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Compilation Artist

Aotūroa - World Of Light - Nature. Aotūroa strives to create a harmony between worlds and unite the listener through Taonga Pūoro, ambient textures and rhythm.


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How did you get into electronic music? Where did it all begin?

I’ve always been an acoustic performer, first on the piano and now percussion and it was buying my first recording device that started the interest in recording and production. After hearing tracks from Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Cinematic Orchestra and Brian Eno and wanting to capture the ambience, feel and aesthetic I started exploring the realm of synthesis. Getting a commission for a dance show in 2017 was the impetus for finally completing my first works!

Is there one piece of gear that was a real turning point for you?

I’ve used Logic Pro for recording for a long time but it was purchasing Ableton Live 9 that revolutionised my production and output. The platform is so intuitive I found I could create work quickly and replicate it live. Also, the Binkbeats Looper Max For Live device has made live performance so much more streamlined.

Is there a particular instrument or sound source you find yourself drawn to?

I love traditional and cultural instruments from all over the world but lately I’ve been making and playing Taonga Puoro. The putorino has a beautiful variety of voices but the ponga ihu has the most haunting and captivating mellow tone.

What does your creative process look like? Are there particular techniques that help your process?

It’s pretty eclectic and I’m always looking for ways to improve my output… Having a reason or even a brief, like when you are commissioned, helps give me direction and a timeline to achieve something and be able to put a line in the sand and move on to the next endeavour.

Where do you usually start when creating a new piece?

I’m pretty consistent in creating and ambient textural sound to play with a midi keyboard to find my way. Usually this involves sampling my taonga puoro or finding an interesting sample that leads to a nice polyphonic texture. But I also have rhythms constantly running through the head so they are often influencing the feel of a piece before I even create the harmony. I usually write on the piano.

Do you find that other creative pursuits influence your music?

Absolutely. I love photography and sketching but I think the biggest influence is being out in nature.

Do you perform live? How do you translate your music into a live performance?

I’ve been performing for several contemporary dance shows which is helping refine the production quality. Most of my music is written with the live context in mind but there are a lot of tracks that will remain in the recorded artwork realm. I utilise a lot of improvisation on the taonga puoro live so it’s mainly setting up an ambient bed to perform over the top.

What is the source of inspiration for your latest work?

A lot of the material on my latest album is heavily influenced by the soundtrack to the film Baraka. I’m always interested in long form work that takes the listener on a journey. I’m currently working on an album representing the elements through manipulation of field recordings and taonga puoro, hopefully this will be out mid year!

Do you think the town you live in (Wellington) has an influence on your sound or process?

Not really... having grown up in Wellington that still has the strongest influence in terms of the freedom of expression you get to see in other artists - music and otherwise. With the online world though you could consider that community as a world of influence.

Who do you see as your biggest influence?

By far lately it’s been Binkbeats from the Netherlands. His diversity and creativity as a solo performer is pretty inspirational.

What records caught your attention early on and influenced your direction?

I grew up listening to The Moody Blues (the first seven albums), The Strawbs and Paul Simon (Graceland)! Then I got hooked on Rage Against The Machine (Evil Empire) and Tool (Aenima) which led me down the progressive path. I think I still resonate with trying to make something that challenges the listener and takes them to a deeper place, either through transcendental rhythms and shamanic instruments or even political lyrical content. Hopefully I’m getting better at that with each project!

Recommend one artist for people to check out (other than yourself of course)