Introducing South Auckland’s CUTSS and Her Garagey 'Doom-Woop’

The Coolies' SJ cuts out on her own for a six-song EP of lo-fi pop.

04 July 2016, 10:16pm

SJ (left) with her Coolies bandmate Tina.

CUTSS is the solo project for SJ from south Auckland punks the Coolies. Named after a river and the original rural community in Tolaga Bay on New Zealand’s east coat, UAWA is SJ’s first release as CUTSS and one that has her performing a lo-fi pop that she calls ‘garagey doom-woop.’

Released as a six-song 7″ lathe on Wellington label Epic Sweep, UAWA was mastered by her Coolies bandmate Stefan Neville and features the track “Ode To…” that you can listen to below.

A video producer who is inspired by exploratory and experimental approaches to the medium, SJ also uses the CUTSS live performances to explore sound and vision with projections and mixed media.

Noisey: You share the same birthday as Sean and John Lennon. Is that why you are called SJ?
I suppose you could say I'm the Maori Yoko.

Tolaga Bay sounds amazing. What is it like?
It's like ooh-ahh-wah, yeah-yeah-nah, rural beautiful turangawaewae isolated paradise

You say that you want to sing R&B and soul but garagey doom-woop is what comes out. Haha. R&B megastars have more political and social influence than the biggest punk bands. Do you find it odd that people accept politics in punk but get weirded out when pop stars getting political?
Totally, I was just thinking about like what the fuck are punks up to now that it's hip to be vegan, protest and share one sided political views hahaha seriously though I'm not surprised by any of the random things that happen these days. One of my favourite records last year was Miguel’s Wildheart so when I saw him wearing a Crass patch I was down. The thought of Miguel's version of The Feeding the 5000 really resonates with me on a personal level, but does Miguel get down with Crass? Wait, what was the question? Oh yeah R&B has always ruled. I don't I sing well enough so delay pedal and telephone mic are very necessary. Punk is much more forgiving.

Your live performance includes experimental visual elements. Does this change from gig to gig?
Out of boredom and a short attention span I like bands, instruments, projections to change as much as possible. If I had more time I'd spend it recording, I like the idea of non-stop reinvention, evolution etc. I suppose Im like an early Madonna in that sense.

You recently made a video with great New Zealand band HEX. Do you enjoy working with others on videos? Is it a collaborative process or do they just allow you to go for it?
HEX are so great. It's collaborative in that they make the music I make the video. The process usually involves weed, broken VHS mixes, projectors, a sub-tropical climate and vision. It's most definitely problematic.

'UAWA' is available now through Epic Sweep.

Catch CUTSS July 10 in Auckland at Audio Foundation with Terry .