NZ duo Chores have recently released their debut EP, Working From Home amid a festival run including an appearance at New Year hotspot Rhythm & Vines. They are usually based in Melbourne but have been back in Aotearoa over Summer pumping out their catchy tunes. I caught up with one-half of the talented duo, Thom Simmons, to chat getting creative during lockdown and performing during these times.

Thom arrived in the country in late 2020 (with the other half of the duo Sam following the next month) after spending time in lockdown in Melbourne creating new music which he said was an interesting time “as there was nothing else on the plate to worry about, it was our primary focus for the first time ever without doing shows or being on the road.”

The electronic duo were able to collaborate during the Melbourne covid-restrictions because they both lived within the five-kilometre bubble, meaning they had the opportunity to physically create together, but not with anyone else. They were able to set up a home studio and work from that but the normal process which included going into a big scale production studio to finish the tracks was off-limits this time. Thom and Sam were able to make it work (even with the extensive back and forth!) and with the technology, “it wasn’t as bad as it could be” Thom said.

Thom shared his favourite part about collaborating with other musicians and creatives is getting to be in a studio together as it gives off a “certain feel and vibe” which due to the current climate was lacking a bit during the 2020 sessions. He said “it’s crazy you can do this now”, referring to creating music from a distance – which was the back and forth process that they had with each of their vocalists. Even with the creative hold-ups, Chores were able to pump out great tunes in the end. Thom also mentioned they’d love to collaborate with some fellow kiwis artists next, including Matthew Young and MAALA, and with LA Woman as they had just worked on a remix with their lead singer.

Like many creatives, inspiration can come from a variety of places. In particular, for Chores, they are constantly listening to different artists. Hayden James, Flight Facilities and Rufus du Sol are a few of the artists they have been listening to and Thom mentioned that they often will “flick tracks like that across to each other” for the creative elements. Thom also told us that he prefers creating in home studios as there is sometimes an added pressure with a big studio, “when you’re at home you can really be at ease and relax, if it’s not vibing you’re not stressed as you can come back to it. If you’re having a good day you can really get through some stuff.”

After an unpredictable past twelve months with intense lockdowns, Chores have been able to perform on the line-up of Rhythm and Vines, Deep, Hard & Funky and Britomart Block Party with a slot on the upcoming Our: House’s Fields: Festival at Ellerslie Racecourse later this month – so you could say the summer during a pandemic hasn’t been too bad! They’ve gone back to their DJ roots and are enjoying doing what their passion was in the first place (DJ-ing) with their Eastern Bloc remix featuring Ash from Foley as a favourite, one that has been going off at shows.

Thom shared that they are looking at touring the EP in June across the country so make sure you watch out for future announcements as you’ll want to get amongst that and see the new Chores music in action. For now you can add their record Working From Home and their new MTRSS remix of Cali High to your playlists.

From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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