Patrick ‘P.Mo’ Mowat and Rodney ‘Rodz’ Te Tawhero make up RTI Vibration, a name originally derived from the nickname for their hometown, Raetihi, but which has come to stand for ‘raw, talented, inspired’.
Raetihi is a central North Island town near Ohakune with a population just over 1000, so it seems inevitable that the two would cross paths. As teenagers, they began making music together.
“We grew up together, man. Went to school together, played rugby together,” Mowat says. “We were out at Rodney’s house as the new year was coming in, and we were having our first like couple of little beers or something! We stayed at each other’s house and we used to sit there watching these Temptations re-runs – about the Temptations, how they formed – we used to just sit there for ages watching it over and over.”
Te Tawhero’s mum, who was a good singer and a natural on guitar, had taught him the basic chords and inspired by the Temptations’ story the pair started jamming together.
“I think we were always going to end up having a crack at some music together, just based on that. We had so much fun doing that. Later on, I got into a bit of hip hop and that over in Australia. Rodz ended up coming over for some work.”
Meeting up again in Perth, Te Tawhero’s performances at some jam nights left Mowat impressed.
“Rodz just got up, got the guitar, and just did that classic Kiwi thing!”
Years later, circumstances drew them back together in NZ. Mowat had spent some time in LA and done an electronic production course, while Te Tawhero had been playing with others including Ohakune roots/reggae band Common Unity and Whanganui eight-piece Cool Meditation, with whom he still sings.
Finding their different musical experiences fit very well together.
“I came back and Rodz was one of the first people that I sort of got a hold of – that I wanted to do something with, knowing that we had a good history together. I could just electronically produce, turn up with the track and the ideas, and then we could just sit down and write together.
“I said, what do you want to write about? And he goes, ‘I don’t know, what do you want to write about?’ I go,
‘Well, I don’t want to write about anything that ain’t real, you know? Let’s not write about gold chains and Cadillacs. Let’s write about home.’”
RTI Vibration describe their first EP ‘Roots’ as “…an audio artwork for the people.”
Drawing on a variety of musical influences the three tracks, Home, Ode To The Dreamer and Chaos Theory and reflect the pair’s small-town beginnings, big musical dreams and optimism for the future.
Old school synth samples are mixed smoothly with hip hop beats, naturally soulful vocal harmonies and slick electronic production to create a very Kiwi-sounding EP, full of infectious beats and nostalgic lyrical imagery. Mowat remains fixated on the journey as much as the music itself.
“If it can inspire just a few people to go and do the same thing, then primo. Done.”