Central Leader - - NEWS -

Harry Huavi thought he was go­ing to be a rap­per when he grew up.

As it turned out, Mr Huavi, aka ‘‘ Haz Beats’’, is the man re­spon­si­ble for the jazz­in­flu­enced pro­duc­tion of New Zealand hip-hop phe­nom­e­non Home Brew.

‘‘I al­ways wanted to be a rap­per but then mak­ing my own mu­sic led me to be­ing a pro­ducer. I had no time to rap any more. I was just mak­ing beats.’’

Mr Huavi started mak­ing mu­sic as a teenager liv­ing in South Auck­land.

It wasn’t long be­fore he hooked up with Home Brew’s front­man Tom Scott over the in­ter­net and the pair be­gun col­lab­o­rat­ing.

‘‘He lived in this place in San­dring­ham that had a lit­tle shack out­side. I used to come over with my lap­top and just bang out beats and he would just be writ­ing, writ­ing, writ­ing.’’

He says they started get­ting se­ri­ous about mu­sic late in 2006. Since then the Home Brew trio have ac­com­plished a steady takeover of Aotearoa’s rap scene – this year they achieved a num­ber one al­bum with their self-ti­tled de­but LP and won the award for best hip-hop group at the New Zealand Mu­sic Awards.

Mr Huavi says the group’s mount­ing success is a sur­prise, but it hasn’t fazed him.

‘‘When peo­ple say, ‘man you’ve got a No 1 al­bum’, I think that num­ber doesn’t pay for my rent and it doesn’t make me more cre­ative. I’m still strug­gling to do the things I want.’’

Although cash from the mu­sic in­dus­try ebbs and flows the 30-year-old says the strug­gle helps him stay real.

‘‘It keeps us hum­ble and keeps us do­ing what we ac­tu­ally want to do with­out big money get­ting in­volved.’’

To make ends meet he holds down a reg­u­lar DJing spot at a lo­cal night­club and plays sup­port at in­ter­na­tional gigs.

Dur­ing the day he com­poses us­ing his lap­top and a pro­gramme called Fruity Loops in com­bi­na­tion with a Mas­chine midi-con­troller. He makes beats us­ing a ‘‘sam­pling’’ tech­nique – bor­row­ing snip­pets of sounds from a va­ri­ety of record­ings and re­assem­bling them into a new com­po­si­tion.

Old school tra­di­tion would see a beat-pro­ducer ri­fling through crates of dusty vinyl to find rare record­ing to sam­ples but tech­nol­ogy has opened up a world of sound.

‘‘I haven’t dug crates in many moons,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s dirty work go­ing into the crates.

‘‘Some­times you find the gems but nowa­days I’m a bit broke and the in­ter­net has given us so much for free.’’

Mov­ing for­ward, Mr Huavi and his crew are work­ing hard on Young, Gifted and Broke, a col­lec­tive of vis­ual and mu­si­cal artists.

It also dou­bles as a record la­bel for Home Brew and friends.

‘‘We are still try­ing to fig­ure out the ropes of run­ning a busi­ness, so it’s work­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing at the same time,’’ Mr Huavi says. ‘‘ We just want to keep re­leas­ing mu­sic and be­ing cre­ative.’’

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