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Independent Highlights Of 2002

Independent Highlights Of 2002

2002 was a very positive year for New Zealand music in all sectors, and certainly our Independent record labels and distributors spent the year frantically releasing and promoting mountains of important and interesting music.

The strength of the Independents is in their diversity and flexibility, and 2002 saw releases of all genres and flavours which made a major contribution to the cultural wealth and economic well-being of New Zealand.

In addition to great responses to Independent music within New Zealand, many of our members made exciting inroads into a wide variety of overseas markets, with often unprecedented success stories now able to be told.

Kog Transmissions had a blistering year both home and away. They scored their first Gold album with P-Money’s “Big Things” and also had their first-ever UK sales chart success with Concord Dawn. As if that wasn’t enough, internationally acclaimed DJ P-Money has just returned from 2 months in New York writing beats.

Intergalactic Records established a company in the USA, with an office in Los Angeles; as well as securing further Australian representation. 8 Foot Sativa had a huge year, releasing their debut album “Hate Made Me”, winning best new act at the Squeeze TV Awards, and performing a series of very successful live shows. They also featured at the World Series showcase; and for 2003 8 Foot Sativa and Kosha have US tour dates confirmed.

8 Foot Sativa will be appearing at the prestigious South by Southwest music convention in Austin, Texas in March. Also representing the IMNZ family at this year’s South by Southwest will be another World Series artist, Damien Binder (Muse Records) and label manager/IMNZ executive officer Mark Roach. Binder also has other US dates lined up around this time with strong advance interest coming from US & Canadian A&R reps.

In 2002 Arch Hill Recordings released their two most successful albums to date, Pine’s “Longplayer” and Fang’s “Somewhere Out There”. The release of both of these albums has been secured for Australia and the United Kingdom via Hot Records, and Pine is currently getting airplay on Australia’s Triple J. Both bands also made videos with Richard Bell who has produced more than 500 music videos for the likes of U2, Nirvana, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash and others.

Via King Music, Te Vaka have just received two nominations in the highly prestigious BBC 3 Awards for World Music. They are nominated in the Asia/Pacific category, and most significantly, they are one of the four finalists to be selected from artists from all corners of the globe for the Audience Award. During 2002 King Music continued their growth, with albums from Pacific Soul and Jamoa Jam both close to gold sales in New Zealand and at least one King Music album or single was in the national sales chart for 25 weeks of the year.

January 2002 saw the birth of independent distributors In Music, who secured New Zealand distribution of local labels Arclife, 1157 Records (responsible for Missing Teeth’s highly acclaimed debut album), Turbine Records and Musica Dep, who released the Newmatics retrospective compilation. In August the In Music label was launched with “Soane In Music”, followed by Soane’s Australian tour. In Music also gained the New Zealand distribution of Australia’s Ascension Records, who carry a range of classic Kiwi artists from the Zodiac label, such as Human Instinct, the La De Das and Ray Columbus. Happy first birthday In Music!

Round Trip Mars released the critically acclaimed “Sideways Too” compilation in 2002. Nominated for two b-Net Awards and appearing on many ‘Best of the Year’ lists, the compilation showcased established label artists like sjd, Phelps and Munro, Juse and pains people as well as introducing youthful newcomers Michael Logie and DJ Logikal. Logikal’s contribution “Verbally Decapitating” was the winner of the inaugural M2/Jim Beam Video Contest, beating out the best part of a couple of hundred entrants to score a ‘blingtastic’ $10,000 video that even featured a jacuzzi scene! 2002 also saw the label licensing tracks to leading European labels Grand Central and Stereo Deluxe as well as forging relationships with independent compadre labels in the USA, Japan and France. Round Trip Mars are currently preparing for the release of the Phelps and Munro album “Slowpoke” in May/June and the third sjd album is September.
Antenna re-released the Darcy Clay memorial album with a CD-Rom of previously unavailable videos and interviews. Tadpole released their second album “The Medusa” and the band visited Australia and East Timor. The Relaxomatic Project’s second album is cruising its way to success, and two Warratahs tracks were included in the Walt Disney film “Hope Springs”. Pagan also spent the year upgrading its impressive back catalogue, which spans an amazing 18 years of New Zealand music history.

Wildside Records focussed on the release of the debut album Primary by Rubicon in 2002. Rubicon won a video Juice TV Indie Video Award for 'Happy Song'. Wildside also released radio singles 'Rosary' by Marvey King and 'Long Gone For Good' by former Hello Sailor frontman Graham Brazier.
Global Routes continued their unwavering support of New Zealand music. They currently distribute records by at least 100 New Zealand artists, with the long-awaited debut album by ska heroes The Managers due for release in early 2003.

And from new IMNZ members, Tangata recording artist Moana Maniapoto completed a hugely successful 3-month Festival tour of Europe in 2002, promoting her debut European release. Moana is booked for further European tours in June and October of 2003. Her third album “Toru” will be released in August. Tangata, distributed by, will also be releasing albums by Hareruia ‘Ruia’ Aperahama (who will tour with Moana) and WVVLC.

Due to the impact of independent music over 2002, we thought we’d mention a few other Independent labels’ achievements, showcasing the fact the Independent labels are the A&R engine room of New Zealand music. While these guys are not current members of IMNZ, they have been doing some great independent work.

Bounce Records gave us Nesian Mystik’s debut album “Polysaturated”, which debuted at number 1 in the New Zealand album sales chart, and is closing in rapidly on double-platinum status. The single “It’s On” was number 21 in the overall 2002 New Zealand singles chart and the album is still in the top ten.

The Deceptikonz released their debut album “Elimination” on Dawn Raid, which reached number 2 in the national album charts. Dawn Raid also started up a free youth music education programme, “Straight From The Streets”. This resulted in the “Straight From The Streets” CD release, which has sold extremely well, so expect to hear much more about this initiative. In big news for 2003, Mareko from the Deceptikonz will be heading to New York in March to record with some major players in the US so keep an ear out for some great new tracks.

And it’s great to see the Datsuns’ Hellsquad Records doing the business and new Independent labels emerging such as Siren Records, home of Golden Horse, and Beaver Records, making some noise.

After the flood of great stories from the past year, 2003 looks set to be an even bigger year for independent music and for IMNZ. One of our first projects will be to produce a sampler of some of the choicest cuts from IMNZ labels, which will be taken to South by Southwest in Texas this March, the Oscars, and the annual music festival in Miami. It will also be used to showcase the indies’ music locally. Over the course of this year, many other exciting projects are set to be unveiled, so stay tuned.

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