From down under in Australia and New Zealand to the lively streets of Berlin, TIAHI keeps creating music with a decidedly sunny vibe. We sat down with him to talk about his latest EP ‘Sing Some More’ and the eponymous title track, a true anthem to positivity, written during times of pandemic and lockdowns. Pack your best vibes and join us on this wanderlust journey!
The Partae: We’re excited to have you TIAHI – you’ve lived in both Australia and New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain and now you’re based in Berlin – is this going to be your final destination?
TIAHI: [Laughs] Probably not, but I very much appreciate Berlin for what it is, the opportunities, the people from all around the world, and the entrepreneurial spirit. A lot of things come together making Berlin as attractive as it is, even without beaches or warm weather year round.
The Partae: Your music does not immediately remind us of Berlin or Germany indeed. We hear a lot of positive, summery vibes in your tracks, what is the inspiration behind your music?
TIAHI: Winter has never been for me to be honest. I always felt the urge to explore the world and stay close to the sea, so I ended up spending quite some time in San Sebastian and in Spain in general growing up and when I finished high school I had decided I needed to see what’s out there behind the horizon. One of my uncles is from New Zealand, so as soon as I got the chance to go on a big trip that’s where I went. Then I basically kept traveling and living abroad for the next 5 years, chasing the sun and soaking up energy in a lot of countries, never straying too far from the equator.
The Partae: Let’s talk about your new EP ‘Sing Some More’. Can you describe the sound and vibe of the EP in a few words, the underlying emotions you want to transmit to your listeners?
TIAHI: The vibe of the EP is of course positive [Laughs]. No, in all seriousness – the songs are all about staying positive or appreciating the good things we got in life, and that’s exactly what I wanted to transmit with the songs. I felt they were calling for a lighthearted, organic production and sound that was capable of conveying that type of warm and positive energy.
The Partae: Could you give us a glimpse into your creative process? Did the pandemic impact your songwriting process for this EP?
TIAHI: For sure. I had started writing 3 of the 4 tracks that made it onto the EP during the final months of the pandemic or shortly after. The lockdowns had taken its toll on me like on everyone else, and with all my shows being canceled I fell into a bit of a hole and music and writing helped me stay positive. I wanted to create something uplifting but also meaningful that would age well, like my first track “Free”, which I have been told really grew on people during the pandemic. “Rough Day” and “Sing Some More” are down the same alley, telling every-day stories with a bit of magic injected. “Shooting Star” on the contrary is a classic result of spontaneous co-creation. We were at hanging out at our usual summer spot one evening, my buddy Gerald played something on the guitar and I started singing while looking at the stars and realizing how quickly this moment or moments like this could be over. “Hennessy” is a song about the people and the memories that got us onto our way and to where we are now, which I wrote after a trip visiting family and friends in late 2021. It was after the pandemic though, in 2022, that I finished writing the songs and finally got to producing the EP.
The Partae: Can you highlight any specific musical influences that played a significant role in shaping the EP’s sound?
TIAHI: I listen to a lot of uplifting music across genres, funk, reggae, hip hop and pop, some electronic music too. If I had to name a few I would definitely put some older artists like Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz on the list, but also up and coming acts like Bobby Alu and Goldkimono. I also love what Tai Verdes is doing, blending acoustic instruments and samples in such a smooth way. Besides the musical influences I feel Berlin and the pandemic also shaped the sound of the EP to a certain extent. Compared to my previous releases, “Sing Some More” sounds a bit less beachy and a bit more urban I would say.
The Partae: The title track, “Sing Some More,” seems to be a central focus of the EP. What’s the story behind it? We took a look at the video and it looks as if it is based on a true story?
TIAHI: Yeah, it is [laughs]. In a nutshell I was having a not so good day and decided to jam at my place, nothing crazy. One of my upstairs neighbors didn’t like it and came down all the way from the 4th to the first floor to complain. Being the Berliner he is (known for their directness, some call them rude) he didn’t waste any time with pleasantries but started shouting at me the moment I opened the door. I tend to be a pretty composed person, but having had a rough couple of days myself, I responded in equal measure. No resolution was found and we left on bad terms. When emotions had cooled down a few hours later I tried to understand his perspective and went up to the 4th floor to sort things out. This time we had a much better conversation and agreed we had both overreacted and shook hands. Thankfully we’re on very good terms now and he loves the song and that he contributed to its creation in this rather original way [laughs].
The Partae: Tell us about the production process of this EP. Earlier you mentioned that you produced the EP yourself. Did your band play any role in it?
TIAHI: Yes, that’s right, I played all instruments on the record myself, except drums. I was fortunate to record with my friends at Riverside Studios and Condor Studios in Berlin. My drummer Daniel introduced me to the sound engineer of the Colombian funk band El Caribefunk, who did a good part of the mixing and a few other friends helped me out at various stages during the production process – shoutout to my man Juan. I learned a lot and am happy I decided to produce the EP myself, for future productions I am looking forward to working with other producers though, freeing up more of my time to play live.
The Partae: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the coming year in terms of your music career? Any exciting projects or collaborations in the pipeline?
TIAHI: I am currently finishing writing the tracks of the follow-up EP and looking for the right producer for the final touches. Besides that I will spend the winter in Tenerife and got a few projects lined up there which I can’t wait for.
The Partae: How do you see your music evolving in the future, and are there any genres or styles you’d like to explore further?
TIAHI: Playing live and working in the studio are my two primary points of influence and what I love most, besides listening to a lot of music. Playing with my band will definitely continue to have an influence on my musical journey, but also more studio-oriented collaborations. Regarding the upcoming EP nothing is set in stone yet, but it will be a bit funkier, a bit more danceable than “Sing Some More”.
The Partae: Are there any dates that your fans should mark in red on their calendar? Like releases, concerts or gigs?
TIAHI: Right now the focus is the production of the new EP for 2024. We got a studio live session planned for the coming weeks though, to get some live footage of the current EP. Other than that we’ll use the winter to get our show ready for the coming summer and festival season.