After twenty-two years at the helm of New Zealand’s most loved rock band, Shihad frontman Jon Toogood has built up a treasure trove of musical connections. Lucky for us they have now collided, resulting in one hell of a project. After a couple of years “collecting musical ideas” the multi instrumentalist began work in earnest six months ago on what has become THE ADULTS, a celebration of his work with some of New Zealand’s brightest talents and an iconic Kiwi album in-the-making.
A truly collaborative affair, the project began with a wishlist of artists that Jon “loved, admire and respected”, all of whom jumped at the chance to work with him to create the eclectic tracklisting. The roll call of names on the album reads like a who’s who of New Zealand music, including names as diverse as Shapeshifter’s Redford Grenell, Ladi 6, Ruban and Kody Neilson, Anika Moa, Julia Deans, Dimmer’s Shayne Carter and Gary Sullivan, Little Bushman’s Warren Maxwell, Riki Gooch and co-producer and collaborator Tiki Taane. Collectively, the group is now known as ‘The Adults’, and the frontman says that after twenty years in the business it was definitely time that he “learned a whole new way of writing music from these people, who do it so well”. They too learned a whole new musical vocabulary from Toogood, and appear on this album in ways you’ve never heard them before.
The end result is a collection of ten songs that is beautiful in its eclecticism, and will be a surprise for many of Toogood’s – as well as his key collaborators’ – fans. He is particularly proud of his work with Shayne Carter, which he confesses to being “a little nervous about as I’m such a fanboy when it comes to his music”. He adds that he was pleasantly surprised by their similar “writing temperament”, and the end results are magical. A fine example of the duo’s work is the track “Most Important”, a paean to what they have sacrificed in the name of creating music.