Jamie Strange, Labour Candidate - Hamilton East
By Ian Duggan
With the general election just days away, Ian Duggan caught wind of Hamilton East Labour Candidate Jamie Strange's earlier forays into recording his own music. We decided to ask a few questions and Jamie obliged with some answers!
HUP: Jamie, you released a concept album in 2009, 'Thanks for Faking it Sometimes'. Included on the album you had the song 'Rockstar Clone', which I understand received radio airplay and was runner-up in a 2008 UK song-writing competition that received over 6000 entries. What can you tell us about the aims of the project? How serious was it, what were you hoping for the songs and album when they were released, and did the project achieve what you were hoping for?
Jamie: The album is a satirical look at a cliche rockstar. Hence, the plastic-looking girlfriend, eye-liner, and tattoos (although the tattoos are actually real). I was thinking about 'All the Small Things' by 'Blink 182' when I wrote 'Rockstar Clone'. The opening chords match this song and the opening line is: "I'll steal this riff from another song".
I was hoping to get airplay, which I did on The Rock, Life FM, Juice TV and C4. I didn't sell many albums. However, I really enjoyed the creative process. If I was to re-release the album, I would change the cover photo to the photo of the mannequin in the sunglasses. The album photos were taken by Roly Ebbing and artwork was done by Andrew Killick.
HUP: You released several music videos, all available on YouTube, some of which have very respectable numbers of views. For example, ‘Empty Dreams’ has over 5000 views, while ‘I Wonder’ and ‘Rockstar Clone’ each have over 2000. They also look like they were incredibly fun to make! Do you have any particular memories of making them, and how were they funded?
For 'Empty Dreams' I was given the super 8 footage and edited the video myself. Then on 'I Wonder' my friend Rolly Ebbing produced and edited it in Tauranga.
High School Crush was recorded by my friend Klas Eriksson at St Peter's Church (Hamilton), and I edited it.
Rockstar Clone was also recorded by Klas Eriksson, on green screen at The Rockshop in Hamilton (where I worked, between 6 pm and 6 am), and Novotel Hotel (I did a free gig to get a room). I edited it.
They were all great fun to make! I mainly funded it myself, but also had a few small donations along the way.
HUP: What do you think of your songs and videos now, looking back almost 10 years?
They sound like old-school pop-punk now! I think Rockstar Clone holds up well lyrically and musically. Empty Dreams still sounds fine to me. Also, I believe my best lyrics are 'Footprint on a Mountain', a tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary. This was sung by my friend Jesse O'Brien, who made the top 10 of the first ever season of NZ Idol. This is probably the song I am most proud of.
HUP: Do you have any desire to go back and release more music, or are you wanting to devote your life now to politics?
Politics will be my focus. However, I would like to continue being creative. I will certainly have a guitar in my parliament office in Wellington. Feel free to pop down for a jam!
HUP: You are now standing for Labour in the upcoming election for Hamilton East. Let us know why we should we vote for Jamie Strange?
I am passionate about all New Zealanders achieving their full potential. If elected, I will work hard to represent the people of Hamilton East. I want my four kids to be able to afford to buy a house, have a strong public health system that's there for them, and participate in a diverse education system that caters for all New Zealanders. I think everyone deserves this.