Ariki: ‘I just asked everyone following me on Instagram to collaborate’

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Ariki: ‘I just asked everyone following me on Instagram to collaborate’

Ariki Perana

Filled with sharp songwriting and colourful beats, Ariki drops futuristic EP ‘Milkgang Vol 1’, a five-track taster of his unique genre-defying electronica.

Delivering an edgy, genre-defying sound that combines experimental electronic with hyper-pop and post-hardcore, Aoteroa-based producer Ariki Perana is cementing his place within the music industry with his newly-released lush EP, Milkgang Vol 1.

Released via his own label Milkgang, the eclectic producer turned solo artist’s EP harnesses a sound that transcends labels, full of colourful beats, vibrant melodies, hyper-pop influences and playful lyricism. Across five pulsating tracks, Ariki channels his personal aesthetics while keeping his influences (and his emotions) on his sleeve.

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Inspired by a melting pot of influences, Dorian Electra, PC music, Full of Hell, Dance Gavin Dance and Angel Maker, Ariki has taken inspiration from the darkest and most euphoric sides of post-rock, post-hardcore, emotional pop, EDM and bubblegum 2000s aesthetics, blends them together and pours them out in a refined and energetic tone.

From the previously released vivacious indie-pop single ‘Caustic!’, to the abrasive alternative, post-hardcore ‘Get Me Out’, the EP visits a wide range of sonic worlds, all wrapped in authentic and unwaveringly honest lyricism.  

Radiating authentic energy and all-encompassing sound, the opening track ‘Outta Space’ is the perfect introduction: an indie-pop post-rock anthem filled with infectious melodies, building guitar strings and elements of electronica. Featuring Meelo on the tasty fast-paced track, vocally the pair melt into each other perfectly – a collaboration we’ll hopefully hear more from in the future. With a 90s aesthetic and slightly grunge, pop-twist that has us reminiscent of the early days of pop-punk, this vivid, emotionally charged effort sets the bar high for the track to follow.

‘Get Me Out’ featuring Zerotonin follows on from the dark atmosphere, diving into an angsty post-grunge anthem. Running for just 90 seconds, the unapologetic, stifling vocals match the heaviness of the instruments throughout the track, incorporating the dark tone through the lyrics which depicts the inner battle of trying to break free from one’s struggles: “Just get me out of my head now, I want to escape it”.

Lightening the mood, ‘Fire In Your Eyes’ is a soulful slice of dreamy electronica. With an infectious bass and lush, emotional soundscapes, you end up on a floating cloud wondering how you made it to the sun. The vocals from Flux Psyche are so beautiful and bright and have so much emotion.

‘Caustic!’ is a dark, dreamy beat-driven stunner with irresistibly groovy melodies and twinkling synths. Released back in November, the dark slice of electronica is short but sweet, tracking just shy of two minutes. Inspired by the pressures of lockdown, the song circle’s themes of self-awareness and the pain of watching cracks in a relationship begin to appear.

Written in a place of resolution, experiences of love and heartbreak are tightly packaged in a vibrant and confident EP, with the tracks able to stand alone or play a part of the larger narrative at hand.

“With this EP, it covers a lot of interpersonal relationships. I find myself always going back to things that have happened to me or around me and expressing how I feel toward or around it. If I were to draw a narrative from this EP, track by track it feels like two characters who form a relationship that begins in a calm and nice time. They go through a lot of difficulties (lockdown) and eventually have a falling out.

“Then, the character I seem to play tries to reach out one last time with the awkward 3 am text type vibe and gets DENIED.”

This rejection can be felt through the EP’s final track, the eerie ‘Stone Cold’ featuring Y+. Blending a dark blend of emo trap and glittery hyper-pop sounds, this spicy three-minute arrangement sees the producer at the absolute peak of his powers.

Joining the ranks of his previous releases ‘Keeps Ghosts Close’, ‘LOW COST’ (EP), ‘Idkfa’, this EP stands as a genuine expansion of Ariki’s musical palette that we’ve seen continue to evolve and reshape over the last few years, partly credited to the array of unique artists he works with.

“For Milkgang VOL 1 though, I wanted to try collaborating with a bunch of people online over lockdown. NZ went into lockdown and I just asked everyone following me on Instagram to collaborate if they had the time and this came from it,” he explains.

Through his music, his label Milkgang and his work at Poynton Studios, Ariki is passionate about collaborating and giving back to the communities and helping artists get off the ground.

“I loooooove working with people! There are so many cool artists out there writing songs but don’t really have the resources to get recorded or mixed well and it’s so nice to get in Poynton and just hype them up and make really cool fun songs.

“If you’ve worked with me, you know I love pushing musicians, especially vocalists! I’m talking 4-octave vocal harmonies and crazy huge chords on my nine string and 100 synth track stacks! But I always cut back in the end for better or worse.”

Littered with hyper-pop details and trippy undertones, Milkgang Vol. 1 is a slightly new direction for the producer who has never been afraid to show a little personality in his tracks.

It’s a safe bet you’ll be hearing a lot more from Ariki in the not-too-distant future.

You can stream MILKGANG VOL.1 on streaming platforms now.