In the NAIK of time

10 Feb

Rapping with a electronic backing beat is pretty much as creative as Perth hip-hop has got over the past few years but alternative beat-driven artists are emerging out of the Perth sphere, thanks to the local record label, Paper Chain.

Recently we interviewed Mathas from Paper Chain who had released a trip-hop-influenced album, and from the same group stems Naik (Nature and its Killers) aka Sam Price and his debut album, In the Shadow of Thunder Mountain, which is entirely instrumental and steeped in psych-rock.

“My sound has taken a long time to find,” Naik said the day after his gig at Parklife. “I’ve played in bands, dabbled in experimental electronic music, collected records for years, grown up in a family of classical musicians, so my musical journey has been pretty diverse and varied.

“Basically, I love many different styles of music and have been involved in a lot of musical projects. This for me is finally realising that I didn’t need to fit into a specific scene for my music to be appreciated. The day I stopped making music to fit into a style and just made music that I was happy with, was the hugest breakthrough I’ve had musically.”

But we all love to categorise music into genres, and the term being coined to describe Naik’s unique sound, is prog-hop.

“Well prog-hop was coined by Diger Rokwell from The Community so it only really exists within Perth at this stage,” laughed Naik. “There is other music that I see as being similar such as the Heliocentrics or DJ Shadow but, officially, it’s just me and Diger Rokwell at this point.”

Writing the album began more than three years ago and all the tracks are written and performed by him, with a few exceptions where he’s enlisted the help of friends. Listening to In the Shadow of Thunder Mountain is akin to going on a journey, which Naik said was the way any good album should be.

“The album is a combination of samples, live instruments, electronic production and just about any other way of making sound you can imagine,” he explains.

“I leave the listener to conjure their own imagery, but on a more physical and emotional level I tried to make the tracks affect the listener in certain ways as the album progresses, but part of what I love about instrumental music is that so much is left up to the listener’s interpretation.”

THE PLUG In the Shadow of Thunder Mountain is out October 8 on iTunes.

[Edited version published in The Wire, The West Australian, Issue 19, 1.10.09]

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