New Tracks New Artist: Masaya

New Tracks New Artist: Masaya

Sugar highs anyone? Of course you’ve had ’em. Then what about a soda dream? Well, if not, one 3min 42 second exposure to the addictive new song from Raglan newcomers Masaya will likely make you wanna give it a try, such is the warm and engagingly natural Kiwi funk groove of their Soda Dreams. Nothing hardcore about this single other than the late afternoon summer party groove, which by itself likely persuaded NZ On Air to include the song on their NewTracks compilation this August.

What are your names, where are you all from and what instruments do you play?

I’m Reiki Ruawai. I play the guitar and lead singer. Kaea Ruawai is on drums and Murok Pearsall bass and vocals. We are all from Raglan.

Jules Blewman, our lead guitarist, is from Wellington, now migrated up here to the west coast. Joe Kaptein is from Whangarei and plays the keys.

Was any high school or other music training especially important?

I went to Massey University for a year to study Bachelor of Commercial Music under Warren Maxwell, who was one the best teachers to learn music off. It was very important to me to understand the foundations of writing a song.

Any other previous projects might we know you from?

I am in my parents’ band, Cornerstone Roots, and have been for the past 10 years. I have also worked with Flowidus on a track called Said and Done, and tour with them occasionally.

What’s the background story of how Masaya came to be? 

Masaya started in 2018 for a university music project. I decided to grab Kaea and Muroki that summer and we started Masaya. We know each other well, we grew up together.

How has your writing (or music) evolved from your beginnings in songwriting?

I believe that each song I produce is a stepping stone towards something even better. I find my writing technique evolves after each new song I write.

Aside from this release, what’s been the band’s big highlight to date? 

My biggest highlight was playing at Soundsplash this year. It was really cool to see the crowd getting involved and sing along to our songs.

What makes Soda Dreams stand out for you as a single?

I think Soda Dreams stand out as a single because of the new funk style that was created.

What is the story behind Soda Dreams?

Well, it fit with the song I was working on, and so I just made the decision to go with it. Soda Dreams is about when you’re going about your day and it may be any kind of day and mood, you catch yourself in a daydream of past experience or a future one, drifting off into your ‘soda dreams’. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

My favourite section is the second verse showing the contrast between myself and Muroki, going back to back with vocals.

Who did you record/produce the single with and where? 

As soon as lockdown was over, we boosted to Auckland where we had one day to record the track at Roundhead Studios, with Emily Wheatcroft-Snape as the engineer.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Mostly I want the listeners to enjoy the groove and the new tune, dance and have fun with their soda dreams.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

To distinguish a single for myself, it’s the one that plays in my head several times a day.

Who else is in your team?

Nic Nak Media do our PR. I produce our music and I have my mum and dad helping out with long term management.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Later on this month I’m very excited to announce my first solo song release on the 21st of August under Reiki Ruawai. Through Believe Distribution.

Can you name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.


Unknown Mortal OrchestraHunnybee

Che FuFade Away

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? 

This is my first application to NZOA. My only advice would be to just have a go and be ambitious. Back yo self!

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

Yes, I enjoy watching Tiny Desk and Colors Show the most because of their raw performances.

Any last words?

Special message to everyone out there who is listening to our new single Soda Dreams. Create fun and keep on groovin.


New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.

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