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Artists on Wellington Music: Samuel Flynn Scott

We’ve been checking in with some local artists to get their thoughts on what makes the Wellington Music scene unique, and to get their take on some of their favourite Wellington sounds…

Here’s what Sam Scott from ‘The Phoenix Foundation’ had to say:

‘I think one the main things that has made Wellington music so prolific is the cheap rent and affordable studios. Sadly these studios are getting harder to hold onto. There was a time when Age Pryor, Taika Waitit and Bret McKenzie had a studio in the middle of town, The Black Seeds and Trinity Roots had a studio on Tasman St and The Phoenix Foundation had a studio just off Taranaki St. All three spaces have gone in the name of development. But I guess new spaces are popping all the time as well. We are clinging to city fringes! 

I always thought that ‘Ghostplane’ album Beneath The Sleepy Lagoon deserved more attention than it got. There are some deep moments on that record. Another wellington album I love is ‘Disasteradio’s’ Visions. He is a truly unique voice in Wellington music. I don’t think ‘Disasteradio’ shares much in common with the indy bands, the reggae bands or even the electronic/dance acts. And the videos he makes with Simon Ward are super classy…’

Also here is an earlier interview Sam was kind enough to do for us during New Zealand Music Month a while back….


How much of your income is derived from record sales & how much comes from touring/live gigs?

I would say record sales probably account for about %5 or less of my total income. Live gigs maybe more like %20. Most of my income as a musician comes through licenses for film and TV.

What advice would you give young musicians just starting out?

Work on your songwriting and take that side of things very seriously. Songs are what all music is based on and without good songs a great singer or guitarist will never make any impact.

How does being on a major label differ from being on an independent? In today’s musical climate is one better than the other?

I don’t think it makes much difference anymore. But I could be wrong. Certainly majors have a lot more sway with radio and they have more money to spend on advertising but there are advantages to small labels too. You usually get better deals from small labels and you get a team of people working on your product who are very passionate about what you do. Ultimately the choice between the two comes down to who is making offers and who has the best vibe. Working relationships are paramount.

Who would you cite as your biggest musical influence/influences?

That is almost impossible to answer. For me it might be the Velvet Underground who are a great 60’s underground rock band. The Beatles are pretty hard to beat when it comes to stealing great ideas off a great band!

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