Writers’ Bloc 2006 | Bethells Beach, New Zealand

The first Writer’s Bloc song writing sessions to be held in New Zealand have proved a resounding success. Held in the first week of New Zealand’s music month May by the stunning panorama of Bethells Beach, the sessions saw 22 well known songwriters from Australia and New Zealand converge to do exactly what they do best – write songs.Over the course of the week, 32 new songs were written and recorded, spanning genres from rock to hip hop. Writers attended the sessions for two to three days across a one week period. Temporary recording studios were set-up in cottages to help facilitate the writing process. A work experience MAINZ student engineered one studio supplied by Protel and Apple and the other was helmed by award winning engineer Luke Tomes.

The sessions were put together by Mushroom Music New Zealand’s Managing Director Jackie Dennis. “We achieved what we set out to do – to inspire our writers and give them the opportunity to create new working relationships and new opportunities.”

Staying a few nights at this west coast location meant creativity flowed; the writers didn’t have to think about everyday concerns. They were turning out more than one song a day which is the minimum hoped for and laptops and microphones were pulled out to catch the spontaneity of the moment when two or more writing duos converged at the end of the day.

Michael Gudinski, head of the Mushroom Group, whole-heartedly believes in the importance of the sessions. “One of the most important things we can do for our songwriters is to give them the opportunity to express themselves creatively. These sessions do just that. They’re brilliant.”

Writer’s sentiments similarly reflect the success of the event:

“I would just have to say that weekend is in my mind all the time, the inspiration was flowing you could feel it in the air. I had such a ball. And the contacts I made were cool. I will be using some of the songs I wrote.”
Robert Scott [The Bats]

“I had three fantastic writing days with three great talents: Greg Walker, Ashley Anderson and Robert Scott. I was blown away by how relaxed everyone was and how everyone created such a supportive and nurturing environment for us all to be able to sit down and write a song (sometimes 2, 3 or 4 songs!!!) a day. And I am thrilled to say that Greg, Ashley and Robert and myself, have all exchanged contact details and are continuing our work outside of the Bloc”.
Adalita [Magic Dirt]

“I had such a monumental time at the writers bloc. It created a major shift for me, got me out of a rut and moving again. I had no idea how much I needed the experience I received at Bethels.”
Angie Hart

“I had such a great time… as a matter of fact I’ll be using “Falling Out with You” (which I wrote with Justyn Pilbrow) for my next album. I’ve also been talking to Luke about his engineering and mixing my album.”
Paul Barrett

The first Mushroom Music Writers Bloc in 1994 was also run by Dennis, so with the opening of a Mushroom office in Auckland, it was the time was right for New Zealand to host. The success of this year’s sessions has helped ensure their continued return for years to come.

Writers who attended in alphabetical order:

Ashley Anderson – Katalyst
Paul Barrett
Rueben Campbell – RuCL
John Chong Nee
Annie Crummer
Jamey Ferguson – Katchafire
Renee Geyer
Merenia Gillies
Anthony Gold
Nathan Haines
Angie Hart-Holidays on Ice and ex-Frente
Andy Kelly – Andy Clockwise
Chris Knox
Justyn Pilbrow – Elemeno P
James Reid – The Feelers
Boh Runga – Stellar
Robert Scott – The Bats
Adalita – Magic Dirt
Bill Urale – King Kapisi
Tama Waipara
Greg Walker – Machine Translations