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Issue 9, 2014

The Rock & Roll Issue

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  • arcticmonkeyinterview

    Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not

    Salient Editor Cam sat down for a chat with Arctic Monkeys Bassist, Nick O’Malley. Last week, they rocked the TSB Arena as part of a world tour for the album. They were consummate rockers: slick, loud, tight, dripping confidence, oozing sex.


  • dogdaysareover

    Dog Days Are Over

    Mighty Mighty will hold its last show on 24 May, Puppies on 21 June. You should care about this, but you shouldn’t despair.


  • whothefuckisjamesmilne

    Who the fuck is James Milne?

    James Milne is a very successful New Zealand musician, but it’s unlikely you’ll recognise the name.


  • sadmanpennyfeature

    Music’s for the Sad Man

    Looking back at the development of music, it appears that tragedy and struggle are inseparable from successful music. R&B stemmed from the struggle of black slaves. Taylor Swift’s most popular hits arise out of her breakups.


  • Raging Against the Machine

    Music has been inextricably linked with social and political movements throughout history. But what does our generation have to argue about, and how are we using music to do so?


  • arcticmonkeyinterview

    Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not

    Salient Editor Cam sat down for a chat with Arctic Monkeys Bassist, Nick O’Malley. Last week, they rocked the TSB Arena as part of a world tour for the album. They were consummate rockers: slick, loud, tight, dripping confidence, oozing sex.


  • dogdaysareover

    Dog Days Are Over

    Mighty Mighty will hold its last show on 24 May, Puppies on 21 June. You should care about this, but you shouldn’t despair.


  • whothefuckisjamesmilne

    Who the fuck is James Milne?

    James Milne is a very successful New Zealand musician, but it’s unlikely you’ll recognise the name.


  • sadmanpennyfeature

    Music’s for the Sad Man

    Looking back at the development of music, it appears that tragedy and struggle are inseparable from successful music. R&B stemmed from the struggle of black slaves. Taylor Swift’s most popular hits arise out of her breakups.


  • Raging Against the Machine

    Music has been inextricably linked with social and political movements throughout history. But what does our generation have to argue about, and how are we using music to do so?


  • Arts and Science

  • Have you got it yet?

    It was our fourth day in a row in the studio. That album and that song in particular was taking a lot of time. They had installed new mixing console. We had a satisfactory take of the song the night before but that morning we all could pick up excessive bleed from other instruments that affected the drum base. So, we had to record it all over again. I secretly wished the recording to be over early not because I was tired but it was one of the longest songs, I had ever worked on. That day we were supposed to record the vocals.

    While I was busy with the keys, I couldn’t help but notice a heavy set, bald guy sitting at the desk behind the glass pane in the studio. I glanced at him. There was something very off about him, I could feel it. He dint have any eyebrows either. But who was I to judge, I was completely smashed from the night before. The bald guy seemed out of it too. I looked at the rest of them. Dave and roger were sorting their creative differences, I agreed with Dave, the intro was a bit too long but being the least experienced and the most educated guy I thought it was wise to be quiet and regardless my head was killing me. Nick on the other hand was smoking a cigarette, he probably was still high. I started to practice my part.

    Half way through the recording Dave noticed the bald man. He asked Roger “roger, who is the guy sitting on the desk”. Roger replied “I don’t know, I assumed he was your friend”, “maybe he is from EMI”. They both tried to concentrate on recording, I stopped eves dropping too. After almost an hour I heard a sound I couldn’t figure what made that sound. I closed my eyes even more intently to listen to locate the origin of the sound. It was like a husky dog was trapped under its own sleigh and was out of breath. I opened my eyes and turned my head towards roger only to find the source of the sound. It was Dave. He was crying. In all the years I knew him, I never once saw him cry. Nick came to the rescue too. I asked Roger what happened. He just looked behind the semi-opaque glass with moist eyes and then turned his head towards me and said “Syd is here”.

