Tag Archives: Richard Ley-Hamilton

‘A Hard Day’s Night’ at Taste Merchants, 28 June

 

In 1964, The Beatles unbelievably performed in Dunedin’s Town Hall. Fifty years on, Taste Merchants (Lower Stuart Street) saluted the Fab Four with a Beatles extravaganza. Over three nights, local musicians performed a selection of Beatles classics. So stoked that last night’s performances included ‘A Day in the Life’, the best ever Beatles song in our opinion. Other highlights included ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Drive My Car’. It was a fabulously fun night – it just goes to show that all you need is love!

Poster of the Fab Four

Poster of the Fab Four

Taste Merchants

Taste Merchants

Paul McMillan and Richard Ley-Hamilton

Paul McMillan and Richard Ley-Hamilton

Jon and Clare

Jon and Clare

Kane Strang

Kane Strang

Hannah and Nyssa

Hannah and Nyssa

From left: Adrian Ng, Paul McMillan, Kane Strang, Richard Ley-Hamilton.

From left: Adrian Ng, Paul McMillan, Kane Strang, Richard Ley-Hamilton.

Sarah (right) & friend

Sarah (right) & friend

Larissa

Larissa

Richard Ley-Hamilton

Richard Ley-Hamilton

 

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Richard Ley-Hamilton: Dunedin’s Number 1 Male

Our city has raised a stack of great musicians over the years. Dunedin-born Richard Ley-Hamilton, lead guitarist and singer-songwriter of ‘Males’, is a fine example of the continuation of this tradition. We were so excited to interview him in one of our favourite cafes, Circadian Rhythm.

We asked Richard how Dunedin has shaped his musical career. While growing up, he listened to a lot of hard rock (“I got to a point where my voice was getting quite ruined”) but a defining moment was being pushed to join the Otago Boys’ High School choir, encouraged by his singing teacher, Pat Richardson. Richard has an incredible vocal range as well as the ability to sing falsetto (particularly noticeable on songs ‘Weakness’ and ‘So High’) which he uses because “…melodies come through stronger and that way I’m not pushing my voice as much.” He’s also been playing the guitar for about 11 years.

While at Otago Boys’, he met Sam Valentine (Males bass player) and Adrian Ng (Trick Mammoth) and formed the band Mr. Biscuits. With the addition of his sister Sarah on vocals, they won OUSA Battle of the Bands in 2010. “…we managed to get that in our first year which was amazing – never really won an award before…we were one of the weirdest bands of the night”.

You can buy Males' vinyl (‘Run Run Run/Males Males Males’) directly from the man himself at Portil.

You can buy Males’ vinyl (‘Run Run Run/Males Males Males’) directly from the man himself at Portil.

He then went on to form Males in 2012 with Sam Valentine and drummer Ben Madden. Richard describes the Males sound as “…elements of 60s influence which is like garage rock and psychedelic rock as well, mainly I would call it alternative power pop.” His determination to make their sound unique and “break the mould” came from comments he received from Rockquest experiences.

Males at Sammy's, supporting act for The Veils, 19 July 2013. From left: Richard Ley-Hamilton, Ben Madden, Sam Valentine.

Males at Sammy’s, supporting act for The Veils, 19 July 2013. From left: Richard Ley-Hamilton, Ben Madden, Sam Valentine.

Given Dunedin’s strong musical heritage, it was not surprising to hear that the Males sound is greatly influenced by local band The Tweeks. “…one of the best pop bands that have come from this town I reckon…” Richard’s singing is also influenced by Radiohead and his guitar playing by the “rhythmic and different strumming patterns” of Sonic Youth.

Males at Sammy's, supporting act for The Veils, 19 July 2013.

Males at Sammy’s, supporting act for The Veils, 19 July 2013.

While many are drawn in by Richard’s ironic and sometimes melancholic lyrics, his song writing process is more about the chord progression. Richard sheds light on what appears to be a very complex process:

I just sit down and write a chord progression that I think sounds good in itself…so it’s all about building up a song that is stable in every single stage…then I can move on to overlaying the vocal melody which makes it more stable and ties it together…. then once you’ve got the melody in there I interweave the lyrics that fit the syllabic beat and tone of what I want to say.”

Richard even plays a few tunes for charity (Queens' gig for Dunedin Cat Rescue).

Richard even plays a few tunes for charity (Queens’ gig for Dunedin Cat Rescue).

