I N T E R V I E W
The Larva from the City of Lava: An Interview with Te Huhu
with Ian Duggan
It’s getting closer to Future City Festival 2019 by the day. In the lead-up, we talked to Sam Smith from Auckland psychedelic-stoner-shoegaze-blues-folk band ‘Te Huhu’, about their upcoming debut album Recychedelia’, their distinctive sound, and their own upcoming festival, ‘Field of Dreams’!
HUP: For the uninitiated, how would you describe Te Huhu’s sound? Who are bands that you are most similar to?
Sam: That’s a really hard one. It’s probably easier for an outsider to answer that one. Who do we sound like?
HUP: As an outsider, I think you probably sound a bit like the most laid-back moments of Naenae Express, if they were to lay back a little further. Fair assessment?
Sam: Yeah, I guess we've got a similar connection to that kind of retro kiwiana type of sound that Naenae does, or something. Te Huhu is kinda nostalgic sounding. [We were] once described as 'a drowsy blend of atmospheric, stoner, blues, psych-folk-rock jams'.
HUP: You debut album ‘Recychedelia’ is listed on Bandcamp both as released on October 2018, and as “coming soon”. So far, only three of the ten songs have appeared. When can we expect the rest?
Sam: We put those first three songs from the album up towards the end of last year as a kind of motivation to get the vinyl pressed and ready for release with the remaining digital tracks. The vinyl record might still be a few months away, so we’re going to release it all digitally in the next few weeks with a pre-order option for the vinyl lovers out there. It’s been a long haul due to the DIY nature of it all.
HUP: Your song ‘For Love’ topped the 95bfm charts late last year. What have been some of the other highlights for Te Huhu since your formation?
Sam: Well, we’ve had a couple of other singles in the 95bfm Top Ten going back a few years, and we played at a combined 65th birthday party at the Ngataringa Tennis Club, which lingers in the memory as easily our best live outing to date. We also opened for The Phoenix Foundation at Shadows Bar & Grill one afternoon and they mentioned that our set was very relaxing, and we took that as a great compliment. [continued below]
HUP: Where does the band name ‘Te Huhu’ come from?
Sam: The Beatles was taken.
HUP: Prior to Future City Festival, I understand you have your own ‘Field of Dreams’ festival. What can you tell me about that, and how is preparation for it going?
Sam: Yes. We’ve put together a high-quality line-up of psychy bands on a limited-edition cassette and we’re having a geg party to celebrate. We’ve called it ‘Field of Dreams’. It’s kind of a mutation out of a month-long residency we held down at the Kings Arms Sports Bar a few years ago with some of these same bands.
HUP: I assume this is a Kevin Costner, "Build it and they will come" reference?
Sam: Yes, it is precisely that. What a buzzy film. We’ve put together the stage over the last few weekends in my back yard out here on the Awhitu Peninsula and it’s all shaping up really nicely for what should be a mint day out in the countryside with some mates and some of the best bands in the country.
HUP: What are the other bands at Future City Festival you are looking forward to seeing?
Sam: I think we’re only in the city of the future for the Friday night and I haven’t seen any of the other acts playing that night so am looking forward to seeing as much as I can, but especially The Fatalities who I have just discovered and am quite enjoying.
Te Huhu website: http://www.tehuhu.com
Field of Dreams website: fieldofdreamsnz.com