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The Hyphen-Ears was an underground group formed by South Island-based duo Kevin Smith (aka Hyphen-Smythe) and Steve Watson (aka Legacy of Ears) as a sideline to their Dunedin-based group Say Yes to Apes – which itself was an outgrowth of the The Picnic Boys recording collective).

All the various iterations of the groups and performance aliases took a scattershot improvised approach to recording and releasing music, with DIY cassettes and extremely collectable vinyl releases on the groups own TV Eye label (named after the Iggy Pop and the Stooges song of the same name).

The groups recordings were improvised, lo-fidelity and experimental by nature – recorded either straight to cassette or via a Tascam 4-Track that Watson later purchased. Though not for everyone, the records are full of ideas and unusual sounds.

The two Hyphen-Ears releases were some of the last by the TV Eye collective – vocalist Kevin Smith was soon channelling his creativity into acting, eventually finding fame as the character Ares on popular American TV shows Hercules: The Legendary JourneysXena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules before tragically falling to his death while filming in China. He was 38.



  • Garden of Lycanthropy EP (1984, TV Eye, HYPE001)
  • What are Stars? Stars are what separates us from the animals you sonovabitch (1984, TV Eye, HYPE002)


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