The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

Fifteen revealing questions submitted to well-known musicians or newcomers to the game which they can answer seriously or as silly as they please.

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THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Etana

12 Dec 2014

By happy chance, we received a reply from Etana to our Famous Elsewhere Reggae Questionnaire . . . and a year ago she had answered our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire. But she's a star and the questions are of course different (and where they are the same it is interesting to compare her answers) so let's give the Jamaican soul-reggae queen another shot at it . . . and anyway she's got a new... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Fiji

4 Dec 2014

He's called Fiji because he comes from . . . err, Hawaii actually. George Veikoso aka reggae/r'n'b man Fiji -- who is of Fijian heritage -- has been a regular touring artist around the Pacific Rim, has released a swag of albums in the past two decades (see here), and is an advocate for the specifically Pacific sound. "If you’re going to be a Pacific Islander artist,” he... > Read more

Sweet Darlin

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: A-Kel of Tomorrow People

3 Dec 2014

They began life as a studio project . . . but the Wellington collective that is Tomorrow People quickly became a proper band, and one which took their name from the Ziggy Marley song and are unashamedly purveyors of "sunshine reggae". Which might just mean one-drop for barbecues in Aotearoa. They are certainly firmly within a soulful, consciousness tradition as evidenced on... > Read more

Souljah Feeling

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sammy Johnson

28 Nov 2014

Sammy Johnson is a genuine New Zealand reggae star. His single No Sleep -- which is on his just released debut EP -- topped the local reggae charts and got into the Billboard Top 40 reggae chart. His new single Hey looks like doing just as weill if not better, it is in the US iTunes top 20 this week. And he's also toured in the US, done dates in Australia and is currently touring New... > Read more

Take Me

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Julian Temple

24 Nov 2014    1

Here's a clever compliment: Zeitgeist magazine in the UK said of the Julian Temple Band they were “like the loudest blues band in the world whispering”. And Indie Music in the States said of Temple's songs they were "as dark as the grave and as hopeful as spring, this music is a wonderful and unexpected contradiction of emotions". It's surprising therefore to... > Read more

Upsidedownbackwards

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Mick Flannery

19 Nov 2014

And from out of Cork he comes: singer-songwriter Mick Flannery whose By The Rule album topped the Irish charts within days of its release, and of course was followed by a sell-out tour of Ireland and the UK, as you do. Flannery is now kicking off a New Zealand tour with compatriot John Spillane, and the pair have previously teamed up for a series of shows taking on the Marquee... > Read more

The Small Fire

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Otis Mace

19 Nov 2014

You would have to have lived a very sheltered life in Auckland not to have encountered Otis Mace, the post-punk street singer-songwriter who has become something of a folk hero. In his time Mace has recorded for Ode, Ripper and Jayrem, opened for Bily Bragg, Violent Femmes, Dead on Arrival and others, has wriiten for films, theatre and dance productions . . . He's also held down quite a... > Read more

The Revenge of the Five-Hundred Thousand Tonne Baby

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Thom Powers of Naked and Famous

14 Nov 2014

The annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards are more than just a night for winners in the various categories, it has become an opportunity to celebrate the growth and diversity of the local music industry . . . and these days its global reach. It wasn't always like that as I noted in this article recently. The event is once again at Vector Arena in Auckland, on November 20, tickets... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Ladi6

12 Nov 2014

The annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards are more than just a night for winners in the various categories, it has become an opportunity to celebrate the growth and diversity of the local music industry . . . and these days its global reach. It wasn't always like that as I noted in this article recently. The event is once again at Vector Arena in Auckland, on November 20, tickets... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Michael Cathro of Ha the Unclear

10 Nov 2014

On any given week Elsewhere receives at least half a dozen very interesting albums and about twice as many which are interesting enough to be worthy of attention. And then quite a few that -- very interesting or bloody awful -- just fall through the cracks . . . because of those dozens of others. We do our best, but it's always a pleasure when albums step up for their genius, uniqueness or... > Read more

