Lani Says

Lani Says is food & music she loves, interviews with local artists and sharing stories of her life with the man she loves.

Category: Interviews

Cool People Do Cool Things – Ngahuia & Jemma @ N Model Management

NGAJEM3(Images of Ngahuia & Jemma by Katrina Lousi)

You have almost certainly seen Ngahuia Williams on various large billboards and in countless magazines and television ads. The woman has dominated the fashion scene as a model for as long as I can remember. She, together with longtime friend Jemma Murray, is now more than two years deep in a more behind the scenes capacity. The two buds founded N Model Management in 2011, an agency that also boasts local legends like Penny Pickard and Georgia Fowler on its books. I remember watching with interest when N Model Management was first launched, thinking what balls it must take to go out on your own so publicly, with no guarantee of success.

quote3I got the two ladies together to talk about what led them to start up their own modelling agency, and to get a bit of an insight into the life of a model agent, and what it takes to start your own business :

Ngahuia : When I first had the idea, it was something really vague, it wasn’t really planned solidly. I used to go hang out at Jemma’s house a lot, and we talked a lot about ideas on what we’d like to do in the future. We sat there one night, and I said what I’d like to do, and Jems said she’d support me, and that we could do it together. I thought that was really cool, so we did. It was really disorganised at the time, and we just threw ourselves into it, and it just happened.

Jemma : Yeah, it was very quick, and unplanned. I think we gave ourselves two weeks, because I had two kids, and so I said, ‘Two weeks, I’ll get the kids into daycare” basically, and that’s what we did. We started with no real plan, a very random, last minute idea and we just went with it.

You’ve been a model for so long, what made you take that leap?

Ngahuia : When I started the agency, I worked for a small amount of time at 62 Models as a booker, and I really enjoyed that side. Before I was a booker, I worked on a few cycles of NZ Top Model, mentoring the girls, and I just really enjoyed that side of things. Watching people grow and booking them on jobs is really exciting. Instead of doing it for yourself, I find doing things for others a bit more rewarding, so that’s why I did it. And I’m good at it.

Did you have any idea about what you were getting yourself into?

Jemma: None. Zero. I’d never even contemplated having anything to do with this industry, it was very random.


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What’s Good In Your Hood: K.One’s Masterton (MA)

K.One is, for the most part, based in Auckland, but if you follow him on twitter or instagram, you’ll soon find that his heart stays firmly placed with his hometown, Masterton. Or, you know, you could just have a read of what’s been permanently etched into his knuckles…being away from home, that’s that shit he don’t like. While he’s back in M.A, he’s been kind enough to agree to take us all on a virtual tour of his hood.
What the Illegal Musik rapper has provided is exactly what I envisioned the ‘Good in Your Hood’ series to be all about. I wanted it to give an insight, history and guide into a town or hood that only a proud local can give. K.One, a.k.a Kaleb Vitale, has done exactly that, and as a result, we also get a bit of an insight into his life. Cool story aye bro? Yes, yes it is my bro.
So, enough chit chat, here is the second ever installment in the ‘What’s Good In Your Hood’ series – K.One’s  Masterton :
‘Double Bridges’ :
“Masterton is famous for it’s long, hot and dry summers. The closest beach is 40 minutes away so hitting one of the nearby rivers is almost an everyday thing. 10km north of town is a spot called “Double Bridges” (Getting it’s name from the two bridges 500m up stream from the swimming hole) It still buzzes me out that we would bike all the way out there when we were young. Once we were old enough to have a license there was always that dude we knew with a car who would be ‘persuaded’ to drive us out there.”

What’s Good in Your Hood : Spycc’s Onehunga

Onehunga : something old, something new #SWIDT

‘What’s Good in Your Hood’ is an idea I’ve wanted to do for ages now. I think everyone, no matter what neighbourhood you live in, will claim their hood is the best at something – whether that be the hood with the best bakery (Mangere Bridge Hong Kong Bakery wuttup!!) or you have the best dairy with the best 50 cent lolly mixes, or the best places to skate or run. Whatever it is, if you’re a local then no doubt you’ll be telling people where to go when they come to your area-code.

This is essentially what ‘What’s Good in Your Hood’ will be. My first ‘episode’ if you will, features one of Onehunga’s finest: Spycc. His EP ‘Self Progression’ is one of my fave releases of the year. His song, Beautiful Garbage, is one of my favourite songs of the year.

