Graham Reid | | 4 min read
The Berlin-based New Zealand rock band An Emerald City have been refreshingly unlike any other local band.
Their self-titled debut EP of 2008 showed them occupyng the territory between ambient Krautrock, psychedelia and world music at a time when the previaling styles were anxious guitar bands, earnest singer-songwriters and a twee quasi-folk outfits.
An Emerald City were different in every regard and their shows were always events. They recorded in a cave to get a reverb-heavy sound and their debut album Circa Scaria (which also came on double vinyl in a beautiful gatefold cover) was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2009.
They were interviewed at Elsewhere here.
They went to Berlin, played where they could and recorded another album, cryptically entitled The Fourth. (Although Bonner did live in a fourth floor flat in Berlin.)
They have returned to New Zealand for an extensive tour (dates below), have released a free download track from the album (available here) . . .
and guitarist Reuben Bonner took time to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
I think Born In The USA was the first piece of music which stirred me up, but the first time I held something in my hand that I knew was my music that I owned was Def Leppard's Hysteria. Magical.
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
Michael Jackson, and Slash around about when I was 7. I didn’t get embarassing role models until I was a bit older.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana,
Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Lennon and Jagger. Nirvana. Madonna. MJ with a bullet.
If music was denied you, your other
career choice would be . . .
Writing I suppose. Or digger driver.
The three songs (yours, or by others)
you would love everyone to hear are . . .
Ryan Adams cover of Down In A Hole by Alice In Chains
That Girl Suicide – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Edward De Vere – Mind Thoughts
Any interesting, valuable or just plain
strange musical memorabilia at home?
Probably my N.W.A Straight Outta Compton t-shirt. I don’t really have many assets.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
The Dirt by Motley Crue
If you could get on stage with anyone
it would be . . . (And you would play?)
Led Zeppelin of course. I wouldn’t play anything, I would stand by John Bonham and just watch them all.
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Napoleon Dynamite, Delicatessen, The Cable Guy
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Latest downloads were some Krautrock party tunes by Neu! and Kraftwerk and Cosmic Jokers. Last vinyl I got was Black Mountain’s In The Future. Last CD… hmmmm, I didn’t buy it, but got given the new Veils CD from Finn. And it’s brilliant.
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .
Pull Up To The Bumper by Grace Jones
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
A big ole poster of Television’s Marquee Moon
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
An internet cafe
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
Watching movies, hanging out with the ones I love, playing some music. Just around the place I suppose.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
Because it was the album that almost broke this band, and we got through it. And I’m very proud of it, it’s a psychedelic, Krautrock-ey cosmic space journey.
An Emerald City tour dates
Feb 17: The Yot Club, Raglan (with the Checks)
Feb 18: Brewers Bar, Mount Maunganui (with the Checks)
Feb 19: Poverty Bay Club, Gisborne (with the Checks)
Feb 24: Salut Bar, Whangarei (with the Checks)
Feb 25: Waihi Beach Hotel (with the Checks)
Feb 25: Leigh Sawmill, Leigh (Die! Die! Die! now not playing)
Feb 27: The Wintergarden, Civic Theatre, Auckland.
March 3: New Plymouth (with the Checks)
March 4: San Francisco Bath House (with Beastwars and The Pyramid Scheme)
March 10: The Winchester, Auckland (with the Checks)
March 18: Altitude, Hamilton (with the Checks)
March 19: Cabana, Napier (with the Checks)
March 20: Lembas Cafe, Raumati South, Wellington
Mrch 22: Hot Mama's Cafe, Motueka
March 23: The Mussel Inn, Takaka
March 25, Wunderbar, Lyttelton
March 26: Penguin Club, Oamuru (with Alazarin Lizard)
March 27: Lake Hawea Motor Inn, Lake Hawea, Otago
March 28: Monsoon, Franz Joseph Glacier
March 29: Cook Saddle Cafe and Saloon, Fox Glacier, Westland