THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: James Hughes of Batucada Sound Machine

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Batucada Sound Machine: The Best for You
THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: James Hughes of Batucada Sound Machine

Batucada Sound Machine -- who deliver a boiling blend of Latin, African and Afro-Cuban rhythms with rock guitars and a stabbing, funky horn section -- have really hit their straps with their new album Don't Keep Silent (see review here).

They have also enjoyed a global reach and have played in Britain and Europe frequently where they won glowing -- burning, in fact -- reviews. And last year they took themselves to Korea.

Regulars on New Zealand's festival circuit also -- Splore, Parihaka, Rhythm and Vines and the Big Day Out -- their melange of styles and multi-cultural membership also endears them to Womad audiences as well.

With Don't Keep Silent, BSM embark on an extensive national tour (dates below) but before then singer/percussion player James Hughes took time to join the long list of luminaries who have answered the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

As a kid, just learning guitar, definitely Tin Pan Alley (Stevie Ray Vaughan). I used to listen to that on my walkman over and over and over. Actually I am going to download that sucker now....its been too long!

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Andrew Ridgely and George Michael .... ouch.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Len-ger, Nirvana, Madonna...and Jacko. Para siempre.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Truthfully, I'd have to say teaching kids. I teach a bit o music to the kids at Matipo Primary spare time and really enjoy it.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Aboio Avoado (Lenine): Lenine is simply a legendary Brazilian musician/songwriter.

La Banda (Spanish Harlem Orchestra): Cant beat this for stellar latin-jazz musicianship and energy.

Best for you (Batucada Sound Machine): Hey I had to put it in there. I like its simplicity.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

An old wind-up metronome from my grandma that is slightly rusted inside. It keeps time, but in a lop-sided way that is actually quite cool. I may sample it...

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

The Pursuer (Julio Cortázar)

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Would have to be Tito Puente...and I would play something really insignificant like a tiny shaker. Alternatively I would practice for the next year and rock up and play congas.

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Gaslands, Food Inc, Dumbo the Elephant (got to love that the whole musical hallucination scene).

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Average White Band – Show Your Hand (purchased in a near-extinct record store in Stuttgart)

Snowboy – Para Puente (download)

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Mah nah mah nah: I just googled it and it was written by the Italian Piero Umiliani for a movie in '68. Interesting!

Seriously, if I had written Superstition (Stevie Wonder) – I would be a very happy man.

wwfThe poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Got to love Stephen Templer’s work (Wellington based, right).

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .


David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

With my wife and kids for sure in NZ – nurturing them, teaching them, learning from them - although it would be great to somehow hyperspace past these painful piano lessons!

batucada_Cover_LowAnd finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

The main songwriters (Richard Setford, Alex Urlich, myself) came together much more cohesively on this album and the final product flows really well - from start to finish. This is an album I think any music lover can really get in to and enjoy.

Richie’s lyrics are powerful, and I think the music definitely does them justice. We got a great live sound at The Lab – and I think we captured some great performances from the crew.

So all the ingredients for our best album ..... ever.


26 Jan, Sat - Sale St Bar, Auckland (album launch) 

27 Jan, Fri - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington

29 Jan, Sun - The Yot Club, Raglan

03 Feb, Fri - Commercial Hotel, Whakatane

04 Feb, Sat - Poverty Bay Club, Gisborne

05 Feb, Sun - Cabana Bar, Napier

03 Mar, Sat - Mangawhai Tavern, Mangawhai

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