Songlines Across New Zealand
  SHONA LAING 16.09.2006

SANZ: What have you been up to since your last album
SL: Ohhh Dear well that’s ten years ago. Well I needed time out to get a sense of perspective back, the business has sort of become all consuming and I just really wasn’t enjoying it so I moved to Waihi and gardened.
SANZ: Have you written much since your last album
SL: Oh yeah heaps of songs
SANZ: will we see another album from you in the near future
SL: Yeah.. Well I don’t know if it will be an album per say I think the industry is changing to such a degree that that whole kind of concept is a little bit oldie worldly but I’ve got five tracks that I've done at home that I’m just not sure if they’re ready at the moment, I’m at a brink
SANZ: How long has it been since you performed your songs live
SL: I did a little gig in Waikino about six weeks ago, I sort of made a resolution that I would work if I was asked and that I wouldn’t push so that’s what I’ve kind of done
SANZ: what was it like to start out on the show New Faces
SL: Ohh that’s a long time ago I remember it was exciting, very exciting, It was a long time ago so I don’t really remember all the details
SANZ: Did it take long to get noticed after that
SL: It was almost instant, in those days there was only one TV Channel
SANZ: So it wouldn’t have been that hard
SL: No if people were watching TV they were watching TV 1
SANZ: what are your thoughts on the series NZ idol
SL: I’m in two minds about it I think that some of the contestants are too young I mean from my own experience I was only sixteen when I started out, I think there were things that happened to me that well made me think perhaps I could have done a bit more living before I was thrust into that environment
SANZ: When you were away from New Zealand between 75 and 82 what did you miss most about New Zealand
SL: Ahh umm once again cause it was a time of really formative growth for me I mean I missed New Zealand terribly I was homesick constantly but I don’t really know what it was about New Zealand that I was missing I guess it’s just that kind of connection that you have with your country
SANZ: What was it like representing New Zealand at the Tokyo world song festival
SL: That was truly exciting, The first time I went in 73 that was actually my first trip abroad cause I had to go from Wellington to Tokyo
SANZ: Do you feel that went well
SL: The first time went well, I went again in 74 it didn’t go quite so well which was interesting cause the second song had been written inspired by the first journey and I was much better prepared I thought I did a lot better but it didn’t seem to
SANZ: What was it like to win the silver scroll award twice
SL: Ahh I had always coveted the silver scroll cause when I started out APRA was sort of this institution that was kind of up there and really respectable so that was probably the most wonderful award I ever won
SANZ: This next question is interesting someone once pointed out to me your songs are quite political do you feel that's true
SL: Ahh I think we’d have to define politics really, I think the things that concern me are humanitarian issues and if they come under the umbrella of politics so be it but I’m certainly not a politician
SANZ: If you could do a duet with another New Zealander who would it be
SL: Hmm well I’d like to work with just about all the old guys like I’d love to work with Hammond Gamble and I have worked with Dave McCartney and Mahinarangi Tocker I have worked with her so that's a hard question I’d like to work with just about all of them
SANZ: Here is another hard question out of all of your albums, which would be your favourite one
SL: That’s not so hard actually the Shona album is my favourite one
SANZ: The last one
SL: The second to last one the last one was actually Roadworks
SANZ: But that was actually an acoustic one so basically the Shona one was the last studio album
SL: Yeah I mean there is stuff that I do differently now but in a non-commercial emotional level I think I achieve my purpose
SANZ: if you had to choose a song of yours to be your signature, which would it be
SL: Mercy of love
SANZ: That’s a good song
SL: thank you
SANZ: In the headless chickens song cruise control there is a sample of your song 1905 in it what did you think of it being used in that song
SL: Ahh well there was a kind of a situation with all that where I was asked if it was ok when it was already mixed ready to go I got a little bit miffed about that, we charged them a lot of money just to make life for them difficult where as if they’d asked me before it was done I would have let them have it for nothing, I liked it I think they are great I think Paul Casserly is a truly truly talented man
SANZ: Yeah well I kept listening to that song and kept thinking where have I heard that bit before then I read about it in a book then clicked
SANZ: out of your music videos you have done which would be your favourite
SL: Caught between the devil in the deep blue sea
SANZ: I’ve never seen that one
SL: It was done in a pine Forrest up behind Wellington and it’s very very moody I like it a lot it’s sort of blue
SANZ: The next question is similar out of your videos, which would be your least favourite
SL: Drive baby drive
SANZ: I’ve never seen that one either
SL: It’s horrible
SANZ: Will we ever see a dvd release of all your videos
SL: There’s every possibility there’s no date on that but I’m in the process of getting a website sorted so that everything will be available
SANZ: I kept looking for your website and there was nothing on the net
SL: No but hopefully by the middle of next year we’ll have the official Shona Laing website
SANZ: Do you feel NZ music is stronger now then when you started out
SL: Ohhh definitely I don’t think there is any doubt about that, It’s more itself there’s much less a kind of pressure I think people are just revelling in their own musicality now where as once upon a time they were very self-conscious
SANZ: In your opinion what do you think makes New Zealand music stand out from the rest of the music around the world
SL: Melody I think we get that from our land I think that Maori have shown us that in traditional music and I think that it flows into everyone like Don Mcglashan, Neil Finn
SANZ: Their songs are quite unique
SL: They have high melody
SANZ: who would some of your favourite NZ bands/artists be to listen to
SL: Don for sure, Mahinarangi, I find that I’ve been listening to lots of stuff that I wouldn't say is my favourite but I’ve been really enjoying sampling mixes, There’s a band called Aerial with some lovely lovely stuff, Gramsci with Paul Mclaney he’s fantastic there’s just so much of it, also without a doubt Dallas Tamaira with Fat Freddies I love the band but most especially Dallas's voice
SANZ: What was the last NZ album you bought
SL: I buy a lot of NZ albums I think it might have been the Aerial album Yeah it would be the Aerial album
SANZ: If you could go back in time and do what you’ve done in your career all over again would you and would you do anything differently
SL: (Laughs) not a healthy question.... If I could go back and do it again I probably wouldn’t do it and if I could do it differently I’d do just about everything but I try to live without regrets
SANZ: What would you consider a classic NZ song in your view
SL: Dominion Road I mean you know you could say Don’t Dream It’s Over I think Don’t Dream It’s Over is the best NZ song in terms of it’s commerciality and it’s quality but in terms of the essence of NZ Dominion Road Don seems to have that uniqueness
SANZ: Yeah I agree he sings about NZ a lot through his albums like Dominion Road and Harbour Bridge on the new album.. Well thank you for that
SL: You're Welcome Thank you 

in this picture (John interviewing Shona)
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