Monthly Archives: November 2008

High Stakes Records

High Stakes RecordsHigh Stakes Records are making their mark on the New Zealand dancehall scene in a big way with their original productions and work voicing both local and Jamaican artists.  NiceUp talks to Tiopira from the High Stakes crew about what’s on the musical horizon and where the New Zealand dancehall scene is headed.

First up, can you give us a bit of background about the High Stakes crew?  Who is in the crew?  When did you form?  What were your beginnings?

High Stakes is me and my bro, Simon Howden. We started up High Stakes in April 2007, I kinda envisioned us being another boring Maori reggae band, but this other boring Maori reggae band came out with the same name as us, gutted! So we went with High Stakes instead. Our first few tunes were shit, my fault entirely, so I went and brought a Triton and tried doing something a little more original and modern.   (more…)

Putumayo’s Reggae Around the World

Reggae Around The World coverJamaican music has a few obvious global strongholds beyond its own backyard, including the United Kingdom and Europe, parts of Africa, and of course – Aotearoa. The beauty of this compilation by Putamayo is that it introduces sounds from little known pockets of reggae around the world, and celebrates the truly international nature of reggae music.

The universal nature of the themes of peace, love and redemption are beautifully highlighted, and you can hear the echoes of Bob Marley’s ongoing influence in almost every track. At the same time, each artist brings their own cultural heritage, musical influences, language and lyrics to the familiar riddims of reggae music.


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Dam Native 6-piece band, Kerb & MC Juse1, Omega B, Art Official & The Mighty Asterix

Where: The San Francisco Bathhouse – Cuba Street

When: Friday 5 Dec 2008

Price: $15 on the door

Come to The San Francisco Bathhouse, Friday 5 December, for one of the most blazing sessions of ’08 – Ghetto Red Hot – featuring live and direct from Auckland city, the Dam Native 6-piece live band with support from Kerb and Juse1 (The Wanderers), Omega B (4 Corners), Art Official (Newtown Sound) and The Mighty Asterix – a night of pure dancehall hip-hop fire! (more…)

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Musically Mad Auckland Premier Screening

Musically Mad Auckland premier screeningWhen: Wednesday 15 October @ GALATOS (Galatos Streets), 6.45pm start

‘Musically Mad’ is a film that dedicates itself to shining light on UK sound-system culture by taking the audience into the heads and hearts of the singers and sound-men, the backbone of the UK roots reggae scene. 

It follows a culture that was brought to the UK by Caribbean immigrants and which continues the tradition of providing upliftment to the people in the face of hardship and fostering community and cultural unification and pride.  

The film includes interviews and footage of some of the key players of the scene, including Iration Steppas, I Natural, Aba Shanti, Jah Shaka, Dougie Conscious Sounds, DJ Stryda, King Shiloh, Afrikan Simba, Channel One, Fatman Sound, Young Warrior, Joe Ariwa, Mad Professor, Levi Roots and many more!


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Ghetto Vibes International

Ghetto Vibes InternationalNew Zealand has another addition to the growing sound-system scene with Ghetto Vibes International.  NiceUp talks to crew founder, DJ Maniac, about his musical beginnings in Zimbabwe, how he built his own sound-system and the music his crew are spreading around Auckland city.

Can you give us a bit of history about yourself and your crew?  How did you form and how/when did you get your system?

Zimbabwe is one of the countries where reggae music is just as big as it is in Jamaica! My interest in the music started way back . I remember the days when I used to record from the radio reggae music onto an audio cassette and play it at the back of our house having what we used to call backyard bashments. (more…)

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Bobby Konders – Massive B / 90’s Hardcore Ragga Dancehall Mix

90's Hardcore Ragga Dancehall Mix coverFollowing up on Greensleeves’ first official Bobby Konders/Massive B Dancehall mixtape, Mad Sick Head Nuh Good, comes the second installment of the series in the shape of a real proper hardcore ragga retrospective. Avoiding the obvious pitfalls of a ’90s’ mix, Brooklyn’s Bobby Konders manages to pull out all the stops without resorting to the, well… tired ‘classics’ that Greensleeves and other labels are usually guilty of filling ‘best of’ albums with.

This only makes more sense when you consider Bobby Konders and Massive B’s history in the game. Massive B was co-founded in the early 90s by Konders and Jabba to serve as Record Label, Sound System and Radio presence and since then has produced a slew of hits including classics such as Super Cats’ Ghetto Red Hot and more recently the popular No Borders riddim, just to touch on a couple.


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Yung Shottaz

Yung ShottazFor the past year, Auckland-based, Yung Shottaz crew have been bringing their own blend of Zimbabwaen-influenced dancehall and hip-hop to the NZ massive.  NiceUp talks to the Yung Shottaz about how they formed, what they’re currently working on and their plans for 2009.

Can you give us a bit of background info about the crew? When did you form?  Where are you all from?  What brought you all together?

The Shottaz crew consists of Ashford ‘Swiss Dubbz’ Magaiza(21), Kudzai ‘Hlats’ Hlatywayo(24), Batsirai ‘Da Bem’ Machakaire (21) and Max ‘Amazin’ Muvezwa (21).  All of the crew are from Zimbabwe and we met in New Zealand at a few Zimbabwean social gatherings and soon found out that we had a lot in common i.e. sports, drinking (love of the green bottle) and of course a passion for music (especially dancehall). So we formed in early 2007. (more…)

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From Dubplate to Download – The Best of Greensleeves Records

From Dubplate to Download coverFrom Dubplate to Download – The Best of Greensleeves Records is a two CD compilation demonstrating just how closely Greensleeves has been associated with the evolution of reggae.  Established initially as a record store in London then developing into a label in 1977, Greensleeves has consistently been at the forefront of bringing Jamaican music to a wider audience.

Formed by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, Greensleeves has, along with now-parent company VP, been the avenue for quality reggae music over the last thirty years. Top producers such as Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes, Prince Jammy, Gussie Clarke and Bobby Digital have without fail worked with Greensleeves to see their releases gain exposure on the international stage. As a result, Greensleeves’ vaults exist as a near definition picture of reggae over thirty years.


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Mike Fab debut 7″ release – Wang East

Mike FabMike Fabulous has been an innovator of the NZ music scene for many years, being part of groups such The Black Seeds, The Scribes Of Ra, Recloose, Deva Mahal and The Five Pleasures, Samuel Flynn Scott and The Bunnies On Ponies, Age Pryor, Fly My Pretties and The Tone Moons.  Mike talks to NiceUp about his latest project, his debut 7″ vinyl release.

Can you give us a bit of background info about yourself and what you’ve been up to musically?

I’ve been a musician now for around 15 years! I play a variety of different instruments to varying degrees, do the odd bit off DJing and love being in the studio producing and engineering. I’ve been involved in heaps of bands in the Wellington music scene over the past 10 years, and I’ve just shifted to Dunedin for a change of pace. It’s nice! (more…)

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The Kingites – Feathers of Peace

Feathers of Peace coverThe debut album from The Kingites on Dave Allan’s Moving Production label is as varied in genre as it is consistent in production.We move easily from dancehall in Triumphant, to rootsy reggae in Notify and Emperor, through the solid funk of Hustlin and Lost Angeles and into the spacey, smooth dub of Kingite Sound System.  These are competent, knowledgeable musicians and it shows.

They have intentionally gone for the ‘big’ feel – there is ample use of distant, echoed off vocals and instrumental licks, the drums are tight and clean and big, and the overall reverb gives a feel of a concert setting rather than an intimate jam.


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