a chat with: MELODOWNZ

MELODOWNZ (Bronson Price) is a rap artist from Avondale and one of the most respected hip hop artists in Aotearoa. A mixture of hip hop and RnB fused with jazz, reggae and a range of other genres is found throughout his music, reflecting his diverse roots and experiences. His 2017 album Avontales took the New Zealand hip hop scene by storm, and he’s since released two more widely acclaimed albums. He’s also worked with international acts like Denzel Curry and featured on the youtube channel COLORS,racking up over a million views. We spoke to MELO about his creative process, New Zealand’s growing hip hop scene and what he’s got lined up next.

Hey bro! How are you doing?

Good my bro. 

Why did you start making music? Was there a particular moment of inspiration?

I started making music back when I was like 15 or 16, at the time I did it coz i really enjoyed writing raps and I could spend hours writing. Now there’s a bigger purpose but it’s still the same energy!

When are you at your most creative? How do you get into the zone?

Probably when I have a narrative I wanna express, or if the instrumentation or beat hits me. Sometimes when I’m down it’s a good way to get something off my chest. Or when I’m inspired by someone or something that happened in my day.

You’ve worked with some huge names over the past few years, including Denzel Curry. Does it ever get intimidating?

Hmmmm at first it kinda was meeting big names and people who have worked on big projects and are part of hip hop history and the legacy they have. But then I’m like nah fuck it I’m the shit too reason why I’m in the same room as these people. Sometimes can get imposter syndrome but when you look back at the work you’ve put in to get to that moment. That shit disappears.

You’ve also been recognised by many big acts (such as T-Pain who watched the video for Infinite on livestream and tweeted it out the other day). Starting out, did you ever expect to get to where you are now?

Yeah that was crazy! And weird haha out of all people. And nah man tbh I never had any expectations I just wanted to do this as a job and see how far I get. I’m still going so that’s gotta count for something.

You’ve had Joseph Parker, John Campbell and Benee amongst others on your show, Kava Corner – who would be your dream guest to drink Kava with?

Hmmm when all this covid gets normalised and we can start living proper, I’d love to chop it up with Izzy (Stylebender) I know bros got gems on gems, also Taika Waititi would be cool.

Not every rapper has their own hot sauce – what inspired you to make one?

It was the hot ones episodes / interviews on YouTube. And also Nipsey hussle RIP and Gary V, I was watching heaps of their interviews and YouTube videos on enterprising and making something outta nothing from just an idea. A few people laughed when I told them I’m gonna make my own hot sauce. They weren’t laughing when they were holding the bottle dipping their chicken in it tho 😂😂

New Zealand’s hip hop scene has blown up over the past couple years – what do you think is driving this growth?

To be honest I reckon it could be bigger. I’m proud of NZ hiphop but if you compare our plays and numbers to the Aus scene I feel we could do things on a bigger scale. Maybe it’s our small population? And this tall poppy bs. I’m not sure but we have the talent and resources for sure. I feel the sense of community is healthy in the hiphop scene here and that’s what will push it to the next level. We’re still yet to see someone do big things like how scribe did. Maybe I will. Maybe someone’s gonna pop real soon. All in good time.

Fellow NZ hip hop duo Church & AP developed their chops at a community group where you once mentored. Can you tell us about how you’re giving back to future generations of musicians?

Ahhh yeah bro, we used to run this programme at Wesley community centre in Mount Roskill for young people from like 13 to around 20. At the time church and AP were still attending mags. They would come and record their own stuff and eventually teamed up as a duo and started making moves. I’m blessed to able to have started a space along side Te Karanga Trust where people can come and get inspired, meet new people and thrive. I feel that’s the greatest thing we can do as artists, is either inspire or give back to the community.

Earlier this year, you dropped Pai, a Te Reo version of Fine – do you have any other plans for bringing Te Reo into your work?

Yeah bro I do still have a long way to go though. But it’s def in my future plans.

We haven’t had an album from you for a couple of years – is another one on the way?

LONE WOLF out 2022 🐺

Last question, what's your favourite THATS A FKN WRAP moment?

Bro there’s too many g! Probably shooting Infinite. Legit just had a camera, ideas and gas money lol. That shits legendary bro. That roof top spot was the one. And i think we were the first to use it before it came on heaps of people’s videos haha. Another one would prob be when I was younger, did over a liquor store and got chased for ages lol. Lucky I was fast enough back then, I got away but dam that was almost a wrap. 

Haha word, that shits crazy how we pulled that video off. 
Thanks for having a chat bro! We look forward to seeing what’s next!


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