The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

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THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Vorn Colgan of Vorn

31 Jan 2012  |  9 min read

In a country where pop music is often slightly bent and off on a tangent, and "alternative" act are frequently in the mainstream of public attention, New Zealand's Vorn still manages to exist on the margins. Not for want of trying to get a wider audience however. No one keeps releasing albums -- up to seven now -- without hoping that something will stick somewhere. Let's hope... > Read more

Stop Making Bedroom Albums

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: James Hughes of Batucada Sound Machine

26 Jan 2012  |  3 min read

Batucada Sound Machine -- who deliver a boiling blend of Latin, African and Afro-Cuban rhythms with rock guitars and a stabbing, funky horn section -- have really hit their straps with their new album Don't Keep Silent (see review here). They have also enjoyed a global reach and have played in Britain and Europe frequently where they won glowing -- burning, in fact -- reviews. And last year... > Read more

The Best for You

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tiki Taane

16 Jan 2012  |  3 min read

Nobody could say Tiki Taane -- formerly of Salmonella Dub and with the multiplatinum selling solo album Past Present and Future of 2007 behind him, and the country's biggest selling single ever in Always on my Mind -- had a quite year in 2011. In April he was arrested after singing NWA's Fuck Tha Police when police appeared at his Tauranga gig as part of a routine patrol. He was charged... > Read more

Light Years Away (ft Crushington)

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Victoria Girling-Butcher

16 Dec 2011  |  4 min read

Victoria Girling-Butcher fronted New Zealand's Lucid 3 for a decade but recently stepped out with her first solo album after a four-year hiatus. The delay in launching herself under her own name was largely due to diagnosis with a rare disease (Sjogren's Syndrome) which causes fatigue and has symptoms like arthritis. Some artists might give up at that point or turn the complaint into their... > Read more

Avondale Nights

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Bic Runga

28 Nov 2011  |  2 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Bic Runga must have approached her fourth album Belle with some trepidation. Right from her award-winning debut album Drive over a decade ago, she had been hailed by cynical critics and the mainstream media, as well as being embraced by the country. At an impossibly early age -- in her mid 20s -- she was touring with heritage artists like Dave Dobbyn and Tim... > Read more

Darkness All Around Us

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ed Knowles of the Checks

21 Nov 2011  |  3 min read

Some people -- Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Liam Gallagher and so on -- seem born to front a band. They have some innate and intuitive understanding of their audience, how central they are to the band's focus, a confidence that seems almost unnatural to more retiring types, and can deliver as if this is the only thing in the world that matters right here and right now. Ed Knowles... > Read more

Ready to Die

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lindon Puffin

14 Nov 2011  |  4 min read

Lyttelton-based singer-songwriter Lindon Puffin has been around the traps for a decade now, first in the glam-tinged band the Puffins and for the past eight years as a solo artist. He has been quietly building a steady reputation as storytelling musician who has something to say. He's also opened for some of the brightest and best, among them Billy Bragg, Shona Laing, the Warratahs, Gin,... > Read more

Outta Reach

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Will Waters of Kerretta

27 Oct 2011  |  3 min read

The Auckland-based three-piece instrumental outfit Kerretta have taken a big step up with their atmospheric, intelligently programmed second album Saansilo and -- although their debut album Vilayer was nominated for the Taite Music Prize in 2010 -- they are probably winning more acclaim in the States and Europe than on home territory. They played the South x Southwest Festival in Austin last... > Read more

Shepherds Thread

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Paul Kean of the Bats

17 Oct 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Standing next to Flying Nun founder one night at the Gluepot in about 1990 and the Bats are playing. The place is packed and jumping to the band's melodic guitar jangle where one song merges into another -- frankly every now and again I thought "didn't they play that earlier?" -- when Shepherd turns to me and says, "this is why I started the label". There is a smile... > Read more

Simpletons

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jeff Kelly of Green Pajamas

12 Oct 2011  |  6 min read  |  1

Jeff Kelly from Seattle has made some of the most eerily beautiful and economic psychedelic pop-rock with his long-running band Green Pajamas although his reputation travels below the radar and usually by word of mouth between loyal fans. Kelly/Green Pajamas have released a couple of dozen albums since 1984 (which includes the handsome box set of home recordings Melancholy Sun), and Kelly... > Read more