    The last time I saw him was more than two years before that day, in rehab, and it had been seven years since he had been asked to stop to contribute and official statement was released. The first day I saw him was my first day with the band and till years that we played together he was an inspiration for me and the closest I was to, in the band. It possibly can be because of both of our love for jazz that was buried under the façade of rock n roll. I looked up to him in ways more than he ever appreciated. He was never in a state to appreciate anything, not for the time I knew him. He had a mild case of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, some even diagnosed him with Asperger’s and autism, but he abused all sorts of drugs, especially LSD beyond his capable limits. He got physically violent with his girlfriend, locking her up and hitting her with instruments on the head. Even on stage, he had been behaving erratically even by his standards. That’s when we had to call in Dave.

    But that was seven years ago, when Syd was the handsomest of us all. I was particularly jealous of his multi coloured psychedelic shirts. But now when I looked at him looking at me just staring blankly, I dint know how to approach him. Dave, Roger and Nick composed themselves and started recording. I, for once, dint do as Roger did. I stood up and went towards the bench. He was jumping up and down with a white coloured toothbrush fixed in the air, close in front of his face. While approaching him I went misty eyed. I asked him what he was doing. He said “isn’t it clear, I am brushing my teeth”. I couldn’t control myself. I snorted like a sea lion, a bit of mucous came out. I wiped my tears and went in for a hug. He just stood there like a tree trunk not moving, not responding. He was bigger then. He just, for some incredible reason, picked the very day that we were doing a song which was about him, and we hadn’t seen him in a really long time. That is what was so incredibly weird about that guy and a bit disturbing, as well, I mean, particularly when you see a guy, that you don’t, you couldn’t recognize him. Then, for him to pick the very day we were to start putting vocals on, which is a song about him. Very strange.

    Venetta, one of the background vocal artists, realised, after I hugged Syd, who he was. She asked him how he managed to gain so much weight. He said “I have a huge refrigerator in my kitchen and I help myself to a lot of pork chops”. She gave a courtesy laugh. I smiled while looking into the abyss that used to carry a legend in his eyes. I had to leave to record. I asked him if he is staying longer. He dint say a word or moved, not that I was expecting. I looked at him and started with a dense G minor on my synthesizer pad.

    We were all pleased when, for what seemed like ages but was twelve and a half minutes, we were done with the song. Everybody, especially me, looked up at Sid with an anticipation that only toddlers have when they show a drawing to their parents, made by them in school when teacher asked them to draw ‘my family’. Syd said absolutely nothing. Actually he was smelling his armpits and licking something suspicious. Roger looked at me. He wanted to confirm if I told Syd how much that song meant to us. I nodded. He mustered the courage to ask Syd expecting the worse reaction possible, which could be anything from spitting on us, to pulling his pants down. I want to believe even though he had his differences with Syd, Roger knew him the best. “how did you like the song Syd” asked Roger. “yeah…. I don’t like it” said Syd. He stood up and left.

    That was the last time any of us saw Syd. The next time we saw him was 31 years later, at his funeral. He looked calm. They say he had severe diabetes and he died of pancreatic cancer. We saw his paintings. Just like his music, his paintings were beautiful. There were hundreds of them. He dint go broke as junked up musicians usually do. He was regularly paid royalties. David made sure EMI paid him a monthly salary of £6000. He had a beautiful garden. Rosemary, his sister said Syd tended to that garden himself, it was passion just like painting and music. Rose came up to me and said “Roger” that was his real name “Roger left something for you”. She went inside came back in a couple of minutes with a huge bag which very obviously contained a painting. I took the painting out. It was huge multi coloured diamond with all shades of all colours possible, with every cut with different colour. At the bottom it said ‘To Richard Wright, Shine on you crazy diamond’.


  • The Families by Vincent O’Sullivan

    The Families by Vincent O’Sullivan
    Victoria University Press
    3.5 stars

    I’m the sort of reader who’s allergic to short stories. When I read, I always like to give the text my all or nothing. I’m too stubborn to start a piece of writing that I know will finish a few pages later, just as I’ve really gotten into it.

