Live Review: Common and Talib Kweli, The Power Station, Auckland, New Zealand.

Conscious Hip-Hop acts as a counter to the violent, materialistic, bling infused cookie cutter music that dominates the airwaves. As a genre, it rails against social injustices with deadly precision. Artists such as Run the Jewels and Kendrick Lamar may have brought the concerns of Conscious Hip-Hop to a whole new generation of fans, but nothing is born in isolation and last night The PowerStation played host to the two Godfathers of the genre Common and Talib Kweli. Combined they have worked with some of the most respected names in the business, including the aforementioned Kendrick, J Dilla, Mos Def and Pharrell.

Opening act Talib Kwalei managed to craft a set list that spanned most of his impressive twenty year career and showed off his lyrical dexterity and quiet aggression. Kweli has always been an MC’s MC and his energetic performance simply cemented it in this reviewers eyes. Thoughtful lyrics and old-school turntablism was at the heart of this performance, which merged classics flawlessly with newer material. Standouts included the RZA produced trackRocket Ships and Never Been In Love. He somehow managed to pay homages to both Prince and Bob Marley without slowing down the frenetic pace of his performance. By his closing song the keening jazz-funk fusion song Get By’ the crowd was heaving and primed for the evening’s headliner Common.

Common has a significantly different style to Kweli. He felt bigger, brasher, and bolder and that is not a criticism. He to capture and maintain the audience’s attention with his magnetism throughout the hour and a half set. His flows were relentless and perpetually good, opening with People and weaving some of his biggest hits with deeper cuts, including The Corners, I Used To Love Her, and ending with an excellent cover of Nas’s The World Is Yours. Collaboration is at the epicentre of Hip Hop and this concert was no exception, and arguably provided the evening’s highlight when Kweli joined Common onstage and they performed Blackstar’s Respiration. Kweli’s cool stage presence acted as a good counterpoint to Common’s earnestness. Common is as sincere as they come- his impassioned Black Rights Matter and imploring to love and respect each other was beautiful, necessary and heartfelt. However, things got a little smaltzy when he brought a woman up onstage and began freestyling and dancing with her onstage. While it undoubtedly showed off his genius, and his love for his fans appears genuine, it came off feeling a little too Boyz II Men for my tastes and disrupted the otherwise flawless flow of his set.

It was an honour and a privilege to see two Hip-Hop heavyweights share the stage for an evening that was a celebration of collaboration, commonality, and community. Top marks.

Advertisements

An Interview with: Paul Kean: The Bats

bandpic2

Pressing record on my Dictaphone, I confess to my interviewee that I have never learnt shorthand, and so record all of my interviews so that I can quote people correctly. He chuckles.“Ah yes, we’ve been misquoted through the years… sometimes it’s alright though, because myths are made out of them.” I respond: “So it’s ok if I quote you as saying something outlandish.” Paul Kean laughs down the phone and says cheekily “But we are outlandish-you could put that in couldn’t you?  The outlandish Bats?”

In a way, he wasn’t far off with his descriptor. Over the last thirty years, The Bats have gained a mythical status in New Zealand music, thanks to their off kilter, darkly danceable songs, as well as their affiliation to Flying Nun Records and Dunedin Sound. Perhaps in an idiosyncratically ‘Kiwi’ fashion, Kean downplays the obvious successes of The Bats throughout our interview. But they have long been the quiet achievers of New Zealand music, having toured with Radiohead, and amassed solid fanbases in both the United States and Europe, while their albums have garnered critical acclaim from the likes of Mojo, and Uncut music magazines- as well as landing a Billboard magazine cover. This is on top of charting in France and having an NME single of the week. All of this has been achieved with the same four members from their first performance in Dunedin on New Year’s Eve in 1982- Paul Kean (bass), Malcom Grant (drums), Robert Scott (vocals), and Kaye Woodward (lead guitar).

The Bats will be performing as part of The Others Way festival which will be tucked away in various nooks and crannies down Auckland’s perpetually colourful Karangahape Road. The line-up is an eclectic assortment of established and emerging New Zealand musicians. “It’s a great concept for a festival, and [its] heart-warming to see that the live music scene is alive and kicking again with some great young acts” Kean enthuses. “It’s almost going through a renaissance at the moment. For a while there was a dull period, where artists would just mimic what they heard overseas, but there is a ‘Kiwi’ sound to this new wave of artists that is nice to hear. It’s broad [in terms of genre] but people aren’t afraid of being or sounding like New Zealanders anymore” muses Kean.

