Songlines Across New Zealand
  Interview Between a reader and me (John) SANZ editor October 28 2010


a couple of weeks ago one of my readers made a suggestion that the owners of magazines should be asked their own questions to see if they could answer the basic questions I told them that’s how i write my questions he then said ok if you don’t mind i think the readers should ask you questions in an interview style I said good idea that’s your job now
Here is the outcome

Q So how did SANZ come about
JohnHmm well you could say the official version came about in 2006 but it stems back to 2004 when I wrote a cd review for a local magazine and when I saw it in print I was proud of what I had done so I kind of just started from there my first interview was with Greg Johnson in 2005 which ended up not getting printed for some unknown reason so by the time 2006 came round I had a lot of unused stuff so I decided to put my own mag together
Q How did the name come about
John well I wanted something that could be shortened for using with an email address or when telling people and I wanted New Zealand in the title.Anyway this one song that kept coming to mind was a song by Tim Finn called songlines from his album Feeding The Gods and I thought how the magazine was dedicated to NZ music not just from certain areas of NZ but across the whole country so the name Songlines Across New Zealand kind of just happened (SANZ for short)
Q What do you find difficult about doing this magazine
John Trying to ask questions as a music journalist and not as a fan I do find it hard to do that especially when it comes to interviewing a musician I have grown up listening to and being a fan of
Q Now you have interviewed quite a few of NZs top entertainers and there are even more that you havent had a chance to interview yet who would be some interviews you would really like to conduct.
John Ohhh that list would be quite a long umm well there are a few obvious ones such as the Finn Brothers of course and Dave Dobbyn along with Don Mcglashan, Martin Phillipps from the chills would be great to interview the Runga sisters but yea the list is pretty big at the moment.
Q Now the next bunch of questions may get a lot tougher
John: Thanks for the warning haha 
Q What is your all time Favourite NZ album
John: Holy crap ummm shoot there is way too many to pick just one um albums that stand out in my mind I have to say would have to be The Mutton Birds Selftitled, Crowded Houses Woodface (one with weather with you on it) as well as Together Alone, The Footrot Flats soundtrack, Shihads General Electric those are just a handful that come to mind.
Q Now over the years you would have seen hundreds of music videos which one would be your favourite one
John: Well this is a similar situation to favourite album its hard to pick just one but I will list some that stand out in my mind thats for sure The mutton birds nature that one was really eye catching with some far out psychedelic colours,Ohh I also saw on you tube recently Don Mcgalshan and Wayne Mason doing a video for this same song recorded at Te papa Shihads Pacifier mainly because of the whole clockwork orange theme about it, Crowded Houses Weather With You mainly because of the summery feel to it, one I just found recently on you tube that caught my attention was The Narcs Back To The Deep that was just a cool looking video.
Q Now I am going to take a page from you interviews and borrow some of your own questions  
John Oh crap I was worried that was going to happen haha
Q Haha well the question I will steal from your lot is If you could go back in time and do what youve done in your magazine career all over again would you and would you do anything differently
John You know I had a feeling this question would come back and bite me in the ass haha well if I had the chance to do it over again I totally would as I have enjoyed every moment of what I have done would I do anything differently well I would tweak a few things
Q Like what
John Well I feel the first interview I did was quite short as I was only starting out and had to learn from the ground up so I would go back and make sure I had a lot more questions to ask. Ohh I would have sorted out interviews a bit faster for Howard Morrison aswell as Ian Morris from Th Dudes Im sure they would have had great stories to tell about touring and recording another one would be Mahinarangi Tocker I owe Mahinarangi a lot of thanks for helping me get an interview with Shona Laing I still have the emails between me and her before she passed. Another thing is I probably would have started this magazine sooner like 10 years ago when I started my official support for NZ Music
Q Wow so you have been backing NZ music for 10 years thats a long time
John Im going to borrow and tweak a quote I heard Dave Dobbyn say a little while back 10 years is a blink of an eye in eternity but the past 10 years have been great, Rediscovering old kiwi classics and getting to know new bands I feel extraordinarily lucky to have grown up in NZ and to have heard what we have to offer in the music industry.
Q So what will 2011 bring for SANZ
John That would be telling now We will have to wait and see now wont we haha Ill play it by ear Ill take whatever is thrown my way one plan is to get back to writing more cd reviews I have been quite slack in that department this year. There have been a few cds released this year that I am loving
Q Such as