    This surely makes me the least qualified person to review The Families, a new collection of stories by Vincent O’Sullivan. Many older readers will pick up this book when the author’s name catches their eye; O’Sullivan is one of New Zealand’s literary giants and is currently our Poet Laureate. For those of us who are less familiar with his work – me included – we might approach with apprehension.

    The Families collects portraits of middle-class New Zealanders connecting themselves to the people and places around them. It’s fraught with love, grief, humiliation, suppression, and fractured family ties. But it’s rendered simply and often endearingly. O’Sullivan is a gentle storyteller who beckons us forth slowly. We find ourselves submerged in the fictional world before even realising it, maybe because his stories are set in real places. His characters will walk down Oriental Parade into a southerly, or drive around the winding Eastern Bays, or stop for flat whites at a gift shop in Cambridge, just south of Hamilton. I can conjure up the feeling of that wind in my face without so much as a thought. Wellington readers, especially, will find much to savour in this book.

    One of my favourites is ‘On Another Note’, which was written to fill in the blanks of an unfinished short story by Katherine Mansfield. It recounts a lonely woman’s few days in Paris. The subtle shifts in consciousness cleverly echo Mansfield’s writing. And Paris, like Wellington in other stories, is not only viewed but created through the eyes of the characters.

    Sometimes O’Sullivan’s characters are slightly less believable, as in ‘Frame’ where he tries to inhabit the mind of an immigrant wife, though the story is still captivating. ‘The Families’ gave the collection its title, so I expected something monumental, but it falls flat. He doesn’t quite afford his young heroine enough depth. Her choices won’t be convincing to some (like me), but then, perhaps I’m not the reader he had in mind.

    A real high point is ‘Josie’. where O’Sullivan creates an incredibly free-flowing and realistic narrative voice. It makes for a thoroughly good read. An elderly woman grapples with the memory of her late husband and his gruff voice sometimes infiltrates her memories. It is so clear and distinct that we hear it, too.

    The book sometimes lacks colourful or beautiful imagery, instead tending towards clear, lucid description. But in ‘Josie’, O’Sullivan finds a balance between the two. There are some stunning, simple moments: “She is standing where everything in the world is pure darkness apart from the light she is standing in … Sometimes she is herself and at other times there are lines she needs to say that make her someone else, but it doesn’t bother her if she fails to say them.”

    These brilliant lucid moments are what make this book special, though at times they feel few and far between. But when you do find them, already transported by O’Sullivan’s mastery of so many voices and places, they are worth it.


  • The New White

    German essayist and author Thomas Mann was once quoted as saying that “everything is political”. The art gallery is not immune to this. Infused with ideology, the gallery is an intensely political arena where every curatorial decision aids the construction of the exhibition’s pervasive narrative. The curator and their creative team present a cleansed universe parallel – not separate – to our own in which they tell us about someone, something or ourselves. Things that in that parallel universe cannot be creatively challenged. It is a world of its own.

    The modern art gallery aims to provide an academic sanctuary by blocking out the world around it through the use of its sanitising white painted walls. Functional, clean and crisp, these walls are the blank canvases onto which the curator paints their ideas. White is neutral. It is the amalgamation of all colours and yet presents itself as a bright nothingness. Its supposed unadulterated nature connotes purity, spirituality, and the beauty of silence. Temples of culture with expansive, piercingly bright chalk-coloured walls are what we have come to expect from our art galleries. But it wasn’t always like this.

    The gallery’s barren landscape of sparsely adorned white walls is very much a modern construction. In the galleries of Pompeii and the Italian Renaissance, pictures were hung within the limitations of the pre-existing architectural structure. Often hanging on brightly coloured walls, the art had an intimate relationship with the gallery as it fitted itself around the design of a non-purpose-built space. In the famous French salons of the 18th and 19th century, paintings were hung on top of each other in a visual hierarchy which placed epic history paintings in the plum eye-level position. The walls of the salons were also often painted red in an attempt to portray warmth, passion, love and desire.

