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  • Writer's pictureRubber Monkey

Monkey Music Competition - Top 50

Our Monkey Music Competition has come to an end, and we've put together our list for the Top 50 songs! A HUGE thank you to all of the incredibly talented musicians who entered, it wasn't easy narrowing down to just 50 entries!

NO CIGAR - Some Nights

The song is about a couple of friends of ours who live together. What started as a beautiful friendship between a straight male and a gay woman, grew into something neither had anticipated. He had become the exception to an otherwise steadfast sexual orientation - an enigma. Whilst the friendship always seemed to come first, they both grappled with this conundrum. He always respected her feelings immensely, but at times couldn't hide his confusion. We spoke a number of times about it and I eventually decided to write a song from his perspective. The song's message is one of respect. More precisely, about respecting someone's feelings and not thinking you are entitled to try to change their mind. Even when confused, he didn't question her. Instead he just wished that sometimes he could be what she wanted.

Holly Muirhead - After Midnight

I wrote this song about the process of trying to get over somebody and the constant battle between head and heart that comes with this process. The song talks about knowing you need to move on but also being extremely hung up on them. It also talks about the series of dumb decisions that occur when trying to move on from a person. The track features an acoustic guitar, electric guitars, drums, bass and keyboard.

Girl Best Friend - Boy

"The song 'boy' drew inspiration from various artists such as Omar Apollo, Joy Crookes, and Billie Eilish. We aimed to achieve a rhythm driven sound with alternative r&b melodies and sultry sassy vocals that seem shallow upon first listening but reveal themselves to later be about the experience of feeling unwanted. Produced and Recorded by Tessa Hills and Charlotte Avery. Vocals recorded on the Focusrite CM25 MkIII condenser microphone and produced on Logic Pro x. Girl Best Friend is an up and coming alternative r&b duo in Wellington. We are both students and record most of our demos on the limited gear we have in our bedrooms. As well as doing some small gigs locally, we aim to focus on recording and releasing the music we make as well. We both study music technology and enjoy producing and mixing our music as well as performing it."

Ellery Daines - Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome is an explosive synth-rock song about being ignored as an artist. Is it because you haven't been "discovered" yet, or because everyone else knows your art isn't worth engaging with? Ellery wrote it about his experiences performing in the Auckland music scene. All parts were performed, recorded and mixed by Ellery Daines.

My Cosmic Girl - Frenchie

We are inspired by 60's and 70's Laurel Canyon Folk artists. We recorded this track with some friends at Massey's studios late last year, it's our first single!


Written about the Kelburn park fountain and all the events that I have tied with that special place. It’s also the artwork. Recorded using an AT2020 cardioid condenser. not the greatest microphone and in dire need of an upgrade in time for our next projects. Independent artist based in chch with followings both in NZ and south east Asia.

The Cellars - Pedestal

This song was written during two weeks in MIQ in 2020 whilst digesting the cchaos of experiencing intense isolation overseas whilst in an unhealthy relationship. We are Sinead and Bella, a guitar/piano/vocal duo from Hawkes Bay, we recorded this song in a home studio using a Slate emulator microphone for the vocals, we sampled the drums and recorded double bass. We are always experimenting with ideas about the sound we want to create and we have collaborated with a very talented mixing engineer to help work on this.

Tom Verberne - Far House

"Far House is my journey into a more musical live, emo, progressive and moody sound whilst still incorporating my electronic production style most notably In the last section. It is going to be on my upcoming 4th album. Recorded drums at roundhead which was my first time in a studio. I recorded everything else at home and did all the production myself."

Clovis - Trace My Heart

"This song was such a pleasure to write, as it came so naturally to all of us and we loved it. The lyrics we wrote with no intention until it slowly formed into becoming this story of a lost, love-filled human that couldn't find his was home as the cultural lifestyle of a Saturday night club doesn't allow to think straight if you're not careful. Band Members: Sebastian Dudding (Vocals/Guitar), Michael Summers (Guitar/Bass/Vocals), Anton Mcgee (Bass/Keys/Vocals/Production). We are going to release this song in the next month."

Liberty - Own The Throne

"This song is about my fear of people ‘using’ me/playing me. Hence the symbolism of ‘this is the game that we play’ (the first line of the chorus). To record this song I used my macbook, my audio technica AT2020 condenser mic, my presonus studio 24c interface and my fender electric acoustic guitar. I recorded it in ableton!"

Camical - A Thousand days

"I recently wrote this after recently going through a breakup after months of less and less contact each day. Ableton Live 10 Suite, Rode NT1 microphone, small plastic string guitar, MIDI Keyboard."

