Event Guide: Live Vibes w/ The Vibes, Strangely Arousing & Otium

Event Guide: Live Vibes w/ The Vibes, Strangely Arousing & Otium

How about recreating that cushy, cruisey, comfy lockdown feeling one more time, but this time with live sets by full bands you can stream from the convenience of your home sofa! Bringing you the full groove online at Live Vibes will be a line up consisting of Auckland X-factor funksters The Vibes, Strangely Arousing (Rotorua) and Otium (Whangarei), whose combined you-gotta-see-this live shows will be broadcast on Freeview Channel 200, as well as various social media channels, including NZM’s own FB & Instagram!

Recorded in the highest definition audio and video quality, this will be a delight for eyes and ears 

When? Saturday, July 25, 7pm – 10pm

Where? Keep up to date with links on the Facebook event page.

Michael, what’s your role with Live Vibes? 

Haha, ‘project manager’, I guess, of the Live Vibes project.

michael anderson

Michael, seen here playing bass with The Vibes. Photo by Michael Allen.

Tell us a bit more about yourself. Like how do you fit into all of this?

I have been working in the NZ music industry since 2013, in various bands and as a bass player, manager and artist liaison.

My passion started in high school playing in various line ups and orchestras and I never stopped putting my hand up for opportunities. I found a small degree of success winning third place on the second season of the X-Factor as a bass player, flautist and vocalist in my band The Vibes, which put me in touch with a range of industry professionals – leading us to an NZ #1 album and allowing us to tour the country including New Zealand’s thriving festival scene.

Alongside this, I have been one quarter part of indie record label Stone Cold Records which has worked with Kiwi Artists such as Alayna, Strangely Arousing, Leighton Fairlie and Otium.

Despite my work in the music industry, I still have managed to keep a day job alongside my passion as a project manager for various corporates such as ASB, Vodafone and more recently Kordia. This combination of corporate work and music work has allowed me to become a homeowner at 25, alongside achieving goals in my musical passion projects.

How did the idea of Live Vibes come about? What is it?

Live Vibes is one of my initiatives, born out of a desire to see a group of my favourite artists create a premium high-quality live show to reach people across the country from the comfort of their couch! The goal is to support the artists and all of the subcontractors involved including one of New Zealand’s nicest small venues, Anthology on K’Rd, who have all been affected greatly, as we all have, with cancelled bookings in the gig economy due to Covid-19. Through this journey of lockdown I drafted the idea, sought some feedback from a few industry contacts and applied for Creative NZ funding, which I fortunately received.

I have worked with each of these fantastic bands before and know that their live sets are something of a marvel, but it’s very difficult to promote the live venue-based shows to the wide-ranging audience demographic that would like to see them.

I’ve pulled together this show with help from some of the most incredible young professionals that I’ve met in my musical journey so far:

  • Scott Seabright who has worked with acts such as Benee and Mumford and Sons is an incredible up-and-coming engineer.
  • Angus Muir whose design company has done lighting for Splore and Illuminate festivals.
  • James McCully who has directed a range of incredible music videos for NZ artists.
  • Daniel Klinac who is a technical director at LetsPlayLive.

Planning a gig is a lot of work. How about planning a gig that’s live streamed?

I don’t think there’s more or less, but there are a few more moving parts and some solid hard deadlines.

The project includes liaising three moving cameras, a full lighting design with technicians and full mobile studio with in-ear monitoring. The projects has also involved putting together a large post-production suite including mixing/mastering co-ordination for essentially three live albums, cutting and colour grading 28 hours worth of high definition and 4K camera footage and 360 VR camera stitching for the entire show. Completely hectic, however, the finished product definitely shows the mammoth work that has been put into creating and managing its curation.

What sort of experience did you have doing live streams before this?

I’ve had virtually no experience in live stream shows before this project. This has been an incredible learning experience for myself and I believe many musicians in the scene who have been forced to adapt to stream shows.

I think it’s an incredible tool that artists can use to push their live shows to larger audiences than those that can fit in a limited size venue at high quality with the perfect live mix. It also creates great content for high-quality artist video EPKs *Wink Wink*

What was your biggest challenge when organising the event and how did you overcome it?

The first date of the shoot we had a brand new 32-channel mixer break down just as we were preparing to track the first set. This led to me driving around town calling each of my musician friends to locate another desk with limited shooting hours remaining. Thankfully, we found one and managed to re-soundcheck in time to get a full take for the track.

Who needed convincing most during the planning process?

You could say Strangely Arousing, as they are (although lovely) quite spacey dudes to work with. But musicians, in general, are very hard to herd into a specific place at a specific time, haha…

How many people will be involved on site behind the scenes?

For this we have three bands making up 13 musicians, one director, four cameramen, two sound engineers, one venue manager, one photographer and a lighting team of seven workers/designers.

It’s a killer line up. For people who don’t know the bands yet, what do they sound like and what can people expect from their live sets?

Strangely Arousing

… are a 5-piece progressive reggae/ska band, effortlessly blending other genres and styles of music to create their unique sound, laced with brass, synth, dub, and guitar. Strangely straddle the line between the bizarre you know you love and the weird you don’t know you love yet, like old pros. Their live set is explosive, whether you come to marinate in dubs and bass, or simply to melt into a puddle on the floor, Strangely Arousing offers a new wave of music inspired by New Zealand’s legendary hip hop and reggae dub forefathers.


… are a 5 piece with a diverse spectrum of influences ranging from Fat Freddy’s Drop and Sons of Zion, to international soul collectives Vulfpeck and Snarky Puppy. Otium bring their signature tight, polished, and punchy live vibes to the showcase. The sound is so precise and well-rehearsed its a wonder these lads have not yet reached international recognition.

The Vibes

… hail from Auckland’s North Shore and gained national attention on ‘X-Factor New Zealand’ in late 2015. Electric summer festival performances were followed by an EP release which culminated in their seminal album from 2017, ‘Wrap You in the Sun’ produced by Eddie Rayner.

With two new singles released in late 2019 which have accumulated nearly 40,000 streams across platforms and a new album in the works for October 2020 The Vibes bring their signature live energy and Zeppelin-like prowess in a cultivated, dynamic and powerful live set.

What funding did you go for, and how did you find the application process?

Creative NZ funded the majority of this initiative and without their support, it would not be possible. The application process was easy to understand and expects a lot of detail and planning to help prove that you are worthy of the funding.

Thanks to the Covid-19 relief grant the application responses were fast-tracked and offered a higher budget of support. My eternal gratitude to CNZ for giving us this opportunity in a trying time as our entire live calendar and income streams were cancelled. Massive thanks as well to NZ Musician for jumping on board with their support for this event.

support nzm