It is with mock horror that Kean realised that many of those who used to go to The Bats gigs during O-week in the 1980s have “spawned” and have perhaps been discovering their parent’s music collection. Flying Nun is best known for its lo fi jangle during the 1980s, and The Bats were known, by Kean’s own admission as “the bouncy, poppy frivolous band.” But really, both the label and the band are more diverse than history gives them credit for. Reflecting on his band’s dreamily disconsolate sound, Kean notes that “there has certainly been a darker side to us throughout our career. When we were younger, we all listened to a wide range of music. We imported a lot of stuff, and we are all fans of pop music- both left of centre, avant garde as well as straight up pop music. We put it in a blender and we represent ourselves. We’re not really following any trends, and people say that we still sound the same as when we started. But maybe that’s because we have our own sound and that works for us and we don’t want to move away into territory that doesn’t feel natural for us.” 

With 8 albums to their name thus far, it is territory that holds them in good stead. Three classics from their back catalogue have been recently reissued-Compiletely Bats, Daddy’s Highway and The Law of Things. Kean remastered much of it himself, tweaking and“embellishing them” so that they now sound “the way they were supposed to sound” all those years ago. Their performance on September 4th will feature a mixture of their back catalogue, and will also debut some new songs. “We’ve recorded an album’s worth of songs and are just in the mixing stage at the moment” says Kean. “Musically, it almost sounds like an extension of [2011’s critically acclaimed] Free All the Monsters.”

Reading through the glut of scintillating artists performing at The Others Way festival, I ask Keane why punters should come and see The Bats. “Because it will be a life-changing experience if people haven’t seen us perform live” he deadpans before bursting into peals of laughter. “No, no….if people have a preconceived idea of who we are…they will be surprised.”This writer for one is looking forward to it.

This was first published in Rip It Up magazine on September 3rd 2015.

 

Live Review: Wu Tang Clan, Auckland, New Zealand.

 wutang2014

I first heard The Wu Tang Clan in 1994 when I was six years old, courtesy of some much older cousins. Based on what I could understand at the time, The Wu Tang Clan were Kung Fu masters in Shaolin a suburb of New York, and they made cool music. Now over twenty years after that initial introduction, I’ve finally got my facts right and also had the opportunity to see them live. Here are my thoughts about the Wu Tang Clan- then and now:

You would be hard-pressed to find a hip-hop head who didn’t at least respect the level of influence, impact, classic albums, and sheer ability of all 9 members of the Wu Tang Clan. Together they almost single-handedly revived East-Coast Hip-Hop, a genre that up until that point had been succumbing to the slick G-Funk stylings of Dr Dre and his languid protégé Snoop Doggy Dogg. With their Kung-Fu inspired names they hit back with their aggressive call-to-arms single Protect Ya Neck which was released independently out of a base camp on Morningstar Road in Staten Island. Taken off their debut album Enter the 36 Chambers, the record in its entirety has gone on to become recognised as a cornerstone of hard core hip hop. Its gritty immaculately minimal production coupled with darkly violent lyrical dexterity laid down the groundwork for New York’s hip hop renaissance, and paved the way for the likes of Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G, Nas and Mobb Deep. Looking at the discography that followed, it is clear that both as a group or individual artists; quality has always been paramount to Staten Island’s finest.

Despite the critical acclaim, relative commercial success, and record-label ordered cross over songs (Method Man and Texas anyone?) the Wu Tang Clan have simultaneously maintained their underground aura and rabid fan base for twenty years.  So upon hearing that they would be coming to New Zealand for the first time ever to headline Raggamuffin, this reviewer was delightedly perplexed. As our flagship Roots and Reggae music festival, the comparative brashness of the Wu to Raggamuffin’s ethos seemed to be a disjointed decision, but I wasn’t about to complain.

The offstage antics of The Wu Tang Clan have gone down in infamy and have at times resembled a real life hip hop soap opera. So you can never be sure of whom you will get when they saunter onstage. Last night a sea of black and yellow clad fans throwing W’s greeted seven members of the Wu Tang Clan who immediately launched into their hooky hit Gravel Pit. Ghostface Killah’s raucous Bring Da Ruckus was probably one of the most staggering rap performances on antipodean soil. It also set the tone for an evening that proved that Wu Tang Clan still isn’t nuthin’ ta fuck with some twenty years after the release of 36 Chambers. Presenting a united front of menace and machoism,Theirs was a set of nostalgically fresh classics that focussed heavily on their debut and only the cream of their later and solo albums.

