You’ve got to love people who embody a DIY ethic, and Hamish Morgan certainly fits that description. Wellington has been facing the loss of many local venues in recent years, including youth hub Zeal which was vital for the all ages music scene. Obviously with less venues available, bands have fewer places to play, meaning that the local music scene suffers as a result.
So Hamish took it upon himself to provide a place for local bands to play: his living room.
He recently wrote a piece about it for our homies The Mousai:
For over a year now, Hamish has been hosting house shows at his flat in Hataitai. He provides a backline (amps, PA, microphones, drums etc), a venue (his living room) and advertising on Facebook and with posters.
It’s a risky business. Maybe it wasn’t the wisest decision to name the events “Hataitai Homewrecker”. Yes, it is located in the suburb of Hataitai, but I’m sure that he doesn’t want his home destroyed. He limits the events to only once a month, noise proofs the space as much as possible and tries to enforce a strict curfew so as to not upset the neighbours too much. On the wall is a framed warning notice from Noise Control, who had been called out to the very first Hataitai Homewrecker event, but the other events have been mostly uneventful in that respect.
These events have become a right of passage of sorts for many bands. Hamish was the first person to book my own band to play, and many local Pōneke bands first cut their teeth at a Homewrecker. Plenty of musicians from the punk/hardcore etc scene in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and even as far as Sydney have made the pilgrimage here to play as well.
This is more than just providing another place for bands to play. A bonus that some people may not realise, local artists are getting some good exposure from the posters. My personal favourite is from Daniel Vernon (of the band Dartz), who did this amazing hipster Hulk poster. I’ve since been noticing his artwork popping up all over the place.
I’ve had a few chats with Hamish and he’s stressed to me about how he wants to avoid it becoming a “sausage fest”, and wants to ensure there is a variety of gender representation. And he’s done pretty well, with plenty of wahine featuring in the lineups of great bands that play his events. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but like me, Hamish is an early childhood teacher. Males make up a very small minority in that area of the teaching profession, so we are very aware of the impact it can make.
It’s been a great success, with Hataitai Homewrecker events having occoured monthly for over a year now. And Hamish is showing potential for branching out, having recently organised a free local show at a skatepark (sadly this was canceled due to a horrendous storm) and currating a stage for the upcoming Newtown Festival in March 2020.
So major tautoko to Hamish for taking it upon himself to provide a place for local musicians and sustain the music community.
Hamish posts his events under the Elbowdrop page: https://www.facebook.com/elbowdr0p/
Happy Valley Bandcamp: https://happyvalleywgtn.bandcamp.com/releases