NZ bands bringing the noise to NYC

By Hugh Sundae

Lawrence Arabia (James Milne) is one of the NZ artists performing at CMJ in New York next week. Photo / Supplied
Lawrence Arabia (James Milne) is one of the NZ artists performing at CMJ in New York next week. Photo / Supplied

A handful of local artists are preparing to fly to New York to perform at the CMJ Music Marathon festival.

The festival, in its 30th year, runs over five days from Tuesday October 19th and the opening night features a New Zealand music showcase which has been jointly run by NZ On Air and the NZ Music Commission since 2007.

Street Chant, Lawrence Arabia, Electric Wire Hustle, Ruby Frost, Kids of 88 and Zowie will all perform at the function, dubbed NZ@CMJ, as well as having their own individual shows through the week.

Previous years have seen Liam Finn, Die! Die! Die!, The Naked and Famous, The Brunettes and The Ruby Suns make the trip.

"It feels less 'show-casey' than say SXSW," [South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas] says Liam Finn.

"Even though it totally is about industry, the atmosphere is more like an actual music festival."

But Finn cautions that it's no quick fix.

"You can't go over there feeling like you're going to be discovered, but if you've already got support from a label or booking agent, then it's a good part of a bigger plan. The great thing is all the media are in the one place."

While NZ On Air and the NZ Music Commission split the costs of the showcase, the bands have to get themselves to New York - but there is limited funding available to help out with getting there through the NZ Music Commission.

Wellington band The Family Cactus are also playing CMJ, at a Saturday night showcase with label-mates Street Chant.

"New Zealand knows how to party with style," Rev. Moose, vice president of content at CMJ, says. "I'm always impressed with the quality of artists represented by this relatively small population from the other side of the globe."

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