People make music for a variety of reasons, to make money (little musician’s joke there), to pick up girls or boys, because they like travelling in confined spaces in vans for extended periods of time or simply because they view life as a musician as glamorous.
Others do it simply because it’s as natural to them as breathing – it’s not just something they do, it’s a part of who they are. For these people, to do anything else but meld beats, lyrics and melodies together with their time is a foreign concept. Aaron Tokona is such a musician. In his hands a guitar talks. It’s the reason he’s been dubbed ‘‘New Zealand’s answer to Jimi Hendrix’’ in the media multiple times.
His heart and soul punch you in the face every time he opens his mouth and sings. He strives to serve the song, not himself. His solo project AHoriBuzz emerged from the same pot of phat beats that first spat out Fat Freddy’s Drop. Tokona’s first gig was busking on the streets with his dad. He recalls Christmas Eve as being the best of those gigs. Rising through with essential Kiwi group Weta, Aaron Tokona’s next project, in two-piece Cairo Knife Fight, saw him share the stage with Foo Fighters and Them Crooked Vultures, amongst others. An American tour saw them cleverly crashing the SxSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
Standing on Hollywood Boulevard he reflected on his musical dreams.
AHoriBuzz have played every big festival you can think off and Aaron Tokona has also fluttered in and out of the Fly My Pretties collective.
Named after Tokona’s cousin, Hori, a smiling, mellow, bass-playing giant, the AHoriBuzz line-up is a flowing, ever-changing funked up beast. The intention is pure – it exists simply to provide an outlet for a group of friends who love and revel in each other’s musical company. The current incarnation includes beautiful songstress Lissel Stewart, keyboardist Tim ‘Homo Eyes’ Driver, guitarist Burke Goffe and Drummer Henare Kaa – All hailing out of Christchurch.
In the studio putting together the stonking single Turnaround, Aaron Tokona threw his hands in the air. ‘‘It sounds like making love, I want it to sound like fucking,’’ he exclaimed. A bit of tinkering later and he was happy. Glitter in the Gutter sounds like fucking, too, and both tracks have received high rotation airplay on radio both at home and abroad, the track particularly finding favour with Australian radio station Triple J.
New single Sugar, produced by Riki Gooch, is an epic mixture of infectious soulful funk that sees sweet soul sister Hollie Smith and Laughton Kora added to the Hori fold. In the stunning video for Sugar, Aaron Tokona sings into a bird. “Mean”.
AHoriBuzz hasn’t facilitated a business plan. You won’t hear Aaron Tokona use the phrases ‘‘targeted demographic’’ or ‘‘marketing strategy’’. But when you go to AHoriBuzz gig you will hear Aaron Tokona’s guitar talking and when it speaks it will change your life. You will hear music that will make you dance, grin and which will transport you to a place where it’s easy to forget the rest of your shitty life.
There’s no way to put a price on that.