“Headless chickens and human remains” – if you told anyone from overseas about last night’s Taite Music Prize 2018 ceremony they would likely shake their heads. “Only in NZ…!” We can hardly blame them, even many in the audience were left confused.
Up against the likes of Nadia Reid, Fazerdaze and Mermaidens, the winner of the night’s main prize was Aldous Harding for her remarkable second album ‘Party’. It seems the Taite Prize is cursed by winner absenteeism and in that tradition Aldous was present only as a video message for the lively crowd, thanking the people who helped with the album directly as well as others for creating “…the air around it”.
Having been forced to cancel the last weeks of the ‘Party’ album’s US tour plus all subsequent 2018 tour dates (other than a few lucky NZ summer festivals), Aldous has recently taken on Martin Pike of Associated London Management (also management for The Breeders and Stereolab) as manager. She is presently in London recording for her third album.
Previous winners of the Taite Music Prize are SJD, Silicon, Lawrence Arabia, Lorde, Jakob, Street Chant, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Ladi6.
The Auckland Live Best Independent Debut award for 2018 went to Auckland (not-really-so-newcomers) The Miltones for their self-titled debut album.
The Headless Chickens were presented the Independent Music NZ Classic Record award for their 1988 album ‘Stunt Clown’. It was a timely and emotional industry recognition for the band given the death earlier this year Grant Fell. Completing his acceptance speech alongside the remaining band members, Chris Matthews surprised the room first by pulling out a small vial of Fell’s ashes then by sprinkling some of the contents onto the stage. The band then performed their song Untitled.
The Taite Music Prize finalist judges made their decisions based on the artistic merit of the winning albums. Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity were not factors in their decision-making process.
Alan Holt – NZ Music Commission
Billie Rogers – Street Chant
Georgina Cervin – Auckland Live
Hugh Sundae – Hollywood Theatre
Joost Langeveld – Big Pop Studios
Russell Baillie – NZ Listener
Sandy Mill – Artist
Savina Fountain – Ignite
Silke Hartung – NZ Musician
Teremoana Rapley – Artist