Tuesday, June 15, 2010


gday mates. found this awesome write up of the homie Askews role in the whole coming
together of our "Evolution" album at his page. You also see a copy of the artwork and print you receive at the release. Im seeing this for the first time too and it loooks goooOOOOd! Shot Askeezy, you the man bro! shot for the help......... zzzzzziiiiiiiiiiiip!

check it out:

I’ve been missing in action the last couple of months, it has certainly been a really busy time for me but as I will explain there has been ample on my plate. About 2 months ago I agreed to take on a project for Dawn raid Entertainment art directing the (potentially) final release from Auckland Mainstays The Deceptikonz. It has been demanding and seen me don a couple of well-worn hats as well as one fresh from the shelf – namely trying my hand at directing some music videos.

I shouldn’t have to explain why Dkonz are so iconic and remain one of my favourite local hip hop acts but there are plenty out there ready to detract and perhaps they are only seeing a very small part of the decade long legacy – and it is a legacy. In my opinion there are only a very small handful of local Hip Hop artists who’s influence has transcended as far as Mareko’s. Personally I feel that Danny Haimona aka Hyper D from Dam Native and Johnny Sagala respectively hold the title for having an unparalleled impact on our local Hip Hop sound and subsequently empowering Maori and Samoan MC’s to believe in their ‘own’ voice. I can’t tell you how many people rapped like Danny throughout New Zealand after Kaupapa Driven Rhymes Uplifted dropped but I can tell you, no one spawned as many imitators until Mareko. I sincerely believe in the timeline of New Zealand Hip Hop there is before Mareko and after Mareko – he is that significant in my eyes. Albeit he may not have pioneered certain ‘isms’ when considered in the international sense, there was his use of the battle attitude and clever punch line driven raps that were not commonplace prior to his emergence.

TMD member and Mareko’s older brother Rimoni and I reminisced recently about JC’s first Battle For Supremacy at Factory in 2000 when Mareko stepped onto stage as a completely unknown MC – No one would have considered him in contention for taking the title let alone flipping the entire scene on it’s head. I remember looking at this big, quiet looking- very low-key dressed Samoan in a (now trademark) bucket hat and rugged skate shoes step on stage. At first he looked shy, sifting side to side a bit and looking at the floor – just for a second though before he went into battle mode. Prior to this NZ battles consisted of people that just looked stoked with them selves that they could freestyle consistently (often about nothing and also with a habit of inventing fictional words) once Mareko launched into battle, with razor sharp punch lines that made clear reference to his opponent, the game was changed. I just remember my sides hurting as he just came line after line making a mockery of MC’s – often the crowd response was so loud he had to pause between punch lines to allow for them to calm down again. It was like improvised stand up but didn’t fall short there – it was clever, he had great word play and most important he had flow.

Mareko went on to win 3 consecutive titles yet unlike a lot of renown freestyle MC’s – he could also deliver a great song and this was proven with the Deceptikonz first album ‘Elimination’. The reason I love this album is that it’s grass roots garage feeling Hip Hop – the majority of the beats were produced by Mareko on a demo version of Sound Forge which only allowed a dozen saves before you had to uninstall and reinstall the software. He used a home PC that by today’s standards would likely be reserved for using word or playing solitaire but most importantly this album introduced us to his crew, Savage, Devolo and Alphrisk. Dkonz have all the bases covered with this line up – Savage’s eventual success in the US was really not that surprising to me especially after his appearance in the Scribe “Not Many Remix” video directed by Chris Graham. At this point we see the emergence of another calibre of Hip Hop artist – the type rarely seen here. He’s the guy that can just growl out a hook and make it an anthem and quite frankly look so fucking cool doing it. Honestly I think you are lying if you say your hair didn’t stand up on end when you first heard his part at the start of ‘Not Many Remix’ – I know mine did.

Devolo is a really unique MC, he’s always had an almost rigid and mechanical delivery and seemingly simple lyrics but he is one of my favourites. At the heart of why he is so good you might have to be an Aucklander or at least have grown up around Islanders but there is such an inexplicable swagger that he has that is ‘so Tongan’ – just the way he phrases things, the nuances in his pronunciation, it’s so dope. I never knew quite what it was but David Dallas was at my house speaking about it when he had just recorded the demo version of ‘Indulge Me’ and was planning to get him to sing the bridge part. Saves also said the same thing the other day. Devolo is time and time again one of the local MC’s who will leave me reflecting on a line for ages because maybe they aren’t really that ‘simplistic’ at all in fact sometimes they are really complex. I rate an MC that can do that – It’s an art. Devolo also has the X-factor on camera, working with him is a breeze and now after editing his performances on 4 videos I really appreciate that!

Alphrisk is really the most understated member of Dkonz but someone I believe has been so consistent and now really emerged so strongly on this new album. I had seen Dkonz play a few times before I actually met Alphrisk and just assumed he was the same age as the other guys. I was at Dawn Raid in 2002 working on the Disruptiv Logo with Tim Checkly and Alprhisk walked past in a school uniform! I turned to Tim and said “What the?!” and he was like “yeah, he’s still at school!”. It spun me right out at the time but also makes me appreciate where he was at lyrically even more. Alphrisks ‘Best Kept Secret’ street album still remains a favourite of mine and truly stands the test of time. His verses on Evolution are killer and I believe this guy has a long career ahead of him.

So now you understand, I’m a big fan of these guys and a friend and over the years have really followed them. When Andy Murnane asked me to art direct the entire Dkonz project there was no hesitation. In my typical form it required me to leap into the deep end a bit and hone my video and editing skills to bring 4 internet videos to fruition. This was done on a shoestring budget and in a rapid time frame all while on deadline at my regular job laying out Rip It Up.

The videos were shot in 3 days with my Panasonic HDC-SD1 video camera equipped with a very basic DOF (Depth Of Field) adapter and a collection of Nikon lenses I gathered from markets, garage sales, second hand stores and on Trade Me. A fact a lot of people don’t know is these videos along with Urban Development videos I made were all shot upside down and flipped in Post. This is because I couldn’t afford a vibrating DOF adapter so everything is captured this way. It was disorientating at first but I’ve mastered the art and retrained my eyes! Assisting, lighting and general sharing of knowledge and opinion was handled by my good friends Rimoni and Lucko Prawito, make up by Alphrisks wife Vanu Maoate and everything else from scheduling to hitting the playback was handled by Safia Sayid. It’s a small but great team and the shoots were heaps of fun – I learned a lot during the process too, it was like a crash course!

The other part of the project was the general art direction and illustration which I did with some last minute help from Elliot Francis Stewart aka Deus. The first thong was the reworking of the brand, primarily via my reinterpretation of the Dkonz logo into a ‘NETCH’ treatment. There is a limited edition hand signed print of this available with a copy of the album when you buy a ticket to the farewell concert on July 10th!

Then there is the cover art – The front is featured at the start of the post but here is the full fold out poster, which also includes a looming ‘Pyramid Dude’. Deus helped out with the Church and the bats!

And lastly I got to shoot the video for the first official single and title track ‘Evolution’. This was shot on a Canon 5D Mk II and if you get a chance to check out the photos over at Rimoni’s and Mareko’s blogs. It was a historic night with a lot of NZ Hip Hop royalty in the building.

So people, there you have it. Check out the videos, if you like the tracks- buy the album and if you are in Auckland July 10th then see you at the concert. It’s my birthday that night so I’ll be in high spirits and most likely in the front row singing along to my favourite Dkonz songs. Let’s party like it’s 2012!!!!

here here brother!

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