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Rhombus - Shaping Up Some Dates

Author: 3D
Monday, 25 February 2008

Genre orgies are the name for the game for Rhombus. Mixing up a diverse palette of soul, funk, dub, hip hop and breaks, the crew has been at the forefront of the new zealand music scene since 2001. With the nine member band set to hit Australia to preview tracks of their upcoming new album, 3D World caught up with Rhombus’ Thomas Voyce to get the lowdown.
 
Word is a new album is on the way. How’s it sounding-
Sounding excellent, with the usual eclectic mix of tunes. We have the usual suspects singing, plus a bunch of special guests.    
What was your approach with the album- 
We tried a variety of different techniques on this album. We had group writing sessions with our local vocalists, used vocalists from as far a field as Jamaica and Japan, wrote tracks on cruise ships and mixed the album through outboard effects and a 32 channel desk. Our plan was to guide the process a little stronger, make decisions faster, and have fun with the tunes. We've succeeded on all of those fronts.  
Were there any particular artists who inspired the collective group in one particular musical direction- 
Speaking for myself, seeing the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra do their thing at Fuji Rock last year had a big impact on me. In fact, most of the live music I saw in Japan last year was mind-blowing. The underground music scene there is electric, seeing amazing acts all the time is humbling. I think everyone in our crew was blown away by Japan.   
You’ll be bringing a nine member band to Australia for this upcoming tour. Who exactly is in the group and what role do they play-
MC Antsman, MC Mana, Lisa Tomlins and Raashi Malik will be holding it down at the front line. Darren Matthiassen on drums, myself on keys and bass, Simon Rycroft on the dub control, and Pete Hill on the guitar. Koa and Ants will no doubt be spinning tunes to warm up the session as well. 
There seems to be an undeniable culture of unity throughout the New Zealand music scene. In Australia, this isn’t so evident. Why do you think this spirit of collectivism exists-  Hard to say. New Zealand is a small country so we see each other at gigs and festivals all the time. A lot of bands have either played together or shared members or jammed in other configurations. It's a bit like a family, and we are all proud of the sounds coming out of New Zealand. Small country, killa punch.  
Are there any local musicians you’ve sought out to contribute to the new album- 
In terms of vocals, aside from our tight 4 (Mana, Ants, Raashi and Lisa) not really. We have a solid live band, and when we require some tricky drumming or guitar playing, we'll get Darren and Pete in to lay down the law. Other than that, Simon and I play all the instruments and program the beats. Wellington is teaming with hot players, so it's never a problem to get a horn section, or a string section, but on our new album we've tightened our arrangements up, and haven't had to look much outside of the crew for musicians. Except of course for the international vocalists, and a lick of horns here and there.  
Last year the band visited Japan as part of the ‘Onwards 2007 tour’. What was the experience like- 
I always like going back there, and it was a great treat to take everyone over - some of the crew went twice. I was lucky enough to clock up four trips in 2007. Rhombus was really well received, we have a lot of support there now and we are looking forward to heading over later in the year. Japan is off the hook. Small clubs, big clubs, outdoor festivals in the mountains, arena gigs in Roppongi, great people, great food, what more can I say-  
Any plans to take the Rhombus show to Europe-  That's the plan.   Any other news you’d like to share- 
Our album is mixed and we are about to have it mastered. Any ideas for album titles just drop us a note at rhombus.co.nz or myspace/rhombusmusic 

WHO: Rhombus
WHAT: Play the Great Northern Hotel / Northcote Social Club / Gaelic Theatre
WHEN: Wednesday 27 February / Thursday 28 February / Friday 29 February 
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