The inaugural Kiwi Fest is set to take over the Footscray Community Arts Centre on Saturday 15th February in a unique celebration of all things Aotearoa. An All-Ages, one-day celebration of New Zealand culture, Kiwi Fest brings together Melbourne’s Kiwi communities for a diverse festival of music, food and culture, with something for everyone. We got two artists on the lineup to interview each other ahead of their team up this weekend. Take it away Amin Payne + Stacey!


Who were the artist that inspired your youth?

Amin Payne: Michael Jackson & Prince.
Stacey: Awesome, same! Both were instrumental in my youth, Michael Jackson more so than Prince. I discovered Prince a little later than Michael. But yeah, I was pretty obsessed. I remember watching the two-part mini-series of the ‘Jackson 5’ over and over, I could nearly recite every word…. Some others are all the Rnb greats. I was a big fan of Toni Braxtox, Whitney, Mariah, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot…

Who inspires you now?

AP: Basically my fellow musician friends from Melbourne & other overseas based artist. It’s humbling to call all the people friends & to see them evolve & inspire.
S: Oh nice one. The Melbourne music scene is definitely inspiring me atm. There are so many talented artists here, lots that are making headlines across the globe, pushing boundaries, doing things independently – it’s pretty cool to bear witness to this movement. In particular, I’m really loving: 30/70, Hiatus Kaiyote, Kaiit, Remi/Sensible J, Sampa The Great, Silent Jay, and I love your stuff Amin – that TEYMORI EP is sooooo dope, you’re such a talented artist. Some others artists that have inspired me for a while now and continue to inspire me are Erykah Badu, Dangelo, FKA Twigs, Kelela, Kendrick, J Cole, Banks, and the 90’s Hip Hop era, I’m a huge fan of this era.

What’s your all-time favourite slow jam?

AP: The Roots – Break You Off feat.Erkah Badu.
S: Mean. Good tune, love that one too… I’ve got two favourites haha. First one is ‘Rock with you’ – Michael Jackson. The other is ‘Call My Name’ – Prince, I walked down the aisle to this song, it still makes me cry to this day when I hear it. It’s such a beautiful song.

Where did the love for music aspire from?

AP: I started DJing before getting into making music so it was the DJing process that made me become so interested in how these songs were composed and only hearing/dissecting layers of instruments instead of just hearing the music as one whole track.
S: Yeah cool of course, such a cool process to go through huh, the dissection part. I like this about music production too. I’d have to say that my love for music came from my father initially. He was an amazing lead guitarist and performed in bands growing up. Also NZ Maori Kapa Haka is where I found a place to learn how to perform and sing in front of people. I was really shy to sing or talk or perform in front of people as a kid, so this really helped with my performance anxiety. Following on from that, was when I moved from my small town, Levin to Wellington and worked at Real Groovy Records, NZ’s iconic record store. That was an eye opener for me as I was introduced to a whole other world of genres and sub genres and was able to watch live music regularly and performances by all the NZ greats, like Trinity Roots, Black Seeds, Holly Smith, The Illphonics, Fat Freddy’s and of course all those amazing NZ Drum n Bass and House DJs.

What was it like to grow up in Aotearoa? 

AP: I’ve only lived in Auckland while I lived in New Zealand for 14 years so I can only speak of Auckland. It was basically School, then University then my SAE diploma and shortly after I left for Melbourne so most my memories are based round education, lots of nature & beaches and just being young doing young things. Good times. Auckland is beautiful and I grew up there so it will always be home, however it did not have the platforms, opportunities & support that I was seeking so hence the move to Melbourne.
S: Yeah right, I hear ya. For me I feel like I had the quintessential NZ Maori upbringing, especially because I came from a small town. I love Aotearoa and our beautiful culture, all my whanau are there, I miss them very much but I too sought a wider variety of opportunities. I moved to Melbourne just after my 21st birthday and I’ve been here ever since.

Did growing up in Aotearoa influence your relationship with music and the industry in any way?

AP: Yes definitely. I discovered Hiphop, RnB & Reggae in New Zealand so my love for those genres started there. Bands like Fat Freddy’s drop, Che-fu & Katchafire were huge influences & constant soundtrack to my ears. I didn’t really tap into the NZ industry as music only got serious once I left NZ so I just knew bunch of DJs and radio hosts from my bartending days
S: Yeah same, it definitely influenced my relationship with music and the industry. I was also listening to those artists and going to their gigs and being influenced by their distinctive sound, but I wasn’t  apart of the NZ music scene as such, during that stage of my life I was studying music, working at the record store, and watching but not performing.

Who is your ultimate collab with?

AP: Joe Dukie aka Dallas from Fat Freddy’s drop. Sean Deans & Dallas used to live together back in the day so thanks to Sean we were blessed to have Dallas feature on one of our collaborations.
S: Awesome. What a collab that would be! Ummmm sheesh, for me, I’d have to say Kaytranada…

  1. What’s your creative process? 

AP: I only make music when I’m inspired and in the mood, else I don’t force it.
Yup same. I’ve gotta be feeling it to get the vocals that want and the vibe that I’m after. When writing for myself I make sure that I record all vocal ideas so I have a lot of options to choose from during the editing stage. I try to find an interesting melody before I write the lyrics to a song, I’ll spend a lot of time on the melody, and then write lyrics later.

How do you find the music industry? Do you have any advice for up and coming artist? 

AP: The music industry has changed so much and it seems to be changing further more with technology and social media. So the only thing that will remain relevant and timeless is the love & practice you put into music or your art. If you do what you love and truly enjoy it then I think the rest just falls into place. Also don’t compare your art to others. Use others’ art as inspiration and motivation to help you create better art & push yourself to evolve.
S: Beautifully said, I totally agree. I would echo all that you’ve already said but reinforce the importance of not comparing your art to others as everybody is worthy of creating art, and like you said Amin, we should all use others’ art to inspire and to motivate and continue to evolve.

Finally, any big goals for 2020?

AP: My biggest goals for 2020 is completing the sequel to my TEYMORI EP and doing more festival performances with my band. I also want to become a better musician, so it’s time to finally take some classes or seek a music teacher instead of being Mr. Self taught who can’t read music.
 Oh amazing, can’t wait to hear the sequel, as you know I love the TEYMORI EP! Such a goodie and good luck with the music lessons! I agree there’s only so far you can go when you don’t read music, huh! I’m in the same boat. For me I’m really looking forward to finally releasing Haarlo’s second EP ‘Lux’ in March 2020. It feels cathartic to finish this project as it has taken a long time to get to this point. I also want to start a solo project this year with the goal of being really involved in the production process.

Catch Amin Payne + Stacey when they perform together at Kiwi Fest this weekend!

Kiwi Fest 2020
Saturday 15th February
Footscray Community Arts Centre
Live music: Che-FuIsrael StarrIva LamkumDJ SPELLThe Refugees, and Amin Payne + Stacey
Cultural performances: Ngā Mātai PūruaCollateral Culture and Nga Uri Whaioranga
Food & Drink: Hangi Boys and Garage Project
Tickets: $50+BF via Eventbrite