The trio of Home Brew were led by Tom Scott, with Lui Gumaka and beatmaker Hazbeats (Haz Huavi), and were joined onstage by a full live band. They established themselves off the back of a series of digital EPs they gave away for free on Bandcamp, along with some very entertaining home-made video clips posted on the internet, promoting their music and generally getting up to mischief while avoiding getting arrested.
Their debut album was perhaps the most anticiated and postively received local release of 2012.
Homebrew’s debut digital release, the Home Brew Light EP came out in 2007, with music produced by Soulchef and mastering from Chris Macro (Dubious Bros). They followed that up in 2008 with the Last Week EP on vinyl and digital, featuring production from the crew’s Hazbeats.
In 2010, after a number of rejections for NZ On Air music video funding, the band held a mammoth fundraising gig to make a video and pulled in $15,000 in one night. They had convinced acclaimed videomaker Chris Graham (Scribe, Savage, TrinityRoots) to agree to make the clip for ‘Underneath The Shade’ if they raised the money.
Home Brew were shortlisted for the inaugural Critics Choice Prize at the NZ Music Awards in 2010, alongside The Naked And Famous, and eventual winners Street Chant.
Home Brew’s self-titled debut album dropped in May 2012 and went straight to No.1 on the New Zealand Album charts. They celebrated its release by holding a monumental 48-hour release party at a former brothel in Kingsland, Auckland. The official blurb for the album tells you a lot about the band – read on...
“Despite what these people might tell you about Home Brew being burdens on society, or advocates for drug dependency, you gotta respect the integrity of their independence and the diligence of their work ethic. In the last year they've been involved in three 5 star releases (At Peace, Max Marx, Last Week), nominated for the Vodafone Critics Choice Award, impregnated Petra Bagust and shaped the rules of the NZ Music Industry without a marketing director or legally recognised source of income.
“Now, after three years of dedication and benefit fraud, they've finally completed a piece of work good enough to move them out of their Mum's place; a debut double album conceptualised by the balance of life's extremities. One side, light. The other, dark. A dichotomy of methadone and melancholy. Infinity and finality. It's a record that looks back at Saturday's moment of madness through Sunday's moment of clarity.
“Featuring the talents of such people as Chip Matthews (Opensouls), Christoph El Truento (At Peace/Wonderful Noise) and Hollie Smith (Don McGlashan's friend) it's their most mature, self reflective, existential piece of work to date.”
The album landed four nominations for the NZ Music Awards in 2012, and the band arrived at the event, walking up the red carpet “leading a goat and dressed like they were about to board Noah's Ark” (NZ Herald). The goat decided to go to the toilet during its red carpet debut, nerves perhaps. Home Brew performed at the awards, dissing John Key and swearing lots, which managed to get them censored on the TV broadcast of the evening They walked away with the award for Best Hip-Hop Album, making a point in their acceptance speech of thanking God for not existing, "because if he did, we wouldn't have won."
The next day they were the talk of the (often horrified) media.
Following the album’s release, the band performed successfully across NZ and made their first foray into Australia. And yet, that was largely it, with the band being on hold since 2014.
Scott was also involved in @Peace, and the group worked with a bunch of like-minded musicians as part of the Young Gifted and Broke collective (which also included Team Dynamite, Scratch 22, Tourettes, Christoph El Truento and others).