Over their turntablist’s impeccable performance, the Wu Tang performed with a telepathic synchronicity as they swapped mikes and spat their brand of stoner mystic poetry. In between tracks, U-God kept reminding fans “that the energy you give to us, we’re going to give back to you.” The mood of the eclectic audience was respectfully electric, with punters jumping with joyous abandon as they rapped along to every word, mirrored every gesture, and shouted whatever slogan they were told to, hypnotised by the sheer showmanship on display.

While the swagger and posturing was to be expected, the Wu Tang Clan showed that they weren’t without surprises. A tongue in cheek rendition of The Beatles song Come Together was given an (even more obvious) drug inspired outing, and Raekwon liberally sprayed the front row with champagne as other members freestyled about New Zealand. Halfway through the set the Wu started frenetically moshing to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit before explaining to the crowd that “Kurt Cobain was taken too soon, and we had a brother who was taken too soon too- Ol’ Dirty Bastard.” They then launched into Shimmy Shimmy Ya which had the crowd heaving.

The set ended with GZA’s show-stopping acapella performance of Big Bang Rap which is effectively a rhyming lecture on molecular psychics, highlighting the intelligence and innovation that makes these mad monks masters.

4215595

Live Review: Laneway Festival, Silo Park, Auckland 2016.

sjlf16-onsaledate-576x384-5


During a summer that has been plagued by cancelled festivals, it was almost a relief that Laneway went as well as it did. Thousands of punters mostly clad in op-shop finds and body glitter descended upon Silo Park in high spirits for the near sell out show comprising of 33 emerging and established alternative music acts.

For this reviewer, twenty bands in nine hours may have led to two sore feet, but it also captured the fundamental ethos of Laneway- celebrating a diverse array of genres and artists. The line-up of electronica, punk, noise-rock, rap and indie-pop made my eclectic heart sing and meant that I flitted from stage to stage gathering impressionistic thoughts. Safely ensconced in the shade between sets, I scribbled down these gut reactions on the fly eventually filling thirty pages of my notebook.  I have selected a handful of them that best captures the hyperbolic atmosphere of any good music festival:


All Seeing Hand: Having previously only seen this band in small clubs or large house parties, I was intrigued to see how their sound translated to the Thunderdome In short, the answer was well. Theoretically a  throat singer, turntablist, and drummer that fuse metal and jazz as well as a bunch of other genres often into one song should sound messy, but they impressed with their tight, relentless set that got the 200-strong crowds energies up for the day ahead.

Fidlar: Their unapologetically loud set was a fun way to spend the afternoon, with people kicking up plumes of dust as they jumped along to the bands hooky sound. Lead singer Zac Carper was every inch the swaggering frontman, switching effortlessly between husky screams and a more West-Coast punk style of singing.   The audience worked up a sweat in the final song where Carper instructed them to sit down and jump up on his signal. Their songs are about getting drunk, hanging out with your mates, being broke, and trying to get laid. While these topics are not anything new, they make for excellent summer festival fodder-possibly because they describe many peoples festival experiences. In the case of Fidlar, they delivered their songs with such panache that they proved to be a highlight of Laneway.

Thundercat: The virtuosic bassist was the perfect comedown after Fidlar’s rambunctious set. His smooth liquid-jazz sound and silky voice immediately captured the attention of everyone in earshot, and had the crowd swaying in minutes. My knees thanked me for the respite from jumping.

Vince Staples: Already noted for his tight flow and referential beats, expectations were high for Staples. The 22 year old undoubtedly delivered during his set that oscillated between his EP and album. He also bantered with the crowd, offering up sly quips such as “growing up, I hung out with a lot of white people, which is why I feel comfortable here…I listened to NiN and shit.” Standing slightly to the side of the front, I found myself next to Thundercat, who shared a bemused smile with me at the sight of two members of the audience- one dressed as a banana, the other as a hot dog both who were excitedly rapping along with Staples. A memorable show in more ways than one.

Silicon: The Mint Chicks used to spend most of their sets singing anywhere except the stage, and now the brothers have  gone solo it’s nice to see that Kody continues to carry the mantel. His set under his latest project Silicon was spent scaling the outside walls of the Thunderdome, landing on the roof of an ambulance for his funky remix of UMO’s Can’t Keep Checking My Phone.

Grimes: The pastel hair and ostentatious platforms worn by some of Grimes audience left me feeling decidedly monochrome. Insecurities aside, Grimes’s performance was anything but boring. With several offerings of her latest album Art Angel being aired, Grimes legitimised many a millennial’s forbidden love of mall-pop without making it sound twee for a beat. Her backup dancers added further texture the fun set of an artist on the cusp of superstardom.

