Karl Steven Profile

Gareth Shute
28 Jun 2017

It’s a sign of the massive effect that Supergroove had on New Zealand audiences that most pieces about Karl Steven start by mentioning he was the band’s lead singer, despite the fact that his resume includes composing music for film, creating work for radio, studio production, and fronting a widely varying group of bands from blues to garage rock to retro synth-pop. He also has a PhD in philosophy from Cambridge.

Steven grew up in a creative household: his father, Geoff Steven, was a filmmaker from New Zealand and his mother, Carin Svensson, a writer from Sweden (he grew up speaking Swedish at home). He decided he wanted to be a musician at 10 years old, after taking piano lessons on his grandmother’s pianola (which he still has). He was further inspired by seeing The Blues Brothers movie and the Talking Heads live concert film Stop Making Sense, which inspired a new hobby: drawing stage plans for imaginary concerts. By 13, he decided the pianola was impractical, since it wasn’t transportable, so he began to teach himself to play his grandfather’s old harmonica.

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Heart Attack Alley - LATE at the Museum
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Karl Steven in the control room.
Photo credit: Bridget Webber
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Supergroove - You Gotta Know
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Interview with Karl Steven, Joe Lonie & Tim Stewart from Supergroove. 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham.
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Karl Steven in Drab Doo Riffs at Camp A Low Hum 2011.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
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Queen Neptune
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
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The Drab Doo-Riffs - Tesla Girl (2013)
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Supergroove - Rain (Live at the VZMA 2011) Dragon cover
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Queen Neptune - Form Follows Function
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Heart Attack Alley - 95bFM In Session: The full session
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Heart Attack Alley - Cheese on Toast Interview
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L to R: Ian Jones, Joe Lonie, Tim Stewart, Che-Fu, Nick Atkinson, Karl Steven, Ben Sciascia
Photo credit: Photo by Polly Walker
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Karl Steven plays the saw.
Photo credit: Bridget Webber
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Karl Steven
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Supergroove - If I Had My Way
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Karl Steven's parents Geoff Steven and Carin Svensson.
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Karl Steven
Photo credit: Paul Taylor
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Karl Steven playing in Queen Neptune
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
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Supergroove - You Freak Me
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Pokarekare Ana
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The Drab Doo-Riffs - I'm Depressed
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Karl-Steven at Silver Scroll Awards 2016.
Photo credit: Gareth Shute
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Recording the score for Tatau with Drums of the Pacific
Photo credit: Bridget Webber
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Karl Steven, Kristal Gallager, Caoimhe Macfehin
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The Drab Doo-Riffs - Hot Tanya (live on the Cheese On Toast 5th Birthday Special on Alt TV)
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The Drab Doo-Riffs - Lunatic Fringe
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Heart Attack Alley - I Put A Spell On You - Live at the Gunslingers Ball, The Wine Cellar, Auckland
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Supergroove - Scorpio Girls
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Recording the score for Every Little Thing
Photo credit: Bridget Webber
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Drab Doo-Riffs - LATE at the Museum
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The Lowdown Dirty Blues Band with Karl Steven on harmonica and Che Ness on guitar
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Karl Steven in the studio.
Photo credit: Paul Taylor
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Supergroove - Can't Get Enough
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Here Comes the Supergroove
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Supergroove - Sitting Inside My Head
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Supergroove - Next Time
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Karl Steven at Albert Park with The Drab Doo Riffs. 95bFM Summer Series 2014
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
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