Musician's Indian adventure

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 10:57 08/11/2012
Robin Hinkley
AMY JACKMAN / The Wellingtonian
Sharkness: Robin Hinkley will release his first solo album next week.

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Robin Hinkley decided to meet some locals by making a music video on a recent trip to India.

The song used for the video is now one of 10 featured on the Wellingtonian's first solo album, Coat of Arms.

Hinkley said the song, Little Fish, Big Teeth, was written while he was in India with his wife. He decided to make a music video for it in Mumbai.

"I had this connection with this guy who was a DJ in India. We recorded the song at his house and then went into the market place and hired a guy and a flash camera," he said.

"We met our friend the night before and he asked us if we had our recording licence, which you needed to film anything in Mumbai.

"We talked about it and called someone who said the licence was going to cost thousands of dollars.

"We couldn't back out because we didn't have a licence, so we had bribe money and were going to try to avoid the police."

He said they spent the day being followed by the police from market to market, before they went to the outskirts of the city.

"Our taxi driver took us to these really great old Victorian apartments," he said.

"It was deserted except for this one guy. He said his brother was in the Bollywood scene and he would show us the inside of the apartment.

"We thought we'd won the lottery. As we were going up the steps this guy said, 'My brother is in Bollywood, but I'm a cop and this is the police quarters for Mumbai'.

"We'd gone right into the nest and thought we were in big trouble, but he didn't ask us for the licence.

"He was just really hospitable.

"The punchline is none of us knew anything about filming, so the footage we got was all weird and the colours were wrong."

The album is a diverse mix of songs, from ballads and rock to pop songs and folk music.

Hinkley said he felt the title fitted the mix of music styles.

"Each song really felt very different to write. It really is a collection of lots of different pieces.

"I'm a primary schoolteacher and we do this exercise where the students invent a coat of arms and think about what the different creatures mean.

"I really enjoyed the idea of doing that for myself and subverting it in some way. I came up with the idea of taking something that was just 2-D and symbolic and making it come to life, which is what we did for the album cover."

He said it was hard making a solo album after his band, Good Laika, took a break from making music.

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"I was feeling like there might not be enough creative input into it, but it worked. I recorded it over a long period, so that gave me a chance to digest and build up what I had already done."

Coat of Arms was produced by Age Pryor, and is available in stores and online at iTunes and Amplifier from November 16.

- The Wellingtonian

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