In January this year, I had a little sit-down and coffee with the gang at Spaida Trakz. Present at our coffee meeting (well just a meeting really, cos I was the only one drinking coffee) was Richard Tokiapron of South Tribe who also works at Spaida Trakz, Special Projects Coordinator Tony Chan, the famous Justin Kili and their fearless leader, Andrew Johnston.
Spaida Trakz, although new to the industry, has hit the ground with their eight legs running so I went through a couple of questions with them to find out a little more about this new recording company.
Masalai Blog (MB): Who owns Spaida Trakz and what was the reason for moving into the music industry?
Spaida Trakz (ST): Spaida Trakz is owned by myself, Andrew Johnston. It is part of the PVM Group with its sister company PVM Advertising. I’d actually like to take this opportunity also to announce the GM of Spaida Trakz who is Ian Boas, and Tony Chan who is to be the Special Projects Coordinator. Justin Kili is the GM of PVM Advertising, although he does lend his vast experience to Spaida Trakz when needed. Ian is not here today, but the guys here now including Richard are all part of the working group that will be driving Spaida Trakz.
In fact, the whole idea of starting Spaida Trakz can be owed to the determination of Richard and Viktor Chapek who saw the opportunity and lobbied over a period of 12 months for me to create an outlet for the industry and themselves, who obviously make up the band South Tribe. It made business sense in terms of adding value to the PVM Group. There is the obvious association with the PVM agency where we were already in touch with a number of artists when producing jingles or artwork for artists and in return the agency is able to benefit from artists performing at concerts and corporate events. So there’s a great synergy there.
MB: What is the underlying philosophy for Spaida Trakz?
ST: We aim to promote musical excellence and provide an alternative to the main stream PNG model of promoting local artists. Independent music artists will now be given a better opportunity to pursue their dreams of having materials published. Spaida Trakz offers a license to publish contracts which assist bands to either record and/or publish their works.
Working in collaboration with some of PNG’s best known artists in a cooperative environment of decision making, they have a say in the process of the recording, marketing, distribution and promotion of their albums.
This approach will foster long-term associations that will expose artists to the business side of the industry; giving them invaluable experience and to be more in control of their income opportunities from publishing their works.
Our first albums have already hit the shelves and airwaves such as South Tribe’s “Gone Bush” and Anslom’s “Radaaz” so stay tuned as the best is still to come. Several exciting joint venture promotional concepts are in the planning stages so look out for them at a venue near you.
In short we are ‘music promoters with sound ideas’
MB: I see that JK and Anslom are at Spaida Trakz. They’re very well known in the music industry. What do they bring to Spaida Trakz?
ST: We’re actually quite fortunate to have not only JK and Anslom but also Ian and Richard who all have experience in the music industry. Ian, Richard, JK and Anslom sit together and do management reviews of the bands. They then appoint producers for each artist so there is a process of deliberation when dealing with our artists and their art. It isn’t just one person that decides on how an artist is developed. We are open as well to appointing freelance producers to work with us.
Anslom is involved in planning and designing Special Radio and TV projects including any live programmes and gigs in conjunction with Ian Boas, while Richard is the studio’s Music Artists Liaison specialist.
MB: What are your thoughts on the music industry as it is now and where do you think it can go?
ST: The music industry in PNG has gone through 20 years of ups and downs. I’d like to see us contributing to it by bringing variety and helping in creating that new PNG local sound. What’s happened so far in the industry has happened, the future is the place to be now and we would like to be able to assist in taking PNG music to a new level.
Competition with mobile phone companies and airlines are just the beginning and it is the same even in the music industry. I think it needs more options and avenues for musicians because the whole industry can only improve from that.
I think also that PNG music is under-priced at the moment. You see how much you have to pay for a CD internationally and our quality of music is the same, only that the sound and style is different. We should be matching that. In the end it’s no wonder that our artists are all still poor and have never been able to make a living out of their talents.
MB: How many releases have you done so far and who else have you got coming on your catalogue?
ST: We started our releases in late October 2008 with South Tribe’s “Gone Bush.” This was followed in mid November 2008 by Anslom’s “Radaaz” album, most of which has been sold out especially in Rabaul where it’s been selling like hot cakes!
Our next launch will be 2006 Ice Discovered Winner Flora Suve’s “Cool as Ice” album. Another offering is from Waterfall Sounds titled “Gera Verere” and are due for release in March this year.
We have another 10 albums to go in 2009 and among them will be one from Cynthia Tokiapron and another from South Tribe. In total, there are 11 albums to be released in 2009. At the moment, we aim to release one album a month.
MB: I heard that your first concert at the Junction was a blast. Can we expect to see more concerts and performances from your artists this year? If so, which ones?
ST: Yes, New Year’s concert was definitely a blast. We had to close the gates early. It was a joint effort with Nau FM and was a very ‘tight’ gig. I was quite proud of the guys and how it all came together. Patti Potts Doi mixed the sound for the Radaaz concert so it went down well.
We have several gigs in store for this year and our next one should hopefully be soon.
MB: Do you have any plans for international tours?
ST: Not as yet.
MB: How soon do you think it will be before we may possibly have a true international artist from PNG?
ST: I believe we already have a handful here and now, it’s just a matter of the right material being written. For example, I think that if Anslom’s “Fool Moon” album had been marketed properly, it could have been an international hit. Improving our film clips is another area but I don’t see it as being too far off.
MB: Andrew, JK, Richard and Tony, thank you all very much for your time and thanks also for the free albums. Will definitely have a listen.
So there you have it folks. All the basic stuff you might want to know about the Spaida Trakz mob. We look forward to their next live gig !!!