    It was only with the advent of Modernism that we saw the invention of the ‘white cube’. Perhaps in accordance with the movement’s underpinning theme of self-reflection, agents in the art world put the gallery space under the microscope as they searched for a innovative way to exhibit revolutionary new art. The solution of a white-walled interior was not only self-reflective, but also appealed to Modernism’s fascination with the utilitarian ideals of form and function. Pioneered by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1930s, the intention of the new design was to create a neutral space where art could be objectively viewed against a blank background. Unlike the intoxicating colours of former exhibition-spaces, the white walls provided a sobering viewing experience where art lost its illusory qualities and was presented as paint on canvas. The redesign of the art gallery is undeniably a by-product of the Modernist Revolution.

    Writer Thomas McEvilley, however, views the ‘white cube’ as a modern reimagining of the Palaeolithic tomb galleries which were “designed to eliminate awareness of the outside world”. The space giving the impression of being outside of or beyond time acted as a spiritual portal between this world and the next where a person’s soul and the worldly goods they had accumulated could travel to the afterlife. As I said in the introduction, the modern art gallery presents itself to us as a parallel universe: a cocoon where the outside world exists only in the imagination of the viewers. Instead of the real world, viewers are immersed in a pseudo-spiritual haven where they are ‘enlightened’ by the presence of gallery-quality art.

    In my opinion, however, the white-wall revolution has gone too far. Contemporary galleries, instead of being temples to great art, now pay homage to the MoMA tradition with blinding white walls that dwarf the art that hangs on them. While I love City Gallery Wellington, they are a prime example of this. Simon Starling’s In Speculum (at City Gallery until 18 May) is as much an exhibition about Starling’s quirky and complex installations as it is about the august and overbearing internal architecture. Three White Desks, a fabulous installation piece where three cabinetmakers produce copies of painter Francis Bacon’s studio desk from different sources, is exhibited in a gallery furnished solely by towering pearly partitions. While this may have been at the artist’s request, the imposing nature of the walls minimises the ability of the cabinets to speak to the themes of the installation.

    It also seems lazy and unimaginative. I would have liked to have seen sketches from Bacon’s carpentry days – something to anchor the installation and help cultivate meaning. Instead we get what we get all too often: the silencing of art by spatial domination; the favouring of utilitarianism over the production of meaning; and the pervasiveness of outdated Modernist ideals.

    The reign of the white walls must come to an end. It’s time for something new.



  • Nine reasons why I regret spending $12 on Transcendence

    1.     Plot summary: They build a supercomputer with a human conscience, take over a nothing town in the desert and create zombies. Pretty much.

    2.     Lacklustre character development: For ground-breaking scientists who are supposedly striving to save the world, their success at fucking up everyone else’s lives in blindly pursuing their selfish delusions was phenomenal.

    3.     Unconvincing love story: They declare themselves to be partners in “both research and life”, but other than their shared nerdy interest in computer science there was no chemistry.

    4.     Both morally dubious and confusing, the film advertises geoengineering to the point of almost glorifying its development as a harbinger of environmental replenishment and human invincibility.

    5.     The ending is predictable within half an hour, helped by a damning prelude and a shallow plot. Somehow, the level of disappointment was still unexpected, with the appearance of the credits unhealthily sparking anger.

    6.     Questionable ethical decisions: Uploading your husband to a computer by putting spikes in his brain in an abandoned unsterilised school hall when he is dying of radiation poisoning and getting away with it.

    7.     There is a sickeningly clichéd sunflower metaphor.

    8.     Johnny Depp wasn’t even a saving grace, proving himself to be a truly terrible actor beyond pirates and crazy candy manufacturers. His terribly attractive deep eyes and brooding expressions were sadly not enough. As the voice of a computer, he excelled, managing to still conjure the impression of his twitchy pout; however, otherwise, he simply looked blank and bored.

