getting to know... ngaiire
How has music influenced your life from a young age? It saved me as a kid. My parents were some of the first in their families and villages to graduate with degrees. They lived through the height of Papua New Guinea’s independence from Australia, and education meant distancing from culture in order to thrive in a new urbanised middle class. Normally, the village community would help carry you through life, but my siblings and I grew up with uncharted problems. We didn’t have the safety net of our family network. Music was a real lighthouse: a teacher, a healer and a confidant. Favourite type of music to listen to in your downtime? I like to listen to things I can’t sing along to. I just wanna vibe, so John Coltrane has often been it for me. Tell us about your relationship with fashion. I love clothes. I adore wellmade things and I love the magic of the raw materials my ancestors used to create their own identity, whether for the battlefield or for ceremony. You’ve toured with some pretty huge names! How did you manage your nerves? Not very well! I remember meeting Shirley Manson from Garbage once with my friend Billie. Billie probably questioned her friendship with me as I was slobbering all over myself like a dumb dog. What’s an issue you’re super-passionate about? Racism. I never knew what racism meant until I came to this country, and I now know how messy and complex it can get. Especially when you find yourself in more commercial environments. Oof! It gets ugly, and the tokenism gets challenging to navigate.