The Devonport M 22
Cover story: the Devonport music factory
DEVONPORTMusicFACTORY By Michael Campbell
Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds that make Devonport the thriving home of music that has spawned and nurtured one of the country’s most successful and influential music scenes.
Jaisi Sheehan - Electric Confectionaires.
Lurking right beneath the surface of historic villas and quaint, leafy streets is a community of artists and musicians who have been driving this movement. A movement which has seen the likes of The Checks and Gin Wigmore gain international acclaim; an array of annual festivals and concerts showcasing upcoming musicians; the Masonic become one of Auckland’s premier performance venues for new bands to kick start their career; and recording and rehearsal spaces that have helped launch some of the country’s best known exports. Central to the scene are two key institutions which have been at the heart of Devonport music since the beginning – the aforementioned Masonic Tavern, and The Depot Artspace. The Depot Artspace is a thriving multidisciplinary arts centre that models itself on the mantra of “Creating An Environment that Encourages Creating”. Its stated purpose is to encourage people to participate in the arts through all media including music, painting, performance, poetry and sculpture. Spearheaded by Linda Blincko, The Depot’s Creative Coordinator and a driving force behind its contribution to the local music scene, The Depot is home to rehearsal spaces and a recording studio that bands and musicians have been using since it was first built – from chicken wire and hay bales– by iconic Kiwi musician, Rikki Morris, 14-years-ago. “The recording studio was the first thing we built when we opened and the number of bands we’ve had through here has been phenomenal,” says Blincko. “People always say ‘what’s in the water’ for all these bands and musicians to be coming out of the one place.”
“I don’t know what you put it down to – just a phenomenon that mushroomed and has been growing for years. It’s not just a local phenomenon, it has been a real successful international phenomenon.” Most famous for the indie scene from which bands like Finn Andrews’ The Veils, The Checks, and lately, The Earlybirds all hail, there’s more to Devonport’s music than just swanky struts and guitars. “The music is so diverse, people aren’t aware of it but there’s so much diversity here; they don’t realise how much more than indie is coming out of Devonport,” says Blincko. “We have everything from folk – there’s a folk club up the road – to punk, with bands like The Rabble, heavy metal bands like Six Day War. The Electric Confectionaries are from Devonport; the absolutely brilliant Naked and Famous, who are in here rehearsing three times a week. They’re all so so different.” She says that the scene is something that has built momentum over the years, with a core of people who are central to the movement who inspire others to follow and get involved. “People like Finn Andrews, who came first, then The Checks who have been around for years, show others what is possible. So you get their friends or others who have seen the success they’ve had come out and give it a go themselves. Gin Wigmore is another.” Over recent years there has been a lot of media
Ed Knowles - The Checks
following the rise of Devonport music which is always self-perpetuating, encouraging more media to promote the movement, but going back as far as the 60s there were bands like Gary Harvey and the Night Owls, and bluesman Kevin Sheehan. Behind all this, in the background under the radar and the music are the people and venues pushing the scene, helping to bring all the artistry and sounds out from the obscurity of suburban North Shore, to the masses of the country and the rest of the world. Behind The Music
DEVONPORTMusic FACTORY DEVONPORTMusicFACTOR
Issue 4 - OCTOBER 2010 www.channelmag.co.nz
Arguably, the Devonport music renaissance of recent years started with a chance encounter between a Takapuna Grammar sixth former and one of New
The a portal in time where it
all came together… It all started with Finn; I call him the godfather.
Finn Andrews and Rikki Morris
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