    9.     Time lapses: There seemed to be no awareness of how building a five-storey underground super-lab that governs the world would not be possible in a couple of days. Serious flaw in attention to detail.

    It is not, however, exactly a boring movie, with the pace holding your frustrated attention to the screen in spite of forsaking much-needed sophistication. The use of concepts such as nanotechnology and experimentation on monkeys made it more plausible than other sci-fi thrillers, and scenes involving explosions were perfectly timed. Plus, when is it ever justified to criticise Morgan Freeman?


  • History? More like her story.

    Rust Spencer, Don Draper, Walter White, Francis Urquhart, Frank Underwood; the list could go on. All straight, white, troubled, men*. Both lists could go on and on. The thing is, not all the shows these men feature on are crap. In fact, they’re actually quite good. It’s just that I’m a little tired of constantly seeing this type: you know the one, the ‘melancholy man’, with a proclivity for a drink and a smoke and a lot of sex with women that aren’t their wives or girlfriends. These men all have a lot going for them character-wise: they’re complex, multifaceted, a bundle of strange discrepancies. Yet their female counterparts are left wading the depths of, well, not much actually.

    In the 1980s, American cartoonist Alison Bechdel invented the Bechdel Test. The Test’s purpose was to determine whether the female characters in any work of fiction have a bit more going for them than just looking pretty as plot devices for male characters. To pass the test, the work:

    1. Has to have at least two [named] women in it;

    2. Who talk to each other;

    3. About something besides a man.

    True Detective is exactly the kind of show that would exponentially fail this test. I enjoyed the show, but a few episodes in, I began to think: “Where my flawed-yet-loveable ladies at?!” (or something along those lines). It’s disappointing, yet sadly unsurprising. The show actually features the virgin, the mother, and the whore. I mean come on.

    The main problem with flat representations of women in television is that we then expect women to be like those characters. Which does everyone a disservice, because women are people and people are just nothing like these characters. Think of Penny on The Big Bang Theory, or basically any of the characters in Two and a Half Men. No one is like that. Ever. Our female characters need flaws; they need to be complex, and relatable.

    It really shouldn’t be this hard. Which is exactly why shows like Lena Dunham’s Girls are so important. Dunham created Girls because every woman she knows is just a “bundle of contradictions”, and although the lack of racial diversity in the cast is frustrating to say the least, the show stands as one of, if not the best representations of women on television today.

    It doesn’t fetishise the intimacy in female friendship; it relishes in both friendship and familial relations in a way that hadn’t really been depicted in such a specific and mainstream-success kind of way. The show’s frank portrayal of sex and the human body has led to such a huge discussion surrounding it. Which seems strange. It’s odd to think that before Dunham got naked onscreen, we’d never really been exposed to a body that wasn’t the whole society’s-view-of-what-is-attractive-in-a-woman.

    It’s refreshing to see a show like Girls succeed, and hopefully its success will inspire more shows with a similar disposition for strong female leads. More recently, two comedians, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, have created a show named Broad City (also exec-produced by Amy Poehler!). Which ticks all the “Hell yeah, ladies” boxes, and basically embodies the Bechdel Test. Shows like these are breaking down the tired patriarchal constructs of the TV networks and bringing about some much-needed positive change in the depiction of women on our screens. Let’s hope there’ll only be more to come.

    *I urge you to google ‘Male Novelist Jokes’.

    Five Empowered Female Characters:

    1. Buffy Summers

    2. Rae Earl

    3. Lesley Knope

    4. Liz Lemon

    5. Elaine Benes


  • Illmatic Turns 20

    Nas’s seminal contribution to East Coast hip-hop turned 20 this April. Nas was 20 when he released Illmatic. I was 20 when I cranked Illmatic the hardest. If you’re 20, you should listen to Illmatic.

