For avant-metal troubadours El Schlong, music means a life on
the road, and tonight the heavy touring band return home to
Dunedin for the first time since 2010 to play Sammy's.
Formed by guitarist Leah Hinton in 2003 with fellow music
student Nick Baldwin on bass, the band grew up in the DIY
student punk/metal scene, before moving to Wellington in
2005. Since then, the band has moved city every two years,
stopping in both London and Berlin. With all that travelling,
how does the band feel to finally make it back to where it
all began? ''Dunedin is home,'' says Hinton.
''Both myself and Nick were born and bred here and the band
did all our trial-and-error stuff here. We were pretty
terrible when we started, but luckily Dunedin crowds were
always very forgiving and supportive.
''I really miss the bands we used to play with when we were
still based in Dunners back in 2003/2004. They were a great
bunch and the whole thing was always a good laugh - Nagas,
Vaderwhale, Scarface Claw, Two Fat Ladies, Christpuncher et
''We still see those fellas all the time and I have had quite
a few of them stay with me in Berlin and borrow my van to
tour over there with their new bands. As our landlord says,
`You New Zealanders come in packs, but you're all right'.''
Of course, constant independent touring on the ''Slowest
World Tour Ever'' and releasing independent albums, isn't
exactly a cheap process.
''Yeah, there are no funds,'' says Hinton, laughing.
''I live in Berlin so this New Zealand tour has been a
wallet-emptier. We have always paid for the band ourselves,
it's why we work, and what else are we going to spend our
money on? TVs? Hovercrafts? I have no qualms about funding my
own art, it's what I live for. ''The band actually broke even
for our last two European tours, which is pretty insane for
us. That's because we were all based in Europe for the first
one and because Creative NZ paid for Nick's flights over to
Europe for the second one though. Otherwise it would have
been the usual loss.
''Our reception worldwide has been really good, humbling
actually,'' Hinton says.
''People really seem to appreciate that we are doing
something different and that we've travelled so far to do
Help make the band's home trip worthwhile, tonight at
Sammy's. DUNEDIN Sound legends The Chills perform a free
afternoon concert to open the Dunedin Botanic Garden's 150th
celebrations tomorrow afternoon. The gig will mark the
beginning of a year of botanic celebrations, which includes
hosting the 2013 Global Botanic Gardens Congress in October.
Front man and only constant member across The Chills' long
career Martin Phillipps will be joined by James Dickson
(bass) and Todd Knudson (drums), who have been playing
alongside him for more than 12 years now, as well as Erica
Stichbury (keyboards/guitar/violin) and Oli Wilson
(keyboards), who have been working with him for seven and
four years respectively.
Mayor Dave Cull will launch the 150th anniversary
celebrations in the lower garden at 1pm and The Chills will
appear on stage shortly after.
El Schlong with Iron Tusk, Twist of Fate, Christpuncher, and
Osmium tonight at Sammy's, Dunedin. Doors open 9pm, first
band on at 9.30pm.
The Chills, Sunday, 1pm at Dunedin Botanic Garden sound