The duo who would go on to form Misfits of Science only met as a result of a chance encounter at a hip hop clothing store on Queen Street in Auckland.
Stevie McQuinn and Yudhi Moodley say that they were both obsessed with hip hop clothing at the time and bonded over their love of the genre. The friends soon became bedroom music producers together and in their words, were ‘eating yum bars, smoking weed and just pounding out music’.
South-African born Yudhi Moodley had wanted to become a rapper from a young age and had a vision of getting a record deal from the start with Stevie saying he was ‘holding on to the cape of Super-Yudhi’. They formed Misfits of Science in 2002.
“When [others] were out there getting their girlfriends, I was just like music is my girlfriend. I always had a vision that I wanted this record deal. It was a silent confidence that I hadn’t expressed to anyone other than Steve,” Yudhi says.
And it wasn’t just the production of their music that they approached differently. To find a sample to use in a new track, the duo went looking in the CD discount bin at The Warehouse. That sample became the instantly recognisable hook for their hit ‘Fools Love’.
Another arresting component was the music video with its animated oversized bobble-headed versions of Steve and Yudhi, which looked like nothing else around at the time. It first debuted to a national audience on C4’s Holla Hour.
“We’re sitting on Yudhi’s couch at his mum’s flat — pretty exciting that a little Māori boy from Waiuku is about to be on TV with his video,” Stevie recalls.
The debut saw an ‘overwhelming response’ from viewers who called in for it to be replayed again in the same hour. Steve and Yudhi were euphoric. With the release of the video, radio stations picked up on Fools Love and hip hop fans quickly sent the song to the top of the charts. Misfits of Science was suddenly on top out of nowhere.
By August 2004, the song had spent four weeks at number one on the New Zealand singles chart and Yudhi was ‘living his dream.’ That dream included the pair touring the country and becoming known for their new experimental style.
The release of their debut album, ‘MOS Presents’, saw them go further with their tracks, which the duo says hurt their commercial success, but which fulfilled them artistically.
“Maybe we could’ve made one or two more commercially viable tracks but we weren’t thinking that way to our detriment. Of course, the fallout was less success … and less free alcohol when you go anywhere,” says Stevie.
This episode looks into the relationship between the duo that are the Misfits of Science and how their breakthrough debut single Fools Love landed big in the early 2000s. It describes the challenges the pair faced and how their music was received by the industry at large.
About the artists
Misfits of Science
Named after an obscure American comedy, Misfits of Science went on to carve out a new type of bedroom producer with their track ‘Fools Love’. Yudhi and Stevie worked together on Misfits of Science several times after Fools Love, with the group releasing an EP in 2008 titled ‘Can't Leave You Alone’ and then regrouping for singles in 2018 and 2019.
Stevie McQuinn Jr (Optimus)
Stevie McQuinn Jr was working in a Queen Street clothes shop when he met Yudhi Moodley and formed Misfits of Science with him. He was later the lead drummer on tour with Kimbra in the early-2010s.
Yudhi Moodley (Colossal x Ruckus Garvey)
Yudhi Moodley had a vision of where he would be with Misfits of Science and Fools Love brought him to heights he could never imagine. While Yudhi no longer works as a musician full-time, he continues to release music as Ruckus Garvey.