    Illmatic’s strengths lie in Nas’s unique narrative style and his ability to create vivid imagery. We get images from his past, growing up in the Queensbridge projects, and images of the future of hip-hop too. None of the ten tracks on the album feel their age, but specifically, ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell’ and ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ sound entirely relevant and at home in the industry they helped shape. Throughout Illmatic, Nas pioneers his own style of narrative storytelling, one which he definitely flaunts in tracks like ‘One Love’. It’s super-apt that Illmatic comes of age just after Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City has firmly placed narrative storytelling back in rap-industry vogue. Special mention for ‘The World Is Yours’, which with Nas’s lyricism/flow and Pete Rock’s golden meddling is considered one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever recorded and one of my personal favourite tracks of all time.

    To mark the 20th anniversary, the album has been re-released under the title  Illmatic XX, featuring an additional two tracks recorded in the early ‘90s and eight alternate recordings/mixes of the original ten. Nas also has a feature-length documentary planned for the 2014 film-festival circuit titled Time Is Illmatic, which looks into the making of the album and tracks its legacy within the industry.

    Illmatic is widely considered one of the best hip-hop records of the ‘90s, if not of all time, and is at the top of my list (alongside OutKast’s Aquemini). Illmatic is great, everybody knows it’s great. Give it a listen if you somehow managed to miss that.



  • Lykke Li – I Never Learn [Review]

    4/5 Stars

    Ballads, bro. Ballads as far as the eye can see.

    I Never Learn is a sad album. I was having a pretty good afternoon before I put it on; now it feels like 4 am on a lonely Saturday. She’s down, but accepting of it. Defiant, even. This sounds like two weeks after a breakup: the immediate pain/pleasure has dissipated, now you’re just getting used to your new life, missing hundreds of little things but realising these feelings are understandable, even slightly desirable. This is an album for wallowing.

    You don’t even have to put it on to get the feel; just look at the track names. ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’. ‘Sleeping Alone’. ‘Never Gonna Love Again’.

    If you’re looking for another ‘I Follow Rivers’, you’re not going to find it here. This is a short album of somewhat similar songs. But it’s really good. Lykke Li can sing better than any of you. Every melody feels refined, every soaring chorus carefully planned out. The drums throb with energy, while the rest of the instrumentation kind of pleasantly fade into the background, occasionally popping up for a few singular piano keys or, of course, acoustic guitar strumming, the traditional weapon of the sad song. A friend said it sounded like Phil Collins, and she wasn’t wrong. Right now, ‘Gunshot’ is the track I keep going back to. But this is the kind of album you like in waves; I’m sure I’ll have a phase with nearly every song on here.

    This is not an album that you will love immediately, but it is an album that you will go back to.


  • The Bone Zone

    If you have been in a relationship, are in a relationship, or are planning to be in a relationship, it is pretty much a given that you will at some point experience a breakup. Just like acne and farting audibly in public, broken hearts are an unpleasant but almost certain reality of life. And while everyone aspires for the elusive beast that is the mutual breakup, most of the time it just doesn’t work out that way. Someone will always end up getting hurt, and even if you’re the one doing the heart-breaking you’ll probably still feel pretty crummy.

    Over the years I have experienced a fair share of broken hearts. I have been both dumper and dumpee. I have had good breakups and bad breakups. I have acted laudably but also laughably. And so, on the back of tragically mascara-stained cheeks, drunk texts later regretted, and Feist’s ‘Let It Die’ played on repeat far too many times, I present you with Cupie Hoodwink’s Guide to Breakups.


    Be kind: Don’t be a dick. Regardless of your reasons for ending it, getting dumped is never pleasant, and you can do your bit to ease the heartache by at least being nice about it. This extends to where and when you do it, too – in a very public, crowded location; via text, or on their birthday: stink buzz.

    Be honest: While it’s important to make sure you let them down as gently as possible, being honest about why you’re breaking up with someone is really important too. If they beg you, “But WHY?!”, then you owe it to them to be honest. Believe me – as painful as it sounds – that it will help their grieving process a shit-tonne if you clarify that when you say, “I just don’t want to be in a relationship right now”, you mean: “I just don’t want to be in a relationship with you, ever.”

