Bright, Breathless, and 3D: an Interview with Smurgy

By Alana McConnell (she/her)

Debate interviewed Smurgy, an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau, hailing from Ōtautahi. We talked about his creative process in all of its anxiety and frenetic energy, his future plans, and what he’s been listening to over lockdown.


What made you want to become a musician?

Throughout my life, music has always been my escape: a place where I feel understood, and an endless world to explore and experience. Right now becoming a musician also feels like a way to escape – a way to escape how frightfully normal life feels sometimes and enter a space where I get to make my own rules.


What are some goals you have for the next few years to come?

In the next few years I want to take everything to a higher place of artistry. I haven’t been in the music game long so I have a million things to learn, and because I produce and record everything myself there’s an endless spiral of YouTube tutorials waiting for me! I want to tour extensively soon and release a LOT of new music over the next while. I'm also interested in meeting and collaborating with more musicians and artists! I’m just brimming with ideas across disciplines: songwriting, composing for video, design, photography, animation. You name it – I want to be involved.


What does your creative process consist of?

Hours of anxiety in my room wondering if I’ll ever figure out how to write a song again, mixed in with generous helpings of inspiration, impressions, trial-and-error, distracted phone scrolling, and laserbeam focus. It’s a bumpy ride full of highs and lows, but I love it.


How does being an artist based in Aotearoa influence you?

I feel fortunate to have grown up here in beautiful Aotearoa. There are a lot of elements at play that make this a special place to evolve. Always being a stone's throw from some of the world’s most breath-taking vistas, spending life surrounded by a community of the most kind hearted and supportive people, and having the opportunity to participate in Aotearoa’s unique musical wairua. Our local creative spark feels to me like a mixture of fierce uniqueness, and a dedication to the DIY ethos. Finding your way forward with whatever material you discover around you.


What music have you been listening to over lockdown?

I’ve been enjoying a ton of R&B: Daniel Caesar, Lou Val, and Moses Sumney to name a few! Lockdown has also provided more time to listen to whole records – one that shattered my brain and eardrums recently was Double Negative by Low. If you decide to board that rollercoaster please take a good pair of headphones with you!


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given musically?

Make it fun!


What’s next for you?

Next up I’m releasing some songs into the stratosphere that I’m beyond excited to share. I’m proud of the mahi and collaboration that has brought them to life – it’ll be a whole new chapter for my sound. I also have a live show in development... can’t wait to get it started when we have this virus under control!


Ngā mihi nui Debate, thank you so much for having me!


Smurgy