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http://www.xpigx.com | Vasely Sapunov

As the year’s end quickly approaches, countless magazines, radio stations, critics and blogs are publishing their Top 5s and Top 10s lists of this year’s best releases. An exercise that I find far too difficult to undertake with 100% honesty and integrity.

Instead, I thought I would write about my top 5 musical discoveries of the year. Bands I have fallen in love with, and records that have shaped the soundtrack to the year gone by.

In no particular order they are:



To say that I hardly ever get excited about modern hardcore these days is a gross understatement. It takes something really special to grab my attention and to force me to listen to a modern band over the classics, however the minute I heard ‘Exiled From Birth’ by Outsiders Code, I knew that this would be the hardest record of the year. It was only after a couple of months of thrashing this record on my iPhone during my runs through Wellington that I actually realised that these dudes were from Australia and featured Baina from Her Nightmare, Samsara and 50 Lions. Check this band out of you like your hardcore hard as nails. This record reminds me of a mixture of old Death Before Dishonor mixed with the self-titled 100 Demons album… heavy as balls.

For Fans Of: Death Before Dishonor, Her Nightmare & 100 Demons.
Hear ‘Exiled From Birth’ here on Spotify.

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Today my love Hells and I got matching tattoos to celebrate our recent six year anniversary.

We wanted to get two cute fat birds cuddling with the lyrics from our favourite song.

You know how every couple has their song ? Well, this is definitely our song… we both absolutely love Talking Heads and ‘This Must Be The Place’ or Naive Melody is the soundtrack to our life together.

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place


The tattoos were done by our good friend Caleb at The Writers Case in Stokes Valley, which in my humble opinion is easily the most unique and beautiful little tattoo parlour in New Zealand. 

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Every now and again a company, a brand or a product comes along that you feel genuinely passionate about, even though you know that you are being advertised to. It doesn’t happen often. Maybe once or twice in a lifetime. You think good thoughts about this company, you avidly endorse their products, despite having no obligation to do so. You advocate for them, you defend them, and you follow who they are, what they do, what they stand for, and ultimately, the things that they create. For me, that company was Apple, and that first product was the iPod.

Since that memorable summer’s day that I unwrapped my first iPod, I have transformed my whole personal, creative and work life with almost every single product (and variant of that product) that Apple have birthed ever since. 

Years passed by and I have never felt that magnetism, excitement, or experienced that sheer joy from any other company, brand, or technological development (that wasn’t spearheaded by Apple)… until last year.

Meet Visual Supply Co or VSCO.

A name that I could not be more excited about. They are ‘that’ company for me.

VSCO are “passionate about creating beautiful and efficient digital tools for the modern creative” and in my book they do exactly that, but like no other before them.

I could ramble on and on all week about how aesthetically pleasing, well designed and just downright awesome their software is, but if you aren’t already using their stuff… you can see for yourself.

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Last night I finally got to witness one of my new favourite acts live.

I discovered Black City Lights on Bandcamp as a complete act of fate one evening when I was checking out a new track from a local hardcore band and managed to click on the ‘Wellington’ tag to see which other local artists were available on the site to check out.

The artwork to their recently released full length ‘Another Life’ instantly grabbed my attention with it’s symbolic, gothic imagery and as soon as I saw the tags ‘dark wave’ and ‘cold wave’ I immediately clicked the play button on what would become the soundtrack to my winter.

Their record label PR / Bio aptly describes their sound: “Dark voices, neon beats, and ghostly electronics that evoke the apocalyptic modernism of a 1980s Blade Runner”. The group is made up of producer Calum Robb and vocalist Julia Catherine Parr.


Since the release of their debut EP ‘Parallels’ on Brooklyn Imprint Stars & Letters in March 2012, Black City Lights quickly began to create hype and receive local and global accolades through press coverage, two NZONAIR music video grants and high profile support slots alongside the likes of Grimes, Baths and Van She.

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Today is thanksgiving in the United States and although we, as a nation, don’t celebrate this holiday in New Zealand, I always find this time of year to be a great reminder for myself to take stock of the blessings in my life and to thank the Lord for friends, family, experiences and opportunities.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A beautiful, intelligent and supportive wife to get to share my life with.
  • Creative freedom.
  • A great career and awesome work opportunities.
  • The financial provision to live a blessed life, and to bless others.
  • Schecter Guitars
  • My mum, dad and my two brothers.
  • My incredible friends all over the world.
  • A fantastic start to our new life in this beautiful city.
  • The transformation of my health and fitness over the past year.
  • Our amazing new home.
  • Nike+ Running
  • #theurgency
  • This Spotify playlist
  • Black Coffee
  • The Cure
  • My managers, publicist, agent and label.
  • The honor of inspiring and encouraging others.
  • Tofu and Pumpkin.
  • My faith, my salvation and my freedom from persecution.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Name: Vasely Sapunov

Age: 28

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Status: Married

Industry: Telecommunications, Entertainment & Digital Creative

My Life: Lover of Jesus, Husband of xhelensarahx, Guitarist of Saving Grace on Facedown Records, Metal, Hardcore, Hip Hop, Tattoos, Schecter Guitars, 5150s, 59Fiftys, The Straight Edge, Black Coffee & Apple Mac

My Work:

Vodafone New Zealand (BRM)
ODR Productions (Agent)
Swine Design (Owner)
Deadboy Records (Co-Owner)

Hangs out at: www.xpigx.com