John I am loving Crowded houses album The Intriguer as well as Matt Bodmans new one im looking forward to hearing the new Feelers one as well as Donald Reids new one I also need to get my hands on the new Brooke Fraser album as well as Shihads new one. Some of the other highlights of the year have been the gigs
Q Who have they been
John the first gig of the year I attended was the the winery tour with finn,dobbyn and runga along with Che Fu aswell as Bics sister Boh a few other shows I loved was the Topp Twins with Don Mcglashan along with the accoustic church tour with Dave Dobbyn and The Dukes aswell as the Don Mcglashan theatre show all great shows ohh another item that was quite cool was a film calle The Sun Came out which was a behind the scenes look of the album of the same name with Neil Finn and friends that was great.
Q Now I noticed just recently you delved into some international interviews how did this come about
John It is kind of a long story that involved a couple of messages on Facebook
Q Good old Facebook haha
John Ha yea. The story kind of started out when The Feelers covered that song Right Here Right Now. A lot of backlash happened across the social network site with a lot of haters bagging on them I defended them cos I loved their version and love their work overall (I do own pretty much everything they have released) anyway I noticed Iain Baker posted a comment complimenting the version anyway a few months later I decided to send Iain a message to see if I could do an email interview with him and he said yes then later I saw contact details for Stan Bush’s manager so sent a request and got that as well. That one was pretty cool since I am a huge transformers fan.
Q Do you have any other international artists you are chasing
John I would really like to interview Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits aswell as anyone else connected to the band
Q That would be a big one
John Definitely
Q Ok back to the topic at hand your magazine and NZ music. More questions of your own to answer
John Oh no, Go ahead shoot
Q In your opinion what do you think makes New Zealand music stand out apart from music like America
John To me I think most of our songs tell stories of how we feel or we sing about things that affect us and we also sing about the land we come from it resonates with us it knows how to catch the way we feel the songs are almost anthems to our moods. The songs are unique views on a variety of topics. Also New Zealand music in my view has alot of strength and integrity in the melodies and lyrics, each song is written by the musician with heart and soul. One other thing I’d like to mention What I love about NZ music and the musicians (other then the music) is the way they manage to rally around for a crisis and to support the cause
Q What would you consider a classic/Iconic NZ song in your view
John Ohh man I think about how I would answer this question all the time and the answer always seems to change although I do tend to come back to Dominion Road from The Mutton Birds I absolutely love that song and every time I hear it it has that NZ feel about it and as for a classic song wow um to pick just one would be hard but im going to say Six months in a leaky boat, Loyal and Don’t Dream its over all come to mind
Q What was the last NZ album you bought
John Finally an easy one haha it was about 3 from the last 2 shows I went to I got The Dukes acoustic ep Dave Dobbyn best of and Matt Bodmans new album
Q What would you say the great part of doing this has been
John Certainly has to be getting to chat to some of the great talent NZ has to offer as well as hearing the fantastic music on offer
Q Is there a downside to what you have been doing
John im kind of thinking the downside of what I do being a supporter of NZ music is when a great band like stellar leaves the scene it comes off a bit sad also Sadly there have been and are downsides as I said losing people you get to know in the industry like I mentioned about Mahinarangi Tocker and the other passing’s
Q Now when you started out doing this magazine did you ever wonder if you would ever get interviewed about what you do
John Nope never in a million years heck you were lucky I agreed to this in the first place hahaha you should feel lucky you may be the only person who does interview me did you think about that one
Q Good point haha
John I am going to ask you a question how did you come up with the idea to interview the owner of a magazine
Q Seems this interview has been turned on me haha. Well I just notice we never see the writers interviewed and have their own questions put to them and I thought I am going to attempt this with you and see your thoughts and hey look how far we have come. I want to say thanks for taking time to have this chat and well we will see this on the site at some stage before we finish up do you want to thank anyone
John Ha no thank you haha nah no problems good to see you have been reading the magazine and using my own questions against me this was fun it made me think about how I would answer my own questions that’s for sure I never thought that would happen keep an eye on the site as well as the site for this. Oh there is a massive amount of people to thank first up the musicians who have said yes to the interviews and those who helped me get the interviews, big thanks to family and friends who have helped out thanks to those who helped with editing and ideas the people of downtown Tauranga who I talk to they have had input here and there into my pieces and have even inspired some of the questions I have asked and again I thank the musicians I love your work keep it up.

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