Aucklander Amy Boroevich performs as Hina. She was was lucky enough to be part of Pao Pao Pao music mentoring programme last year under the tutelage of (naming but a few) Ria Hall, Seth Haapu and Francis Kora. NZ On Air Music picked the resulting single Scratch for their New Tracks compilation this August. Officially the song will be out this Friday, but we’re pleased to premiere it here today!
What’s your given name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?
My name is Amy Boroevich. I’m from Auckland and I sing, play violin, flute, guitar, a little bit of drums and a tiny bit of bass.
Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?
I’ve been playing violin since I was four, so my classical music training has really been the best grounding, and playing in chamber orchestra was pretty much the only thing I enjoyed about school! I’m generally pretty confident with life, but quite shy with my music, so it was comforting having a formal music qualification for my own self-assurance. Not that you need it, but it’s certainly helped me heaps in more ways than one!
Any other projects we might know you from?
This is my first project I’ve shared with the world, unless you knew me when I was 13 and co-wrote a song with my best friend at the time called Janis the Gardener. Channelling Scream-era Dave Grohl on a three-piece drum kit accompanied by a broken bass, it’s probably my best work to date.
What’s the background story of how Hina came to be a thing?
I was lucky enough to be part of Pao Pao Pao music mentoring programme last year. So as well as working and getting through the third year of my law degree, I spent 2019 writing songs that I’m releasing this year, in the form of two singles and an EP. With the help of mentors like Seth Haapu, Rob Ruha, Ria Hall, Troy Kingi, Maisey Rika, Teeks, Francis Kora, Tama Waipara, and Louis Baker, Pao really gave me the push to give this whole music thing a proper crack.
How and when did you come up with the name for the new project?
It took me ages to think of a name. I didn’t want to use my real name because I wanted some kind of pseudo-anonymity and I also wanted to pay homage to being indigenous, as that’s really important to me. I’m a bit obsessed with the moon, so after mulling it over for a bit, HINA popped into my mind and has stuck ever since.
How has your writing evolved from your beginnings in songwriting?
I used to write really cheesy songs fuelled by pre-teen angst, that I’d hate immediately. Now I like to think I write marginally less cheesy songs, fuelled by early-twenties angst, that I don’t hate yet. I still start writing songs on the guitar like I always have, but I go on to produce them too now in my little bedroom studio, so that’s added another element to my writing.
Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?
I haven’t done heaps of live stuff as this project was essentially born in lockdown and I’m working on getting some gigs now that we can party again. But I have loved the gigs I’ve done with Auckland Live including a couple of evening slots for Summer in the Square and a spot on the Weekly Mix. And Ed Waaka’s E Noho Live was heaps of fun during the lockdown, such a great experience.
What makes Scratch stand out for you as a single?
I’ve just always thought it would be good as a single. Maybe because it’s the song I spent the most time on at Pao, and maybe because it’s quite different from the other songs I’ve written. But mainly just because I like it.
What is the story behind the song?
I wrote Scratch really quickly, that’s often how it goes for me – the writing part initially just happens and I experience it as it unfolds in front of me. The track was then organically developed over the course of Pao Pao Pao, with the help of a few of our mentors. Seth Haapu helped me play around with the arrangement of the lyrics. Ria Hall worked on the vocal delivery with me. Francis Kora helped me understand my intention with the different ‘speakers’ in the song, and Troy Kingi gave me production advice when I finally got the beat down. It was interesting to work with Fran because he really helped me define who I was addressing in the song. The lyrics can be taken very literally or more metaphorically. It sounds a little conceited, but that’s backhanded. The real meaning behind Scratch is about knowing my worth, so I can both give and receive love, with no place for ego.
What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?
I think my favourite part is the bridge. It’s a bit sexy and cheeky and heaps of fun to sing.
Who did you record/produce the single with and where?
I wrote it myself, worked on it with my Pao mentors (as above) then went home and produced it. When I say ‘produced’ I mean I had a few meltdowns over the fact that I couldn’t get the beat down to save myself. Just loads of trial and error and frustrated yelling from my bedroom. Also, very loud celebratory yelling when I finally got it how I wanted it!
What would you like listeners to take away from this song?
Their own interpretation. I love hearing all the different things that people think!
How do you generally work out what would make a good single?
Mainly just the song that I like the most, although not always. One song on my upcoming EP I love to bits, but would never release it as a single because it’s super personal and raw. So maybe just the song that has a solid vibe. Whatever that means.
Who else is in your team?
I do pretty much everything myself, apart from the final mix and mastering done by two epic humans – Scott Seabright and Chris Chetland, respectively. I’m also self-managed and send out a lot of emails, so you could say I’m a publicist too. I definitely couldn’t do it without my boyfriend, Oscar, my personal photographer and now videographer. We’re working out this whole music video thing together as we go, which is loads of fun.
Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?
My EP will be out towards the end of October! Very excited to put it out so keep an eye out for that. I’m also working on a music video for Scratch and another video for a track from the EP, either later in the year or early next year.
Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.
Money – Leisure
Best Thing in the Room – Lisa Crawley
Bird of Paradise – Karnan Saba, Hone Be Good
Have you got any advice for others about making applications to NZ On Air?
Get in touch with NZOA! They’re awesome and really approachable. Go in for a chat and find out what they’re all about.
Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?
I love Say Something with Ria Hall. I’m usually not a podcast person because I usually zone out and lose track ,but this one is a winner! Not strictly music, but Hello Zukeen is an awesome home-grown platform and they’ve put out some really cool mags too.
Any last words?
Increase the length of time to undo sending an email on Gmail to 30 seconds!