Ladi6 is hungry to go crazy wild in Wairarapa all over again, she says.
Ladi, aka Karoline Tamati, has captured critical acclaim and multiple awards during her recording and stage career to date and is playing King Street Live next month as part of a national winter tour, alongside acclaimed Auckland hip-hop collective @Peace.
The 30-year-old hip-hop neo soul diva, of Samoan descent, said her debut performance at a forest gig "in the middle of a Wairarapa nowhere" several years ago is still fresh in her memory.
She and her musician partner Parks, aka Brent Park, had trekked over the hill together to play a two-day South Wairarapa festival concert.
"I don't even remember how we got the forest gig - it was so bizarre - and the impression that was left on me was that Wairarapa was a place of crazy parties in the wild," Ladi said.
"We didn't realise how secluded the area was. We thought there were going to be supermarkets and stuff, but we went out there and starved," she said.
"We were there for two days and were put up in this accommodation out in the middle of nowhere, and no one else was staying there. We were the only ones.
"There was a kitchen but nobody had told us to bring food. We ended up begging Bryce [Mason] from Sandwiches for a ride back in to Wellington because we really needed to eat."
She and Parks had performed between two folk bands, she said, and a generator had blown on the second day of the festival.
"It was incredible. I remember not really knowing who was running the show, but everyone was really crazy high and had been high since before the festival started. I have never been to a gig like it.
"It was real eclectic as well. Before us was a folk band, then we jumped up with this big hip hop thing, and then another folk band played after us. It was my crazy first experience of the Wairarapa."
Since playing the gig as a "mostly acoustic guitar" two-piece, she said, the Ladi6 live act alongside Parks has evolved into a four-piece band also featuring Julien Dyne and Brandon Haru.
The 11-date nationwide tour over coming weeks comes ahead of a series of dates in Germany in September and will take her back to hometown Christchurch for her first concert in the southern city for several years.
The couple have been living just outside Auckland for about 18 months, she said, since returning from from a two-year sojourn in Berlin.
In Germany, Ladi worked with Parks on her second album, The Liberation Of ... that dropped in 2010, two years after the release of her debut album, Time is not Much.
The two albums brought her a clutch of awards, including in 2010 the Taite Music Prize and awards for Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban/Hip Hop Album.
The upcoming and as-yet-untitled third album was recorded between Studio A in Detroit under producer Waajeed, of Platinum Pied Pipers, and at Revolver Studios in Waiuku.
The first single, Ikarus, which was produced by Parks, has been described as "a beautiful amalgamation of soul and futuristic hip-hop complemented by Ladi6's hypnotic vocals".
The album is set to drop in August, Ladi says, and some of the new tracks may find their way on to the upcoming tour set list.
"We could delve into the new songs live and work out some kinks on the road. There are loads we've never played live before, so it's a prime opportunity to flex the new songs a little bit and revisit some tunes from the first two albums as well."
Ladi says she is excited also to be touring with Auckland unit @Peace, which features Tom Scott, Lui Tuiasau, Christoph "El Truento" James, Hayden "Dastardly" Dick and Brandon Haru.
Scott, speaking from his new home in Melbourne, said the hip hop collective had "accidentally" come together in Auckland.
On Valentine's Day, @Peace released their second EP, Girl Songs, which had been described as "a mixing pot of summery soul, funk, ghostly R&B; and chilled rhymes" and are set to soon drop a debut album.
Scott, a jazz muso's son, says @Peace gives him space as a lyricist to explore his more contemplative and reflective side.
Ladi described the @Peace collective as "incredible young fellas making some beautiful music".
"I feel proud to have them along for this trip and I'm so stoked to be playing the new venue in Masterton. Wazza [Warren Maxwell] is a really good friend of mine. I feel like I grew up with him, you know, he's uncle Warren.
``I can't wait to get into Masterton, look around and enjoy the hospitality. I've got some good friends down there as well and after that first gig, it's probably about time to get some more crazy going on.''
Ladi6 and @Peace play King Street Live on July 4. Tickets cost $35 each and are available through Ticketmaster or via kingstreetlive.co.nz.
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