Michael Cathro from Ha The Unclear provide a bit of clarity about the band's name and their new album Invisible Lines.

1. Describe your sound in one sentence.

To avoid reducing things to non-sense we'll say indie alt-pop-rock.

2. Where did you find that band name? We noticed it's an anagram of Nuclear Heath.

Haha you did? I love Nuclear Heath but the name is supposed to be referencing the absurdity of ambiguity.. whether it does that or not, doesn't matter! lol.


3. And what does the title of the new album Invisible Lines refer to?

Invisible Lines is a lyric from the song Fake Flowers "like a child stares at a finger but not where it is pointing, invisible lines are all around us". It ties some of the album themes together like the not always explicit interconnected-ness of everything. It's also a reference to the song Wallace Line and the way friendships and relationships can be maintained over distance.

4. What is your favourite song to perform live and why?

At the moment it's probably Where Were You When I Was All You Needed? I love a power chorus.

5. What is it about the indie/alt/pop genre that appeals to you?

I don't think there's any particular intention to make songs within that genre but maybe it's a natural outcome of particular influences like 60s pop, new wave and indie music! But I do like the freedom of not feeling beholden to reproduce a sound. I don't feel like we write with a purpose in mind but more a moulding and refining as you go kind of approach.

6. Does your Dunedin background inform or influence your music in any way?

I'm sure that it does. We grew up listening to our friend's songs and of course the long line of iconic Dunedin bands. Definitely places in Dunedin have informed some of our songs like John Wilson Drive and Corstorphine. Saying place names in songs definitely affected the way I was singing so yes!

7. What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?

Connect as much as you can with other people making music. Go to other people's shows and support your friend's bands.

8. Who or what excites you most about the New Zealand music scene?

We just played with Laura Lee Lovely in Christchurch and she was mind blowing. There are some incredible venues around (the ones that are still around) like Blue Smoke, The Cook, Whammy.

Ha The Unclear, with Michael Cathro second left.
Ha The Unclear, with Michael Cathro second left.

9. You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?


Mug Museum - Cate Le Bon

10. You're curating a music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?

Cate Le Bon, Girl Ray, Kate Bush, Dirty Three, Haim, Jonathan Richman, Matt Berry, The Mint Chicks, The Nerves, Queen.

Invisible Lines is out now. Ha The Unclear continue their album tour in Wellington on Saturday night (Aug 11), before playing Auckland on August 24, Mount Maunganui on August 25 and Melbourne on September 2 and 3.