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Aoteroa-based producer Ariki Perana spills the beans on his label MILKGANG and new single 'CAUSTIC'

Posted on November 19 2021

Aoteroa-based producer Ariki Perana spills the beans on his label MILKGANG and new single 'CAUSTIC'

 Words by Keane Fletcher

It's that time of the week folks: new music Fridays! And today we're sitting down with one of our brethren from across the ditch, Aoteroa-based producer Ariki Perana, who's latest single 'CAUSTIC' was inspired by something we can all relate to after these last two years: the pressures of lockdown.

The words speak to how hard it is to keep up good interpersonal relationships under covid restrictions. I know I've found myself breaking over things that were totally fine before restrictions came into play and its just damn hard...Ariki got healing to do.

The first single from his upcoming EP MILKGANG Volume 1 'CAUSTIC' is a short, sharp piece of dark electronica that sees Ariki battling with the limits of self-awareness as he sings about the pain of watching a relationship deteriorate. Just don't call it hyper pop!

I just tell people I do 'HYPERPOP' because it feels like the closest genre to what I do. Like if I want some harsh noise samples or gutturals in my synthy pop song then im suddenly allowed if its hyperpop hahaha!

Not one to rest on his laurels Ariki also talks with us about running his own label Milkgang, as well as his involvement with Poynton Studios in Auckland. I'll tell you what -- he's definitely one busy boy, with or without COVID restrictions! And I'm just happy if I put on pants today.

Check out our interview with Ariki below! And go stream 'CAUSTIC' on all good streaming platforms now! 

1- Where in the world are you based?

I’m based in Aoteroa (New Zealand) right now! 

 2- How did you get started in music?

I started off being really in to metal as a teenager and even saved up for a 7 string when I was flatting in high school! I started producing when I got my first laptop at like 14 and never looked back! I was shafted by the NZ education system (classic low socioeconomic shit) making my university options non-existent so I doubled down in music when I was 17 and never looked back!

 3- How would you describe your sound? Who are your musical influences?

I just do what ever! Honestly, I just tell people I do 'HYPERPOP' because it feels like the closest genre to what I do. Like if I want some harsh noise samples or gutturals in my synthy pop song then im suddenly allowed if its hyperpop hahaha! Dorian Electra + their crew is my VIBE right now but ngl, Taylor might steal me back after that last drop, we shall see. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for emo-indie pop type music. Anything that can make me feel like crying in a car hahaha

4- How does the songwriting process usually work for you? Do you have a routine when it comes to writing and recording or does inspiration usually take you by surprise?

It’s an impossible to describe thing! I pump out a couple songs every week but some projects are five years old, some made that day. They can be me recording my friends with my phone or taking people to my studio! Its really what ever vibes. I think that every single recording has a little bit of magic in it and I love finding it. I can use super expensive mics and crazy gear in baffled rooms but I always find myself with a handy SM58 and my laptop in the most random places! But I am one of those engineers that wind up having ~500 tracks in my sessions 🙃

 5- Can you tell us a bit about your latest single ‘CAUSTIC’? Talk us through the writing and production of it from conception to release.

The song came about when my friend Lance sent me a little guitar riff he recorded on his phone. The moment I heard it I knew it was something special. I sat on it for about a week then threw it into Ableton and aligned it to tempo, transcribed it to midi and WHAM an hour of coffee and milk fuelled flow state and I had CAUSTIC! in its current form! 

The words speak to how hard it is to keep up good interpersonal relationships under covid restrictions. I know i've found myself breaking over things that were totally fine before restrictions came into play and its just damn hard, like, i've lived on my own since I was in high school and so im crazy self sufficient but thats nothing compared to what we are all going through. I get abrasive and I regret it and I know I act weird like I don’t know people and thats on me - Ariki got healing to do.

'I’ve been caustic baby, I know I have,

Don’t want to drop it, why we do it like that?

When we cut off, and we fall out,

And we call out, like you knew me well..'

6- The single is the first track from your upcoming EP MILKGANG Vol 1. What we can expect from it? And where did you get the title from?

 What to expect from the EP? Well some MF HYPERPOP bahahaha but seriously the first track is like post rock the next one becomes grungy with post-hardcore elements and the latter tracks are more modern spicy emotional pop/EDM with trappy elements.

The EP is like a mix of local and international underground/early career musicians that I NEEDED TO WORK WITH (they’re just that good) 

The name? Milkgang is like a label I run and the EPs are going to be an ongoing thing! There’s so much talent around without the resources to get things done and Milkgang is like my attempt to give back to the communities here and help them get off the ground!

Milkgang also does classes for beginner musicians and producers to show them how to optimise income and share all the little secrets I have. The classes do cost but I’m always around if people want to message me for help! 

(Oh yea and I love milk, above all else so yeah MILKGANG BABEI)

7- Not only do you write and produce your own incredible music, you also run your own creative studio Poynton Studios in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau. How did you get involved with them? And what services do they provide? 

Yeah! I run ’Studio XYZ' at Poynton and do lots of recording, mixing and production for artists. I am also not the top dog there, but we are all super nice and easy to contact! Also we kinda do everything (kinda)! I can’t talk about the availability of everyone at Poynton but they’ve done animation, adds, music videos and even art exhibitions! If aunty Rona didn’t jack all our plans we would be doing more! For real, we started up right before the outbreak 💀💀💀

8- And finally, what's next for you? Where do you hope to see yourself in a year’s time?

In a year?  Poynton Studios to be the Tripple J of NZ, showcasing what we’ve got here, and crushing the game. I’ll have a song with 1m streams and be able to fund artists through Milkgang, I want to try make it an autonomous thing that thrives and pushes for safer and more inclusive communities. 

I’ll be on Milkgang vol 5 by then, and it’ll be super cool and maybe we will do some shows 🥳

Thanks for stopping by Hipland!