Sleepy Age

Disco-pop indie-rock tunes from Christchurch’s own Josh Burgess (Guitar/Synth and Vocals, ex Bang! Bang! Eche!) with Josh Black (Bass, ex A Flight to Blackout), Julian Vares (Drums, Magic Eye) and more recently Charlie Ryder (Keyboards, Bang! Bang! Eche!).

The group formed in 2009, initially as a more straight-forward indie-rock group with Hayden Williams (drums, also ex A Flight to Blackout) and Will Edmonds (guitar, ex Insurgents) who contributed greatly to their original sound; with the group even going on to win the annual RDU ‘Round-up’ band competition at the Dux de Lux.

In 2010 and 2011 the group went through several line-up and style changes; played a low-key European tour and then released the excellent pop video ‘Décor’, which solidified their new direction.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Self-Titled EP [September 2010 self-released]
  • Décor Single [June 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, Coal, Smith the Alien, A Flight To Blackout [09/12/06]

w/ Coal, Smith The Alien and A Flight To Blackout [09/12/06]

The night started out slow with bugger all people to catch a stonking set from Coal – Fleur’s absent from the current lineup, but William from the Pickups has slotted into the group nicely as their new organist, throwing in some sweet melody pieces on top of the boys terrific walls of sonic thunder; Jared in particular was on form, riding his tom’s with big rumbling rhythms.

Smith the Alien has been impressing folk with their one-half trad / one half Slint-style rock; all three guys are great musicans and their songs are starting to settle into my brain; good stuff.

A Flight To Blackout made a tremendous return; they’ve been reorganizing themselves since Cam (now guitarist for Smith The Alien) had to give up drumming due to tendon problems. Thankfully their new drummer is spot-on; a telling sign that i still know their (as of yet unreleased) songs by heart. Having gareth on guitar has added a little volume too, very cool.

The Hit-Machine are settling in on their new line-up too; with Simon Nunn settled on guitar (though dealing with some dodgy electrics through out the start of their set), the other Simon (ex How To Kill) hitting things extra hard behind the kit and of course Steffan on bass. Played a great bunch of their signature songs, and there was much merryment dancing (and shouting!) along to the favs.

See more photos from this show at Flickr

Valdera

Valdera is many things: A region in Tuscany; an art deco apartment block on Peterborough st; and the solo moniker of James Musgrave, under which he explores the medium of guitar and voice. Valdera songs embody the reflection, solitude, and frozen hope of a southern winter, and the joy and fulfilled promise of spring. Summer and autumn… not so much.

The first version of Valdera was a two piece consisting of James Musgrave on acoustic guitar and Bri Yaakoup (Frase and Bri) on piano. Early recordings on James’ computer attest to the band being formed in late 2004, which seems like a long time ago now. They intended to make quiet and pretty music, as a reaction to the very loud style of their previous band, where they were joined by mutual friend Fraser Austin (Frase and Bri, Secrets).

However, this duo didn’t last long. James forgot about quiet music and went off to form A Flight To Blackout, and Bri linked up with Fraser again to form Frase and Bri. But James never stopped playing acoustic guitar. He continued to write songs, singing softly to himself in various freezing flats across Christchurch City, and slowly gaining the confidence necessary to do so in front of other humans.

Before live performance however, he spent long hours teaching himself to record the best of the songs that he had so far written, again in various freezing flats across Christchurch. Eventually, in a modest room on Nicholls st around 2006, James was finally happy with the sound of the recordings. Unfortunately, after hearing them over and over ad naseum, by this time he was also completely sick of the songs themselves – so he left them to sit idle on his hard drive.

Fast forward to 2008, and James decided that the only way he was going to play live was by forcing himself. Therefore, the first Valdera show was booked, and on 01.06.08 he supported A Flight To Blackout and I.Ryoko at the Christchurch Media Club. The songs ranged from ones written in 2004 to the present, and were completely acoustic and unaccompanied.

Since then Valdera has branched out into the world of electricity, with about 50% of the currently played songs involving electric guitar, programmed drums, and synth all plugged into a loop station with vocals on top. Sometimes the Valdera setlist is acoustic, sometimes electric, and sometimes a mix of both.

Now, several years later, the finishing touches are being put on the Nicholls st recordings, and will be released as a 4 song EP before the end of 2008.
This extended bio was brought to you by the letter A, the colour white, and a completely shameless use of the third person. Thank you.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • 145 [November 2008 self-released]
  • Terminus [September 2009 self-released]
  • All Past and All Future [January 2010 self-released]
  • Early Earth [May 2010 self-released]
  • Remnants [November 2010 self-released]

See-Also

Will Edmonds / Out Of Kilter [October 2006]

[Originally published in A Low Hum October 2006]

Will Edmonds is eager, passionate and luckily for Christchurch, one of the founders of Out of Kilter, an all ages orientated community that focuses on promoting bands and events. Out of Kilter is just about to put out their first proper release- by Wellington band The Henderson, so I asked Will how Out of Kilter came about:

A few years ago I started a website where I could host the reviews I was writing about local shows and CDs as well as have and interviews with bands I liked. A year or so after I began the webzine, a friend of mine, Josh, asked me if I wanted to start a record label with him to help put out the music of some of the local bands that were beginning to flourish here in Christchurch. We decided to take the name from the webzine just because it was easier and we thought it sounded cool.

