October 12, 2022
In my first article for the ‘Tune Me In’ magazine series, I felt it was only right to not only share the story and kaupapa of my platform ‘Beat Whānau,’ but also the ever -growing testimony of Rep FM’s ‘Passion To Profession’ – an educational initiative that I am now very proud to be a part of.
The connection between ‘Beat Whānau’ and Rep FM comes through a collective appreciation for the people and places that have shaped New Zealand hip-hop and dance music over the years. Growing up with DJing and music production in Palmerston North, I started hanging out with the Noble Music Group amongst many other music lovers in my local community. Being connected to my fellow music peers on Facebook had lead me to discover a diverse range of NZ music blogs such as ‘AYEBRO’ and ‘Bassment’. By the time I had reached senior school, I was exposed to a great network of our nation’s musical talent. A Facebook page by the name ‘RepFM’ came onto my radar back in my final years at school, but it wasn’t till I reached tertiary that I truly saw the scale of their operation, with their kaupapa including their annual music-producer competition titled ‘Rep Your Beats’ along with their undeniably successful vocational-education programme, ‘Passion To Profession’. Since both initiatives had been running annually since around 2015, as the years went by, I became more ‘in-tune’ with the local and national mahi that Rep FM was involved in.
Fast-forwarding the journey to 2020, I began hosting a series of recorded Zoom calls, capturing the background stories behind some of my close friends in the music industry. I had initially signed up for a Pro membership on Zoom during the first lockdown, with a plan of hosting some interactive music production sessions. Due to the fact I was running a ‘hackintosh’, I faced some issues with Zoom’s audio-capture drivers. Whilst I initially felt a bit discouraged with the situation, I soon realised that I could beat the odds by utilising the Zoom platform to kick off my idea for a music-podcast series. By the time our lockdown alert levels had lowered, I had recorded around twenty episodes. Coming up with the name ‘Beat Whānau’ came from pure instinct, especially since this was a name I used to address all my ‘music family’ on Facebook.
Jumping ahead to 2021, I saw the ‘Passion To Profession’ programme reappear on my Facebook feed and took it upon myself to apply. As I went ahead to apply, I also knew I had a lot to offer as a tutor with almost a decade of experience in electronic music and digital solutions. What blew me away was the fact that whilst I had initially planted the seeds to be part of Passion To Profession, a fellow music friend and colleague, Daniel Love (DLove), was also in the process of planting these same seeds for both of us. Toko, Daniel and I had found ourselves together at the South Auckland edition of the 2022 Aotearoa Music Producer Series, and as they say, the rest is history. During the last few weeks of preparation for this year’s Passion To Profession programme, we have managed to get our domain and website live along with a few promotional videos across our online platforms. Our classes will be kicking off in early October 2022 and will be based in Manukau Central, South Auckland. All the courses we have planned for Term 4 will be free and are open to both youth and young adults. This year, we will be covering courses in music & audio engineering, clothing & merch design, Māori carving & visual arts, and also business & self-entrepreneurship. Through collective networks amongst our respective creative industries, we’ve also secured some awesome industry professionals and itinerant mentors.
‘Beat Whānau’ now has well over seventy episodes online, covering a range of music artists, taste-makers and professionals in NZ music. Since I had rediscovered my childhood dream of becoming a school teacher, I knew that pushing the advancements of modern music technology was something I was deeply passionate about. Today, I see the future of ‘Beat Whānau’ heading towards a platform for positive societal impact through the growth of digital music & sound opportunities here in Aotearoa. With Rep FM covering a great archive of hip-hop music culture and ‘Beat Whānau’ covering pop and dance music culture, I am excited to see how our collaborations will continue to unfold as the years progress.
To close off this article, I would like to make a special mention to Delysse and Duncan for linking me up here in the MENZA community. And also, a few quick shoutouts. Firstly, to Kiran and the team at MoveSpace for providing a safe and secure workspace to help me get through my studies and projects. Secondly, to all my classmates, lecturers and staff that I met at AUT. Lastly, a big thank you to each member here in the MENZA community. I am looking forward to Aotearoa’s bright future in the digital world. Also, please feel free to spread the word on ‘Passion To Profession’ with your friends and whānau, especially if you know a current school student or recent school-leaver who may benefit from participating in our course. More information on ‘Passion To Profession’ can be found on our website.
Words by: Samir Loumachi
BIO: Samir Loumachi is an emerging music-tech educator, born in Auckland and raised in Palmerston North. His introduction to music came through a background of DJing and electronic music production. Since intermediate school, he has been fortunate enough to engage as a student, teacher, and leader in a diverse range of roles, positions, certificates and professional development programmes over his decade -long journey in music, technology and education.