Sandtrap - Backseat Divulgence (Love Me)

We wrote our song together at the start of 2021. The lyrical inspiration behind the song came from a relationship one of our band members was in. Musically this song is inspired by bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Muse. We love this song and after releasing it at the start of this year, we have been playing it in all our live sets. The song was partially recorded at Parachute Studios and by us individually. It was also mixed and mastered by us and a friend of ours. The song includes the use of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. The recording artists consist of; Kainoa oglive, Jimi Terei, luca Keltie, and Luke Bennett. To record guitars and vocals we used a Sennheiser MD-421 II which again proved to be an amazing microphone.

Halffamous - Dreaming

"Dreaming' is about your worst nightmare becoming real. Played & Recorded by myself. Used a NT1-A, Mac mini M1 and a Gretsch."

JUDAH* - is it about me...

"is it about me...' - A song about a fractured mind, caused by the anxiety of fabricated narratives and undressed assumptions. I wrote this song while in a hurtful relationship; the dread of reading someones feelings through facial expressions instead of words. When someone can't express their truest thoughts they force unfair assumptions. I love the aphorism 'a web of lies' because of its pertinent reference to a spider; the creature shrouded in mystery--hiding in crevices and cracks, but undeniably dangerous. I wish the Kiwi stigma in sharing your feelings didn't exist because a lack of openness is dangerous... it destroys relationships. But despite what the actions of others can do, there is no doubt I can be my own worst enemy, and the tormenting voices of interrogation can be the biggest lie that is spun in a situation. Recorded entirely in a bedroom onto Logic Pro X with an AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone running through an AudioBox USB 96 interface. Additional instruments include various digital synthesizers and electric guitar. Main vocals by Judah Jackson, backing vocals and production by Caleb White."

Liana Hart - Oh

"Taking inspiration from acts Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac, this song is about taking much needed time out to process heavy emotions when feelings of self-sabotage start to creep up. Raw, real and lonely vibes. A demo of a yet to be professionally recorded track, recorded and produced in a friends garage. Guitar + vocals."

Mia Grace - Defensive

"A song about someone who's very self-centred and how they will do anything to make everything about them!!!! Recorded in home studio with only instrument my Taylor Mini acoustic guitar. All vocals, & backing vocals, are mine."

No Mans Land - West Coast

"West coast is a song about finding freedom and love. Our band are big lovers of the west coast on the south island of New Zealand and we wanted to create a song that represents the feeling of being there. We recorded West Coast at Sublime studios in central otago. We are a four piece group consisting of vocals & guitar, keys, drums and bass."

Ani Saafa - Complacent

"The song is about the feeling my friends and I go through as university students, and fact they we are slowly growing up. I recorded everything in my bedroom with my guitar, and midi bass, drums, and synths in Logic X. I also recorded all the vocals myself."

Anxiety Club - Carousel

"A dreamy slice of melancholic dream-pop that sounds a little bit like Bowie if he'd had the chance to have Beach House as his backing band. Kev Fitzsimons - vocals (MXL V67G condenser microphone), soft synths (Logic), Clint Meech - Omnichord, Nord Electro, MicroKorg, Roland Boutique JU-06A, Chris Armour - guitars, Andrew Bain - bass, Zach Simao - drums, programming, Maygen Lacey - backing vocals."

George After James - Just A Part

"Personal and global tragedy causing great obstacles to a relationship and wrestling with how to manage that while keeping love, honour and respect at the forefront. Recorded at a live performance."


"I was really inspired to record a song about whether the path someone's taking in life is the one they're meant to be on and how they've questioned themselves on if they've made the right choice. For the instruments I used a behringer rd808 for the drums, a squier Jag bass and a fender mim tele. Recorded by myself with a scarlett 18i20 and a sm57"

Xanthe Waters - Ego Death

"An exploration of vulnerability, ego and growth. Inspired by lived experience with mental health issues. All instruments and Lyrics composed by Ari Tuaine (Excluding Drums)."

No Life - Backchat

"Aggressive song about people talking behind your back. Backchat is about standing up to bullies. Instruments used: Guitars, drums, bass guitar and microphone."

Keira Batten Coogan - You

"Originally i wrote this song because i was sick of everyone telling me to write something happy for once, and hadn't actually experienced the feeling i describe in the lyrics, (perhaps this song is just subconscious pining) it took on the form of what i believed would be ideal adolescent crush. Since then it has taken on many different meanings to me and to others. I view it now as what i can easily recognise it as: a simple, happy description of the first stages of a queer relationship, the guessing, and giggling, and hands under tables."

