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Archive Fever: New Zealand Underground Sound in Fanzine Interviews 1991-1999

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In from Lasse Marhaug:

In this text Noel Meek collects interviews pulled from printed matter published between 1991-1999, including some of our favorite ‘zines of that era, Opprobrium, Superdope, and Bananafish, to say nothing of the many mags that never made it into domestic orbit (Astronauts, De/create, Spec, Valve, Insample).

In his introduction, Meek describes how his own search to make sense of New Zealand underground music started:

“This book began with a personal search for context …The beginning of enlightenment came when I was working for the Wellington International Jazz Festival. They were, at that time, bringing the likes of William Parker, Steve Lacy, and Evan Parker to our shores to teach and to play with a burgeoning free improvised scene. The latter of these musicians was my gateway into the publications you now find in this book. One bright day Jeff Henderson, then artistic director of the festival, handed me a copy of Opprobrium #4 with Evan Parker on the cover … Featuring international heavyweights like Parker and Tony Conrad alongside reviews of the latest Omit and Witcyst releases, this was the beginning of context, for making some sense of the local scene.”

What’s remarkable from our perspective today includes how Meek’s end-of-the-century parsing of his “local scene” in Wellington and New Zealand, more broadly, was adopted, in ways both big and small, by many American listeners focused on underground and experimental music. In other words, somehow Evan Parker and Opprobrium and Bananafish lead many of us to Omit and Flies inside the Sun.

It’s difficult to convey what ‘zines like these meant to those of us coming of age in the 1980s and 1990s.

This book includes interviews with the following artists:

Alastair Galbraith

A Handful Of Dust


Bruce Russell


Surface Of The Earth

Sandoz Lab Technicians

The Dead C


Roy Montgomery


Dean Roberts

Peter Stapleton

The Garbage And The Flowers

Clare Pannell

Kim Pieters


Bill Direen


Flies Inside The Sun

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