International music producer Karyn Rachtman on why she needs a big house in Remuera for herself and her cat

International music producer Karyn Rachtman on why she needs a big house in Remuera for herself and her cat


Music supervisor and film producer Karyn Rachtman has worked on albums selling more than 75 million copies worldwide, and on films such as Pulp Fiction, Clueless, and Boogie Nights. She lives in Remuera, Auckland, and spends time in Los Angeles for work.

KARYN RACHTMAN:

I moved to New Zealand about four years ago. I sold my house in LA and shipped all my worldly possessions.

All my friends in LA said if Trump gets elected, they’re going to move. I’m the only one who actually did.

I’ve always had an affinity with New Zealand. I went to Takapuna Grammar for a year when I was 13. And I came back when I was 21, and again when a film I produced, Sweet Mickey for President, was in the Documentary Edge Film Festival in 2015.

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I love the people. I love the air, the greenery, and that you can always be some place beautiful quickly.

I have the best friends here. I feel like they’re kindred spirits more than the people I grew up with. I found my people.

I first moved into an apartment in the CBD. But when Covid happened, I became a permanent resident and decided I wanted a house with a swimming pool – a place big enough to have my furniture and favorite items, where I could work and have people over and be comfortable.

Rachtman met Aroha author Hinemoa Elder on Waiheke Island, and keeps Elder's book by her bedside.  “I've learned so much from it.  I bring it with me when I travel too.  It's nice to gain some Māori wisdom when you can,” Rachtman says.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Rachtman met Aroha author Hinemoa Elder on Waiheke Island, and keeps Elder’s book by her bedside. “I’ve learned so much from it. I bring it with me when I travel too. It’s nice to gain some Māori wisdom when you can,” Rachtman says.

So I’ve been renting here in Remuera since February. I live alone, except for my cat.

In my apartment, I couldn’t have a pet so that’s another reason I wanted to leave. I didn’t move to New Zealand until my old cat died.

Being in the movie and music business, I’ve made it my MO to promote New Zealand music to the States. It’s my kaupapa, it really is.

What I do is music supervise films, TV shows, ads, and video games. That means I oversee all the musical aspects of screen media. I put together the songs, the licenses, have songs written, work with the composer…

I’m working on animated musicals right now in the States. We have to have the songs written before we draw the animations. I’ve convinced the studio to do all the music in New Zealand, which is a dream come true for me.

The baby grand piano is a Disklavier, which plays itself.  Rachtman loves music, but doesn't play an instrument.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

The baby grand piano is a Disklavier, which plays itself. Rachtman loves music, but doesn’t play an instrument.

I’m not a musician. I’ve always been a music fan, a super fan: I know a lot of music, listen to a lot and care deeply about it.

I was always obsessed about music in film growing up. It was what I wanted to do, and I figured out how to do it.

The painting of Iggy Pop is by David Bowie, and was a gift from him to Rachtman about 14 years ago.

Chris McKeen

The painting of Iggy Pop is by David Bowie, and was a gift from him to Rachtman about 14 years ago.

The painting of Iggy Pop in my den is by David Bowie. I had the utmost honor of going to David Bowie’s house in Bermuda [24 years ago] and while we were there he was opening up a test print he’d painted.

I was admiring it, and he said, ‘Let me give it to you.’

You know when people say: Never meet your heroes, it was the complete opposite. He was the most wonderful person.

Rachtman was the executive producer of the Moulin Rouge!  soundtrack which went over four times platinum.

Chris McKeen

Rachtman was the executive producer of the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack which went over four times platinum.

The house is quite big, it’s good for my office now. It really works.

It’s just me living in the house, but then Ella Glannaz​, my assistant and coordinator, comes and Jenna Ackerman​, who’s my director of licensing. Both help with music supervising. I have the best employees in those two.

When they’re here, we sit around the dining table and work. Or else we sit in the den when we’re watching scenes and putting music to them.

The cat, a gray tabby, is called Toppertoo, after his predecessor Topper.

Chris McKeen

The cat, a gray tabby, is called Toppertoo, after his predecessor Topper.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms; one’s an office, one is a guest bedroom and then my bedroom. I have a beautiful view of Rangitoto.

I’d like to buy a house when the prices go down. Not in the city, out a little, that’s my retirement plan. I’m probably going to be back and forth to the States because of my work.

I’m looking for a small duplex to buy in LA, and then I want a smaller place here.

Rachtman treasures this note from Herbie Hancock, who she considers “the greatest jazz pianist of all time”.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Rachtman treasures this note from Herbie Hancock, who she considers “the greatest jazz pianist of all time”.

I could never afford my house in Remuera: It would be in the tens of millions.

I do love Auckland. I love to work, spend time at home, and hang out with my friends. Maybe we’ll go for a walk, or go swimming in my pool.

I have a friend with a place on Great Barrier Island, and I love to go there in the holidays. Everything New Zealand has to offer, I’m up for it.

STUFF

It may be a quiet housing market, but around 50 bids were received for this abandoned, rundown house in a prime parkside position in Remuera. It sold for $1.07 million.

I like to go see shows, and see bands play.

The most recent show was honestly the best I’ve been to: Bret McKenzie’s Songs Without Jokes. He doesn’t want people to expect it to be funny, and I don’t want to give the show away, but be prepared to laugh.

He’s taking it on a world tour, and I’m telling all my friends in LA.

*The Soundtrack from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! is on at The Civic, Auckland on October 15. Rachtman executive produced the soundtrack for the 2001 film.

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