Music Month Interview 04 / High HØØPS
As part of music month, I wanted to chat to a few NZ Musicians to celebrate their music talent, to start to tell us a little bit about your solo project High Hoops? HØØPS became a midnight side hustle project a few years ago as a means for boundless creative output. It was just whatever I wanted it to be and feel like at any moment, so it's really an extension of who I am.
You incorporate so many different beats, rhythms, sounds what are some of your starting points? What is your creative process like? It's always born out of inspiration, whether it's a mood or a visual or a memory. But technically it usually starts with drums, they were my first love at age 8 so it's the most natural to me. Then it's usually a bass line. I'm left handed and play a right handed bass upside down which already starts me off on a different path. Thanks to this interview, this is now not a secret weapon.
Has there been one moment of your music career that you will never forget? I remember being on a super turbulent flight when I was on Big Day Out tour with KidsOf88. The whole plane was booked out with my childhood musical heroes, and Rammstein. The plane was hit by lightning and dropping fast, but I had a lucid moment where everything was going to be alright - at least I'd be going down with my heroes. The tour as whole was one of the best memories of my life.
You are part of the team that runs the record label ‘ A label called success ‘ Tell me a little bit about the label and the intentions behind it? We had a whole bunch of friends that were writing amazing music that would just sit and rot on the desktop, it can be hard to finish songs off, especially if you've got a place in your mind where it needs to connect to. The label will play friend and creative to all ideas and angles to get great songs off desktops. We just want to make good things, with good people who make good music. It's a really exciting time right now for the label.
If you were to describe your music in just a couple of words what would they be? Groove Based Mood Music
You've had many music successes and a lot of involvement in the music scene here in NZ prior to working under the name High hoops tell me a little bit about that time in your career? It wasn't ever about trying to do music ironically enough. I studied digital design and got heavily into film and video which actually paid the bills. Every time I thought I'd never do music full time, something cool would keep dragging me back onto it's path. My time on earth so far has been a balance of the two and that is perhaps where I'm most comfortable. I feel like I'll never be a master of anything, and that's totally cool. I've been fortunate to spread myself across different areas to keep a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to make both parts tick. Everything leading up right now is me in full flight, so I have to fly with it now.
what are your thoughts about being amongst the NZ music scene? There are so many artists doing cool things right now, forget all the stuff you turn the radio off for. If it's good, people will listen. I think NZ has a strong attitude to lead and not follow, which is where individuality will meet with mass appeal. The essence of 'you doing you' is the strongest thing as a creator you will ever have. It's something I wish I would've understood earlier in my time. It feels like the new wave is here and they're ready to do 'them'.
You've played numerous tours and shows with bands you’ve been involved in and also solo, What's different about touring as a solo project rather than your other experiences being in a band/group? This is something I'm still working on, but making music by myself takes a lot of belief. There's nobody to bounce off or vibe with. I have to go to the centre of my universe to actually have the perspective of something being dope. Collaboration is key, and showing your music to other people takes one hell of a weight off so I've been doing that more these days. Being part of the LEISURE project has been the most fulfilling time in music to date for me because of the collaborative element. It's all so equal and every member can offer something unique. HØØPS is the on-call, any-moment, midnight healthy-ego thing that's just an individual creative release.
Did music have a large influence on you growing up? Have you always had been a muso at heart? I owe everything to my parents. My mum would have The Fugees and Saint Germain on rotate. My dad would have Stereo MC's, Robert Palmer and Joe Satriani on blast on his huge Cerwin Vega speakers in the living room overlooking the Onehunga skyline. They were both so supportive of whatever I wanted to do. On my 9th birthday they bought be a drum kit and from there, the rest was up to the universe to decide the path that I can't seemingly live without now. I still have no idea what I'm doing, does anybody? All I can do in my own power is to make things feel right and the rest will fall into place.
High HØØPS on Facebook - Highhoops
Photo credit for all photographs used throughout this post - Dexter Murray