About a month after getting together to start up the label we started putting on all ages shows. I think it was mainly because there was nobody else was putting on the type of rock shows we wanted in Christchurch…we were pretty much just filling the gap.

Will recalled the start of Out of Kilter’s foray into putting on events as being a huge learning curve for the enthusiastic pair.

The first shows we organized through Out of Kilter were kind of hit-or-miss. The very first one was awesome – there was a big turnout, the bands were cool, and costs were easily covered. The second gig though, was a bit of a shambles …we were bringing down our friends from Wellington- [the] band The Red Carpet Murder to play a show here in Christchurch. In the end we lost a few hundred dollars, and had a small turnout. That show was probably one of the most important for me though, because it taught me a lot about how NOT to run a show!

When asked about what Out of Kilter really does he admits it’s a bit ambiguous, now days Will spreads what OOK does much beyond the initial idea for a record label.

It started with the intent of being a record label but kind of morphed into a bit of an all ages community. At first we started putting on AA shows with bands that we were friends with, but word kind of spread that there was this burgeoning all ages scene happening in Christchurch and we had quite a few bands from up north asking for help with all ages gigs.

Out of Kilter may have become seasoned pros at putting on live shows now, but they’re about to embark on a new adventure by putting out The Henderson’s In Miracle World EP. But the question begs how did a guy from Christchurch hook up with a band from Wellington and eventually agree to put out and promote an EP for them?

I met Mark (the Henderson’s front man) over the internet ages ago when I was like 14 and posting on NZMusic.com as DJ Will. We didn’t really talk all that much until he sent me some mp3s of his band via email a year or two ago and which I ended up loving. It pretty much just developed from there.

For Will, being involved with putting out The Henderson’s EP has been a bit of a waiting game, and as he knows, good things come to those who wait, and by the sounds of things good things are what he’s got.

Originally the Henderson EP was actually meant to be released in April this year. The artwork was completed ages ago by Hadley [AKA Wellington graphic artist, Autistk] and we were all pretty excited to be getting the EP out as fast as possible…

I loved the recordings and was looking forward to releasing them, but with the band’s line-up changing [and with] their style of music evolving quite drastically, they decided to completely re-recorded the EP as a three piece with Tim Shann – who had recorded the original EP – taking over on bass.

The new EP took about two months to be recorded [again by Tim] and at first I was slightly wary about a whole new EP [Because] I lived in a different city to the band and hadn’t had a chance to check them out live as a three-piece.

However, I did get a chance to hear some recorded band practices and was stoked! The new material and dynamics in the band was incredible.

Once the final version of the EP arrived in my mailbox to be sent off to the printers I was fully in love with the band. The new recordings were more powerful, more interesting and just generally in a completely different league to the original recordings and I was over the moon.’

So, Out of Kilter’s first big release will be from a Wellington band, but what does Will, think of the scene in his hometown?

‘The level of talent in Christchurch in terms of high school bands is fucking incredible! There has always been something in the water down here – I think Out of Kilter has probably helped bring kids out to shows that normally wouldn’t go – but in terms of great bands – they’ve always been here, although right now does seem like a bit of an AA revolution with cool new bands appearing out of the woodwork pretty frequently.
I’d say the best part for me as far as all ages shows go is the feeling of community at the gigs and on the Out of Kilter web forum…and getting to see great bands so early in their career is definitely exciting too.’

Out of Kilter has been treated well by the all age’s scene but what about the R 18 crowd?
It’s almost like a 50/50 split between R18 cats who think what we’re doing is stupid or ‘cute’, and people who are genuinely excited about what’s going on.

When I first started putting on shows it definitely seemed like a LOT of the R18 bands weren’t interested at all in being involved with us. I remember approaching a couple of bands early on and getting some pretty rude responses which turned out to be good for me because it gave me the resolve to show them up.

On the other hand there have been some R18 bands who have been really involved in all ages shows. The first show we ever put on had The Leper Ballet onboard which was excellent. There are also bands like House of Dolls, A Flight to Blackout and Frase+Bri who are really active in the AA scene.
This experience has allowed Will to also connect with people who are involved with the Christchurch live scene outside of All Ages events, proving themselves to be worthy allies for Out of Kilter. He cites Joe Veale [of the defunct Creation, now manager of the Jet-set Lounge] and Chris Andrews [thebigcity.co.nz] as driving influences.

