The early 1980s was one of the pivotal times in the acceptance of New Zealand music creativity. Amongst other things, one South Island town’s artists circumvented the accepted ways of writing, recording and distributing their work, and became noticed around the world.  The artists released on Flying Nun spearheaded a unique do-it-yourself ethos, resulting in a sound that is still emulated today.


Tall Dwarfs, 1981. Although not released on Flying Nun (it was on the Furtive label), their 1981 EP 3 Songs could be argued to have launched the Flying Nun series of EPs - Photo by Barbara Ward

In 2011, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of Flying Nun, the opportunity arose to speak to many of the artists involved in some of the key tracks from the early days of the label. After Chris Knox’s debilitating stroke, many were feeling their mortality, so a real effort was made to capture the stories before the opportunity was gone — or, like Chris, the players were unable to speak for themselves.

95bFM, as the only Auckland radio station that had embraced and got behind the work when it was released, was the perfect middle man to speak with the artists and get the true, unfiltered story without any label slant or usual media spin on the narrative.

The result was an extensive, long-form radio documentary series: Extended Play, with each 54 minute episode structured around the songs originally released as EPs.  

The following year 95bFM made another series using the same framework, this time focused on the remarkable burst of young creativity in Auckland in the early years of the 1980s. Again, these were filmed using the same setup. 


Who Killed Colonel Mustard, the 1982 Bored Games 12" EP, featured the classic Joe 90

Sensing a shift in how audiences were receiving and consuming their media, 95bFM filmed all of the interviews with the intention of allowing the stories to be told in the future in a different form. The idea of a short, easily-digestible video with the artists telling their own stories around their own music suits the short attention span of online audiences, and with a narrative based around the music will be easily accessible.


Blam Blam Blam's 1981 EP – later extended to a mini-LP as pictured – with a sleeve designed by 'Sauna Productions' aka Blam Blam Blam

Time moves on, and the footage that has been captured is as unique as the artists' voice on their work and circumstance.


The third release from The Clean, and their second 12-inch EP from June 1982. Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-So Sounds So-So, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten!! was not only an extended play release but its title was made to match.


Alms For Children were a North Shore band fronted by Gary Rodent whose sole EP was released on REM Records in 1981. They would later rename themsleves This Sporting Life and record for Flying Nun.

Online is the perfect home for these pieces: released as a weekly "broadcast", the stories will live on around the songs and add an authentic narrative to the music story as we know it.


Extended Play on Radio New Zealand National