nzoa may 2019

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NewTracks New Artist: Mixed Vege

NewTracks New Artist: Mixed Vege

His actual name is Rodney Fisher, but if that doesn’t spark your neurons think about all those great fun Goodshirt songs you’ve danced around to since the early 2000s. Songs with names like Buck It Up, Fiji Baby, Green and everyone’s sneaky thief fave, Sophie. Hailing originally from New Plymouth, Rodney’s spent the most of his adult life in Auckland where, among other musical exploits, he was the guy behind the Kingsland Folk Club. Debut single Take Take Take of his new project, Mixed Vege, made it straight onto NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this October.

What other projects might we know you from?

You may know me from time spent playing guitar and singing in Goodshirt… I played with Breaks Co-op for a while and since those days I’ve mostly been performing as a singer/songwriter.

What’s the background of how Mixed Vege came to be, umm, bagged?

Mixed Vege is a vehicle for me to release tunes that are less singer/songwriter and more band vibes, I guess. Tunes that I can imagine I’d want to play live is also a pre-requisite for me. Mixed Vege is really a mix of noodlings, old and new. 

How did your music evolve from your beginnings in songwriting to what it is now?

I feel like songwriting has always been with me since I first started learning guitar at intermediate school. Making up stuff, having an imagination and being creative has always always been a way to get somewhere.

Without writing an essay! At high school, I wrote tunes and made a band which was very much emotional teenagers blend, The Cure, Pink Floyd and Rage Against The Machine… facepalm!

Went to art school, quit art school to join crazy covers band which led to me being inspired to write again. That band morphed into Goodshirt! DIY kids done good. Sick videos and home recording studio life.

We did some stuff… it was rad! Highlights were being Best New Act at the bNet Awards when we were super new, Sophie going #1 in NZ, playing in Japan! Dancing on stage with The Flaming Lips in Australia when we played Big Day Out…

Goodshirt then took a break (still kind’a there, lol) so I played in Breaks Co-op as a session guitarist, which took me to UK and some pretty amazing experiences playing festival shows with them. I ended up staying in UK for six years, where I had a stint as a solo artist.

The UK was such fun. I had a revolving cast of musicians playing my tunes, on average about eight people on stage! At one point we had two violins, banjo, piano, guitar, drums, percussion, vocalists, trombone, bass, glockenspiel, electric, and acoustic… I thiiiiiiink that’s it!

Back in NZ now… Goodshirt made a sneaky EP and now it’s all about Me!

How did you come up with that name for the new project?

I wanted something a bit NZ and a bit random. I also felt inspired by the perfect square cubes of carrot found in the classic Watties mixed veges.

What makes Take Take Take stand out for you as a single?

I recorded Take Take Take with my brother Murray (Goodshirt / Voom), and we have some history working together you could say… Basically, though, I sent a handful of tracks I had finished to various friends in the industry and that one kept coming back as a favourite, soooo I guess the answer is market research. Well, at least four people! 

What’s the story being told in Take Take Take?

Take Take Take is about growing up in NZ and struggling with your identity. The pressures to be in the boys club. Trying to be, sometimes succeeding, sometimes rebelling against what you feel people want you to be.

And what’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the song?

Murray changed out one of the chords in the synth break to a C major which really finished off the tune and gave the melody a new feeling. Feels like the good ole days working with my bro!

Got any fun stories about the making-of?

The track was first a demo made by me at home then re-worked back into shape at Murray’s, where Mike and Murray fixed my drum parts! We then recorded in fleeting moments at Murray’s place on my way home from work before getting on the motorway. It was a really busy time but I had this new found inspiration that drove me to squeeze in the time where ever I could find it.

In one sentence, what do you want listeners to take away from this song?

A head bop or two and a hum along. No need to get to deep, but if you feel like it, maybe have a think about the things that make up who you are.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

I think a single these days is more based on imagining someone relating to the song. That’s as important as is having hooks and whatever else radio might need from it. I think it’s good to listen to your gut feeling but also get other opinions.

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

Recently I’ve been working a lot with other musicians which has inspired me to get busy writing again… Another single is on its way and then I plan to drop the rest of the EP. Currently forming a live band to get a set together, so stay tuned for Mixed Vege gigs too! I can’t wait to play these songs out and about.

Can you tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your NewTracks song.

The BethsLittle Death
Anthonie TonnonOld Images
Sea ViewsInto The Night

Had any of previous applications not get funding or not get included on NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there?

Goodshirt were very blessed to get funding from NZ On Air. Mixed Vege has not received funding, but was submitted to be on the NewTracks playlist which I was stoked to get on! I think being able to show your overall plan is important and having some visual content alongside always helps

Was there any NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application?

It’s usually having everything done on time. I have finally learnt how to plan, lol.

Any last words?

Aghhhhh… pixie caramel.