Golden Bay groove
The co-founders of New Zealand's newest record company, Golden Bay Records, expect the environment they live in will be reflected in the music they produce.
Golden Bay Records has just been set up in Takaka by Max Maxwell, "Bluey" Shanker (aka Greg Powell), and Yvette Ireton with the aim of releasing music in the electronica genre.
The label's first release is Bluey's Ocean Unknown - a beguiling mix of downbeat, jazzy, dub.
Max Maxwell and Bluey are not newcomers to the game - along with Colin Chapman from Manchester, they set up electronica act Matipo Pyramid in the mid-90s.
Matipo Pyramid headlined at New Zealand's premier outdoor dance event, The Gathering, in 1998, and also produced a CD - "which was basically recorded in a garage at east Takaka" - and released it in Europe with some success.
Max Maxwell says that after Matipo Pyramid disssolved they kept their interest in the music, and in the idea of producing it themselves on a professional basis which led to the formation this year of Golden Bay Records.
"There was no real label in the South Island dealing with electronica - and there are quite a few other musicians in Nelson, Canterbury, and Golden Bay looking to get their music released. Also the Golden Bay/Nelson area has become a bit of an epicentre for dance culture in New Zealand, so it's kind of natural for a label to be based here."
Maxwell, who has a background in computer software development, says setting up their Takaka studio has been a massive investment, but the up-to- date technology allows them to "pretty much take the CDs right through to the finished product".
"But it's an expensive hobby - I mean Bluey makes teepees on the side and I still do the computer stuff."
Max Maxwell will release his own album in December, and then they plan to put out a compilation of New Zealand electronica.
Maxwell says the Bluey CD, distributed through Festival, is already getting good feedback locally, and they may eventually release it internationally.
Max says it's inevitable that to overseas ears much of the music they produce will sound distinctively New Zealand.
"I think the music that Bluey and myself make is reflected in the environment we live in - it's a little bit different than a lot of the stuff that's produced in UK and Europe."
"I know for myself, when I was living in London and making music there, and you're locked in a little sort of room in a flat, and it'd be dark and cold, and you'd never see a blue sky, ever, sort of thing - the music you'd make would reflect that. Here, you come to the studio and you're looking out the window at the sky and that shows in what you do.
"We just tend to opt naturally for the more rounded sounds - the softer, gentler sounds - rather than the hard cutting-edge sounds.
"The whole dance culture in NZ is a lot more mellow, a lot more intimate, and a lot more friendly than what you get in Europe, without a doubt."
Caption: Bluey, Max, Yvette: in tune with Golden Bay.