    Do it in person: If you’ve enjoyed the fruits of your relationship in person, then have the decency to end it in person too. Sure, it’s awkward and unpleasant, but hey – at least you’re not the one getting dumped! Breaking up with someone face-to-face shows them that despite what’s happening you still respect and care for them; what you say is a lot less likely to be misconstrued, and they’ll have a lot less reason to tell all their friends that you’re a dick.

    Give them space: It is important to remember that if you’ve just broken up with someone, they’re gonna need their space. This can be especially hard when you’ve been together for a long time or were essentially joined at the hip, but continuing to act around them or contact them as often as you did when they were together will really confuse your ex, and make it even harder for them to move on. That being said, cutting off all contact and acting as if they don’t exist, or parading your new sexploits in front of them isn’t cool either. If you’d like to remain friends, let your level of interaction be guided by what they feel comfortable with – as the dumpee, that’s their prerogative.


    Give yourself space: One of the hardest parts of breaking up is getting used to being an ‘I’ rather than an ‘Us’. While it can be tempting to tell anyone who’ll listen that you’re totally cool with it and are planning to transition straight into being “just friends”, you need to give yourself space in order to adjust to the change of pace – whether that means deleting their number from your phone for a couple of weeks, or hiding them on Facebook.

    Treat Yo’self: Getting your heart broken is like being sick – you get to stay in bed all day, eat lots of chocolate, and leave used tissues all over the goddamn house. Call up your friends, watch your favourite sitcoms, and cry at will. Yes, it feels like shit, but it will get better, and it will get better a whole lot faster if you focus on you – and only you – for the next wee while.

    Love, and a huge tub of ice cream,
    Cupie xx

    Tip of the Week:

    Whether it’s about getting dumped or any other relationship slump, if you’re feeling like a chump and just can’t get over that hump, Victoria’s Counselling Service might be just the ticket. Sometimes venting to an objective (not to mention professional) listener can be really helpful – as in, someone who isn’t just telling you what they think you want to hear. If a tub of ice cream ain’t enough to soothe your heartache, give the Counselling Service a call on 463 5310, or make an appointment in person at Mauri Ora.

    Quickie of the Week:

    Hey Cupie so say I’m lookin to lose my v card to a random stranger, but don’t rly like initial small talk… What would your advice be?? (Ps I’m a girl keen on boys)

    Gurl, I hear what you’re saying. Growing up, I was awkward as hell and talking to strangers filled me with fear. Even now, having forced myself out of my anxious shell, I generally find that small talk is still at worst, painful, and at best, dull.

    The important thing to remember when you’re looking to pick up, though, is that what you actually say isn’t really that important. People, in my experience, spend far too long beating around the small-talk bush. It’s generally fairly obvious when someone is angling towards banging, and if you want the same thing, making it happen can be as simple as saying: “I’mma jump your bones.”

    Although getting with a random stranger can be nerve-wracking, my best advice is to try to relax, have fun and remember: if it all turns to shit you never have to see this person again. For further tips on How to Have a One Night Stand, I suggest you check out my comprehensive guide.

    Sexual Connections:
    Got a burning question for Cupie? Ask her about all matters of the heart… and other romantic organs, anonymously at

    Got a burning sensation in your nether regions? Give Student Health a call on 463 5308, or pop in to their clinics at Kelburn and Pipitea.