Moondogs Blues - Some Poor Fools

"Slide blues on homemade biscuit tin guitar.. (AlleyTyn Guitars). Recorded at Anzac Analog Studio in Whangarei… title track on all original 10 track CD."

The Darlings - Spaceship

"This song is about two lovers on different sides of space trying to get to each-other. We sing about the two of them trying to find each-other in the big universe. The song is a metaphor about how frustrating it can be when someone distances themselves so much they may as well be living on the other side of space and you’re trying to find each-other again whilst battling life challenges."

Ballot Box - From Nothing

"Post-Punk Song. Forrest Mace - guitar, lyrics, vocals, percussion / Spike Keith - guitar, lyrics, vocals, keyboard, percussion / Tamai Burger - bass, vocals, percussion / Will Brooker - drums, vocals. Zoom H1n for percussion, Korg MS-20"

CAITLIN - Hardly

"Indie-pop artist ‘CAITLIN’ releases her first single of 2022: the first of many exciting songs coming out this year. The driving electric guitar and tight drumbeat paired with frank lyricism show that CAITLIN is not afraid to be honest with her audience. She touches on emotions of jealousy, stress and confusion in a way that will have you shouting the lyrics in your car. Recorded in a producer’s home studio, self funded recording. I would love to win some gear so that I can record demos and live recordings at home."

The Motions - Entropy

"Inspired by love found at a festival and the inevitable demise of that love, it's a psych rock song with an unusual linear song structure, and an emphasis on melody and a large sound. It was written, performed (excl. drums), produced and mixed by myself."

Makayla Douglass - What Do I Do?

"This song is about grief, not of the dead but of the living, people you haven’t discarded but have outgrown...

Haast - Hāwea - Beech

A trip through Hinewai reserve, made in response to nature and field recordings. Zoom H4n pro as primary field recorder, contact mics, korg synth and mininova synth. All performed in response to field recordings and trips to the hinewai reserve on banks peninsula. Hinewai is an ecological restoration project with plenty of regenerating natives. Most recordings are done single take in an attempt to reflect the ever sounds it responds to.

Bill Martin Septet - More than a Score

"The song is based around a bass riff of 21 beats - it is "One more than twenty" or "More than a Score". In the main part of the tune, the beats are divided into bars of 5/4, 6/4, 5/4 and 5/4 which makes up the 21 beat pattern. In the interlude, the pattern is arranged into 7 bars of 3/4. These changing time signatures create a hypnotic effect and the catchy melodies remind the listener of classic jazz tunes like "Take 5"! This was recorded live at Dunedin Jazz Club, Hanover Hall, November 21 of 2021."

Amber Carly Williams - Kids On The Internet

"This song was inspired by the negative impact that social media has on children and young adults today. It's a pretty fun song with a light-hearted spin on this somewhat dark topic. This was one of those."

Flaxxies - Lot 61

"This song is about finding safe places, and reaching out to loved ones and to nature in tough times. Inspired by the connection the band feels to one another and the mental health epidemic in New Zealand, we wrap these themes in an indie/reggae sound with soaring guitar solos and a grooving rhythm section! Performed by Flaxxies, recorded at The Lab and Mixed by Ryan Cruickshank, this record was made with the help of friends lending BVs, budgeted studio time leading to home studio overdubs and mixing."

Arun O'Connor - When the darkness comes around

"A song about someone going through a dark patch. Knowing that you’re watching them spiral down but there’s nothing you can really do to bring them out of it. You would give anything to be able to help them but sometimes all you can do is watch and hope they will be ok."

Julius Black - Wings

"The writing of this song is inspired by the movie 'Her' about a lonely man who ends up falling in love with his AI companion, that quickly evolves into some transcendent divine being and leaves him lonely again. Super sad movie! But that premise felt like a really fitting story for these recent times as digital dependency is ramping up. I really wanted the production to feel really romantic (strings, harp, staccato bass, etc) but also eerie digital sounding elements floating around."

Benjamin Mack - Let the Doorbell Ring

"I wrote this song about a time I was housing for a friend and wasn’t used to being alone. I ended up getting super lonely, super drunk, ordering Uber eats and diving into a very depressing state where I just wanted to people to be with me. This was recorded at parachute studios, drums played by Douglas Bagg, guitars & additional BV’s by Joe Faris. Sm7b on vocals and used to mic up amps."

Racheal Baker - Breath of Fresh Air

"This song is about the peace and solice that i feel when I spend time in God's presence. It can also be interperated as a romantic love song for the listener. This was written by me and recorded and produced by a talented friend. It uses lot's of electronic elements with guitar and vocals."

