Inspiring Spaces: Boycrush aka Alistair Deverick
Rebecca Barry Hill visits Alistair Deverick of Boycrush in his favourite room
A NZ Music Awards Critics’ Choice finalist, this electronic-pop producer, AKA Alistair Deverick, also plays drums with Ryan McPhun & the Ruby Suns, Lawrence Arabia, Carnivorous Plant Society, and occasionally, Neil Finn.
“You could call this Mt Eden studio, beneath the Crystal Palace Theatre, my second home. I spend more waking hours here than I do at my place. My grandmother came to dances here when it was a ballroom. Heaps of musicians have recorded here. Elemeno P painted a wolf on the wall in the next room.
"Scott Manion from the Tokey Tones had this room, and Chris O’Connor, so it’s been passed around a little bit, and some of the stuff has been passed down. Then Ryan McPhun had it. Most of this stuff is Ryan’s and mine. Ryan and I were sharing it for a while but then he moved to Norway to have a baby so I’ve had it to myself for about two years.
“It’s good to have other people around [in the neighbouring studios] doing similar things. People work all different hours. Being creative, you can turn up at 9 and work till 5 but sometimes it doesn’t really work like that. We have a lot of band rehearsals in here. So you’re not by yourself all the time — you can go and play table tennis next door if you need a break. Although it’s actually quite annoying if you’re recording because the floor is quite stompy.
“The internet doesn’t get here very well so that’s really good for productivity. You feel like you step away from the street and you’re not really anywhere. It’d be different if you could see out on to Mt Eden Rd but I look out and I can see graffiti. The space that you’re in changes the ideas that you have. If it’s really late and you’re making music, you see darkness and no people, so everything becomes framed through that. The vibe becomes the default of what you’re thinking about.
“When you turn off all the lights in here it’s quite spooky because it’s old and underground. All these thoughts cross my mind about horrible people who might be in here. I know there’s no one here but still I get a bit spooked. I got locked in one night. I had to jump the fence and there was a dog snarling when I jumped over. It’s really gross [in the alleyway by the window]. I don’t know why somebody lit a little fire out there. I think it was somebody from the lab. Maybe they cooked some sausages.
“It’s good to have this old equipment, things that are a bit mechanical. It’s more fun to fix a tape than a plug-in in your computer. Most of the things I buy are from the 90s, like all these synthesizers. It’s that nostalgia — for me, the 90s was all about seeing things for the first time and discovering ways of thinking about the world. Driving a car for the first time without your parents. It was much more meaningful.
“Having all these things around — it creates a mood. As though you’re in the presence of something historic rather than just some prefab in Botany. I don’t have the heart to take the My Little Ponies down from the window but I love this Henrietta Harris print [pictured, top right]. Ryan put up the lights and the blankets on the wall from Tanzania and India.
"Sometimes it gets a bit cluttered. Carnivorous Plant Society and Lawrence Arabia had a rehearsal in here and we had to take out heaps of stuff including [fiancee] Emily’s grandmother’s old couch. Someone thought surely we didn’t need another couch so they put it on Mt Eden Rd with a sign saying ‘free’.
"I came downstairs, like, ‘where’s the couch?’ So they put a sign back up saying ‘we need it back’. The woman who’d taken it was an upholsterer. She was bummed but she brought the couch back, which is so nice, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t tell my fiancee though.”
• Following his EP Girls on Top, Boycrush is in the midst of remixing tracks for other musos, and writing new material.