Beach House: As dusk began to fade, and light danced across the water, the ethereally tussled Beach House took to the Cat Cactus stage under a backdrop of LED stars.  The band proved to be bewitching as their softly hypnotic sound ebbed and flowed. Songs such as Sparks with its elegantly relentless guitar work evoked a particularly strong reaction from the crowd. It was dream-pop at its dreamiest.

Purity Ring: Quite possibly one of the most underrated acts of the day. A spectacular light show  coupled with banging beats and beautifully acerbic vocals from Megan James had the crowd in raptures. Not to mention her Victoriana glam-goth stage attire.  A fantastic way to round off Laneway 2016.

 

Father John Misty in Auckland, New Zealand

ben-kaye-father-john-misty-central-park-summerstage-2

Once known as the drummer for Indie darlings Fleet Foxes, Joshua Tillman has come into his own under the name Father John Misty.

He has gained a devoted following courtesy of two critically acclaimed albums- 2012’s Fear Fun and his sophomore effort I Love You Honeybear was released earlier this year. The latter is, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of the best albums of 2015 so it was with much excitement that I attended Father John Misty’s show at the St James on Thursday night.

Casually strolling across the stage in a beautifully cut suit and artfully unbuttoned shirt, Father John Misty grabbed the microphone and dropped to his knees before launching into the title track of I Love You Honeybear.

Dancing like Mick Jagger at a burlesque show, Father John Misty deftly captured the audience’s attention with enough charisma to rival any pastor throughout his hour and a half long set. Along with his band, he led them through an eclectic set list of crowd pleasers that showcased Misty’s musical diversity. His “sarcastic ballad about despair” Bored in the USA was played alongside Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, which was delivered with an apocalyptically defiant swagger. Holy Shit was another standout, simply for having the most acerbically observant lyrics of what it is to exist in 2015.

But regardless of tempo, both the musicianship and the vaulted ceilings provided a glorious backdrop, and the musicianship demonstrates how beautifully crafted these songs are.

Father John Misty’s lyrics brim with satirical comment- the moniker could be seen as the mouth piece for the modern man. It was great to see that seep into his onstage banter as well. But look beyond the biting humour and there are deep truths to be found within his music. As human beings, we are fraught with dichotomies, and Father John Misty’s music recognises this with a sincerity that is unsettlingly freeing and took his live show to transcendental heights.

This article was first published in Rip It Up magazine, December 2nd 2015.

My picks for Laneway Music Festival 2016:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For music aficionados, summer is especially exciting because it brings a glut of music festivals.  The long heady days lend themselves perfectly to dancing in the sun to your favourite band, discovering new ones, and drinking the odd warm beer in any scrap of shade you can find. Usually music is a purely subjective experience. But the magical thing about a decent festival is that for the duration of it, music becomes not only a celebration of self-expression, but also a celebration of a community. Feeling this collective joy makes the accidental sunburn and inevitable muscle aches the next day completely worthwhile.

An example of one such festival is Laneway Festival. Since its humble beginnings down a ramshackle laneway in Melbourne nine years ago, the teams dedication to offering audiences only the most seminal artists and freshest talent across a variety of genres has never faltered. These steadfast principles have seen the Laneway ethos be taken around Australia and the world, including Singapore, Detroit, and Auckland.  As per usual, 2016 sees Laneway mashing together a myriad of styles that are only otherwise bound by their creativity and talent. However the breadth of sound and bands has reached dizzying heights this year, giving me 33 reasons to go to Laneway.  With less than a week to go until the gates open, tickets are looking to sell out for the fourth year in a row. So for those of you who are dithering, for the sake of readability I will cull my 33 picks down to five reasons to click that “buy now” button.

Beach House (United States):
Dream-Pop darlings Beach House return to New Zealand off the back of two sensational albums released in 2015- Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars which were successors to 2012’s pop-scuzz triumph Bloom.

Over the last twelve years, the duo have produced six meticulous albums that each show subtle yet pertinent growth from its predecessor.  Depending on which one you are listening to, the duo incorporate drawn out droning, elegant distortion, and gorgeously breathy vocals that whisper transcendental promises into your ear. 2015’s offering showcases a shift in texture which leads to a more autumnal tone that suits the cohesively secretive sound of Beach House.  As a band whose music oscillates between being dimly luscious and grandly theatrical, their set promises delicate deviations from pop banalities.
Beach House plays the Cactus Cat stage 8.10pm-8.55pm

Grimes (Canada):
Since Claire Boucher adopted the above moniker in 2009, she has been constructing one of the most cleverly bizarre universes around her stage persona. It is a world that embraces the strange, where the multi-referential textures of her sound are translated into a kaleidoscopically surreal aesthetic that delights critics and fans alike with its constant movement and colour.

