The Grow Room's dope new electronic release
Music: Gratitude by Bobandii from the Friends Collecting Friends compilation
Friends Collecting Friends album artwork: Olivia Hunter
We recently got our hands on a new electronic compilation called Friends Collecting Friends, by the K-road-based music collective, The Grow Room.
We think it’s fucking dope, and if you’re into a spot of experimental electronic music, chances are you will too.
We wanted to know more about the music, and the collective’s emerging presence in the Auckland underground music scene.
So we had a chat with an OG Grow Room member, and co-curator of the Friends Collecting Friends compilation, Nick Gudgeon (Gudgemin, Friends of all the World).
Nick Gudgeon (AKA Gudgemin)- Crawford Photography
“Basically The Grow Room is a little more focused on hip-hop. It hasn’t really shown the crazy, chaotic, electronic half off yet… and this is sort of our first attempt to do that,” Gudgeon says of the new release
“Friends Collecting Friends showcases 10 tracks from 10 different producers who are somewhat involved in the K road electronic music scene,
That has flourished in The Grow Room due to the space's openness to experimental art forms and improvisation.”
But let’s rewind a little. For those of you wondering what The Grow Room is: The Grow Room started as a jam space just over two years ago.
A studio in St Kevin’s arcade that a small group of musicians split the rent on, so they could all have a communal space to create and share music.
The Grow Room - YouTube
“We started this open door policy. Which was fucking hectic. We met all these other people. A lot of meth addicts….” Gudgeon jokes,
“But a lot of great artists as well.”
In the early days, they didn’t have a lock on the door, so while they were jamming anyone could come up.
Since 2014, the collective has blown up.
The open-door and open-minded attitude has facilitated the music collective to grow into a space that cultivates creatives of all kinds; dancers, poets, photographers, videographers, artists. You name it.
They’ve had a number of hugely successful exhibition parties, where the collective has showcased their talent.
Several music releases, including last months Jivedays - the EP debut of Brandn Shiraz and Light Skin John, an emerging hip-hop duo who are making waves at just 16.
And a stunning online video series called the Grow Room Sessions.
Now they’re looking to create a Grow Room house/electronic club night.
Which was where the idea for the Friends Collecting Friends compilation came from.
“We’ve had this running joke for a while... The Auckland House Music Crisis.” laughs Gudgeon.
Fraser Hunter, the Friends Collecting Friends co-curator, had the club night idea.
“Fraser is Clever Calvin, his name’s Fruitman on the compilation, he’s started a band called Fluids.. plus about a million other projects… He’s a hectic dude, hard to keep up with but he’s got lots of good ideas.”
Fraser Hunter (AKA Fruitman, Clever Calvin)
“So yeah. We were like let’s totally do that (the club night), but first, we should put some music out so people know what we’re all about.”
“When we were asking people to send in tracks, we had one criterion -make it house inspired so we can mix it”
Gudgeon concedes that it hasn’t turned out 100% house, there are some other influences there too.
“House is usually 120bpm, we’ve got tracks from like 110 to 126 on the compilation.”
“But it’s all kinda based around music that is repetitive or sample based, and it’s made for dancing… Or vibing out too at 3am.”
To celebrate the compilation's release, the collective had a listening party in their new Grow Room residence. Still based on K-road, but slightly further up from St. Kevins, and more private.
“The listening party was pretty cool, because often with other comps I’ve worked on, you have one person ask you for a beat, you communicate through email and then suddenly your beats on a compilation like three months later… You get a notification and a credit and that’s it.”
“I was really keen to do something where we actually functioned as a community, where we all hung out and talked about our tracks.”
One of our favourite tunes on the compilation is Gratitude by Bobandii. Gudgeon agrees.
“Silas’ (aka Bobandii's) track is the perfect song you want to put on when you’re driving to the beach. It just sounds like summer. It’s got this nice little saxophone sample and some kind of African singing sample. It’s very liquid. It’s just a house banger, and I think it’s actually one of the first house tracks he’s put out.”
Silas McClintock (Aka Bobandii) - Cameron Robinson Photography
Other highlights include Geyser by the 16-year-old Malt,
“It’s got some beautiful piano samples on it and it’s very danceable, you can hear the hip-hop influence coming through,” says Gudgeon.
And we love Gudgeon’s own tune -or Gudgemin as he goes by musically- Mate, You’re Spaced.
A dreamy, house banger with soft, ambient piano and a last-minute collab with the New Zealand singer-songwriter Mr Amish.
In typical creative-muso-type fashion, Nick hadn’t actually managed to get his beat finished for the night of the release party.
“Mr Amish came through on the release night, we weren’t actually expecting to have him on the compilation.”
“I ended up asking him if he wanted to fiddle around on the guitar, so half the track is him on guitar and the rest is me. And yeah, I’m really stoked that I procrastinated making the beat, cause otherwise, it would have turned out completely different. It was really cool having that influence.”
Grow Room Hangs - Locapinay
So what’s next for The Grow Room?
In short. A lot.
This Friday, Cleophus of hip-hop duo Badcrop, is dropping a new EP.
On Saturday, long-time Grow Room member Fathe Nassir is returning to Africa and is throwing an event fundraiser at Neck of the Woods.
The lineup will include a diverse range of music, spoken word, acting and dance performances.
Gudgeon promises a fourth exhibition in early December, likely to take place at the K-road Samoa House in the Fale.
Plus he’s already working on a second compilation, “I want it to be bigger, like 20 tracks, and even weirder.”
In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of Friends Collecting Friends on Bandcamp, name your price.