Sam Higham - Tape Deck Mimic

"This song came about after having a long meaningful conversation with a friend, all the while in the background a live Pink Floyd album was playing. Every song that came on seemed to matched the topics we were talking about at the time, enhancing the whole experience. So it seemed appropriate that the song would have some heavy Pink Floyd influence. The instrumental was based around a solo piano piece I had written the year before and it all built from there., there is also an extended 7 minute version that shines light on the original piano piece at the end."

Gideon Voon - Wanderer's Path

"A Musical Epic that combines influences from Progressive Rock/Metal(Dream Theater, Plini), Virtuoso Guitar(Joe Satriani, Polyphia), and Cinematic(Hans Zimmer)."

Daddy 'n' Daughter Duo (AKA Abby & Dad) - Sasha's Garden

We have a 17 year old cat, Sasha, who refuses to come into our house, opting instead to live peacefully in our front garden. I thought the words "Sasha's Garden" sounded pretty cute, so wrote this little ditty about it. I upped the cuteness factor by getting my 9 year old daughter Abby to sing it. Very proud Dad :-) Recorded live in one take in our lounge on Mum's phone. No fancy gear, just a cheapie guitar and a happy singer girl. (With a brief bit of Dad scat singing..)

Gabriel Bond - Temporary Insanity

"This is a song about the feeling of being in a relationship with someone who is clearly bad for you, but you don't know how to end it, and every time you try, you find yourself under her spell again..

Jess & Becs - Dear Darling

"We all have moments where we want to escape, to run away, to hide. Dear Darling contemplates what it means to want something, or someone when it’s all changed. It’s a yearning for security in love, for comfort in the uncomfortable and a questioning of our most complex emotion. We know it’s weird to write a ‘love song’ in a minor key, but that’s the point. Love is weird, wonderful and even dissonant at times. Honestly, it’s hard to describe. ‘Dear Darling’ was written and composed for all who can relate."

Connor Bedwell - Exile

"The inspiration for this song came to me two years ago, when I was in lockdown alone for 2 months. I had the impression of this character lying in a boat, floating downstream through valleys and mountains, having been exiled from her hometown. Perhaps there are dangerous encounters along the way, maybe a carnival, who knows. I've been chipping away at this piece as a bit of a side project for the last 2 years, it currently has a length of 9 minutes, so this is a excerpt from that. It is orchestrated for a 52 piece orchestra."

Mike McMinn - Leaving Home

"This was I song I wrote when I left home in Palmerston North to studied up in Auckland, only have recently recorded it because I have the know how. The song is not released yet as I still think it needs some tweaks. ""I recorded this at home with an SM7b and an Antelope audio interface. I used virtual instruments from Logic for everything other than the acoustic guitars and vocals. I plugged in my electric guitar into one of the instrument inputs on my audio interface and used the logic amp sims."

Karl Blackley - Float On (ft.Seth)

"Soul sample with modern drums. Inspired by ugk, j cole, dj dahi and canei finch. Soon to be released. Produced, mixed and engineered through a Apollo Twin Interface - Mac book Laptop, Pro Tools and FL Studio. Recorded through Shure Sm7b Microphone. All done in my bedroom in wellington."

Isaac Martyn - What's the Worst That Could Happen

"A song about being perpetually confused about the state of affairs."

Virginia Baird - Kawhatau

"My song was inspired by the rural valley we live in which would be one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. My piano piece was recorded for a local community album for songwriters."

Jordan Stevenson - Childhood Adventures

"Written for a symphony orchestra, Childhood Adventures is an instrumental piece symbolising the imagination of children, their creativity and their dreams. The composition takes the listener on an exciting journey and allows those of us that aren't children anymore the opportunity to look back with fondness and nostalgia. I used a number of sample libraries to write this (BBC Symphonic Orchestra, Audio Ollie Taste, Spitfire Audio Intimate Strings). I performed most of the parts myself using a MIDI keyboard and a modulation wheel to get the most out of each of the samples (dynamics & expression). The composition features complex techniques such as counterpoint and a time signature change which only act to enhance the listener's experience."

Will McClean - Man on a Mission

"Man on a Mission is the latest track from Wellington rapper Will McClean, featuring Casual Healing (Nikau Te Huki ) – a blend of deep soulful lyricism from McClean and a compelling beat from Te Huki. McClean reflects on his realisation of the fragility of life at a young age, and the impact that this has on his drive to leave a legacy. It’s a mellow, contemplative track that transports the listener into McClean’s world and will resonate with lovers of moody grooves and introspective lyricism."


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