credit: Jonny Stitt

credit: Jonny Stitt

Tom Scott

Home Brew, @Peace, Average Rap Band, Avantdale Bowling Club and Max Marx.

Avantdale Bowling Club was three years in the making, but only took one week to reach number 1 in the New Zealand charts. The album was recorded primarily at Auckland’s Red Bull Studios, not far from Tom’s new family home back where it all started, Avondale. “This record is about… growing up. I think.” He writes in an open letter.

“It’s about dealing with your own shit for once. Accepting responsibility. Maybe. It’s a self-help book addressed to myself. And just like every other piece of art ever made in the history of the hominid, I was going through some shit when I was making it.”

The genre isn’t easy to pin down – in Tom’s typically irreverent own words, the Spotify profile for the project says “Irrelevant jazz from an island nation off the coast of Antarctica.” It is jazz-infused, it is hip-hop, and it features an enviable cast of musicians, many known to Tom from years gone by.

The first single, the seven-minute autobiographical epic ‘Years Gone By’ made an immediate impact on release last week, garnering media attention around NZ and abroad. The album was also the winner of 2019’s Taite Prize.

Auckland hip-hop act Home Brew have successfully, in equal parts, both transfixed and shocked parts of New Zealand in recent years. Their debut album was perhaps the most anticipated and positively received local release of 2012.

The trio of Home Brew are led by Tom Scott, with Lui Gumaka and beatmaker Hazbeats (Haz Huavi), and are joined onstage by a full live band. They established themselves off the back of a series of digital EPs they gave away for free on Bandcamp, along with some very entertaining home-made video clips posted on the internet, promoting their music and generally getting up to mischief while avoiding getting arrested.

Homebrew’s debut digital release, the Home Brew Light EP came out in 2007, with music produced by Soulchef and mastering from Chris Macro (Dubious Bros). They followed that up in 2008 with the Last Week EP on vinyl and digital, featuring production from the crew’s Hazbeats.

Home Brew were shortlisted for the inaugural Critics Choice Prize at the NZ Music Awards in 2010, alongside The Naked And Famous, and eventual winners Street Chant.

Home Brew’s self-titled debut album dropped in May 2012 and went straight to No.1 on the New Zealand Album charts.

“Featuring the talents of such people as Chip Matthews (Opensouls), Christoph El Truento (At Peace/Wonderful Noise) and Hollie Smith (Don McGlashan's friend) it's their most mature, self reflective, existential piece of work to date.”

Following the album’s release, the band performed successfully across NZ and made their first foray into Australia. And yet, that was largely it, with the band being on hold since 2014, perhaps never to return.

Scott is also involved in @Peace, and the group work with a bunch of likeminded musicians as part of the Young Gifted and Broke collective (which also includes Team Dynamite, Scratch 22, Tourettes, Christoph El Truento and others).