The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

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

All This and More

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Thom Burton of Wilberforces

22 Aug 2011  |  3 min read

Thom Burton is the mainman in the Auckland-based band Wilberforces (clearly he grew with Under the Mountain) and their stark, bristly sound is captured on their second album Vipassana (named for the meditation technique I guess, although a more meloow Barton wouldn't make much sense). He takes time out to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire and clearly there is as much wit as rage in... > Read more

Believement

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kelly Sherrod and James Duncan of Punches

15 Aug 2011  |  4 min read

Punches is the nom de disque of James Duncan and Kelly Sherrod who have conducted a long distance recording session for their extraordinary album Etheria (reviewed here). Over the course of recording she was in Nashville and he was in Auckland . . . and their joint reply to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire comes from James in Berlin where he is currently living. And it arrives with an... > Read more

Blue Moon

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Katie Thompson

8 Aug 2011  |  4 min read

Singer-songwriter Katie Thompson doesn't let the remoteness of her hometown on New Zealand's West Coast prevent her from engaging with an international audience. And she reaches out in many ways, not the least by getting on to Sellaband in which fans can donate money towards the recording of an album. And they did, to the tune of US$50,000. That's a lot of money from people who want to hear... > Read more

Roll in Tide

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra

4 Jul 2011  |  3 min read

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Ruban Nielson was formerly a member of New Zealand's much acclaimed Mint Chicks but went on his own path, returned to live in Portland, Oregon after the band had been there, and is now part of the three-piece Unknown Mortal Orchestra whose self-titled debut (in a striking cover, see below) shows just how far he has moved from the sound and style of the Mint Chicks.... > Read more

Strangers Are Strange

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Paddy Burgin

27 Jun 2011  |  2 min read

Wellington's Paddy Burgin is a wonder with wood. He can make it speak and sing. Burgin fashions it into guitars, some of which he plays in his band Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band whose album My Sweet Town of 2009 was reviewed favourably at Elsewhere here for its intelligent music and literate lyrics. Their most recent album is Gentle Landings and takes the form of emotional and... > Read more

Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band: Blackwood Bay

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Dave Baxter of Avalanche City

23 Jun 2011  |  3 min read

Dave Baxter, who is Avalanche City, has one of those ground-up stories: he was in the rowdy band The Chase but wanted to write something more folksy and rootsy; recorded his debut abum Our New Life Above Ground himself in modest circumstances; released it over the internet for free download; the single Love Love Love (and album) took off; Warner Music picked it up and had to rush (re)release it... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Prebble (aka Bond Street Bridge)

20 Jun 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Auckland singer-songwriter Sam Prebble -- who performs under moniker Bond Street Bridge (the actual bridge just around the corner from me, so he's one of my "homies") -- is a longtime Elsewhere favourite. His intelligent lyrics, understated delivery and sense of the melodic was all over his wonderful debut album The Mapmaker's Art, a Best of Elsewhere 2008 album. He's a smart... > Read more

Beartown Straight Lines

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Liam Finn

13 Jun 2011  |  3 min read

When people in your family -- in this case your dad and uncle -- are famous musicians your road can actually be harder than most might think: just after a couple of Lennon kids. Liam Finn started his career in the band betchadupa which astutely signed to Flying Nun rather than pursue a major label, and since then he has established himself as an increasingly interesting and musically... > Read more

Liam Finn: Roll of the Eye

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Warren Cate

6 Jun 2011  |  3 min read

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Warren Cate has released four albums under his own name since the mid Nineties -- bristling with rock'n'roll firepower and great songs -- but for his new venture he and longtime bassist/guitarist Andrew Buckton (also of Delta and owner of Auckland's Studio 203) teamed up with drummer Mike Franklin-Browne (Pluto, Nightchoir, Stereo Bus) and guitarist Grant Wills... > Read more

Known Associates: Mercy

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Al Galbraith

16 May 2011  |  3 min read

The name Al Galbraith might not be familiar to many . . . unless you happen to be a New Zealand musician, have read anything of local music in the Sixties and Seventies, or been involved in soundtracks and advertising. Which, when you think about it, must surely mean Galbraith is pretty well known. Galbraith was a hugely successful producer (Mark Wiliams, Craig Scott, Space Waltz, Annie... > Read more

Al Galbraith: Day Night

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: David Kilgour

26 Apr 2011  |  3 min read

The new bio for David Kilgour starts with an arresting claim, "David Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists". The evidence for this is of course his work in the Clean, with his band the Heavy Eights or on albums under his own name. Kilgour redefines a kind of electrifying electric-pastoral psyechedleic sound which can equally sooothe or soar as the occasion demands. His... > Read more

David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Diamond Mine

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Nicholson

11 Apr 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Australian singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson has delivered consistently interesting, but rather too few, albums. Each makes you want another almost immediately because of their lyrical sensiblity and sharp songwriting. Nicholson is also alongside his wife Kasey Chambers on her albums and because she is part of a fine family -- dad Bill a long-established country artist in Australia and the... > Read more

Shane Nicholson with Paul Kelly: Whistling Cannonballs

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Eli Paperboy Reed

28 Mar 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Long an Elsewhere favourite, Eli Paperboy Reed's 2008 album Roll With You made the list of Best of Elsewhere for that year, and his follow-up Come And Get It of 2010 also got very favourable notice. Reed is a conduit for the great soul voices of the past -- Sam Cooke, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and others -- but he brings deep understanding and genuine enthusiasm to his... > Read more

Eli Paperboy Reed: I Found You Out (from Come and Get It!)

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Matt Langley

25 Mar 2011  |  3 min read

Matt Langley from Dunedin, New Zealand is one of the smaller but brightest lights on the musical landscape. His debut EP Lost Companions was critically well received but his album Featherbones showed the full measure of his talents which touch on folk, blues and alt.country. He does things the old fashioned way which others are now discovering or having to re-learn: He has toured solo or... > Read more

Matt Langley: Stars and Guitars

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darren Watson

22 Mar 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Darren Watson of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has long been a multiple-threat; powerful and souldful singer; excellent blues guitarist; great songwriter. He first came to attention in Chicago Smokeshop (an appropriate name for a blues band from another city full of politicians) which later became Smokeshop, and released a series of well-recived albums in the Nineties. In the past... > Read more

Darren Watson: Can't Get Enough of You

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Carolina Moon

16 Mar 2011  |  3 min read

Released in early 2011, Carolina Moon's album Mother Tongue was unique in New Zealand's musical landscape. Moon, a jazz singer with an abiding interest in world music, had looked to the Sepharic Jewish music out of Spain in the Middle Ages and with excellent musicians -- which included Nigel Gavin, Roger Manins, Kevin Field and others -- reset them in a way where they remained faithful to... > Read more

Carolina Moon: Absalom

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Marianne Dissard

13 Mar 2011  |  4 min read

French-born but a longtime resident of Tucson, Arizona where she has worked with various members of Calexico, singer/songwriter Marianne Dissard (interviewed here) broke through ina quiet way with her album L'entredeux in 2009 which steered a canny middle path between French chanson and pop, and edgy alt.country. For her new album L'abandon -- mostly in French but again with some Americana... > Read more

Marianne Dissard: Ete Hiver/Summer Winter