What is the best thing about making music?
Playing all your instruments, creating something out of nothing and touching peoples hearts.

What is the hardest thing about making music?
Trying to be the best musician you can be while also juggling real life stuff on the other hand

How important are public performance royalties to you and in keeping the NZ music world ticking?
Anything that can help musicians make a living has to be positive, I also think its much better to earn a living than depend on grants, you feel more empowered and part of society if you can make money from performing and recording music.

From strumming / humming / creating the first notes of a song through to a completed mastered recording, on average how long does it take you to write and record a song?
It's always different for each song but generally its better to do stuff fast and not get stuck in the perfectionist rut. We once spent a couple months on one song which was not the most productive or rewarding experience but it was fun :)

All costs considered, on average how much does it cost you to write and record a song?
Now that I've got some recording gear its pretty much free. But mixing and mastering can be expensive so make sure the music's good!

Over and above money you make from music (public performance royalties, live performance, licensing and CD / digital sales), do you have to supplement the cost of writing and recording music with money you make from other sources?
Yes, definitely as a musician you have to make some financial sacrifices that can be tough but if you are able to do some normal work and some music thats probably the best middle ground. Some amazing artists can solely depend on music to make a living but they are usually the ones that have gone a bit crazy (laughs). But if you work really hard and put in the time on your music you'll probably get to a point when you can do just that.

Why do you do what you do – why do you make music?
I make music for my friends and family and as an outlet to express all the emotions I keep bottled up inside.

What is the most helpful songwriting tip you’ve learnt?
Always write about the things you know the best in your life personally, and don't be afraid to get more abstract with your lyrics. Also try make people that hear your music feel better about themselves because if your making people feel good there gonna enjoy your music. There's a place for sad music but I really prefer upbeat music stuff that raises your spirits to a higher form of self-awareness were the abstract becomes the only thing real, matter being overcome by ideas, melodies, chords and emotions.

What are three artists / bands you are excited about at the moment?
I am super excited about Unknown Mortal Orchestra I took my family along to see them live at the Saint James and felt really inspired. I am also a huge fan of Fazerdaze - Amelia Murray's recording project she creates such beautiful melodies and she's wicked at drum programming, to me her voice sounds like angels. I am also really interested in Kane Strang a very gifted muso in Dunedin with a fondness for blue cheese and Shunkan's album "The Pink Noise" is rocktastic.

What are you working on at the moment / tell us about your latest release / project?
The Neos are just about to finish a new record called the Cream E.P inspired by our lives, hopes, dreams and failures. The record was recorded at the lab and at our house in Mt Albert. But that's kind of old news so we are going to start making a new collection of songs soon called "The Heartstrings E.P" songs about relationships - the good, the bad and the down right ugly.

Where can we access your music / links?
You can get our music and t-shirts from: https://theneokalashnikovs.bandcamp.com
Say hi to us at: https://www.facebook.com/TheNeoKalashnikovs
Check out our videos at: https://www.youtube.com/volitapearl

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