The early 1980s was one of the pivotal times in the acceptance of New Zealand music creativity. Amongst other things, one South Island town’s artists circumvented the accepted ways of writing, recording and distributing their work, and became noticed around the world. The artists released on Flying Nun spearheaded a unique do-it-yourself ethos, resulting in a sound that is still emulated today.
In 2011, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of Flying Nun, the opportunity arose to speak to many of the artists involved in some of the key tracks from the early days of the label. After Chris Knox’s debilitating stroke, many were feeling their mortality, so a real effort was made to capture the stories before the opportunity was gone — or, like Chris, the players were unable to speak for themselves.
95bFM, as the only Auckland radio station that had embraced and got behind the work when it was released, was the perfect middle man to speak with the artists and get the true, unfiltered story without any label slant or usual media spin on the narrative.
The result was an extensive, long-form radio documentary series: Extended Play, with each 54 minute episode structured around the songs originally released as EPs.
The following year 95bFM made another series using the same framework, this time focused on the remarkable burst of young creativity in Auckland in the early years of the 1980s. Again, these were filmed using the same setup.
Sensing a shift in how audiences were receiving and consuming their media, 95bFM filmed all of the interviews with the intention of allowing the stories to be told in the future in a different form. The idea of a short, easily-digestible video with the artists telling their own stories around their own music suits the short attention span of online audiences, and with a narrative based around the music will be easily accessible.
Time moves on, and the footage that has been captured is as unique as the artists' voice on their work and circumstance.
Online is the perfect home for these pieces: released as a weekly "broadcast", the stories will live on around the songs and add an authentic narrative to the music story as we know it.