Spycc was kind enough to take me on a quick tour of a few places you should definitely check out if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Where: DressSmart Smart Sushi Stand / What to buy: Tuna Onigiri

The first place, which I wholeheartedly co-sign, is the DressSmart sushi stand – but more specifically, the Tuna Onigiri. No where can fuxx with this place when it comes to Tuna Onigiri. Most people come here just for that, and it can sell out around 2:30/ 3 PMish, though the other sushi is nice too. Spycc gets the Teriyaki chicken as well. A couple of tuna onigiri’s, with heaps of soy-sauce (which you have to ask for, btw) and I’m set. They do sell chicken and salmon onigiri too, but it’s all about the classic for me. Def make a stop here.

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PNC x Volume Magazine (x me)

A short excerpt from Volume’s PNC cover story:

“I’m about the drink, drugs, girls, cash, love, hate, power, passion – if I’m not the realest I don’t know who is, under the mother-fucking influence”

If albums provide a snap-shot of a moment in time for an artist, then no title could be more apt in describing PNC’s current state of mind than ‘Under The Influence’. There are moments of anger, sadness, nonchalance, reflection – a range of emotions – but the album never quite feels like it covers off happiness. Because, even in it’s most ‘up’ moments, partying and revelry, the highs are artificial.

 “When I started making the album it was under the influence of drinking, drugs, I was quite down a lot of the time while making it…it has that sort of up and down nature. The first half is quite melancholy and the second half is quite up.”

 Even with his signature party tracks, it is PNC’s darkest album to date. He’s covered off perhaps grittier subject matter in previous projects, but this is his most emotionally heavy…

Check out the full PNC cover story (written by yours truly) in the latest Volume magazine by picking up a copy from your favourite local record stores, bars, cafes and clothing stores (from Invercargill to Whangarei). Or read it online here. Also featuring a review of the record and a Crooks & Castles giveaway. The mag is free, just like PNC’s new album, Under The Influence – which you should get here if you haven’t already.

Introducing James Jeffery

Please, allow me to introduce you to James Jeffery – a kiwi producer and drummer you need to familiarise yourselves with right now, you know, before the world’s up on this shit. He’s recently signed a publishing deal with Rondor Music, is currently based in LA and working with people that will blow your minds just a wee bit. I kinda feel like I have the scoop as there have been whisperings of a couple of the biggest names in Hip Hop jumping on ones of his tracks. I was lucky enough to catch up with James Jeffery just before he left for LA and the story of how he came about his deal is fascinating. He also gives a really great insight into how the music industry works.

This story begins, like many modern stories of discovery, on youtube –

Lets talk about how the deal came to be. Did that begin with your youtube videos?

Basically it’s a publishing deal with Rondor, they’re under Universal. It started out with the youtube videos. I was actually trying to push myself as a drummer at the time. I did these remix videos to show off my drumming, but it really ended up showing off my production more than anything. I’d already played drums for David Dallas, on ‘Say No More’, and I’d done drums for a B-side acoustic of this Tinie Tempah and Kelly Rowland song called Invincible.

I then started doing drums for this kid in the States called Julian Swirsky, he’s produced for a whole bunch of pop artists like Nicole Scherzinger. He didn’t pay me, he just said ‘I’ll post one of your remixes on twitter. He has 100 thousand followers on twitter. This guy, Sean Pace, who was managing him at the time, found me on facebook after seeing his tweet.

At the same time, mind you, Boy1da had posted one of my videos. Boy1da did ‘Not Afraid’ for Eminem and ‘Forever’ for Drake. Boy1da posted at least two of my remixes, so I’d had that going on as well. And another songwriter had been in contact, Heather Bright, who’s written for Toni Braxton and Usher. So, Sean Pace, who’d been Julian Swirsky’s unofficial manager at the time, added me on facebook and said, ‘Start sending me tracks, I think you’re really talented’. I started sending him tracks, and he loved all of them.

My dad said, ‘Why don’t you go to LA and just meet all of these people?’ I’d been to UCLA for a year in 2008, so I had friends out there and places to stay. I went out there originally for a four-week trip. Sean Pace picks me up the first night and talks about trying to get me signed, but I didn’t know how serious he was. About 3 weeks later he took me to a random studio and I met Cassie and Rock City.