Dark Water (in the Wires)

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Andrew Fagan

10 Oct 2011  |  2 min read

Andrew Fagan's first band was called Ambitious Vegetables, but that was in the period which rock historians refer to as "a very long time ago". Everyone is allowed silliness when they are still at school. But Fagan was made for better things and some of AVeggies formed the Mockers, one of the great pop-rock bands of New Zealand in the Eighties which -- propelled by Fagan's... > Read more

Religion

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sharon Finn of Pajama Club

7 Oct 2011  |  3 min read

Sharon Finn has a successful life outside music (her own chandelier and decorative fittings company Sharondelier) but when the kids left home and she and her husband found they had time on their hands and a house full of musical instruments . . . The surprise about Sharon Finn isn't that she has late in life found herself in a band (Pajama Club) but that she didn't get there sooner. After... > Read more

Go Kart

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jess Chambers

23 Sep 2011  |  2 min read

Wellington-based singer-songwriter Jess Chambers and been around and seen around in her short life. Born in Dunedin, growing up in the US, back to New Zealand at 12, settling in the capitol eight years ago . . . And along the way making diverse music: Wistful alt.country in a hushed voice; working with electronica artists like Module and Rhian Sheehan; the debut album Jess Chambers and... > Read more

Hopeful Dreamer

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: David Donaldson of Thrashing Marlin

19 Sep 2011  |  6 min read

Bassist David Donaldson has had a very long career in New Zealand music dating right back to the first albums on the Braille label out of Wellington in the early Eighties. Donaldson appeared in the bands Primitive Art Group, Six Volts, the Brainchilds and others -- but, with Steve Roche, has also been in Thrashing Marlin who have, with Donkey Deep, now released four albums. Donaldson and... > Read more

Another Man's Grave

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Mel Parsons

16 Sep 2011  |  4 min read

Singer-songwriter Mel Parson's debut album Over My Shoulder from 2009 was nominated for a Tui in the New Zealand Music Awards. It had critics noting her lyrical strengths and songs which could stand alongside the best coming out of Nashville, but which also sounded distinctively Kiwi (perhaps because as Elsewhere noted, she doesn't disguise her accent). Parsons is clearly on her way -- the... > Read more

In My Heart

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Simon Comber

9 Sep 2011  |  7 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Simon Comber seems to have a confident mainline into those places where few others venture: insecurity articulated in small details, astutely observed slice-of-life images which suggest more than they say, and an honesty which is soul-baring and yet guarded at the same time. He really is someone special and although Elsewhere missed his debut album (Pre-Pill... > Read more

Young and in Love

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Browning of the Shake Up

7 Sep 2011  |  4 min read

Tim Browning of the Sydney rock trio is a busy guy. He not only plays drums but handles the press and tour bookings for the band which last year released its debut album . . . if you have no shame to glowing reviews and radio play back home. Full of rocking pop hooks and bristling with post-punk politicised energy -- and produced Detriot's Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Dirtbombs) -- the album... > Read more

A Little Bit Quiet

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Nick Johnston of Cut Off Your Hands

5 Sep 2011  |  5 min read

New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands crashed into the public consciousness with their debut album You and I in '08 after building a strong live following, then they did what so many Kiwi bands do. They moved to London. And unfortunately, as so many Kiwi bands discover, that is a bigger and tougher market with a natural scepticism about bands from the former colonies which aren't Australia or... > Read more

Buried

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Gotye

3 Sep 2011  |  2 min read

With his third album Making Mirrors, Belgian-Australian singer-producer and multi-instrumentalist Gotye -- Wally De Backer -- rode the wave of approval in his home country. The album topped the charts on release at the same time as he held to top spot on the singles chart with the exceptional Somebody That I Used to Know, which featured Kiwi expat vocalist Kimbra. That song -- likened in... > Read more

Eyes Wide Open

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Finn

2 Sep 2011  |  2 min read

Tim Finn's remarkable career (outlined here) now reaches to nine solo albums with the release of The View is Worth the Climb. Add in all the Split Enz years, the Crowded House/Finn albums and other work with brother Neil, soundtrack contributions, ALT and guest appearances . . . It is quite something to reflect on, although you suspect he is too busy moving on to do much of that . . .... > Read more

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