They’re strictly soulful with hip hop influences in the vein of D’Angelo and Common, but rather than hail from the US this three-piece are from Wellington, New Zealand. Their debut album, Every Waking Hour, released in 2009, caught the attention of Giles Peterson and fans worldwide with its 60s-inspired, Rhodes-and-thick-percussion ditties. Meet Myele Manzana on drums and percussion, Taay Ninh on bass and keyboards, and Mara TK on vocals, guitar and bass, aka Electric Wire Hustle.

How did you meet?

It was by chance really, one of those happenings in time. Myele and I were in the same city which I’d just moved to and Mara had just got his visa approved to move to the North Island. We got to know each other through the process.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a myriad of different things that’s constantly evolving. I guess at the centre it’s soul but it’s changing even as we speak. Each and every tour we’re exposed to something new that sheds light on a new direction. We don’t like to box it in. Kinda Pollack, kinda Miró, kinda blue.

Have any artists influenced your music?

Absolutely – there are many. Each of us has at least one parent who has played a part in influencing us through their own music or writing. But we’re each inspired by many different people from Mingus and Butler to Dvorak and Hotere. Lately I’ve had a hunger to read more Hemingway after travelling through the Navarra. It might not even be their direct work that leaves an impression but the impact they had on a culture that leaves you thinking of what is possible.

How was the experience of playing at Glastonbury?

Crazy. Experiencing the extremes of setting up a city on a hillside and all the incredible and shocking images that come in tow; from the slather of next level artists to the amount of waste that’s consumed in such a small space of time. It was all and everything.

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

I think it’s happening right now. It’s all Yin and Yang really. It feels that every time we’ve ticked off a major highlight it’s also been during or been accompanied by the next set of challenges. To be here feels good though – we’re doing ok.

What has been the toughest challenge?

Probably balancing family/partners and touring. Touring is rewarding and completely testing all in a concentrated package.

For those of us who aren’t familiar with New Zealand’s music scene, are there any artists we should look up?

Definitely, Eru Dangerspiel, Lucky Paul, Parks, Julien Dyne, Ladi6, KarlMarx, Isaac Aesili and Butler to name a few.

What are you up to next?

Writing. We’re figuring out where this next album will go. It’s exciting – like learning to swim.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?

On our island in Mauritius writing sonnets in coconut milk.

 
Electric Wire Hustle will be at the Big Chill Festival on 5th of August. 

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