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by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Aidan Fine

by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Aidan Fine

Aotearoa’s musical hotbed is benefitting from a wave of songwriters, artists and producers who are now releasing music here, with the creative plus of having lived a part of their lives in environments quite outside of the norm for locally-born-and-raised Kiwis. Auckland student Aidan Fine is one such – indeed as a musician, he slips into all three categories – and has just released mellow hip hop track, Deadroses, that he sees as a milestone of his fledgeling career. NZ On Air Music liked the song, too, and featured it on their NewTracks compilation this July.

What’s your given name and where are you from?

My name is Aidan Fine and I was born in Florida, raised in Johannesburg, and I’m now proud to be based in central Auckland.

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

It’s changing every day! I can’t believe how different my 2020 songs sound from my 2015 songs. It’s night and day. The cool thing is that it’s still changing. For example, I’m branching out of hip hop quite a bit these days, and into the realm of pop. I’ve been writing a lot of pop music with a bunch of cool artists lately. I really like it.

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

It’s actually been a crazy few weeks for me. I was recently interviewed on Mai FM, and they played my song – which was a massive highlight for me. Then, a few days later, a friend of mine sent me a screenshot of Deadroses on the NZ Hot Singles chart, which blew my mind. It’s been a good month!

What makes Deadroses stand out for you as a single?

I feel like this song is gonna be the beginning of something new for me. It’s made me realise the importance of contrast in music. Many of my previous releases haven’t had the same intricacies as Deadroses, and I feel that’s what makes it stand out as a single. It’s far more dynamic, has a few interesting change-ups, a guitar solo, and it has this lyrical depth that my last few releases didn’t possess. 

What’s the story behind Deadroses?

I wrote Deadroses a few weeks before my ex-girlfriend and I broke up. The song kind’a just wrote itself, and it’s weird because it’s almost as if the song knew what was gonna happen before I did. That’s why I love writing music – it’s such a cathartic process. It tends to express feelings I haven’t even internalised yet (which can be a little spooky sometimes).

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

Has to be the guitar solo, played by my homie Elijah McPherson. Once I finished the song, it felt like it needed something more. It’s cool because Elijah and I live in the same student accommodation, so I hit him up and five minutes later he came through and improvised that solo. He’s a genius.

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

This song is actually one of the only times I’ve produced a song by getting live musicians to play the instruments for me. Alex Fine, my big brother, played the main guitar loop. We recorded that ages ago in his apartment, and it was just sitting on my computer. A couple months later, I found the loop and added some drums and a bassline, and later that day I recorded some ideas over it. I really, really didn’t like it. The chorus part was actually a pre-chorus, and I felt like the verses were hot trash. 

I kind’a forced myself to finish that demo because I was in this real “I have to be productive” phase during lockdown. I chucked it in the folder with my other demos. Then, a few days later, I pulled it up and got the idea to turn the pre-chorus into the chorus, and completely re-do the verses. Once I did that, I got Elijah in for the solo, and the song was done. I’m really glad I revisited it, because now it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve made.

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

Sometimes good things come to an end, and that’s okay.

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

First and foremost, I have to like the song. If I like the song when I make it, and I sit on it for a while after, and I still like it, then I release it.

Is there anyone else is in your team?

Formally, it’s just me. But I have some really great people whispering some really great advice in my ear, and for that I am truly grateful.

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

I’m fortunate enough to be able to work with some insanely talented artists every day. Firstly, the Y$O crew, made up of several talented artists like Sam V, Edy and Jarna. We’re always working on some dope stuff. Look out for our gig at the Tuning Fork on the 22nd of August. I’ve also been working with Chris Bates, Kyla Greening and Elijah Wilson – definitely keep an eye out for their future releases! There’s some others I won’t mention because I’m keen to keep it under wraps for now, but needless to say, I’m very blessed to work with all of these talented artists and I’m excited for the future of NZ music.

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

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? Got any advice for others out there? 

I am very lucky to have been on here twice now. My advice would be to stay consistent, stay you, and focus on what’s important – the music.

Any last words?

Thank you for having me on here!