Grimes’s third album, 2012’s Visions first brought her to widespread attention, with Pitchfork Magazine hailing its lead single Oblivion as “the single of the decade.” It was an album built on breathy, self-conscious vocals intertwined with hazily dreamlike effects, and four years after its release Grimes has metamorphosed yet again with the release of 2015’s Art Angel.

Within its confines, Grimes has shed the quietly meditative songs of Visions and unleashed a cacophony of confidence and frenzied experimentation. Millenials will instantly recognise the glossy pop tropes of their teenage hood that inspires much of Art Angels. But in the hands of Grimes the kooky possibilities of this oft-dismissed genre becomes apparent. Radio-ready hooks, whip snap backbeats, and her sugary vocals are intertwined with Taiwanese rap music, EDM bangers and Bubblegum pop, giving the nostalgic touchstones of this album a psychedelically futuristic edge.  This reworking of pop standards into hyperbolic amalgamations has led some critics to suggest that she is trying to save the genre. But this writer suggests that Grimes is simply trying to get lost in her own rich soundscapes. Either way, her set will be one of the most ecstatically weird ones on the day. Bring your dancing shoes.
Grimes plays the  Mysterex  Stage 8.00pm-8.45pm.

Silicon (New Zealand):
On the international stage, New Zealand has a strong track record of producing kooky musical imports- from the quirkily suited Split Endz to the cooly cult following of The Chills and laconic pop-comedy of Flight of the Conchords.

Lately people have sat up and taken notice of the Nielson brothers, Ruban and Kody, two people I have a well-documented musical admiration for.  They first came to national attention with the rambunctious art-punk outfit The Mint Chicks, however the pair are now working on their individual projects- Ruban fronts Unknown Mortal Orchestra, while Kody is the mastermind behind Silicon.

Over the last few years antipodean musicians have been enamoured with a glitchy electro-disco soul sound- think Tame Impala and, well, UMO. Silicon unabashedly references this back to the future style with his debut offering Personal Computer, but some of the sonic and thematic standards of the genre are rerouted. This  gives the album a distinctly different feel.  The retro synths and angular samples are offset against Kody’s falsetto creating an icily soulful sound. This is fitting considering that Personal Computer was inspired by the increasing trend of digital-only socialisation. By simultaneously embracing and eschewing the digital age, Nielson has created an album that is filled with quietly danceable pensive music that will undoubtedly translate excellently irl.
Silicon plays the Thunderdome 7.40pm-8.25pm.

Thundercat (United States):
As a virtuosic bassist, Stephen Bruner has spent the last 10 years playing in an eclectic mixture of contemporary music’s biggest bands. He began working with punk trash legends Suicidal Tendencies before moving onto the Erykah Badu band. 2014 saw him working with Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder Imprint while he also worked closely with Kendrick Lamar on his seminal album To Pimp a Butterfly.

Thundercat is the name of Bruner’s solo project, which he has released three albums under- The Golden Age of the Apocalypse (2011), Apocalypse (2013) and 2015’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam. On his latest record, Bruner’s textured grooves give his avant-jazz sound a bombastically psychedelic edge-making it ideal for a hazy summer’s day. Thundercat wields the bass with an almost godlike prowess, which means he should be on your to watch list for Laneway 2016.
Thundercat plays the Cactus Cat stage 3.15 pm-4.00pm

 

Vince Staples (United States):
Hailed as “the most exciting man in rap” by Rolling Stone, Vince Staples  was bookmarked as being one to watch long before his breathtakingly focused debut album  Summertime ’06 dropped in 2015.

22-year old Staples first came to international attention for his part on Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album. He immediately impressed critics with the gritty realism of his flow set against corrodingly industrial beats. On the surface the rhymes found in Summertime 06 reflect on the hard-edged world of rap music where fragility fuels bravado and vice-versa, giving it an obvious street appeal. But at its heart it is an album that turns the loss of childhood innocence into something positive and will undoubtedly translate to a powerful live performance.
Vince Staples plays the Cactus Cat stage 5.35pm-6.00pm.