Secret Lives of Furniture

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Browne of Black River Drive

10 Nov 2014

When it comes to hard rock from New Zealand, you are spoiled for choice . . . but making a serious entry into the international stakes are Black River Drive whose second album Quicksand is a real milestone. Recorded over two months and produced in Nashville by Toby Wright (who has twiddled the knobs for Slayer, Alice in Chains and Metallica among others), the album has a genuine sonic punch... > Read more

Grenade

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Adam Usmani of Madam Tsunami

3 Nov 2014

Adam Usmani – mainman for the band Madam Tsumani – works a day job and has two kids, but perhaps because of that his songwriting touches some very real places beyond the cliches of pop-rock. Influenced by the emotional directness of grunge (without the noise-power) and with nods towards the likes of Ben Harper and reggae, Madam Tsunami's debut album Man in the Middle also... > Read more

Temptation

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: French for Rabbits

31 Oct 2014

This is what we love to hear. We sent the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire to Brooke, John and Ben of French for Rabbits and when it came back Brooke had written in the e-mail: "It made made the long trip from Warsaw to Berlin more entertaining!" Yes, New Zealand musicians out there conquering the world one gig at a time . . . although on long boring journeys between. FFR (... > Read more

Woke Up to a Storm

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Astro of UB40

30 Oct 2014

New Zealand audiences are extremely loyal to those acts we take to heart. The Violent Femmes could turn up tomorrow and -- despite not having been here for years and not even existing anymore -- we'd rock up to see them. Same with UB40. Decades ago we adopted UB40 as one of our own and they reciprocated. They've been regular visitors (with or without singer Ali Campbell) and their... > Read more

Anytime At All

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE FILM QUESTIONNAIRE: Alastair and Vanessa Riddell

21 Oct 2014

Alastair Riddell is perhaps best know as the man who fronted the excellent glam-rock band Space Waltz back in the early Seventies whose single Out in the Street is a genuine Kiwi classic (as is the camp and clever clip which accompanied it). And recently a British rock magazine pointed Ziggy-era Bowie fans in the direction of Space Waltz's sole... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kevin Mark Trail

20 Oct 2014

Singer Kevin Mark Trail -- who guests on the new Sola Rosa album Magnetics and is on the tour (see dates below) -- has got other reasons to be cheerful. His new album The Knight has also just been released, so his profile could hardly be higher. And as well as joining Sola Rosa on stage he will also open for them to showcase his own soulful material. He describes The Knight as "an... > Read more

To the Ocean

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jeff Boyle of Jakob

17 Oct 2014

New Zealand three-piece Jakob have patiently carved out an impressively wide niche for themselves since their debut album Subsets of Sets back in 2002. Their broad sonic palette across their albums and EPs since have placed them in the vanguard of instrumental music which has its touchstones in widescreen psychedelica, dynamic prog, eerie ambience and dense metal. Critics have made... > Read more

Magna Carta

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: C.W. Stoneking

14 Oct 2014

Australian CW Stoneking first came to Elsewhere's attention with his King Hokum debut album of original songs back in 2006, at which time I admitted, “this one's got me stumped”. The reason was because there was a thirtysomething white guy on the cover but the performer was clearly some old black guy “maybe even recorded in the... > Read more

The Zombie

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Maxi Priest

13 Oct 2014

British reggae star Maxi Priest came through the old soul music channel of the church, that's where he first started singing . . . so it's no surprise that there has always been a lot of soul in his style, which accounts for him singing with the likes of Roberta Flack and having greater succes in the US than just about any other British reggae act. “First and foremost, I’m... > Read more

None of Jah Jah Children

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE WRITERS QUESTIONNAIRE: Willy Vlautin

9 Oct 2014

Willy Vlautin perhaps first came on to people's radar with his Oregon band Richmond Fontaine. Albums like The Fitzgerald, Thirteen Cities and We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded like a River impressed for his literate lyrics, storytelling and character studies. No surprise then when Vlautin delivered a novel, the compelling Motel Life in 2006 which was full of dark deeds, bad deals... > Read more