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A mountain of songs for Mulholland

Rather than take the mountain to Mulholland it has been easier for Mulholland to come to the mountain, to paraphrase the old saying.

With a mountain of songs – the most tracks of any school in New Zealand in the Play It Strange competition finals — sending eight Gisborne Girls’ High School (GGHS) acts to an Auckland recording studio would be a logistically challenging, and expensive, mission.

So Auckland-based music producer, engineer and instrumentalist Jol Mulholland came to Gisborne to record the eight tracks over eight days at the school’s recording studio.

Youth music support organisation Play It Strange runs a range of songwriting competitions.

GGHS student Paris Maxwell won the Peace Song competition with her song Life Boat.

Performed by her band Astrik, Mulholland recorded the song and is recording the seven other songs that were finalists in the Lion Foundation songwriting competition.

“Jol is mixing the song and making it sound professional,” says Paris.

“He goes through the song and makes suggestions about how to improve it. He might tell us to maybe change the strumming pattern. He comes up with ways to give the song more feeling or vibe.”

Life Boat will join the seven other Girls’ High finalists’ tracks Mulholland is producing for Play It Strange’s 2019 album. The seven other songs are Rosie West’s Basement Song; Night Turns Into Day by Mere-Heni Matete, Rejection Hurts Doesn’t It by Tegan Hailes, Taku Mama by Monisha Whaitiri-Te Miha, City of Dreams by Nicole Hadland and Eve Mulligan, Triggered by Pounamu Wharehinga, and Wired By Her by Emma Burgess. The completed album will be uploaded to the bandcamp website.

Because the school got the most tracks in the finals of any school in New Zealand, GGHS was named Play It Strange school of the year.

“We lost the title for a couple of years but we just got it back,” says music teacher Jane Egan.

In December, the school’s music teachers, and Astrik, will attend the prizegiving in Auckland and Astrik will perform Lifeboat at Auckland venue The Tuning Fork.

TURN UP THE VOLUME: Auckland-based sound engineer Jol Mulholland (right) perfects a recording in Gisborne Girls’ High School studio of Paris Maxwell’s (left) song Life Boat she performs along with Astrik band members Mihingarangi Tamihana-Brown, Eve Mulligan, Jade Tardieu and (front) CJ Peneha-Mitai. Picture by Liam Clayton