Elemental: What do you love most about creating events?
Jamie: I love watching people interact with the experiences I create. After what can be a long period of dreaming and planning, when the day finally arrives, and the event comes alive, that’s a special moment. I also enjoy the bits I can’t plan - the energy in the room, the special magic every person brings to the space – it’s a kind of alchemy.
Elemental: What motivates you?
Jamie: Music and dancing are central to my life, and I get great satisfaction from sharing, presenting and making music. I love creating opportunities for people from different ages, stages and backgrounds to share dancefloor experiences together.
Elemental: It all sounds pretty joyful. Is there anything you’d hand to a PA, if you had one?
Jamie: The hard stuff? Most of the work happens up front - promotion, writing, artwork, social media, and the practical technical stuff of venues. Communicating is also vital, to make sure everyone knows what’s happening and when. But I enjoy all of it, although the challenging part is when multiple things need to happen at the same time but we work to deadlines, one foot in front of the other, and everything seems to get done.
Elemental: What inspired you to start Morning People?
Jamie: In 2012 we brought No Lights No Lycra to New Zealand. We hired a venue, turned out the lights and danced in the dark for an hour. Over five years it really grew, and we ended up running two sessions per night because it was so popular. Then I heard about morning raves overseas - Morning Gloryville in the UK, Daybreaker in the US. Seeing this, and with my experience of running NLNL, I thought something like that could work here. The name Morning People drifted into my head one night, and the next day I asked my good friend Vanessa Scott if she’d like to start it with me. We held our first event in the Western Springs Garden Hall in mid 2016 - and since then, it’s grown into the colourful community of ravers, early birds and go-getters that it is today.
Elemental: From the Western Springs Garden Hall to the Town Hall - five years of morning raves, that’s something to celebrate.
Jamie: It sure is. Over 160 parties later, we’re turning five, and we’re planning our biggest party ever. It’s at the Auckland Town Hall, and features Weird Together playing with a full band, including two percussionists, horns, guitar, vocals, dancers and heavy hitting house music. After Weird Together, Sambora from Shapeshifter will be rounding out the morning - it’s going to be the biggest, most ambitious event to date. To say we’re excited is an understatement!
Elemental: How did the Waiheke gig take shape? That sounds sublime.
Jamie: A friend called me last summer, when I was working on Summernova for the America’s Cup, and they asked if I’d seen The Project the previous night, which included a feature on Fortress Stony Batter - a network of tunnels from World War Two on Waiheke. I had no idea about them. So I watched the clip, then I visited the space and I was totally inspired. Because Elemental was on my radar, I thought the space would be well-suited to small intimate performances and here we are.
Elemental: Tiny Ruins, Finn Andrews, Deva Mahal and Delaney Davidson, that’s an incredible bunch of artists, how did you gather such a stellar line-up?
Jamie: I know right. It’s spectacular, and I am so lucky to have them onboard. I think the idea and the adventure of it has really captured people’s imaginations. It’s such a magical space.
Elemental: How are you getting the piano in there?
Jamie: Luckily that’s one problem I don’t have to solve. The piano lives there - how they got it in, I have no idea. I did ask, but they were a little vague on the detail. I suspect black magic, or teleportation.
What makes you want to be part of Elemental?
Jamie: Last year we partnered with Live Nation to run a Morning People event at Hopetoun Alpha. The effervescent Sin Howard played and knocked it out of the park, so to be able to be part of Elemental this year, and deliver Morning People’s fifth birthday and Interesting Places: The Subterranean sessions, it’s a real privilege.
If there’s one feeling you want people to take away from your events, what would it be?
Jamie: For people to feel connected - to themselves, the whenua, Tāmaki Makaurau and their community. I feel so lucky to live in this amazing city.
Why do you love about creating experiences in Tāmaki Makaurau?
I was born in South Auckland and have lived here all my life, so it’s my tūrangawaewae. And Auckland is just the right size - it’s large enough for the bustle of city life, but small enough to feel like there are strong communities. I also love that local government places such importance on community, that they actively work to improve the experience of living here. Kia ora!