Talking about lyrics, if you want to sing along to ‘So High’, we were surprised to hear that the chorus goes “I’ve been getting academic ulcers. You and all your friends are getting so high.” The song is “about the work and play balance, which is pretty much the most universal-like student idea you can think about”.

The Males sound is clearly a winner as the sales of their back-to-back EPs, ‘Run Run Run/Males Males Males’, are doing well. They have a new single, ‘Go’, coming out this month. “It’s probably the most excited I’ve been about a single the whole time I’ve been doing music, so yeah, pretty keen to have it out..” We can all look forward to hearing more of an experimental and psychedelic approach with a “massive jam at the end” – can’t wait!

And for the future? The first Males full album is planned for release in about a year’s time. “…there’s about 25-30 songs that have been written that we kind of need to cull down to the best ones”. A tour is likely to follow the album’s release – “Australia is definitely a must and we also want to go to the States” where the band has requests to perform in the New York area.

Richard at Circadian Rhythm Cafe.

Richard at Circadian Rhythm Cafe.

Males are performing at ReFuel this Saturday (8 March). If you’re a fan, it’ll be your last chance to see them for a few months.

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Just The Boys

It’s time to reflect on the year that’s just ending. Let’s start with some of the multi-talented guys we’ve enjoyed featuring this year. In alphabetical order …

Finn Andrews

The captivating frontman of The Veils dazzled us with his musicianship when the band played at Sammy’s in July. The Veils are currently back in New Zealand and will be performing locally at Rhythm and Alps at Cardrona near Wanaka (New Year’s Eve).

Finn Andrews at Sammy's (19 July 2013)

Finn Andrews at Sammy’s (19 July 2013)

Nathan Berg

This American musical prodigy changed direction to become an economics/mathematical hotshot and now works at the University of Otago. But he still finds time to wow audiences with his bass playing at Circadian Rhythm Cafe Friday night jazz sessions as part of the trio Philtre.

Nathan Berg, a beautiful mind

Nathan Berg, a beautiful mind

Wesley Fourie

South African-born Wesley, model and blogger, has raised the bar of Dunedin man-style, favouring local labels such as NOM*d and Company of Strangers. Check out some of his looks here.

Wesley Fourie on Edinburgh Way

Wesley Fourie on Edinburgh Way

Alan Haig

This locally born music legend has brought Dunedin’s beautiful scenery to our attention through his photography. Greetings cards featuring Alan’s photos can be purchased from Digiart and Design (Port Chalmers) and Portobello Gallery which also sells his prints. This week, the Sunday Star Times rated the re-released 1988 Snapper EP (Flying Nun label), in which Alan plays drums, as a musical “standout” of 2013.

Alan Haig

Alan Haig

Frits Homburg

Where would the Dunedin cultural scene be without Frits and his exuberant partner in crime, Debbie? Their stylish cafe, Purple Rain, is the perfect venue for musical extravanganzas and retro parties. Frits’ extensive knowledge of vintage clothing and collectibles comes in handy at Dunedin’s Vintage Roundups.

Frits at The Vintage Roundup, Princes Street (7 September 2013)

Frits at The Vintage Roundup, Princes Street (7 September 2013)

Richard Ley-Hamilton

Local musician Richard shows that Dunedin musical talent is alive and kicking. He is the lead singer of Males who have recently released the album ‘Run Run Run/Males Males Males’. They opened for The Veils in July and will be supporting Die! Die! Die! at Chicks Hotel on New Year’s Eve.

Richard Ley-Hamilton at Sammy's (19 July 2013)

Richard Ley-Hamilton at Sammy’s (19 July 2013)

Sam Ralph

Flamboyant Otago Polytechnic Fashion graduate, Sam, is alas no longer in Dunedin, having chosen to pursue his dream of becoming a designer across the Tasman. His acclaimed capsule collection of menswear was much admired at iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2013.

Sam Ralph with his own sock designs in Barkers, Dunedin (March 2013)

Sam Ralph with his own sock designs in Barkers, Dunedin (March 2013)

Jon Thom

Central Otago-raised artist Jon (of Dunedin’s Moodie Tuesday) designs some of the best t-shirts in New Zealand. You can find them on celebrities including Colin Mathura-Jeffree and X Factor’s Tom Batchelor. His original artworks are highly sought after. Jon was one of the artists featured in the ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor’ exhibition held in Wanaka in November.

Jon Thom in his studio (July 2013)

Jon Thom in his studio (July 2013)

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