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Original Sugarlicks flyer featuring “Transatlantic” Tony Johnson at Khuja lounge circa 1999.

From 1997-2013, Iconic Auckland venue Khuja Lounge housed a family of like-minded trans-cultural music and arts heads, coming together to explore new music and to talk creativity and urban culture. With Auckland’s culturally diverse soul, electronic and hiphop crews making it their home over a period of 15 years, a steady stream of artists came to perform, sit in, dj or just dance the night away at the famous spot at the top of Queen St corner K Rd. Khuja’s earlier late night percussion and live vocal PA jams eventually evolved into a showcase “Sugar Licks” night.


The Sugarlicks night at Khuja Lounge packed the house for a few strong years every month, and then eventually itself evolved into a record label Sugarlicks Records with it’s first release in 2001, the Styles Upon Styles Part One compilation.
The following years saw the collective of artists and performers record, release and produce work, represented in NZ and Worldwide. Here is some archive footage from 10 years of jams at the famous Khuja Lounge.


The label Sugarlicks Records has released 14 albums including compilations, to the NZ, UK, Eu and North American markets. Our prized vinyl releases now number five 12″ s and one 7″ single. The releases have including the debut for One Million Dollars – Energy State; Manuel Bundy’s Solephonic 12″ featuring Finsta, Isaac Aesili, Deva Mahal, Ota and Ladi 6; and the Styles Upon Styles and Ultrasound series of compilations and Vinyl.
The label’s upcoming release is Seva Hifi’s second album in 2016, and a planned series of 7″s following that.

The original Khuja Lounge opening flyer – 1997.
The Ultrasound club night flyer.

Manuel Bundy Ultrasound card - part of a series.

Manuel Bundy and Brother J Ultrasound cards, part of a series accompanying the Ultrasound Vol 1, and 2017 compilations.

The label also toured globally in 2005-7 to back up the releases. With the 2006 Pacific Ultrasound tour of Manuel Bundy, Isaac Aesili, Gmuva and Brother J taking in Barcelona, Hamburg, Berlin, London, Auckland and LA.


In 2015 Sugarlicks now also represents artists as an agent, specializing primarily in the Asia Pacific and Southern Hemisphere regions. We promote both an artist’s creative practice, band or performance as well as the wider cultural and knowledge exchange implicit in authentic artists being present in different international territories.

The skin of a drum, the softly spoken word, the expression of a belief, the translation of urbanism onto the pads of an mpc …. because talk won’t cook rice …


From “Transculturalism – How The World is Coming Together” by Claude Grunitzky and TRACE magazine contributors:

“Some individuals find ways to transcend their initial culture, in order to explore, examine, and infiltrate new, seemingly alien cultures. These people are “transculturalists” and their experiences show that in the future it will become increasingly difficult to identify and separate people according to previously accepted delineations. In essence, we are saying that transculturalism defies race, religion, sexuality, class and every sort of classification known to sociologists and marketers. Transculturalists lead unusual lives, and some people continue to call them heretics. They date and marry outside of their race or religion; they date and marry inside of their gender; they travel on a whim and venture into faraway lands; they dress unconventionally, and customize new dress codes regularly; they live in areas their parents were once barred from, and take jobs previously considered outside of their leagues; they listen to, and create and criticize music they are not supposed to listen to; they display high levels of creativity in the arts and other progressive disciplines.

What succeeds empire? Time will tell. And time does tell, for those who are willing to listen, and look around, and be surprised. Today is less like yesterday than it has ever been. When people are not busy predicting, they find it easier to discover. Fresh attitudes only now gaining scale and traction–transglobalism, transculturalism–promise much for the future. The very value of these attitudes derives from the fact that they are not inherited. ”