LANEWAY 2016, Silo Park, Auckland, New Zealand line up:

Battles – Baynk – Beach House – CHVRCHES – Courtney Barnett- DIIV – East India Youth – FIDLAR – Flume – GoldLink – Grimes – Groeni – HEALTH – Hermitude – High Dependency Unit – Hudson Mohawke – Leisure – Lontalius – METZ – Nadia Reid – Oscar Key Sung – Purity Ring – QT – REIN – Scuba Diva – Shamir – Silicon – SOPHIE – The All Seeing Hand – The Internet – Thundercat  – Vince Staples – Violent Soho

 

 

An interview with: Tim Heidecker (Tim & Eric)

It was oddly appropriate that my interview with Tim Heidecker began with several calls to the emergency services, courtesy of an incorrect phone number. Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the cult comedy duo Tim and Eric who revel in absurdism. So the humour in calling an ambulance instead of California was not lost on Heidecker, who when I do reach him, is bouncing on a trampoline with his daughter. “Not even a joke” he laughs breathlessly.

The pair first met in 1994 at Temple University in the United States, where they were both studying film and realised that they shared a taste for the bizarre. Together they have created a bevy of cult TV series, including five seasons of the sketch comedy Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job for Adult Swim. Their madcap antics have attracted an impressive roll call of the who’s who of US Comedy. Ben Stiller, Will Farrell, Jonah Hill, Maria Bradford, Will Forte, Michael Cera and even our very own Flight of the Conchords have been part of the Tim and Eric world. They have also directed their own film, while Wareheim has directed music videos for the likes of MGMT and Major Lazer. This year, they have released their debut book ‘Tim and Eric’s Zone Theory’, and will be wrapping up 2015 with a tour of Australia and New Zealand, aptly titled “Tim and Eric- the ‘Stralia-Zealand Experience.’

For a writer, it is incredibly difficult to describe Tim and Eric’s style of comedy. Most reduce it to ‘Stoner Comedy’ which I believe misses the point of their humour. It is an observation that Heidecker appreciates. “There is a certain level of person who thinks that we must be stoned when we make this- nothing is further than the truth. Or you have to be high to like it. I don’t agree with that cross section of people- I mean it’s on late at night and some people like watching it stoned- that’s totally fine. But that’s not what we are aiming for in making it.”

Alternatively, writers can rely on overly intellectual superlatives to try and make sense of Tim and Eric’s work. Yes it is joyfully free associative and at the Dadaist end of the Surrealist humour spectrum. Yes they could be described as a late-night public access television nightmare perpetually stuck in the 90s- resplendent with poor editing, amateur animation, and excruciatingly awkward characters selling bastardised commodities that shouldn’t exist. Because in their world, everything hinges on horrifically comedic extremes. But regardless of how you describe it, for Heidecker, the aim of their comedy is quite simple: “we try to make everyone laugh and have a good time- “you’re not going to learn anything unfortunately.”What about that life is absurd?” I ask. “Yes you could learn that- that the world shouldn’t be taken so seriously.”

Both Heidecker and Wareheim play a multitude of characters within Tim and Eric. When I ask Heidecker who is his favourite character to play, he laughs. “I don’t want to sound like a dick, but I hate the favourite question. I have so many favourites. In a sense my favourite character to play- and this is going to sound really pretentious- is myself. Because the Tim character is basically myself and there are so many different versions. It’s fun to play different sides of myself. It’s a great outlet for more unfavourable sides of my personality. Everyone has [negative qualities] that sometimes come out when they are driving down the highway or lose their temper. I get to do that for a living.”

When discussing his impending tour, Heidecker muses “It’s hard to talk about [the show] because if you talk about it too much it gives away the jokes. I’ve gotten off the trampoline by the way, I thought that it might be easy talking on the trampoline but it’s not…So basically the show is me on a trampoline for an hour. You observe me, take notes” Heidecker deadpans. He pauses for my laughter to subside. “No no, it’s a mixture of sketches and live stuff. I’d say we’ve got about 70% of the show figured out. We toured it in the States, but we want to tailor it to you guys. We have characters from the show, some new characters. It’s our version of a Broadway play, with stupid costumes. It’s a night of idiocy and foolishness. We are trying to give people the feeling of if our TV shows came to life and beamed out of the TV and onto a stage it would be something like this. It’s meant to drive you insane. You’re supposed to be uncertain about what’s real, what’s planned and how sincere we are throughout it all.”

Fans of Tim and Eric will be able to figure it out for themselves in Auckland’s Skycity Theatre on December 18th.

This article was first published in Rip It Up magazine on September 18th 2015.