyond the linear, the link between past, present and future, the language and stories that hold ancient universal knowledge accumulated over a 'long time'; these are often excluded by the colonial mentality and bringing it back to the essence (the source) is what I try to do. As well as acknowledging the grief that comes with that disconnection and the healing that follows. The art is part of the healing process so by sharing my vulnerability with you, we're healing together. 


Why is experimentation important for you personally and the wider creative community?

As artists, we have a responsibilty to present our current climate and contribute to it's evolution. We connect/create links between time using the power of creative energy and the truth of pure expression. 

Fearless experimentation destroys the illusion of boundaries. It also allows us to figure out what the fuck we're doing! If we are the vessels, then each perspective and platform serves a purpose. Shake it up! Your community needs it. 

Stefan OzichComment