And$um chats new album and being “proud of the sound that I have created”

Earlier this month, we were treated to Late Night Down Brougham, the sprawling sophomore album from New Zealand’s And$um.

Across fourteen tracks, the hip-hop artist sketches vivid characters and storylines, as bound by And$um’s clear affinity for the hometown that raised him. 

From the jazzy trap revelry of High Beams to the softer seduction of Dancer, the album offers ample room for And$um to flex his versatility, to the point where we simply had to catch up with to discover just how he does it.

And$um interview

Below, And$um swings by Happy for chat about the project, the nine-to-five hustle, and being “proud of the sound that I have created.” 

Scroll down for our complete interview with And$um, and listen to his new album Late Night Down Brougham below. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

AND$UM: Recovering from my album release party! Enjoying a cruisy day after preparing for the show for so long.

HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

AND$SUM: I’m based in Christchurch and there is a lot of talent here. But probably not the strongest scene in terms of live shows and opportunities to play.

A lot of really incredible artists and producers floating around, who are doing really wicked things on a national or global stage. 


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HAPPY: Describe an average day?

AND$UM: These days it’s mainly the 9-5 grind. So just trying to find the time to be creative when I can.

HAPPY: Who were some of your earliest musical influences, and how did they shape your decision to pursue a career in music?

AND$UM: I was really lucky to be around a good group of friends at the end of high school. We all started rapping and making music at the same time, and they encouraged me to release tracks and get better at my craft.

We all played shows together and went through the learning stages at the same time, and it was a supportive environment. That kicked off my whole journey, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

HAPPY: As an artist, how do you perceive your own evolution from your earlier work to “Late Night Down Brougham”? Are there specific elements you consciously aimed to develop or refine?

AND$UM: With Late Night Down Brougham it was an intentional process of what I wanted to make. I came into it wanting to tell a story and provide a narrative throughout the album.

In earlier projects, I found myself just going with the flow, and piecing things together as they came.

I wanted to create a cohesive project, rather than put out a collection of tracks. It was a nice change of pace taking that time to plan things out, I feel like it honours the idea of an album and encapsulates the idea I was trying to get across.


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As I’ve gotten older my production and writing style has changed a lot. I’ve stopped trying to impress people as much and just focused on what I want to create.

I think that has led to the album being a lot more authentic, and a better reflection of who I am as an artist. My skills as a producer have gotten better with every release as well, so I feel like on a technical level I’ve improved a lot from earlier releases. 

HAPPY: Being entirely self-produced, can you share some insights into your production process? How do you go about creating a cohesive sonic landscape for an entire album?

AND$UM: I always start with the beat first. I usually find a sample that sets the vibe and go from there. I try not to focus on the technical aspects at the beginning and just look for something that has the feeling I’m looking for.

You can tell straight away if the song has the right feeling to it, and I usually trust that. The sonic landscape I was trying to create was very jazz-inspired, so it was a matter of experimenting with a bunch of different sounds before narrowing it down to something I could base the album around.

HAPPY: In the collaborative process, especially with features like live saxophone from Jimmy Rainey, how do you ensure a harmonious blend of different musical elements while preserving the authenticity of your own style?

AND$UM: I think it’s about appreciating the collaboration process and getting buy-in from everybody. I want to collaborate with someone because I love their sound, so I don’t want to force my own bias.

I want them to bring their own identity to the project, and I feel that elevates the feel of the track and creates something unique. It’s about trying to make the song the best version of itself and getting everybody to work towards that.

HAPPY: “Late Night Down Brougham” is recognized as a fully realised offering. How do you define your artistic identity, and what aspects do you believe set you apart within the hip-hop and jazz fusion scene?

AND$UM: Thank you! I think it’s something that’s just come over time. My style and identity have grown over the years, and reflect the things I’ve experienced and overcome.

So, because of that, I feel like I have an original style that is truly my own. I’ve been putting out music for a while now, and each release has taught me something new and developed my identity as an artist.

The music I made 5 years ago isn’t the music I would make now, but that’s the cool thing about it. It’s taken years of trial and error and experimenting with different things, but I’m really proud of the sound that I have created now.


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HAPPY: Among the fourteen tracks on the album, do you have a personal favourite, and if so, what makes that particular track special to you?

AND$UM: It’s tough to pick a favourite haha! I think I enjoy each song for different reasons. The song I love listening to the most is ‘High Beams’ featuring Vallé. That was the one that just felt special to me. It had the feeling of a really big track.

‘29/3’ was the first song I wrote on the album after my dog died. So that one was special to me as it kind of kick-started the whole process.

HAPPY: Can you describe your ideal creative environment? How does your surroundings, both physically and emotionally, influence your creative process?

AND$SUM: For me, inspiration comes at random times. I find it quite hard to dedicate time to be creative and prefer to strike when the iron is hot.

So my ideal creative environment is just being in a space where that can happen and having the tools available to capitalise on it. Usually, it comes from a day lounging around at my house.


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HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

AND$SUM: Being creative in general! If I’m not making music I’m writing or designing. I just enjoy the creative process. Hanging with my dogs Rodger and Ralph, my girlfriend and (too much) time on the PlayStation.