  • 10 minutes with Sean from Homeless Atlantic

    The name Homeless Atlantic is far from a generic kiwi band name. Think anything beach or roots related. The word homeless evokes urban imagery, everywhere but nowhere specific, a sojourner that never reaches a destination. Then say Atlantic and the image becomes a vast, open ocean covering 20% of the earth’s surface. There are no strings attaching the band to kiwi music at all. Juxtaposing two undefined, global and desolate things makes it hard to put Homeless Atlantic into any conventional category. Their newly released E.P. “Echoes” is just that: eerie, enticing, a string of constantly morphing sounds turning one emotion into another within the space of a song. “Echoes” is the movement of undefined sound that holds itself together through consistency of style. There are no lyrics or words. Voice is used as a mere sound just as distinctive as the guitar. Everything in the E.P. transcends boundaries. Well, “there are no boundaries for independent music made from home,” says Sean when we met to discuss Wellington music.

    So, you record music at home. What’s your music production set-up?
    Homeless Atlantic is a duo and we approach the writing and recording process as two distinctive musicians. We both compose demos and ideas in our own bedrooms on a computer program called “Reaper”. This usually begins with a minute-long basic guitar part with a melody being recorded by one person and then rendered down to an MP3. Once the tempo of the song is established, the MP3 is then emailed back – but this time with a rough drum pattern and bass-line. This is the basic formula from which our music is created and produced. We are never in the same room together when we make music.

    What’s the ideal for an independent musician?
    Although I think that independent musicians enjoy the freedom of having total creative control over their art, ideally there is an aspect of compromise involved. Its very easy for bands to be independent from record labels today as technology has empowered musicians a lot. Take music distribution for example. 30 years ago before online platforms such as ITunes and Spotify were around to get your music distributed and sold in record stores you almost had to be signed to a record label. Today however, the Internet has rendered A&R agents and record labels obsolete, as anyone can sell their music online and get it played nearly anywhere. The power of the Internet also provides an audience of potential listeners and people who can instantly discover new music at their fingertips on an unprecedented scale. I guess this is where the definition of “independent” is changing though. While independent musicians are free from the influence of record labels, they are not fully independent from the clasp of the Internet. I’m not saying this is detrimental, I’m just saying that being “independent” is much more of a loosely-defined concept today. A big part of being a band today seems to be about “including” and establishing your presence on places like “Facebook”, “Twitter” and ‘Tumblr”. This is where the idea of being “independent” is ultimately compromised, creating an interesting irony. I think the ideal for an independent musician is to have creative control over your own music and how it is sold while still being able to access funding for things like music videos and having your music professionally mastered.

    What is your approach to recording music?
    It involves a lot of trial and error. The composing process is entwined in the recording process, and so the sounds we create mostly come from experimenting with different recording effects and plugins. Our aim is to be as critical as possible. A lot of detail goes into every piece of recorded sound – even if it only lasts for a few seconds on the final mix. Because there are various layers in our music, a lot of the actual time crafting the songs is spent simply mixing the levels, adjusting the equalization and panning the sounds. A good overall mix is important otherwise certain sounds may not be heard or in some cases might be too audible. I like to think of our music as a “sonic landscape” and part of having a dynamic landscape that rises and falls sonically is ensuring that the mix is smooth.

    How do you feel about the response to your latest release?
    Everyone so far has been really positive and encouraging which always means a lot. Its so humbling when we get messages from people overseas who have just discovered our music and tell us that they have been enjoying our tunes. I like the idea of music connecting people and transcending beyond borders.

    How do you define success for your music?
    For me, being successful is simply about being happy. So as long as the music you make brings you happiness then your music is a success. I’m a firm believer that your own songs should be your favourite music to listen to. I say this without any arrogance. Because music is such an emotionally powerful outlet I quite naturally feel drawn to listening to my own music as a sort of healing-process or as a way of reconnecting with a time or place in the past.

    What is your favorite Wellington band and live performance?
    Secret Knives for the band and Seth Frightening’s performance at Puppies last year opening for Mount Eerie.

    What do you appreciate most about Wellington music?
    I appreciate that there is a real sense of community amongst Wellington musicians. Because our city is relatively compact, you see familiar faces around town all the time and even if you don’t know them personally everyone is approachable. The small city feel seems to break down any sense of hierarchy between bands and musicians also.

    “Echoes” is available for download and to stream from the band’s Facebook page



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