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Tikki Tane - Confessions Of A Liberated Mind

Author: Nina Bertok
Monday, April 6, 2009

3D’s Nina Bertok talks Past, Present And Future with ex-Salmonella Dub frontman Tiki Taan, the New Zealander who’s bearing his soul on his new album, as well as cleansing it.

So much more than just his debut solo album, ex-Salmonella Dub frontman Tiki Taane calls Past, Present, Future the most therapeutic exercise he has ever undertaken. After spending 11 years with New Zealand’s biggest dub-reggae outfit, in 2006 the vocalist called it quits and set out to drown his demons in the form of a very personal solo project.

“It came out in New Zealand in 2007 but it’s only just now coming out in Australia because for a long time I didn’t think it would do any good. I didn’t think it was going to do what it ended up doing, all of a sudden the album’s gone double platinum with a hit single in New Zealand, so I said, ‘fuck it, let’s try Australia.’”

While Taane describes Past, Present, Future as a purging of the soul, he also refers to the album as a generational document. “My dad and my grandmother appear on it and that’s where the title comes from, the three generations,” he explains. “The album becomes a document that stays in the family long after I’m gone for my grandkids to listen to, so it’s symbolic that way.”

Taane also refers to the album as a sort of “graduation”, a completion of his musical apprenticeship since first being handed an acoustic guitar by none other than his own father. “I’ve been involved in music since I was 15 and I’m 32 now,” he reflects. “I feel like it’s my graduation after years of being with Salmonella Dub and Shapeshifter and Concord Dawn and participating in others’ albums. It’s like all of that was my apprenticeship and now my solo album is like a graduation, wrapping up everything I’ve learned along the way, be it music, production or the business side of things. You know, with my dad being on this album, it goes back to when I was young. If it wasn’t for him saying, ‘look, you’re really good at this’, I wouldn’t have put all my energy into playing music, I would have been in gangs and stealing and mucking around.”

While the music-saved-my-life phrase has come to sound almost cliché, in Taane’s instance it becomes quite literal. “That’s what it’s all about. I needed to get things off my chest. I’ve been making music for everyone else for so long now and this album says everything I’ve wanted to say but couldn’t with Salmonella Dub. I’ve had a lot of stuff inside of me to get out. The album talks about the struggle with drugs and alcohol and being in gangs and so it’s extremely personal. As deep as it sounds, it can be very healing talking about this stuff because after so long you’re coming clean and speaking the truth.”

Taane says officially leaving Salmonella Dub on 1 January, 2007 was the hardest decision he’s ever had to make, but also the one that made the most sense.
“It was liberating but there was also a lot of questioning and self-doubt at first,” he remembers. “It was very intense but it was the correct decision to make.”

WHO: Tiki Taane
WHAT: Past, Present, Future through Beat Broker / Plays The Gaelic
WHEN: Out now / Friday 8 May