Hybrid Minds set to 'Touch' the hearts of Kiwi drum and bass fans

After two weeks of quarantine, Matt Lowe and his MC, Mike Tempza, are preparing for their first show in over a year, due to COVID-19. 

Hybrid Minds are the latest international drum and bass act to visit Aotearoa, joining Sub Focus, Dimension, Netsky and several others who have done so in recent months.

"It was a bit of a weird experience meeting up at Heathrow Airport. It was sort of like oh my goodness, we're going to New Zealand," MC Tempza says, who has worked alongside the group for the majority of their ten year career. 

Lowe last visited New Zealand in 2019, but for MC Tempza it is his first time in the country. Lowe's DJing partner Josh White was unable to join them on this tour. 

The pair says the situation remains "sketchy" in the United Kingdom, and despite hopes for events to resume mid-year, things could still change. 

"We're very weary of posting things, like we don't want to rub it in people's faces, but also we want to show them there's light at the end of the tunnel," Lowe says.  

The last time Lowe was in the country, he made a comment online that the New Zealand drum and bass scene was giving the UK a run for its money. That sparked a friendly feud between the two countries, which has been ongoing throughout the pandemic.

"I saw heaps of posts in various forums of people talking about it and eventually it became a meme, and now it's sort of this on-going war which is quite funny to see." 

He says while the UK can argue they are bigger by population,our people are always "really up for it"  and New Zealand crowds bring "amazing energy levels". 

That will be sure to happen when 'Touch' is played on the tour, which is regarded as somewhat of an unofficial national anthem to New Zealand drum and bass fanatics.

"That's mad. That's a massive honour for sure, I never knew that," Lowe laughs.

"I should add that to my Instagram bio, the creator of the unofficial national anthem of New Zealand". 

Hybrid Minds recently uploaded a video on their Facebook page, showing one of the first times the song played out live anywhere in the world, from Christchurch.  

"This is literally the first time everyone actually really sang it properly. It was literally that show, it was mad" Lowe says. 

The track was released in 2016, however it took a couple of years for it to start gaining momentum. It recently clocked over more than 20 million streams on Spotify.

"In all honesty, that was the moment where things sort of changed, even in the UK for us. Me and Josh always talk about this," he shares. "I could hear people singing it and I just turned it down and then it just became this thing". 

Drum and bass music originates from Europe, and despite New Zealand having a strong scene throughout the 2000s, it's revival over the past five years has seen it become more popular than ever before. 

Hybrid Minds are known for their 'liquid' drum and bass, a sub-genre that is smoother, more melodic and calm compared to other forms. 

Despite most listeners in New Zealand being 18-35 years of age, MC Tempza believes it can cater for all ages.

"People resonate with Hybrid Minds music, that's the thing, it resonates with me even as their MC. I love it, it's deep, and emotive and they've collaborated with some amazing vocalists and it just turns into magic" MC Tempza says. 

The pair are in New Zealand for six weeks, making the difficult sacrifice to leave family at home to be on stage in New Zealand. 

For Matt Lowe, it will be his longest time away from his family since becoming a dad.

"To have been isolated with them for so long, and obviously being very close with them, it's quite hard [leaving]". 

Although Lowe says he is well aware of the fact that when he returns home "we're going to be together for a long time" he laughs "so I've got that in the back of my mind".

And for MC Tempza, he is leaving behind his fiance, well-known vocalist Charlotte Haining. Despite often touring with the group in Europe, there is hope she will come to New Zealand for the first time next tour.

"She's really, really busy. She would love nothing more to be out here" he says. 

After not performing for so long, and missing what was supposed to be a "dream year" in 2020, MC Tempza admits there may be some nerves.

"It's either going to go one of two ways. For me, as soon as I'm given the mic by the sound engineer, and I know everything is all ready I sort of go into autopilot, duck to water type of thing, and I hope that will be the case on Saturday," he says.