The Springboard award for contemporary music or performance, funded by The Leighs Family.
WhyFi. is the sonic moniker of Larsen Winiata Tito-Taylor (of Ngā Puhi/Ngāti Whātua/Tainui descent) – a multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Over the course of ten days during a national lockdown in Aotearoa, Larsen co-ordinated, produced, mixed and mastered the album Keep your Distance by Virtual Shadow Ensemble – bringing together a who’s who of young New Zealand jazz, spoken word and electronic music artists, championing connection in a time of great upheaval for creative communities.
In his music, Larsen often creates with a ‘stream of consciousness’ approach, recording songs in the first take and resisting definition and boundaries. From an early interest in drawing, Larsen went on to discover Garageband on his mum’s laptop and an affinity for music production and creativity was born. Following on from formative experiences through The Grow Room (an influential creative collective and space formerly based on K Road, Tāmaki Makaurau) Larsen went on to explore concepts, ancestral philosophies and sonic approaches that would inform the inception of Noa Records - a collective record label venture primarily focussed on providing an alternative platform for Māori/Pasifika/indigenous artists to express through and from. Today, he cites his primary influence as his friends – a circle of creators that inform and shape each other’s work - and ancestors of blood and spirit – whether through whānau and chiefs, or sonic ancestors inspiring soul expression such as Sun Ra.
Larsen Winiata Tito-Taylor will be mentored by Riki Gooch
Riki Gooch (Patuharakeke/Ngāti Wai/Ngāti Mahanga Hourua) has been an intricate part of the Wellington and national music scene for nearly two decades - as a drummer and founding member of Trinity Roots, orchestral art behemoth Eru Dangerspiel and Orchestra of Spheres. Having collaborated with the likes of Jeff Henderson, Bic Runga, Ria Hall, Alistair Fraser, and Mara TK, his repertoire is brave and boundless, ranging from electronic music, film and television scores, to large improvised ensembles and solo performance.
Statement from selection panel: "Larsen’s remarkable skills as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, electronic musician and founder of Noa records immediately set his application apart. The excellence of his musical creativity, the generosity
of his spirit and the breadth of his endeavour have already placed him as a leader in his field. This award will offer him the necessary mentorship and opportunity to advance his artistic profile and leadership qualities."