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With Homegrown, New Zealand’s biggest celebration of multiple genres and national acts, on the horizon, we here in the music department of Salient thought to look towards those who know Homegrown festival best; the seasoned players, the professionals who can impart onto us their pearls of wisdom regarding Homegrown acts, the overall vibe, and the potential for a few drinks here and there. We talked to Francis Kora (part of dub fusion institution Kora), Haz Beats (Young, Gifted and Broke alumni) and Neill Fraser (vocalist for rock band Villainy) to ensure you receive the inside scoop from the most reputable sources on exactly what makes Homegrown a go to festival for the best of NZ music.
Who are your top 5 acts you are looking forward to seeing at Homegrown?
Haz: Average Rap Band, Ladi6, Team Dynamite (of course), Homebrew and David Dallas.
Kora: Always the Shapeshifter boys for sure, but I really just stand around and check out the different kinds of music. Just the usual suspects but definitely Shapeshifter – they are always pushing the edge of music. I couldn’t say a top 5 because a lot of the time it’s hard to leave the Roots stage…
Villainy: Off the top of my head I would probably go with Shapeshifter, that’s probably my number one. And Kora… So, I’ll probably try and spend some time down at the Roots stage at some point. It’s always a bit of a miss though, it’s at the exact opposite end of the festival from the rock stage. We’re also on the road with City of Souls; I think they’re opening up the Rock stage so it’d be cool to see them.
If you could design your own Homegrown stage, who would you choose to play and why?
Haz: I would have it at the same place, but I would have a stage for up-and-coming artists that haven’t been introduced to a festival atmosphere or haven’t played amongst a lot of people before. There is a dope band called Yoko-Zuna, they are currently getting established now but they haven’t had that chance of playing at a festival.
Kora: I would get Prince, D’Angelo – which I checked out when he came to New Zealand earlier – Grace Jones, and a whole bunch of freaky other bands like Iron Maiden.
Villainy: National or International? I guess given we’re a rock band I’d probably try to orientate it that way. Probably want to throw Shihad in there to be sort of like your New Zealand hold-the-fort kind of band… I’d probably grab someone like the Deftones to kind of add a bit of a heavier flavor, and maybe something a bit alternative like the Arcade Fire. I think that would be cool, make it a bit diverse.
What’s your favourite thing about playing at Homegrown?
Haz: Pretty much everything; the fans are there of course. Playing at homegrown was a pretty big thing for me, because we had never really been booked before when they started booking us, and every year they have always catered to us. I just love the whole vibe of it, how it’s down at the waterfront and everyone’s just happy that there is something on that celebrates local projects.
Kora: It’s a number of things; Wellington’s my favourite city. It’s always a good vibe, a celebration really, and catching up with all your mates you have been on the road with for years. There’s such a strong kiwi vibe, everyone celebrating NZ music in one place.
Villainy: It’s just a really easy chilled out day. It’s insanely well organized so as an artist you get to show up and just walk on stage and do your thing – it’s really low stress. We’ve done a lot of kind of bigger shows, like in Aucks and stuff, and the vibe at Homegrown is really different from that. I think everyone’s just there to have a good time and there’s not really the egos, that kind of stuff. It’s nice to show up at a show and know that everything’s gonna run smoothly – ya’ know? I mean no fuck ups. It’s a good way to walk into something. [laughs]
What would you like to say to your fans before the big day?
Haz: Haz-beats loves you!
Kora: Really looking forward to jamming there, bring the vibe, hopefully the weather’s good, and looking forward to having a few ‘dirty coloured waters’ after the show.
Villainy: I think just rock out, hang out down at the rock stage, and we’re going to be in middle of the tour so we’ve put together a set that showcases both records, so it’s a good chance to come and hear us when they might not have heard from us in a while. This is like the first time in a couple years that we’ve been able to get out on the road by ourselves, so, we’ve been able to sit down and actually figure out how to fill 90 minutes or so of music, it’s been cool to pull out some songs that we haven’t played for ages and get those into gear.
Suffice to say, if you weren’t already amping for Homegrown festival this weekend then I’m sure our friends have convinced you to be – it’s going to be a big celebration of all New Zealand has to offer, with plenty of ‘dirty coloured water’ going around too.
Visit http://www.homegrown.net.nz/tickets/ to secure your ticket to the NZ music celebration of the year.