MARLON WILLIAMS, CHELSEA JADE, RUBAN NIELSON, ELIZABETH STOKES, TROY KINGI

UMO on Chelsea Jade on The Beths on Marlon Williams on Troy Kingi: Silver Scrolls finalists talk about each other

Last week, APRA announced the five finalists for the 2017 Silver Scroll Award. Today, exclusively for The Spinoff, the five artists discuss each other’s nominated songs.

Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra on ‘Laugh It Off’ by Chelsea Jade

My friend put me on to this song when it first came out and I love it. It’s just an impeccable pop song. It has this great clarity of communication and I find the production and structure really emotionally affecting. This is the kind of song that replays in your head even if it’s not playing. It kind of has a way of taking over the mood of your life for a few days which is the stuff I like. I want a song that will haunt me and make my whole life feel different, which this totally has done to me this year in several different waves.

Chelsea Jade on ‘Future Me Hates Me’ by The Beths

Elizabeth Stokes has a depth that isn’t compromised by unkindness. If genius can be measured in empathy, dedication and good humor in tandem with ability, Liz is an absolute prodigy. Her songwriting is an exact amalgamation of everything I love about her. Earnest, clever, self-aware, articulate, brazen, intricate, funny, friendly, anxious, endearing and deeply Kiwi. ‘Future Me Hates Me’ marries all of these things perfectly and honestly I want to marry Liz.

Elizabeth Stokes of The Beths on ‘Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore’ by Marlon Williams

I’m a sucker for a duet. And a sad song. The lyrics of this one make me feel miserable in just the way that I crave. I love the directions the melody and harmony wander in the verses and the way the song builds and collapses. It’s really a beautiful piece of music.

Marlon Williams on ‘Aztechknowledgey’ by Troy Kingi

It’s super tightly played, tightly produced. It seems complex but it’s actually kinda simple with cool melodic ideas. It’s refreshingly playful but appeals to some deeper sensibilities which I would sometimes dismiss, but if you listen closely it’s got a lot more depth than you’d think it has. It’s interesting that so many indigenous cultures take up psychedelic music. There are incredible Puerto Rican deep cuts from the 70s that are super psychedelic and there’s incredible Native American music that’s along the same vein. Maybe there’s some identity thing doing on between indigeneity and retro-futurism that resonates throughout time. It’s a cool phenomenon. I’ve certainly known a lot of Space Māoris in my time.

Troy Kingi on ‘Hunnybee’ by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I’ve been a massive fan of UMO since I first heard ‘Ffunny FFriends’ – and even before that I actually used to be quite envious of both the Nielson boys during the Mint Chicks era, not only for their music but more so for the fact that their buzzy unique sound was coming out of ‘our’ own country. When both II and Multi Love came out they were literally (at those points in time) the soundtracks to my life. Sex & Food has followed suit and is a regular on my travelling playlists, and whenever ‘Hunnybee’ comes on I just smile. Its brainy lo-fi nostalgiac swagger has been packaged in such a way that it can be easily digested, yet when you listen deeper there is a lot of intricate shit going on beneath, ear-worming hooks on a smorgasbord of chords, a poet’s lyrics and a chaotic sleepy energy that seems like it has been soaking in a fine cognac, freeze-dried and roughly mixed before fan baking it into this beautifully refined jogging grove. Dope dope dope 🔥🔥🔥

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