HOIHOI is a phrase meaning ‘Be quiet!’ but it also literally means ‘noisy, loud, deafening’; we liked the juxtaposition and that to tell people to be quiet you just say ‘noisy!’ in te reo Māori.Kupu
Hoihoi are a Christchurch 4-piece post-punk group formed in post-COVID mid-2020, eventually solidifying their line-up (with the addition of bassist Steffi Brightwell and Dru Norriss replacing their original drummer James Weaver) a year later. The group have a couple of discernible factor that make them stand out from other groups.
Firstly, guitarist and vocalist Kupu is of Ngāi Te Rangi descent, a teacher and qualified translator of te reo Māori:
I got back into playing in order to learn waiata Māori as part of my teaching work. Since the language led me to return to guitar as well as to meeting Ryan which led to the formation of HOIHOI, including te reo Māori in many of the waiata of HOIHOI feels tika as a form of utu to give back to the language and hopefully enhance its mana, and everyone in HOIHOI is really supportive in this kaupapa.Tupu
The group fully embraced te reo Māori in their artwork, song-titles and any advertising copy; along with a great deal of their lyrics:
‘Ahi’ is about the complicated nature of reconnecting with tūrangawaewae (a true ancestral home from a Māori perspective) in the context of the modern world where many Māori live outside of the area that we whakapapa to. The lyrics of that waiata are all symbolic so would read very oddly in English and was written in Māori from the start, but other songs like ‘Mauri Tū’ started out with the verses in English and the chorus in Māori, but by the time we had played it live countless times and got to recording, the whole song ended up being in Māori.Tupu
Secondly their guitarist and vocalist Ryan Nicol sidelines producing hand-crafted electronics (primarily guitar pedals):
Ryan’s pedal creations typically incorporate reclaimed/repurposed timber in the aesthetic of the enclosures and he has made music equipment for himself and musicians around Aotearoa (including Die! Die! Die!) for several years under the name Glacial Creative.
When we released our first EP, ‘TAHI‘, in 2022, Ryan made five ‘AHI‘ guitar pedals which are a copy of a distortion pedal he used on the recording of our waiata ‘Ahi’ and feature different lyrics stamped on each pedal. These sold out and Matthias McGregor from Leather Jacket Records was really keen to do another batch of pedals for our recent 7” vinyl EP, ‘TAHITAHI‘, so Ryan has made another five similar pedals (called ‘AHIAHI‘ this time) for that release.Kupu
- Regan Stokes (aka Kupu, Not Achieved, SWIPERS, guitar / vocals)
- Ryan Nicol (Swindle, Aurum, Elcho Stream, SWIPERS, guitar / vocals)
- Steffi Brightwell (bass)
- James Weaver (drums)
- Dru Norriss (Jasper and Marlow, Deep Fried X, Metal Plated Blues Orchestra, drums)
- Tahi digital-only EP (2022, self-released)
- Tahitahi 7″ EP (2023, Leather Jacket Records, LJR9)