Opensouls created a funky mix of hip hop, soul, and jazz which packed out nightclubs in the first decade of the new millennium, especially in their hometown of Auckland. A dozen members passed through the group and most of them became key figures on the local music scene in their own right. Opensouls released two top 40 albums, but will also be remembered as genre-bending live band, who could fire up any dancefloor.

To uncover where the group came from it’s best to start with one of the core members, Jeremy Toy. He grew up in a musical household: his mother had studied classical guitar, while his father played saxophone in well-known big bands, such as those led by Arthur Skelton and Jack Morris. Piano lessons started from age seven and then he took up saxophone at high school, but after being hectored by friends, he switched to guitar. He and his sister first performed at the Glasshouse in Brown’s Bay and Toy also played in school grunge group, Betty, at Rockquest (“trying to recycle the first Helmet record”) and won best original song.

Photo credit: Photo by Conor Clarke
Julien Dyne with Kelly Steven (from Punches).
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Rise Up
Jeremy Toy
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Turn It Up
Telephone Song
Hold You Close
Opensouls logo
Dollars (She's So Rad Disco remix)
Opensouls performing at the 2006 music awards
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Photo credit: Photo by Conor Clarke
Scribe with Opensouls - Say It Again (Vodafone Music Awards, 2008)

From The Crate


Wonderful Noise

Freestyle Records


Jeremy Toy - guitar, programming

Tyra Hammond - vocals

Julien Dyne - drums, programming

Bjorn Petersen - MC, vocals

Chip Matthews - bass

Isaac Aesili - trumpet, vocals

Steph Brown - keyboards

Cam Allen - saxophone

Scott Towers - saxophone

Harlin Davey - turntables

Joe Lindsay - trombone

Matt Short - bass


In 2007, Tyra Hammond appeared on Scribe’s single ‘Say It Again’.

Jeremy Toy also produced the third album by NZ-based Australian singer, Tim Guy (Big World, 2010). Their friendship also led Guy to write a song (‘Love Turns Wild’) for the second Opensouls album. Guy’s album wasn’t the only time Toy worked in the folk realm - he also produced Mel Parsons’ Red Grey Blue (2011).

Jeremy Toy also does production under the name ‘OTA’ which is a play on his second name (i.e., Toy-OTA).

Matt Short went on to play in Magic Factory.

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