Connan Mockasin Biography
Connan Tant Hosford, better known by the stage name Connan Mockasin, is a surreal R&B musician from Te Awanga, New Zealand. After having spent over 10 years living between Wellington, London, East Sussex and Manchester, Hosford now resides in Los Angeles, California.
Connan Mockasin Age – How Old Is Connan Mockasin – Connan Mockasin Birthday
He is 35 years old as of 2018 and was raised in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
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Mockasin shifted to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend, Japanese-born Playboy playmate Hiromi Oshima. It wasn’t intended as a launch into the big time, but the move allowed him to concentrate on a film project that had been 20 years in the making.
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Connan Mockasin career
Born after the war, and raised in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Hosford started his first band “The Four Skins” (named by his father, Ade “because there are four skins on the drums”) while attending Havelock North intermediate school in 1995. Soon after this, due to embarrassment, Connan called an end to The Four Skins, and wouldn’t start another band until several years later.
In 2003, after moving to Wellington, Hosford briefly played in a band called “Grampa Moff” (later to become a track title on “Please Turn Me Into The Snat”), consisting of Blake Pryor (bass) and Christopher Chalmers (drums), before forming his principle New Zealand group “Connan And The Mockasins” (named after Connan’s interest in making his own shoes).
Playing alongside Connan were Ross Walker (upright acoustic bass) and Seamus Ebbs (drums). It was with this band that Connan would relocate to London in May 2006 after releasing their second EP “Uuu It’s Teasy”. After a series of concerts in London, the band visited New Zealand again for a national 2006/2007 Summer tour.
In 2007, the band moved from London to a village in East Sussex in the south east of England. Ross Walker was replaced by James Milne, of Lawrence Arabia and Reduction Agents fame, on bass guitar. The band then played the CMJ festival in New York. Towards the end of 2007 Ebbs left the band to pursue his career, shortly before Hosford returned to New Zealand for a national tour in 2008 – adopting his new moniker “Connan Mockasin”.
Solo career beginnings (2008-2010)
Hosford made his first solo recording with noted English DJ Norman Cook’s Brighton Port Authority project in 2008. The song “Jumps the Fence” was included on the I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat album.
In August 2009, Liam Finn formed a new band called BARB for a small New Zealand tour consisting of Connan Hosford, Lawrence Arabia (James Milne), Eliza Jane Barnes, Seamus Ebbs, Jol Mulholland and Wild Bill Rickets. Their album (recorded at Roundhead Studios in Auckland, New Zealand) was released in August 2010.
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In the early stages of his solo career, Mockasin played gigs supporting Late of the Pier, Liam Finn, Micachu & The Shapes, Crowded House, Mystery Jets and Warpaint.
Forever Dolphin Love (2010-2012)
Connan Mockasin released his first album “Please Turn Me into the Snat” in 2010 on Phantasy Sound, Erol Alkan’s record label, and in 2011 on Because Music. The album reached No. 39 on the New Zealand album charts, and received glowing reviews from critics including NME and Drowned in Sound. It was also shortlisted for the 2011 Taite Music Prize.
On 28 March 2011 the album was re-released as “Forever Dolphin Love” with a live bonus disc on Phantasy and Because Music. Mockasin has received favourable reviews for his unusual sound and musical style.
It was at this stage Hosford put together an incarnation of the existing Connan Mockasin live band: Matthew Eccles (drums), Nicholas Harsant (bass), Sam Dust (keyboards) and Rory McCarthy (percussion).
Since 2010, Mockasin has made reference to an album he was making with Sam Dust (Sam Eastgate of Late Of The Pier), which will be called ‘Soft Hair’. In an interview at the time Caramel was released, Connan announced that Soft Hair would be unveiled ‘next year’. It took until August 2016, however, before it was announced that the album would be released October 28.
In 2015, Mockasin and British artist Dev Hynes released the extended play Myths 001: Collaborative Recordings Captured in Marfa, TX March 9–16, 2015 through Mexican Summer.
After having toured the United States extensively with Australian support act Kirin J Callinan, Mockasin appeared on his November 2015 release “The Teacher”, released on French record label Record Makers.
Connan began curating concerts under the title “Mockasin’s Wet Dream”, the first of which took place at London military veteran’s club, Moth Club. The night was a collaboration between Charnwood based label Tasty Morsels and Mockasin. It featured an on-stage appearance by James Blake (who had recently announced Mockasin’s involvement on his album ‘The Colour In Anything’), Hosford’s father Ade, Liam Finn and Tasty Morsels members Infinite Bisous (Rory McCarthy of the Connan Mockasin band). The second Wet Dream would take place at Texan festival Marfa Myths, organised by American label Mexican Summer, and would include appearances by Ariel Pink and Andrew Van Wyngarden.
