In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Noel Woods.
Please list any iwi | tribal | nation affiliations:
Tell us about yourself?
Grew up at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt known as the GROVE. Which is the name of my movement Grove Roots. I wouldn’t call it a band but more a network, a collab, a community of whanau with a common goal of making our reo and tikanga Maori cool through music, performance, theatre, video production.
I had an interest in drums when my uncle gave me his Tama drum set when I was like 8 years old. Played a lot on the classroom desk table and got a lot of detentions because of it. I write mainly waiata Maori but got a few English waiatas too. My mahi these days includes working at Maori radio Atiawa Toa FM and also helping other artists get into the music kaupapa. I direct events such as Te Ra o te Raukura and Newtown Festival and have supported Cuba Dupa directing the whakatau for the last 5 years.
Musically these days jamming drums and Cajon for Grove Roots, Sianne Dougherty, Maaka Fiso, Pere Wihongi and Amba Holly.
Please tell us about your composition and writing process, and what inspires you when composing?
To keep making our reo Maori cool. Always kaupapa driven in the conscious space. Advocate for our reo and tikanga Maori and our history and stories to be heard and seen. Kaupapa Maori is my inspiration
Please describe the space where you compose your music, what makes it unique, and why have you chosen it?
Everyone has a shed or a garage or man cave where you get creative. Mine has been in these spaces. The garage my koro built in the Grove we grew up in. This was where it all started really. These days it is under my house, my man cave where I have finally space to set up all my gear to jam and create. These days creativity happens anywhere and luckily we have a cellphone so we can quickly record that idea or note it down for later.
What equipment (including software) do you have in your space? Is there anything unusual, interesting or quirky about it?
I have an MPC and Roland drum pad. Using Logic software at the moment. Liking the Mashine drum pad and programme too.
Also, have a full band set up to jam with. Old school piano, keys, my drums is a Quest Love Ludwig, great for the kids too.
I play most live sets with a Cajon these days. I have a custom made one done by Tukituki Instruments based in the Hawkes Bay. Trying the acoustic natural feel. Just opens up more space for vocals.
How have you adapted during the COVID-19 lockdown?
More writing for sure and helping other artists with there solo careers. I have finally set up a proper space to get creative in at home so loving this space. It’s my little man cave under the house. I was able to get out and run my radio show which was choice. More time with the whanau has been amazing for my health and well being as sometimes you get to busy.
Has any special projects/songs come about as a result of the C-19 lockdown?
I have managed to change the concept of my music video Tau Hou Maori to an illustration/animation so this has been the only mahi being done other than creating new waiata.
What are you currently working on? If you can’t reveal it, what have you finished recently and how/where/when can people experience it?
This animated music video is a Maori new year Waiata dropping hopefully the end of this month or early June to celebrate the Maori new year. Its a remix of a song I produced in 2017 and features Sianne Dougherty. This one will be choice because I am releasing it in different formats maximising the use of the illustrations. Expect to see it released as a waiata, music video, book, digital book, colouring-in book and eventually onto the stage with theatre and musical.
My third Grove Roots album will be dropped shortly as well, hopefully in time for another date with some music awards for a free kai haha
How can people connect with you?