Flying Nun Records

Flying Nun Records

Flying Nun Records is a formerly independent record label in New Zealand. The label was formed in Christchurch in 1981 by music-store proprietor Roger Shepherd in the flurry of new punk rock-inspired labels forming in the early 1980s. The intention was to record the original local music of Christchurch, but soon the label rose to national prominence by championing the emerging music of Dunedin.

The Pin Group' "Ambivalence" 7" was the first release from Flying Nun, although it is widely assumed that "Tally Ho" by The Clean was the first release, as it unexpectedly reached number nineteen in the New Zealand charts, bringing the label unexpected profile and income. This was followed by the seminal "Dunedin Double EP", a release which cemented the place of the southern city in the forefront of New Zealand independent music.

Many of the most prominent kiwi rock and alternative bands have been signed to Flying Nun at some stage in their careers. In 2000 Australian youth radio network Triple J produced a list of the thirty "Greatest New Zealand acts of all time", twenty of which were Flying Nun artists.

The label has been home to various styles of music including the much-debated Dunedin Sound, "high-end pop with a twist", lo-fi experimentation, strongly Velvet Underground influenced pop, minimalism, industrial, and rock-electronic crossover.

Roster in the 1980s to the mid-1990s

* Chris Knox, Toy Love, the Tall Dwarfs
* David Kilgour, The Clean
* Martin Philipps and The Chills
* Straitjacket Fits
* Jean-Paul Sartre Experience
* Headless Chickens
* Bailter Space
* The Verlaines
* Able Tasmans
* The Sneaky Feelings
* The Bats
* The Bilders
* The 3Ds
* The Gordons
* The Terminals
* Bird Nest Roys
* The Dead C
* Loves Ugly Children

Roster from the mid 1990s

Since the mid-1990s many of the original stable of artists have split up or moved to other labels including Xpressway Records (Port Chalmers, New Zealand), Arch Hill Recordings, (Auckland), Powertool Records (Auckland) or Matador Records (United States). A similarly eclectic new generation of bands is signed to Flying Nun, including:

* The Mint Chicks
* The D4
* Garageland
* Gerling
* PanAm
* Betchadupa
* Ghost Club
* The Subliminals
* Adam Brand


In addition to supporting the albums of emerging artists, Flying Nun also released many compilations of a cross-section of their artists, in some cases now the only easy-to-find document of some artists. The compilations are:
* "Dunedin Double EP" (1981)
* "Tuatara" (1986)
* "In Love With These Times" (1990)
* "Pink Flying Saucers over the Southern Alps" (1991)
* "Getting Older 1981-1991" (tenth anniversary) (1991)
* "Shrewd: a compilation of NZ women's music" (1993)
* "Pop Eyed" (1996)
* "Topless Women Talk About Their Lives" (film soundtrack) (1997)
* "Scarfies" (film soundtrack) (1999)
* "Speed of Sound" (2003)
* "Under the Influence - 21 Years of Flying Nun Records" (2004)
* "Very Short Films" (music video compilation DVD) (2003)
* "Second Season" (music video compilation DVD) (2004)

In 1990 Festival Records bought a fifty percent stake in Flying Nun, and then in 2000 merged with Mushroom Records bringing Flying Nun into the Festival Mushroom Records family of companies.

In 1999 Matthew Bannister of The Sneaky Feelings wrote "Positively George Street: A Personal History of the Sneaky Feelings and the Dunedin Sound" covering the New Zealand music industry of the 1980s, including Flying Nun.

Flying Nun was bought 100% as part of the purchase of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) by Warner Music Group in 2006. [;jsessionid=18ED5A3F8BBB54AB78959F7FEF11CC02]

Further reading

Bannister, M. (1999). "Positively George Street". Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0704-5

See also

* List of record labels
* Music of New Zealand

External links

* [ Official Flying Nun site]
* [ "In love with those times"] — detailed feature-article from [ Stylus Magazine] on Flying Nun artists
* [ "Heavenly Pop Hits"] — Part One of an 8-part documentary from 2002, telling the story of Flying Nun Records.
* [ "Dunedin and Christchurch Bands"] — Part Two of a 3-part TV New Zealand series from 1984, featuring interviews and live footage of several Flying Nun Records bands.

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