Rejoining BARB bandmates James Milne and Liam Finn, Connan has occasionally played concerts in New Zealand under “Mockasin Arabia Finn”, including a show at Crystal Palace, Auckland, in which the band was accompanied by Mick Fleetwood.
Along with Justin Vernon and Frank Ocean, Connan contributed to James Blake’s third album, ‘The Colour in Anything’, playing bass on “Noise Above Our Heads”, James has cited Connan as an inspiration, adding “Me actually dancing or moving around onstage, nobody should ever see. But having him around always makes me feel like I could do anything.” Connan joined James on stage periodically throughout a tour promoting his new record, singing harmonies.
Mockasin featured on the latest MGMT album “Little Dark Age” and can be seen in the music video of the same name.
Connan Mockasin Caramel
Mockasin and band toured with Charlotte Gainsbourg as her live band after Mockasin composed the song ‘Out Of Touch’ for her 2011 album Stage Whisper. Connan Mockasin toured with Radiohead in Australia and New Zealand throughout November 2012, playing sold-out shows in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Mockasin announced the release of his second album, Caramel, in September 2013. It was released on 4 November via Phantasy Sound/Because Music in the UK and 5 November via Mexican Summer in the US. The artist describes the new record as a concept playing off his last LP: “It starts with the dolphin leaving, and the boss who is so in with love with the dolphin is sad, and then it kicks into the new album, and he is happier. But there’s a car race and a crash.”
Connan Mockasin Caramel Video
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Interview: Connan Mockasin Talks About New Album ‘Jassbusters’ + Summer Tour
Thursday 11th January, 2018
It’s been almost five years since the release of Connan Mockasin’s previous worldwide hit album Caramel, but if you thought the Hawkes Bay psychedelic-pop artist has been resting on his laurels you’d be wrong. Mockasin has maintained a busy schedule of collaborations and recordings, dropping the Soft Hair album with Sam Dust (of Late Of The Pier) in 2016, and working alongside such luminaries as Charlotte Gainsbourg, James Blake, MGMT and more. Back in Aotearoa for the summer, he’s currently performing alongside Neil and Liam Finn on their ‘Where’s My Room’ tour before heading out for a headline tour of New Zealand, his first in almost eight years.
We caught up with Mockasin just before Christmas, shortly after the artist arrived back to his Te Awanga family home following a run of shows supporting James Blake in California. Check out our conversation below where he generously took time out to chat about his upcoming concept album Jassbusters, recent work with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale, challenges he faced working on Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new album Rest, and more…
Hi there, whereabouts are you?
I’m in Te Awanga in Hawkes Bay, I just got back about three hours ago.
You must be pretty exhausted from travelling.
A little bit, I’m having a wine and sitting by the ocean. It’s nice. The trip from LA’s not too bad because the time zone’s almost the same. It could be worse.
How did your shows with James Blake go over there?
Great, it was good. I did a solo performance at the San Francisco ones, and I’d never done that before and I had nothing organised, I improvised all (of it) so that was really liberating for me. It was really fun. That’s what he wanted me to do I think.
You performed last month at a massive Velvet Underground concert with John Cale.
John Cale yeah, we did the fiftieth anniversary of the Banana Record. Velvet Underground.
Were you playing the entire album or were you guesting on specific songs?
I did a few tracks. I did ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation’ in a nurses outfit, I did Lou Reed’s interjecting parts. And I did one with Animal Collective, ‘Here She Goes Again.’ And I did another few, I can’t remember the names of those.
You’ve had a very busy and productive year. You starred in the video for MGMT’s recent single ‘Little Dark Age’…
I was the caretaker.
How did you get to be involved with that video, and have you been working in the studio with those guys as well?
I have yeah, I did a little bit on their new record and Andrew (VanWyngarden) and I have become close friends, and Ben (Goldwasser) as well. He came to Te Awanga last year for Christmas, he stayed at my parents here with tents and stuff. Just really lovely people. Andrew and I did a surf trip to Iceland last year where we were making music for a surf film with some of our favourite surfers. We both enjoy surfing, we’re not very good at it but we’re fans of the sport.
Whereabouts do you surf in Hawkes Bay?
There’s a break out the front here, there’s a point break in Te Awanga. Or you can go down the road to Haumoana, there’s a river mouth there. If you go around Cape Kidnappers theres’s Ocean Beach and Wiamarama, around there. Beach breaks.
You’ve been involved with quite a few collaborations recently, and you’ve also been working on a new solo album?
I have yeah, but it’s a band recording. The first one I’ve done. That’ll come out next year (2018).
Is there a title for that?
Jassbusters (Mockasin spells out the title). J.A.S.S.B.U.S.T.E.R.S.
What ideas are you going to be exploring with that album? Will it be as sexy as Caramel?
