Raw Collective is one of New Zealand’s premier hip-hop bands, a multi-instrumental extravaganza from Wellington. Through five years of recording, gigging and touring, they’ve built a nationwide fan base. As festival favourites, they’ve played over 100 live shows,
including a five-show tour of Australia i n 2019 with Sydney record l abel “Fight Music’.
With two albums under their belts (2018’s ‘ For the Ancients’, and ‘ From Montreal to Welly’, totalling 500,000 plus streams), Raw Collective’s new album ‘ The Good Things LP’ drops in February 2021. Raw Collective have already rolled out three singles from the upcoming album – Waiting for Sunrise, Good Things, Just Desserts – each to five-star reviews and enthusiastic tributes. This is a band that’s levelling up.
Led by MC/producer Raw Deazy, ten musicians collaborate to produce the band’s diverse and multi-layered sound. Keys and strings. Horns and samples. Drums and song. It’s a stomping wrap-up of hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, blues, reggae and even some rock.
“ It’s the kind of music that shakes you down, rattles the thoughts out of your head and the aches from your bones. It’s an immersive, cathartic experience… The dancefloor’s a jam, the crowd pied-pipered in by the big brass accents and heart thumping bass”
Rosheen FitzGerald, The Hook.
Choosing to record the new album The Good Things 100% live in studio, the crew have developed their formula and writing partnerships, creating an album combining all their studio and gig experience developed over the years. The drum kit hammers in tight hip-hop grooves, with stomping horn sections riffs, layered in energetic raps and soulful vocal harmonies. This album has a wise, natural energy and writing style.
“These musicians have to be heard to be believed. Flawless arrangements and clever songwriting incorporates the personality of each band member”
★★★★★ – Corinne Rutherford
The band’s come a long way since its first performance at the Newtown Festival in 2014. Since then, they’ve become a regular fixture at festivals across NZ including Homegrown, CubaDuba, Festival of Lights, Garden’s Magic. They have shared the stage with Salmonella Dub, King Kapisi, Phoenix Foundation, Laughton Kora, and the crew have played support for international acts GZA’s NZ tour, Ghostface Killah, Tech Nine & Madchild to name a few.
Raw Collective’s 2018 album ‘For the Ancients’ quickly became an underground classic, receiving 5 star reviews and radio top tens around New Zealand, cementing the band’s smooth funk/hip-hop sound. The l ead video single ‘ Waterproof Coat’ was well received by blogs and tastemakers worldwide.
The same year also saw the release of ‘From Montreal to Welly’, their collaboration album with Montreal producer ‘ Ghostnaut”. This was another big step, released to a European and US market through California l abel ‘ Mellow Orange Music’.
‘From Montreal to Welly’ originated i n November 2017 when Ghostnaut, in New Zealand briefly and playing keys with Raw Collective at the time, mentioned the idea of crafting an album from his beats catalog. The project features international legends such as Rashaan Ahmaad, (Nujabes), Kid Abstract, Mr J. Medeiros (The Procussions) and takes on the more chilled, melodic vibe from Ghostnaut, combined with Raw Co’s harder hitting beats and riffs.
Both albums are critically acclaimed and distinguished in their own flavours.
“The rich, complex and velvety sounds combined with that slick hip-hop beat just keep coming at you. Like an epic assault on your senses in the best possible way……
For The Ancients is a straight up outstanding achievement, which I personally cannot find fault with. There are many different l ayers to this album, you may peel each complex layer back, but you will still end up with “
the hip-hop skeleton”.
★ ★★★★ – Corinne Rutherford
In all essence the band are a true collective, each member bringing his or her own influences to the project. The production is done by Raw Deazy, influenced by producers such as Apollo Brown, J Dilla, DJ Muggs and Madlib. From the Wellington Hip-hop scene, writing under ‘ Evil Mule’ he had already seen regular radio play and l ive shows, playing support for Ghostface Killah & Action Bronson and performing in projects with the likes of Tehimana Kerr from ‘ Fat Freddies Drop’. The songwriting process begins with one of his many loops and beats constantly being manufactured out of the band’s home studio – the infamous house in Vogeltown, Wellington, occupied for years by various band members, with a large studio downstairs. This is where the magic happens, albums are written, demos recorded and tours are planned.
Guitarist and singer/songwriter Pauly Lowe met Raw Deazy back in 2014 when they both worked at Midnight Espresso on Cuba Street. Pauly had come to Wellington from Napier, where he was former frontman of Blvd Nights performing alongside ‘ Op Shop’ ‘ Ddub’ and ‘Hollie Smith’. When the two met it was, sonically, two worlds combining – the sunny east coast, blues/reggae good vibes meets Wellington city’s gloomy, edgy hip-hop production.
Blain Fitzpatrick on bass guitar had previously jammed with Raw Deazy and was first to get a call up. His background was funk/rock, in bands like Funkocybin, has since toured with Joe Satriani and offered Raw Collective his monstrous basslines.