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Islandher x Lani Says

Hello! Islandher did an interview with me to talk about style and fashion. Their site is really cool, and I love that it’s all about highlighting island beauty and connecting Pacific women online. PI’s represent! Ch, ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out 🙂

NZ Fashion Fest Interview

Hey guys, do me a favour would ya, and check the interview I did with the lovely folk over at NZ Fashion Festival. I’m pretty stoked to be featured on their site and I’m really looking forward to the festival. As an added incentive, comment on the post here and be in to win a double pass to one of the shows or seminars! Get amongst it guys!! ❤


P-Money x Lani Says

photo credit: Julie Cooper

Just last week ozzie female rapper Sky’high let loose her ‘Your Highness’ EP, produced completely by P-Money. He is the reason most of us know about her, and a big reason why we pay attention. In stark contrast to this sound, we have The Disco 3  project, a collaboration with DJ Dan Aux that was released last year. His straddling of these two genres, first seen over three years ago with his hit song and album of the same name ‘Everything’, doesn’t look to be subsiding. I caught up with Peter Money recently to get the run down on what he’s been up to and what projects he has in the pipeline. We cover a lot of ground, and begin with life after his third album.

How did people connect with the ‘Everything’ album compared to your previous two albums?

The songs that people heard from the record got great responses. The album itself wasn’t a seller. Maybe people just didn’t dig it or maybe people didn’t know it was out there because the marketing was pretty low level. I think the biggest mistake I made with the album was actually titling it ‘Everything.’ The song ‘Everything’ was already a year old by the time the album was released…probably a bad idea because it sounded like it was an old album, when it was a new one.

Because it was mainly a dance album, you’d gone away from the Hip Hop heavy album, were you feeling confused then as to where to go from there?

No, because although the record didn’t ship heaps of numbers, the songs were really well received and my show bookings went up exponentially. I actually had one of my busiest years. I did 50 something shows in the year, where the year prior I may have done 20. So I was booked in a broader variety of venues where I could play dance music and Hip Hop. Instead of just doing Hip Hop nights, I’m now doing raves and dance parties, it just doubled my bookings. In that regard it was a great move because I enjoy making that music and I’m glad that other people enjoy listening to my dance music, and its good for the longevity of my career, being acknowledged as a DJ that can play a multitude of styles.

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Spycc & INF x Lani Says

It’s refreshing to have new artists come out with material seemingly unaffected by current trends, no desperate attempts at copy-catting, just intent on making good music and establishing their own sound. Spycc & INF are such artists, with their impressive debut EP ‘Summer Madness’ a well put together and thoughtful piece of work. And of course, I have a slight soft spot for the duo because they rep Onehunga, my old stomping ground, and went to my school, Onehunga High. So you know we had to get a couple of shots of the Onehunga depot in there!

If you haven’t already, download their Summer Madness Ep here – and listen to it while you read the interview below:

The Summer Madness EP is super cohesive. It sounds like its all meant to be, it all fits right.

SPYCC: There’s a song by Kool & The Gang, ‘Summer Madness’, and that’s one of my favourite songs I’d play all the time. I said we should do a mixtape that just caters to summer, but as we started, it wasn’t really working. So we came up with the idea that all the madness we went through, all our thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we went through during that summer – that will be the idea behind the mixtape. So we didn’t have the pressure of trying to make all our songs sound summery, but it ended up sounding summery anyway.

Even though it all sounds very nice, there’s that nice summery feel, the sentiments are not necessarily all that happy:

 INF: It sounds nice, but if you really listen to it, it’s all our emotions and feelings at the time. It’s not like it’s a party every song, there’s always ups and downs. We’re not always up all the time. We just tried to make songs based on how we were feeling at that moment. I guess the whole EP is just about having problems, struggling sometimes and having fun with all your friends. All the good times and still learning about yourself.

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Lani Says x @Peace

I first interviewed Tom Scott when Homebrew released their ‘Last Week EP’. He sipped on Lion Red, admitted he was ‘moderately drunk, but a Morman by nature’ and told me about a note neighbours had left in their mailbox which said, ‘You’re all a bunch of fucking wankers.’

This time he meets me under the @peace umbrella, with fellow vocalist Lui T from Nothing2Nobody, the group’s executive producer Christoph El Truento and the dude who recorded the ablum, Dick Dastardly. Tom begins the interview with a story about a recent mushroom trip, and we end it in Rakinos to share a jug of Honey Mint tea. No joke.

Catch these guys at their Official Release party at Bacco Room tomorrow (Friday) from 9 pm. Grab their album here.

Apologies for the stupid wind blowing throughout the interview. A few excerpts below:

On working with each other:
Tom: You can’t write anything garbage around this guy, you have to always be on your A-game and trying to impress him.
Lui T: He’s just genuinely inspiring, I fucking love working with him.

Tom: I don’t know if serious music is what I want to make, and I hope it doesn’t come across so serious that you wanna change the channel…It is definitely not just all a big joke…But it’s hard to find that fine line…I always think about shit, it’s not like I’m always just on the benefit drinking Double Brown. It just so happens that sometimes that’s my life.

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