By TIFFANY MORGAN and HAYLEY SMITH
We Mouve is a collective for the like-minded and creative. Started by friends Jono and Thomas, after feeling like there was a gap in the New Zealand market, a platform missing for these young artists. They created a brand and transcended this small Auckland-based movement on to a world stage.
We caught up with Jono Fektious and talked about what this movement means, the impact it’s had, and the opportunities they are creating. We also wanted to know what it’s like being a part of a huge festival such as Rhythm and Vines and what we can be excited about in 2017.
How and why did Mouve start?
Thomas and I both had similar passions. I guess at the time there were a lot of older DJs and guys playing out; we didn’t really have an outlet for what we wanted to do and so we came together and started running club nights in town. We went from clubs in town to [thinking], “Why not create a brand that means something and that includes everyone else?”
Originally, the idea was to create a record label and a platform for new age artists in New Zealand: DJs, producers… and through events we started and now our merch. We wanted to express ourselves, so we created this collective of people, like-minded individuals who were passionate about what they do and together… we would move, as opposed to one person moving on their own. I guess with that in mind, we can move further with 10 people than you would on your own, as one.
Do you find it more difficult coming from New Zealand and starting out in such a small country?
I guess in Auckland, there’s so much stuff going on there is difficulty in bringing acts across. Obviously we do shows as well, but I guess growing up at such a young age we are very social in this era. It was almost natural in a way to just bring people along, getting them to the parties, creating this experience for them, and being able to express ourselves by means of music.
How do you take We Mouve from an idea and turn it into this movement?
We got to the point where we were like, “OK we have something really good going on, let’s try projecting that further and creating a brand out of it,” because New Zealand needed it.
What does playing at RnV mean for We Mouve?
We were down here last year, that was massive for us. I think that for us to make an impression throughout the entire nation, as opposed to just Auckland, it’s very important for us to have a presence at a festival. We’re very appreciative of that and we know that it’s huge for us and the brand.
We thank the festival for having us here; it means a lot and I think it allows for the people that we constantly work with throughout the year to come down and express themselves to people from all around NZ. That’s important for us, the people we work with and for the brand itself.
How do you choose a line up for a festival of this extent versus smaller Auckland shows?
Music is forever evolving and you know it’s constantly changing. We try think who’s going to be big in a year’s time. We had Slumber Jack across; we were the first to tour them in New Zealand. When we first heard them we were like, “OMG these guys!” Their sound was so different and unique, it’s all about unique style and sound and how well they’ll do in our market, and we’ve got to be specific to that as well.
Slumber Jack are now playing all around the world. When you can pick up on an artist and where they’re going in a year and a half, you can find that trend and where it’s going to go. It’s an ear for music and again it comes back down to passion.
What makes a successful night?
It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with. You can be anywhere in the world, but it’s about people, friends and relationships. I hope one day that two people who meet at one of our shows will go get married, that connection is what We Mouve is about. We’re able to continue to create that experience where people can come in and be themselves, not have to be pretentious, and not have to worry about what they’re wearing. That’s in the vibe of the events we do and the music.
Is it hard to balance promoting and producing?
It’s very difficult for me; I’ve got 2 or 3 weeks where I’m going away up north to finish off some stuff, I’ve got a new project that I’m working on… That, I feel, is an expression with music. Balancing it is hard, running shows, doing logistical things, [and] I consider myself a perfectionist.
You’ve got to actually spend so much time on music. I will be sitting there on the sound, I could sit there all night for six hours and not move because I want to get it right. I think that it’s important that you don’t rush yourself too quickly, you’ve got to do it slowly and right. I guess that balance at the moment is very hard for me, but I will get there.
How does it feel to have so many people wearing your merch?
Australia is buying them now we’re shipping them over, it’s crazy. On the logo, the reason why the Eye is half open is because in 10 years time we want to fully open it and re-brand to the point where we’ve reached the goal we set 10 years before. Now we’ve got to where we are and that’s a continuing goal, and with that We Mouve isn’t just a brand of music, it’s the act of inspiration.
If we can inspire something in people’s lives or in their jobs, if they’re a painter, if they’re a plumber, if they see what we are doing, what we’re passionate about, what we love. Why can’t they do that and translate it into their lives? That’s what we hold within the brand. People appreciate it and like it, that’s why there’s a U in the middle of [the name]: We and U together. We Mouve it makes you feel a part of it; everyone wants to feel a part of something. We want to bring the world together.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into music or promoting?
Coming from both sides, when we did it, we did it because we had no outlet. We wanted to create; humans create. If you are a producer, create your own sounds. Be as unique as possible, your sound is who you are. You hear a deamau5 track and he’s deadmau5… like Quix from New Zealand he’s created his own sound and that’s what has projected him further as an artist.
I think that it’s important [that] you keep to who you truly are. Through production, you have a better chance of actually making it than saturating yourself and making stuff that’s being made by everyone in the market.
As a promoter, if you want to get into events, if you can create an experience that people not only enjoy, but want to be a part of and it means something to them. I think that’s the job done there.
How is 2017 looking? Do we have anything to be excited about?
We’re looking into a festival project, but I think the big one for us is creating our record label. [It’s] a platform for New Zealand and the producers we have here to catapult them to the world and the world’s stage, because we don’t have that channel. Australia has it going pretty well and I think that there’s a huge gap for us here in New Zealand. We’ve got so many amazing artists sitting in their bedrooms, who have nowhere to go, and we want to help them because it’s important that we focus on them. They are the future in music, we want to create that window for them.
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