Free to perform
Home detention is fertile creative groundCHE BAKER
A not-so-chance meeting with an undercover cop has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for international music artist Daimon Schwalger, aka The Nomad.
Schwalger was approached by a police officer while working at a gig in Wanaka last year.
He started receiving text messages from the man, who claimed he was a builder, asking for drug hook-ups.
Schwalger was able to fob off the request off but was soon befriended by two women with similar requests.
He gave in and soon found himself arrested on drug charges as part of the police undercover drug operation, dubbed Operation Viking.
He employed a lawyer but after receiving a bill of $6000 for one appearance, and unable to raise more funds for his defence, he opted to plead guilty.
He received his first conviction and was sentenced to four months home detention.
Now living in Kingston, he said he thought at the time: "This could go two ways. I can sit around and watch TV for four months or I can be proactive and creative and make something with this time".
On February 13 he started his home detention sentence in Westport and set up a recording studio in a shed overlooking the ocean.
Within eight weeks - half of his sentence - he had recorded an album featuring music artists such as King Kapisi, Lotex and Israel Starr. A lot of the tunes were inspired by his feelings from being arrested and his time on home detention, including a single called In Trap Mint.
He spent the second eight weeks promoting the album, which seen his first single Brok Out top the RDU radio charts in Christchurch and be picked up by the likes of George and Base FM.
"I'm a firm believer [that] you get tested . . . The only downside is I have a criminal record."
The experience has shown him, and inspired others with, what can be accomplished in eight weeks.
"If all this didn't happen I wouldn't have an album right now," he said.
Past albums have taken him about a year and a half each to produce.
"It's by far the best album I've ever done."
The short time frame and complete dedication to the project meant the music was made at one time with similar influences.
A year in the music business could mean huge technical differences, he said.
He remains on the wagon with alcohol, smoking and coffee and during reflection realised he was socialising too much, which was distracting him from his goals.
"I feel amazing. I feel really healthy. My decisions are better. Everything is better. Wanaka is a social town. I kind of got caught up in that," he said.
His seventh album, called 7, will go on sale July 7 - the 7th of the 7th.
"Seven is my lucky number," he says.
He has already filmed two music videos for the album, in Shanghai and Jamaica, and has launched a remix competition which will see the winner flown to Christchurch as part of a $2000 prize pack.
Schwalger is set to embark on a 20 stop tour in New Zealand in August and October which will include a show in Queenstown on August 22 at Vinyl Underground and on August 23 in Wanaka at the Water Bar.
- The Mirror