Kurt Aikman has been a staple of live music in Waimate and the surrounding areas for years. Two years ago, he moved to Te Puke, near Mount Maunganui, where he now splits his time between gigging and running his event management company Event Factor NZ. Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson catches up with the former Waimate man during New Zealand Music Month.
Q How has the move north gone?
Good – I’m doing what I love. At the start I was working for Novus Autoglass, but now I have enough on to just be doing the music thing, as well as event management work. Obviously there are a lot more people and a lot more places to play, so there are more opportunities to get gigs. Having said that, there are also a lot more musicians, so that can make it harder. January through to April is really busy – I already have three gigs next year.
Q How do you find gigs when you’re new to town?
A lot of it is word of mouth, I play at one thing and it leads to another. I played for Dame Susan Devoy’s squash club and that led to about seven other gigs – four or five birthdays and a couple of other squash club functions.
Q Aside from gigs, what else has been keeping you busy?
For Event Factor NZ, I have been supplying and setting up sound systems for things like the Waimate Rugby Club Jubilee, Te Puke Country Music Club, Waimate 50 events, Te Puke vigil for the Christchurch terror attack victims. At present, I am working on some open mic nights in the Bay of Plenty and a Top Gear evening. I am also working with Waimate 50 on the upcoming street sprint on June 29 as well as the main event at Labour Weekend.
Q What inspired you to start playing guitar?
Mum sent me and my sister Jenna to music lessons when we were about 7-years-old for no other reason than it would be cool to learn. We were taught by Julie Sugrue who is a well-known guitar teacher. She also taught people like New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards winner Louise Stringer (nee Wilson). I naturally started singing to what I was playing, too. Julie put us into some country music awards which I had some success. Through my high school years I teamed with Kaylee Bell and we started doing gigs together.
Q What sort of music are you playing now?
I’m playing all sorts really, it depends on the event. Often it’s the party music where people are up dancing that I like the most – that can be very enjoyable. It is mainly gigging, though. I would like to do some recording, but that will be when the time is right.
Q Who are your main musical influences?
So many – I like all sorts of music. I love country music, but I can’t listen to a whole lot of it. I also love pop and rock. I draw inspiration from Billy Idol, Matchbox 20, there are too many to list.
Q What have been the highlights of you musical career?
A lot of the people I have met have been pretty cool. There is something about playing a gig when it goes off. When people are up dancing it puts you on a bit of a high, it’s always quite cool.