NewTracks New Artist: Serebii

NewTracks New Artist: Serebii

Producer and multi-instrumentalist Callum Mower, aka Serebii, has been collecting credits for his work alongside other artists, including young jazzer Arjuna Oakes, but new single Really You is just him. NZ On Air Music rated the song’s mellow retro vibes and added it to their NewTracks compilation this July.

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Kia ora my name is Callum Joshua Mower. I am a 27-year-old born in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. I’m an artist, producer and multi-instrumentalist.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I studied at a polytechnic called MAINZ just after high school which was an incredible introduction to our music industry in Aotearoa. Some of the tutors included people such as Chip Matthews, Frank Booker, Angus McNaughton, John Quigley and so on.

Any other projects that we might we know you from?

For the last three years, I have been releasing music with Arjuna Oakes as duo Arjuna Oakes & Serebii. I have previously been a part of a band called The Shambles, a Dunedin party band from 2017-2019.

What’s the background story to Serebii?

As a child, I had hip hop and jazz dancing lessons, clarinet and guitar lessons too. My mother has always sung and played in a duo with her best friend Haromi, my aunty taught me drums as a child and was very active in the music scene, and my grandpa is a big band horn player and guitarist who lives and breathes jazz and classical music. I hated all the lessons as a kid! I found music again at 15 and haven’t stopped.

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

If anything my songwriting has become closer to how I started writing as a teenager, based on emotional experiences with simple chord progressions.

How and when did you come up with the name for the project?

In 2019, I decided to start sharing my music but my birth name didn’t quite roll off the tongue, I created the portmanteau Serebii, inspired by the Japanese concept of komorebi 木漏れ日 which encapsulates sunlight leaking through trees, and the word ‘serenity’, which together captured the essence of what I was trying to create.

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

A highlight for me was opening for Allen Stone at the Opera House in Wellington with Arjuna Oakes. The crowd was full of love, excitement and energy.

What makes Really You stand out for you as a single?

Really You is cheeky and grooves well, it also has a nice message, and like very few of my album tracks it has my voice on it!

What is the story behind Really You?

I wanted to make something cheeky and mesmeric. From memory I was looking for a little drama, something I could sink my teeth into creatively so I instigated a quarrel, and I lost. I then locked myself in my room (my old bedroom studio in Seatoun, Wellington), until I had a refrain with substance. I guess Really You is about impulsive behaviour and journey with navigating integrity.

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

I like the first 30 seconds of the track the most. It has a gently kind’a brewing to it.

What would you like listeners to take away from it?

Everyone will take away something different from this track although I would hope listeners can close their eyes and have a wee dance with themselves.

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

I suppose it’s a balance of what you want your listeners to hear first and whether or not it would give you a good angle for pitching.

Who else is in your team? 

My team includes my wonderful manager Mukuka Musowa from Creative Pwele Management, and the LA-based record label Innovative Leisure.

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

I am currently writing and recording a second solo album in my home studio in Titirangi. I am very excited about this body of work too!

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

  • Ayaluna: Chosen One
  • BAM: Keep Talking
  • CC(TV): Kinnie