Waitangi Day last year the bro’s Envioso and Phulaphekt dropped their brilliant EP Kaupapa Driven. We caught up with Whare-Joe Tana AKA Envioso to talk about the EP a year on and the plans for the collaborative going forward!
LBB: First off, explain to our audience who you are and what are some of the things you do!
Whare Joe: Kia ora! my name is Whare-Joe Tana and I go by the name of Envioso which I created from the word “envision” (I played around with the letters thinking it was cool haha). I am a Hip Hop Artist, Producer, Songwriter, Actor and all round creative from Aotearoa.
LBB: So how did the idea for Kaupapa Driven come about?
WJ: It all started from when we met in 2017 through a cypher challenge we did between my crew South Sufficient and Phulaphekts crew Coastal Entertainment.
I remember me and Phulaphekt had a chat outside Wore & Piece in Whangarei and the synergy between us was perfect and we soon discovered we had a lot in common. The ultimate common ground was our dedication, passion and commitment to empowering Maori and advocating for Te Reo Maori which are strongly themed throughout our Kaupapa Driven EP.
From there we organized get togethers and we recorded the EP in Mangere at what was the South Sufficient studio at the time.
The bro Impakt was also influential in the creation of our EP and gave great advice from a technical perspective also recording all our tracks and making the process seamless. We had lots of laughs, bants and the energy was great!
LBB: What was the ultimate goal for the EP and what is the message/messages that you guys wanted to push/portray with it?
WJ: The Goal was simple, we wanted to showcase a synergy between two Maori Hip Hop artists to tell our stories articulately and to continue the Kaupapa Driven rhymes while paying homage to those who came before us in the process.
One of the key messages is being proud of who we are as Maori, using a bilingual style in our lyrics and staying true to who we are Which is why we released it on 6th February 2018 because it was Waitangi and its significant to us and our kaupapa.
LBB: A year on, you guys may have had a change in POV or lifestyle, do the messages in Kaupapa Driven still hold up for you guys? How so?
WJ: Absolutely they still hold up! Both me and Phulaphekt are still connected and in fact we are in the process of filming a music video for “AKL” featuring DMA and also LKeyz who is involved in the filming of it. This track is on the EP as well so the relationship still going strong!
LBB: You guys talk about life growing up a lot on the EP and also your POV’s on many social and political situations. Being from different cities, did you guys find a connect across the board or did you differ in upbringing/opinion on some things? If so, what were the points of difference and how did you work around it/work it in?
WJ: As mentioned before, we are very similar in beliefs and we represent being authentic Maori (not tokenistic – there is a difference and we are both against that). We allowed each other the freedom to express our own thoughts – whether it be politically/musically it didn’t matter so long as we felt liberated and in the flow.
We hardly ever clashed in the process and we worked well from A to B, from conception to creation!
LBB: In terms of the release, did it meet/exceed your expectations in terms of reception? What factors do you guys believe a project needs to have to be successful in today’s market?
WJ: I would like to say millions have heard our EP, but look: The reality is, unlike record labels, we don’t exactly have marketing teams or advertising budgets… BUT, what we did really well is work together as a team and be as resourceful as possible with what we had.
So on that front yes it did meet our expectations in terms of what factors worked well: BEING RESOURCEFUL!
LBB: Do you guys have plans to make another EP? If so, will it be a similar theme to the first one or something different?
WJ: Let’s just say there could be “Kaupapa Driven 2” in 2020 *hint hint*, but for this year Phulaphekt will have a solo album dropping so I will be supportive of his project. He just dropped a new single titled Escape featuring Richie Cattell and the beat was made by myself so do check it out HERE.
LBB: Any final words or shout outs? Where can we find you?
WJ: Firstly, shout outs to the listeners! Thank you for taking the time to listen to our EP – we appreciate you!!!
Our families, friends and all who have supported in some way we appreciate you!!!
If you have not heard our EP and are curious you can find us on all main streaming services, just search: Kaupapa Driven
Peace, love and harmony!