Well it’s a concept record in that it’s a music teacher’s album, and they are called Jassbusters. It’s the first band recording I’ve done and it’s in two halves, one half is the New York version and one half is the Paris version. That goes with the Melodrama series, or five-part movie if you will. I’m not exactly sure what to call it at this point. That’s something I’ve been working on for twenty years with my brothers and my next door neighbour. So I thought it was a good time to do that now.
What’s the Melodrama five-part series?
That’s the music teacher and his relationship with one of the students. And that’s his band, the Jassbusters. So that’s their record that they put out.
You’ll be heading around New Zealand on a headline tour in February right?
Yeah! First time in a long time.
What can audience members expect from your tour?
We’ll get to have this touring band that’s not been to these places, I usually come here for a holiday anyway, and we’ll play a mixture from the last two, three records maybe even. And new things, I won’t give away too much but I’m really excited and the band are as well. We never really did New Zealand properly and we did the rest of the world, this is sort of the end of this era and it would be nice to do it back home before we stop doing things this way.
Your headline tour will follow a big pile of shows you’re doing with Neil and Liam Finn. That’s about eighteen shows in a row then right into another tour straight away.
That’s right yeah, it’s a lot for a small country. You can’t even do eighteen in America.
What’s your role going to be in that tour?
I don’t know yet. I recorded a bit on their record when they were making it, so I guess I’ll be doing some of that. I think I’ll be playing guitar mostly. Maybe some bass. We’ll find out when we have a few days rehearsal.
You’ve also worked recently with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Vince Staples, What was your role with those projects?
I’m not sure if Vince’s stuff ever got used or not. James (Blake) was producing some work with Vince and I came in for a week to do some sessions with them, and Dom (Maker) from Mount Kimbie. We were all doing that together.
With Charlotte, she had this place on an island in France. Her and I went out there for six weeks and wrote music. She was doing all the lyrics, she wanted to do it all in French which is really great, but I don’t speak French. It was quite tricky but we wrote most of her record, and then Paul McCartney had done a track as well. But then the record label didn’t really like the production I was doing, or the direction I was taking.
So they re-did a whole record (Rest) and they got SebastiAn who’s a French electronic musician, and they had Guy (Emmanuel de Homem-Christo) from Daft Punk, and just used some of the tracks that I’d done as well. This is years ago we did this. And Paul McCartney’s as well. SebastiAn produced it all and so it turned into that. I’ve only listened to it once. I’d love to do something with her that would be something that the record label would hate. Which is what we did. I’d love for people to hear what we did together. But y’know that stuff will never be allowed out, probably.
Are there any artists that you’re finding to be inspirational in your own work at the moment?
I tend to tune out to things while I’m working. I’ve had obvious influences when I was younger, now I like searching for things that sound new to me, and excite me. Things do inspire you but I don’t really like listening to something and go “I wanna, I wanna…” I mean there’s no point is there, copying something that’s already done? So no not really. But yeah I get inspired by something here or there but then I won’t want to listen to it deliberately because I don’t want to be influenced too much.
What does 2018 have in store for you?
I’m doing the yearly residency in Marfa (Texas), I’ll be taking my Dad there to record with the band. I haven’t been touring properly for over four years I think, because I’ve had a lot of time off enjoying life in Los Angeles. I’ll be collaborating less and working more.
Connan Mockasin Live
Connan Mockasin Albums
With Connan and the Mockasins
- Naughty Holidays (2004)
- Uuu It’s Teasy (2006)
- Sneaky Sneaky Dogfriend (2006) (EMI, Regal)
- Barb (2010)
- “Havin’ A Baby
- Myths 001: Collaborative Recordings Captured in Marfa
With Soft Hair
- Soft Hair (2016)
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Connan Mockasin, “Charlotte’s Thong”
Updated on: 19 September 2018
It’s been five years since Connan Mockasin’s last album, 2013’s Caramel, and while the world has changed, he’s still finding comfort in the same familiar, lived-in grooves as before. “Charlotte’s Thong,” the second single from his forthcoming album Jassbusters, out Oct. 12 via Mexican Summer, lives up to his reputation for inhabitation—it’s nine minutes long, and as smooth as a velvet chaise lounge.
Spin it and you’ll have a few questions: Is that a Pink Floyd-drenched guitar lick I hear? Right there next to lounge-style grooves? And a decidedly Mac DeMarco-esque vocal delivery? The answers to these questions are all, resoundingly, yes—and yes, he is trying to seduce you, too. Mockasin has toured extensively with DeMarco, and they’ve had plenty of influence on each other, especially in the ways they express their mutual love of ‘70s soft rock.
“Charlotte’s Thong” is a part of that legacy of songs that are as much place-setting as they are mood-setting. It uses its nine-minute runtime well: Every part gets its chance to shine, never rushing, always cool. Throw it on along with your finest silk robe and let the night take you where it may.
Be sure to catch Mockasin’s five-part melodrama Bostyn ‘N Dobsyn, a companion piece to Jassbusters.
Listen to “Charlotte’s Thong” below.