Ben Hunt, on trumpet, has played for legendary bands like Shapeshifter, Troy Kingi, and The Black Seeds, as well as touring the USA and Europe being principal trumpet of the RNZAF band and the Rodger Fox Big Band. He also originated from Blvd Nights in Napier, and was headhunted by Pauly to bring the sweet sound of trumpet for the new band’s debut show at the Newtown Festival in 2014. Ben arrived with a whole horn section, much to the band’s excitement – an unforeseen blessing as the section became a frontline signature.
The Raw Co sound was born! Their first music video ‘ Coins(memories)’ was released soon after, winning single of the year 2015 (most played) on Radioactive.fm and support from independent radio stations across the country.
Eilish Wilson is on Saxophone, coming from bands such as ‘Dr Reknaw’, brings a jazz influenced, mellow style and J ulain Kirgan on Trombone, also in bands such as Rodger Fox and Richtercity Rebels, brings the low, heavy notes. The horn trio have toured the USA and many parts of the world with Rodger Fox and the RNZAF band.
Sam Notman fronts the drums. Sam has an impressive career as a session drummer for acts such as Thomas Oliver.
Moira Jean‘s magical singing voice and writing is the icing. She fronts an epic solo career, recently signing to ‘ Sunday Sauuce’ record label (New York). Moira’s a front person in Raw Co, often receiving the loudest cheers, bringing that soul energy. With influences from Billie Eilish to Billie Holiday, she’s a vital piece to their collective sound.
Chris CK is the crew’s specialist emcee, along with Raw Deazy. Originally from New York, CK has been holding it down as Wellington’s favourite emcee for years, doing solo sets, often opening for international acts and locally with Raw Co & Richter City Rebels. “Knowing that you can keep up with two of the largest bands in the city with just a drum machine….you know you got the juice!”
Through the spaghetti of wires and synthesizers you can find Reuben Youl. He’s the man on the MPC, writing a lot of the synths and helping dig samples. With an industrial writing style and drumming background, Reuben is a co-producer and keeps the samples in time on live sets playing a cornerstone role. “Being in the crew you’re going to have a family for life, that’s just how we roll. From fundraising gigs to putting us up at your family home, we all put in a massive effort. It runs on love, for music and each other.” – Raw Deazy
Being a collective, members have come and gone, sometimes more than once. But no-one ever really l eaves, and old friends are still involved from a distance in the writing/recording process, adding parts if needed. To name a few: Ghostnaught, now in Montreal but still supplying keys via email; D J Kaptan Kirk now in Ireland; Blair Clarke on Tenor sax; Jinz Moss (UK emcee); as well as the four drummers that have taken their turn over the years.
Technically, no one is a former member – that’s the beauty of being a collective instead of a band. It’s also not uncommon to see the crew perform as a 4, 5 or 6 piece, either, depending on the concert, often with the help of the 11th man and touring partner D J Pleez.
Raw Co are heading into their fifth summer, intent on spreading their sound and expanding their fanbase. They’ve been building slowly, alongside personal careers, children and life in general. The project is a labour of love. The crew are in it for the long haul. “The groundwork has been done, now it’s time to get playing, release more music and get back on the road,” says Raw.
Their sights are set overseas with many contacts in Europe and Canada/US, already lining up future releases with label ‘ Aviary Bridge’ (Netherlands) and an invite to Montreal Jazz festival, plus a second Australian tour on the cards.
Pauly Lowe (guitar, vocals)
Moira Jean (vocals)
Blain Fitzpatrick (bass)
Sam Notman (drums)
Raw Deezy (emcee, producer)
Chris CK (emcee)
Reuben Youl (samples)
Ben Hunt (trumpet)
Eilish Wilson (saxophone)
Julian Kirgan (trombone)
09/10/2014 Raw Collective – Wise Horizons EP
25/05/2018 Raw Collective – For The Ancients
18/09/2018 Ghostnaut & Raw Collective – From Montréal to Welly
24/10/2014 Raw Collective – Coins (Memories)
18/10/2015 Raw Collective – From these seeds
21/07/2016 Raw Collective – Don’t Leave Your Luck
07/04/2017 Raw Collective – Smash the Grips
18/04/2018 R aw Collective – Waterproof Coat
22/05/2018 Raw Collective – Pictures
18/09/2018 Ghostnaut & Raw Collective – Tribes
26/05/2020 Raw Collective – Just Desserts (feat. Simloco)
14/08/2020 Raw Collective – Waiting for Sunrise
19/10/2020 Raw Collective – Good Things (All We Need) [feat. Simloco]
01/06/2016 Ghostnaut – Spoken Words (Feat Raw Collective, Raashan Ahmad)
18/04/2017 Ghostnaut feat. Raw Collective and Substantial – Masters Combinations
01/06/2017 Ghostnaut & Dualib – Let Me Go feat Ben Beal, Raw Collective
02/06/2017 Ghostnaut & Dualib – Sleeping Giants feat Raw Collective
02/06/2017 hostnaut & Dualib – Don’t Give Up feat Coin Banks, Raw Collective
01/12/2017 Richter City Rebels – B.M.C. feat. Raw Collective & Lil’ Glenn
13/09/2019 Ghostnaut – Break Away (feat. Raw Collective)
02/09/2020 Ghostnaut x Mr. J. Medeiros – Anchors (Feat. Raw Collective & Blazino)