When British DJ Hexadecimal, aka Scott Reeder, moved to Christchurch to live with his Kiwi girlfriend last year, he thought he was coming to live in a sleepy town. He never imagined his experiences here would inform his music.
Although little known in New Zealand, Hexadecimal took home the award for Best Breakthrough DJ at 2007's International Breakbeat Awards, which saw him play at London's clubbing mainstay Fabric, sitting on a lineup that read like an honours list of breakbeat dons. He's performed around the world, searching for fresh experiences and says he didn't bank on his time in Christchurch as being quite as ‘‘life changing" as it proved to be.
"Before I moved over here properly, I came over for a visit and checked it out. It seemed like a beautiful quiet place with lots of gardens and a thriving underground music scene."
Reeder says the last few years of his life have been "crazy" and he has overcome many challenges through a positive outlook and by throwing himself into creating music.
His upcoming record Sweat Tears and Blood will have a worldwide release on British-based record label Distinctive Records. Guest artists on the album include Kiwi The Kurnel MC, Joe B (USA), Seb van den Berg (Holland), Percydread (Britain) and popular Australian street performer Dub FX.
"While I was still in the UK I was on my pushbike going home and I was hit by a car. I broke my eye socket in three places and fractured my skull. I was not in a good way. It took a lot of rehabilitation. My Kiwi girlfriend Vanessa had just moved in with me the day before the accident. I nicknamed her Vanessa the nurser. I followed her to Christchurch just in time for all of the quakes,’’ Reeder explains.
"Each track on this album is based on an experience - my near-fatal car accident, meeting my fiancee, moving to New Zealand and feeling the full force of mother nature during the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes."
His experiences in Christchurch's CBD on February 22, 2011 led to the creation of a collaborative track with Canadian vocalist Ingrid Hakanson called Cracks.
"That day was a nightmare, I'll never forget it. Coming from the UK you just don't experience anything like it. I've written a movie around my experiences and Cracks is a part of that.’’
The video for the song is comprised of ‘‘uplifting photos and video footage’’ in Christchurch.
Ross Becker Photography have supplied a lot of the CBD and earthquake damage photos and Reeder is grateful to them for offering footage.
"I'm thankful for all of the photos that the people of Christchurch have sent to me.
''I wanted the video to have positive vibes. It's the little things people do to make the best of a bad situation - like turning road cones into Christmas trees or helping each other out that really sticks in my mind. It makes you smile, even if just for a second, in the middle of the awfulness."
After his partner lost her job after the February earthquake, she and Reeder moved to Wellington. And although he's not from Christchurch, Reeder admits to feeling guilty about leaving.
"I do feel bad about leaving Christchurch. I still have family and friends there. My way of helping was to get a job at EQC in Wellington as part of the support team. When people from Christchurch ring up I feel I can help them because I was there and I really do understand what they went through on that day. I'm not removed from it, I experienced it, too.’’
- The Dominion Post
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