ladiesmile is an extremely talented producer duo based out of Auckland, New Zealand. The faces behind the collaborative, brothers Hank and Rede, work together to produce a variety of music including but not limited to indie pop, indie rock, and even some hyperpop. Throughout 2019 and 2020, they collaborated with friends Byemilo on CATSCAN and DAYNA, and Bryce Bishop on their breakout single GOODMORNING!. After taking a year long hiatus, ladiesmile looks to come back strong for their return in 2022, hinting at familiar and unfamiliar faces to appear alongside them.
Teddy: Describe yourselves, and tell us about what ladiesmile is.
Henry: I’m Henry, AKA Hank, I’m newly 21 years old, and I’m feeling good about the world. I play the guitar, and some of the bass.
Tom: Um, yeah, we’re not used to talking about ourselves Teddy.
I’m Tom, or Rede, and I’m 22. I have been producing music for quite a while now. I make trap, indie pop, indie rock, and hyperpop. I make a whole bunch of stuff, but my first and foremost project is ladiesmile. I’ve produced for a bunch of different people, but the indie rock ladiesmile stuff is absolutely my favorite. I have the most fun making music with my brother, out of anyone.
Henry: I’d say ladiesmile, first and foremost is a collaborative project. It’s a two piece composition of Tom and I, based out of Auckland, New Zealand, and our main focus is making cool shit with other people and that’s what we’ve always done. And I think I’m pretty happy sticking with that for the foreseeable future.
Teddy: What inspired the two of you guys to start making music? And how did ladiesmile come about?
Henry: So Tom and I have been pretty musically driven for as long as we can really remember. We were in piano lessons together at five years old. We both picked up instruments in high school. Tom picked up drums. I picked up guitar. Probably the better half of the first, I don’t know, 17, 18 years of my life, we just kind of did our own thing with music. So we both had separate bands, some better than others.
Tom: Mine was better!
Henry: Tom’s was much better than mine. I recently listened to a recording of one of my old bands and I played every wrong note on my solo.
But yeah, I think it was 2018 when we were sitting in the car and we saw “Ladies Mile”. It was a street name that we passed on the way to drop me off at work, my supermarket job. And we both went at the same time “That’s a sick band name. Dibs”. Then eventually that just led to us saying, well, we both have dibs on the name, so we’d better make music together.
And that’s how it kinda started.
Teddy: Explain the process you guys go through when creating your music, and how you each contribute.
Tom: Henry spends time up in his room writing riffs and guitar melodies, and then he’ll bring them to me. I’ll either say I love it, let’s do it, or I’ll say I hate it. Or, I say we could do better than this. Then, Henry records the guitars into Ableton for me, and then it flips, and I’ll do drums, or bass, and Henry will tell me if he thinks it’s great, or if he hates it, or if he thinks that we could do a little bit better.
The process goes along like that. We’ll pass guitars back and forth, come up with ideas, and while we’re writing the instrumental, at the same time we’re thinking, out of our artist friends, who would be the best fit on the song. It’s a lot of jumping up and down going “OH THAT WOULD BE SICK”.
The thing is, when we make a beat for someone, we don’t want to make a ‘type beat’ for them. We want to make a ladiesmile beat that is accessible to that artist, although I do feel like there is a dynamic shift happening. Like, we’ll have an artist and we’ll be like, we want to make something for this person.
And then, suddenly the whole Henry sending me files from his room thing goes out the window, and we’ll actually sit down together and write something together.
Henry: You’ll contribute to guitars, I’ll contribute to bass, and it’ll become more of a fluid thing. That’s just something I’ve observed recently that I think is quite cool.
We’ve been working with producers as well, which has been a lot of fun, opening up the collaborative process. We’ve been a lot more open to that recently, making it very much like a friends and family community thing. You know, get all the guys together in a Discord call, and cook up a ladiesmile song.
Teddy: Speaking of that friends and family mindset you guys have adopted, how have you guys made all these connections over the years?
Henry: Tom. I’m a recluse.
Tom: So I, uh, joined Discord in 2018. I found myself in a few select communities surrounding different artists. We put out CATSCAN and I advertised it in those select communities. Through that I met Bryce. I met Milo through a remix on SoundCloud that ended up doing pretty well. I met skinnyandsoft through one of my friends in the local New Zealand scene who hit me up after CATSCAN came out. It’s been a massive mix of online and in-person, though it’s definitely gotten more in-person as of recently. We’ve just been diving into the local scene a little bit more, meeting a lot of really cool people, and we’ve honestly been making some of the best music we’ve ever made.
That’s typically how we go about meeting people. Approaching friends of friends that we really like, and sometimes just random people out of the blue, to try to foster a relationship.
Teddy: Speaking of your local scene in New Zealand, describe that. I know it’s a lot different than what we have here in the US. How has that local scene influenced your guys’ music?
Tom: I would say we’re actually much more inspired by music internationally than New Zealand music. I think there is some fantastic New Zealand music out there, but it’s also very easy to get trapped into a box. Being successful, but only within the country. There’s a sort of a sound that becomes homogenous with this area and has a tough time breaking out.
Teddy: So then, let me ask, how have you guys worked to break out of that?
Tom: I think we are incredibly lucky because our peers are international, you know. I fly out to the states to visit my friends that I’ve made, who I would absolutely consider lifelong friends, and I’m inspired by their local scenes.
I think that we’re more inspired by the people in the New Zealand music sphere than we are by the music. Our local scene is full of immensely talented, creative, and down to earth people. You never really come across too many artists who are too cool for school. I think that’s so inspiring. That’s absolutely the mentality that we want to have. If someone wants to hit us up and ask us to produce for them or something, we don’t want people to be scared of that. Collaboration is our biggest thing.
Henry: Yeah, I agree with that, and I would say that some of the songs that we have unreleased at the moment, coming out 2022, are definitely more along the lines of being influenced by our local scene, purely because of the people we’re working with, people from that scene, which I personally think is sick. I feel like we are genuinely adding something to the scene that’s not there yet.
Teddy: How would you guys describe your music to somebody who hasn’t listened before?
Tom: I think it all kinda falls under indie pop, but every song is quite different. CATSCAN is a big, blown out, distorted, garage rock banger. DAYNA is moreso a traditional paced indie pop or rock ballad sort of slow.
Henry: When people ask me what the best representation of our music is, I always point them to GOODMORNING!. I say the music that we have coming out definitely falls more along the line of GOODMORNING! than anything else we have.
Tom: GOODMORNING! was the best song that we had made at that time. And we’ve kind of just tried to chase that feeling ever since, and we’ll follow that feeling, whatever direction it goes. If we want to make it like a ladiesmile rap song, we will.
Henry: It felt like putting our foot in the right direction instead of just walking aimlessly, trying to figure it out as we go. We finally felt like we found a path and we’re like, okay, let’s stick to this.
Teddy: So moving onto the new year, 2022, what should we expect from you guys?
Tom: A bunch of singles coming out. One of them is slated to drop early this year, with Lou, skinnyandsoft. We also had a pretty heavy hand in helping produce his EP that he’s got coming out. We’ve got more songs with artists you’ve heard before and songs with artists that you haven’t heard before. Some relatively new names to a lot of our fans, which I think is really, really, exciting.
I’m so happy that we’ve been able to develop some sort of platform, because we know so many people who probably deserve it more than us. And I am so excited by the thought of putting my friends on, that makes me so happy.
Expect cool things, from the two of us together and separately.