I met them at the first and second [Out of Kilter] shows I put on respectively…and they’ve both been really instrumental in making Out of Kilter a success, and getting more good shows happening here. I’d say that the best part of all of this for me has definitely been meeting great people. That’s what keeps me going most of the time.

Although Will has been a focused on the all age’s scene, essentially his peer group, he’s about to come of age, could this mean Out of Kilter will change its direction, and move away from putting on shows for kids at high school?
“I’m hoping to keep doing what I’m doing. I might put on more R18 shows since I’ll be spending most of my time at uni and going to gigs but I’ll definitely keep up the all ages thing. I know how boring it is to be a kid in Christchurch, and to deny kids the chance to see amazing bands play just because I’m like a year older than them would be ridiculous.

The one thing that I think will drastically change will be releasing records! We’ve been very slow putting out stuff, so I think I want to do 2 or 3 releases next year!”
The Henderson EP will be out in Christchurch at the end of the month with a couple of release shows, but should be in stores around the country very soon. If you want to see what goes on in the world of OOK check out www.outofkilter.net

A Flight To Blackout

Excellent instrumentalist trio from the garden city formed by Matt Craw (Guitar), James Musgrave (Bass), and Jared Kelly (Drums) in early 2005. Taking cues from a variety of informed directions, the group were prolific features of the local live scene, and attached themselves to both r18 and all-age crowds with varying success. Playing an involved instrumental sound heavy on dynamics, the group enlisted ex-Substandard bassist Gareth Heta as a 2nd guitarist for a short period before reverting back to their original configuration. However, this was soon broken when Kelly left to play with the Pickups full-time, so Cam Walker was recruited to carry on where Jared left off.

Throughout later 2005 and early 2006 the group had a strong association with fellow garden city instrumentalists Coal, with Walker sitting at the throne for both groups for a period – however this was halted by problems with the tendons in Walker’s wrist, which caused him a great deal of pain during a show with the touring groups Jakob and American outfit No Funeral.

After losing Walker, Craw and Musgrave added Thomas Lambert (synth/guitar – aka i.Ryoko) in order to create a fuller sound than the rock trio lineup. Through him they found a great replacement drummer in Adam Jack, who picked up the groove of the songs quickly and added his own heavy hitting style. At this time, Gareth Heta again showed an interest in being part of the band, so he was recruited on guitar (and bass when James swaps to guitar). These changes have lead to further creativity within the group, with new songs eventuating at the start of 2007 (including for the first time, a song with vocals provided by Musgrave).

More live shows followed, a highlight being a gig with the Enright House, Pandora’s Bucket, and Wellingtonians Donatello. Towards the end of 2007, A Flight To Blackout entered the RDU Roundup band competition without any expectations of success, and came away with 2nd place, pipped by the more RDU-friendly (but by no means lesser) Bang! Bang! Eche!

As seemed to be the rule by now, Jack left the group at the end of 2007 to travel to Canada, and Lambert left for Wellington. This allowed the remaining members to focus on the tracking of their debut release, which is currently being mixed and produced by Thomas for release on his and partner Matt Faisander’s ‘Sonorous Circle’ label before the end of 2008.

In early 2008 Hayden Williams and Josh Black (both also of Neil Robinson) made fine replacements on drums and synth respectively, their first show with the band being the farewell/fundraiser of friends The O’Lovelys.

Discography (Picks In Bold)

  • No Releases

See-Also

Coal

Biography

Coal are energy in another form.

Long-lasting groovy Christchurch noise-rock cum post-rock band based around the core guitar duo of Andrew Hensley and Jeremy Symonds.

Despite the best part of 2 decades as a live act, the group has yet to record, and have been through several ‘phases’ in their lifetime with an evolving sound and band line-up.

The group have connections to several groups, with members of A Flight to Blackout, The Pickups, Smith the Alien, and The Shocking Pinks forming the base of the group over the years.

Circa 2016/2017 the group are now a tight 4-piece with a huge sound – bolstered by excellent bassist Gareth Heta’s shear volume and the confidence the group now posses. Hensley in particular has come on in spades, with a great snarl and caustic lyrics (ala Mark E Smith) added to his guitar attack. ‘Peter Mead’ is a live favorite.

Members

  • Andrew Hensley (Guitar/Vocals, 2000 -)
  • Jeremy Symonds (Guitar, 2000 – )
  • Lachlan Beban (Guitar, 2000 – 2006?)
  • Scott Butcher (Drums, 2000 – 2006?)
  • Jared Kelly (Drums/Bass, 2006 – 2008?, 2014 – 2015)
  • Cam Walker (Drums, 2006?)
  • William Daymond (Bass/Organ, 2006 – 2007)
  • Fleur De Lis (Guitar, 2006, 2007)
  • Matt Craw (Guitar, 2007?)
  • George Gossett (Keyboard?, ?)
  • Paul Kidd (Electronics, 2008)
  • Danny Knight-Bare (Drums, 2008? – )
  • Gareth Heta (Bass, 2015? -)

Discography

Links