Into the Light: Tiki Taane

Tiki Taane's had an interesting 2011 so far. His second record In the World of Light has been met with rave reviews, not only in his homeland of New Zealand, but over here as well, and he's currently preparing to come over for a run of east coast dates later this month. But with the good comes the bad, and it came for Tiki when he was arrested in early April during a gig for ‘disorderly behaviour.' Bouncing back from it, Taane's back on track and took the time to chat about the record, the loyalty of fans and family and of course, what we can expect when he tours here in the next few weeks.


It's been four years since Taane's debut album Past, Present, Future, so understandably, there are clear signs of artistic development in his second offering. Featuring various well-known dub step artists from New Zealand brought In the World of Light to not only a wider audience and demographic, but also to the attention of many novices to the dub and bass culture. "I wanted to do something really progressive [on the second record], and I wanted to work with all the artists in NZ who are doing all the cool shit," Taane explains. "It was really cool collaborating with these guys, so I wanted to introduce some of my fans to their music because I think it's so good."


With the different influences filtering through on the album; from Crushington on Light Years Away to Bulletproof on Soundtrack to Forever, the sound Taane has produced is one backed by a new level of musical maturity and definition. "I'm really proud of Light Years Away," Taane decides. "The way it's engineered, the way it sounds and the vocals . . . It comes from the heart, you know? I'm really proud of that track."


It's not just the collaborators who make In the World of Light so impressive. The skilful manipulation of tone and mood on the album conjures up both images of punishing darkness and playful light. "It's scarily easy [to reach the dark places]." Taane admits. "That's my nature as well; any issue or problem I have, I try and bring that to the surface and I think that comes out in my music as well."


But it wasn't about just producing these songs with a depressive outlook. "At the same time, I wanted there to be light as well. An artist who's been a big influence on me is Burial. He's the master of making really moody, dark stuff, but making it really beautiful as well."


When we chat about the influence of family on the record and in a general creative sense, Taane puts his little boy (who features on Chico) on the phone to say hello. Laughing, he proudly tells me "He's the star of the live show, too. He's hilarious." The strong sense of community and family that Tiki's followers have created, especially following his April arrest, has only further demonstrated the solid loyalty he has bestowed to him. "It was a really interesting experience, it was headline news across this country for a couple of nights and it brought out a lot of interesting comments from all sorts of people. But my fans are awesome; it was a cool thing for me."


The upcoming Australian tour is something Tiki is looking forward to, providing he doesn't get arrested again. "I think the Australian government would be meaner to me than the New Zealand one!" Taane laughs. "I've stripped back the show, normally I'd have the whole band with me but it's just going to be me doing acoustic songs. I'll be playing guitar, singing stuff I wrote with Salmonella Dub, my guest stuff, some old stuff, some covers. Then I'll jam into my DJ ( Optimus Gryme), who's an old friend of mine but also a pioneer of dub in this country. It's just party vibes and I'm trying to keep ticket prices down so people can just get up and have a good time."


So, it'll be a special set of shows, by the sounds of it – with the tour kicking off in Byron Bay at the Great Northern on the 19th of May and wrapping up at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne on the 28th Be sure to catch Tiki in action as he brings his unique fusion of dub and roots over the pond. Taane's excitement streams through the phone: "Australian audiences have always been really receptive and into the bass culture as well. I love playing in Australia, it's one of my favourite tours; I can't wait."

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