Any kiwis here? Looking for advice
Looking to move to NZ for a year or more in a few months. Where, if anywhere, has a good music scene? I’ll be putting all my efforts into starting my band. Is NZ just not the place for music?
I’d say Auckland and Wellington are good. I’m in Wellington, there’s a handful of good venues that cover a range of genres and book local artists, some of them especially good at putting on new artists. If you’re thinking of Wellington let me know and I can be more specific - like there’s a venue that’s really good for metal/punk and another that has a really sharp booking policy for newer indie bands.
Auckland I don’t know so well, and a couple of excellent venues just shut down, but again if you head there let me know and I’ll dig out some names. It’s big enough that there will be multiple scenes depending on what you’re into.
Christchurch I don’t know - the earthquake in 2011 trashed their city centre and maybe a lot of venues. But they seem to have some decent gigs this month.
Dunedin used to be the indie capital of NZ thanks to Flying Nun, I get the sense it’s a lot more mainstream now but there should still be some good venues, and lots of arts students to join your band.
Palmerston North used to be underground/experimental/punk but maybe not now…
Tauranga has a rock/grunge/punk underground.
Napier has at least one venue, but it’s probably not where I’d go.
Hamilton I don’t know. Probably a small scene and mostly rock or reggae.
As some background, at a high level I think NZ music is doing pretty well at the moment - lots of interest in local music, which hasn’t always been the case. However, it’s not necessarily the sort of music that I like (or maybe you like). There are some NZ artists that are absolutely massive - Lorde, of course, but also a group called six60 who are playing arenas here. A lot of other NZ artists are selling out decent size venues, like Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams, Tami Neilson (all folk/country/soul), Fat Freddy’s Drop (reggae), the Phoenix Foundation (indie) and there are some interesting heavier bands like Jakob (post-rock/metal), Beastwars (metal) and Alien Weaponry (thrash metal sung in the Maori language). Some good smaller bands coming through as well, and then older acts like the Finn Brothers or Dave Dobyn will always do well.
Happy to answer any more questions
You are a good person for giving such a detailed answer
i love this website sometimes
Just wanted to add I love Bailterspace, and I want to pop over to Auckland for this -
Thank you! My pleasure really, it’s fun to talk about this stuff. Makes me realise what I don’t know though, like is Dunedin or Hamilton any good for music at the moment? Don’t really know… and there’s a good few NZ artists that I’ve found out about from DiS (Fazerdaze, Aldous Harding…)
Good point by @ PaintyCanNed about the Flying Nun bands like Bailter Space - still going but with a more niche audience of older guys like me…The Chills are active, The Bats play occasionally.
My friends live in CC and they pretty much always having to travel to go to gigs. My mate does some music stuff so I can ask him, but hes just solo so does open mics and stuff too
(This more aimed at the OP)
Paisley Stage just opened here and it’s great - I know the owner because I did signage for him so let me know if you ever end up around here. I also know the owner of the oldest music venue (I think?) here The Cabana so give us a yell if you need. Probably difficult to get “up and running” here compared with Wellington or Auckland but we’ve had a few acts blow up that originated here. Venues are screaming for acts here!
FYI Napier has consistently the best weather in the country, Hawke’s Bay is considered the Mediterranean of the Pacific*
*I’ve heard at least 2 or 1 people say this
The Chills are playing here in September
rockin n reelin in auckland new zealand
This is awesome dude. You play an instrument?
I’m mostly into your standard pitchfork rock, Diiv, Mac Demarco, Sun Kil Moon, Kurt Vile etc. Not really into metal and I can’t stand the roots reggae you get in NZ. I’m not hoping to move somewhere that’d give L.A a run for its money but a scene I can get involved in would be fun, maybe put on some shows. A smaller scene can be ok, less competition and more community I think. Could you name drop me some wellington bands/venues etc I could start networking with?
Man Wellington looks sick, the more I look the more I like
OK, so there’s definitely an audience for that here - Mac DeMarco and Kurt Vile both sold out (small) shows in Wellington last year. Grizzly Bear and Sufjan did well here too.
In terms of venues: most of them are within a 10 minute walk:
San Francisco Bathhouse: big range, lots of indie stuff (MDM and KV played here, Wedding Present, Stiff Little Fingers - that level of bands).
Meow: indie, some hiphop, pop. Bit smaller.
Caroline: same owners as Meow, smaller. Lots of new bands play here, and they generally get a younger crowd. If I was starting out I’d be trying to play here.
Moon: in Newtown so a bit out of the centre. Local musicians are involved in running the place. There’s a great record store around the corner. They book a wide range of stuff.
Then there’s other venues that are less relevant like Valhalla (punk/death metal/noise/electronica), Rogue & Vagabond (funk, jazz, ska live; often play recorded indie stuff), Pyramid Club (experimental) and the theatres and arenas.
I don’t play anything myself, and I’m not really hooked into the scene, there’s a few people I could ask though. In terms of finding bands, this is a leftfield suggestion but the Wellington library has a music page that updates constantly and is always flagging up new bands. And that linked me to these guys who are like an artist collective putting on events including new band nights. Also try the Flying Out newsletter and Under The Radar which both hype new albums, tours etc. Will try to think of a few more.
Should add that Auckland would also be good for you - one big advantage of Auckland is that a lot more international bands play there. So for example Mark Kozelek and the National played Auckland but not Wellington; coming up they’re getting Dylan, QOTSA, Florence and we’re not. They get Auckland City Limits (mix of stuff, Kendrick and the National headlined the first one) and Laneways (basically a Pitchfork fest) and the Others Way (Flying Nun, see above), and we don’t. Travelling to Auckland or even further for a gig or festival is really common - I went to Melbourne last year to see Patti Smith and the Mountain Goats.
(This is basically what I do for my job only normally I’m researching HR software or education or oil companies, so this is like fun)
You are great. I was just googling San Fran. Death Ray records looks good to. Also, I shot you a pm
Any musicians you know I’d love to get in touch.
Regarding bands I dropped thats more the kinda music i’d be playing on a local level, I’m not massively bothered about seeing touring bands. I like going to shows but I’m more into the local thang
Yep, saw the PM, just at work but I’ll get back to you at lunch or tonight. Also see Slow Boat Records while I’m thinking of it, and Rough Peel is OK (and they have a mini record label too).