Listen to Muroki’s expansive new EP ‘Timezones’

Hip-hop, indie and funk collide on Timezones, the new EP from Muroki. The New Zealand crooner swings by Happy to chat about the project.  

Muroki has released his latest EP, Timezones. The seven-track collection features the previously released single Middle Ground, Bad Dreams and Love Cocoon, the last of which enlisted fellow New Zealand artist BENEE

Speaking of the EP — which marks Muroki’s third overall and follow-up to 2022’s Heading East — in a press statement, Muroki said “it’s a black soul record which speaks to the rainbow of emotions and experiences that I’ve endured throughout my relationship.”

Muroki EP 'Timezones'

“My aim was to pull together an array of my favourite genres – everything from rhythm & blues and hip hop, to indie and funk – all tied together with a cheeky, sexy, soulful vocal.”

The EP is said to be inspired by the likes of d’Angeleo, Andre 3000, Childish Gambino and A$AP Rocky. Muroki’s debut EP Dawn arrived in 2021, and spawned the artist’s breakout hit Wavy.

Listen to his latest EP Timezones below.

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

MUROKI: I’ve been dropping off some clothes to Recycle Boutique, editing a live session with some mates and picking up Germans from the airport.

HAPPY: Tell us a little about where you live, what’s the scene like?

MUROKI: I’m currently living between Auckland and Raglan. The scene in Auckland is not always my cup of tea. Raglan on the other hand, is relaxed, small but full of life by the ocean.

HAPPY: Congrats on your forthcoming EP ‘Timezones’, can you tell us about the title and what inspired it?

MUROKI: Thank you! Honestly I just named it after one of the tracks off the EP because I thought it sounded cool haha. In saying that, I did make the EP in quite a few different time zones, so I thought “you know… it does make sense.”

Muroki EP 'Timezones'

HAPPY: You talk about Time Zones being a “black soul record.” Can you elaborate on what that means to you and the emotions you explore on the EP?

MUROKI: I’m black and it’s soulful. Maybe some people wouldn’t describe the sonics of it like that haha but I find it so hard to categorise my music into specific genres, so I just roll with that.

HAPPY: Your music blends so many genres, from R&B and hip-hop to indie and funk. What’s your creative process like, and how do you decide which influences to bring into each song?

MUROKI: I’m not really thinking about influences when I’m making music, they just somehow find their way into my music whilst it’s being made.

Maybe after a song is written and we start producing the track is when I might start to choose influences to bring into the song.

Muroki EP 'Timezones'

HAPPY: “Middle Ground” sounds like a beautiful exploration of long-distance relationships. What inspired you to write that track?

MUROKI: My partner is from Europe and was living there at the time whilst I was still in New Zealand. For some reason there have always been these little hurdles with us living in the same country, whether it’s visas, work, family etc.

And for a while there we just wanted to find a middle ground where we could both be together in the same country without having to worry about all that stuff.

HAPPY: Tell us everything about collaborating with BENEE on “Love Cocoon”! How did it come about, and what was the experience like?

MUROKI: Love Cocoon originally had two verses of my own on it, which was cool but it was still lacking a bit of somethin somethin.

I was living at Benee’s house at the time and I thought she would sound super dope on the track, so I just asked her when we were eating breakfast and she was keen. It was pretty chill really.

HAPPY: You were BENEE’s first signing to Olive Records – that’s huge! How has her mentorship impacted your journey?

MUROKI: I think recently I’ve been taking more pages out of her book. For example, creatively, she just does whatever she wants which I admire because I think it’s easier said than done sometimes.

Muroki EP 'Timezones'

HAPPY: Your music draws inspiration from your Kenyan heritage and your Raglan upbringing. What did you listen to growing up, and how do these diverse influences shape your unique sound?

MUROKI: A lot of my parent’s music taste probably has a lot to do with how my music sounds now. In my mum’s house there would always be Micheal Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lauren Hill, and Ben Harper playing. In my dad’s place, he would either be singing or listening to soukous or rumba music.

HAPPY: “Wavy” topped the NZ charts and “Surfin'” was a summer anthem. How does it feel to connect with listeners on such a big scale?

MUROKI: It’s just a trip!

HAPPY: What makes you happy?

MUROKI: Having a job that allows me the freedom to make or do whatever I please in life.