Top musicians band together
Musician Steve Abel has just celebrated the release of his second album, but he’s not sticking around to enjoy it.
The Kingsland resident heads to Switzerland next month, where he’ll be based for at least the next year.
He’s moving to join his partner, lawyer Deborah Manning, who has taken up a contract with a human rights organisation in Geneva.
But he’ll continue to make music with band the Chrysalids, many of whom are already based in Europe.
“We’re all following our women over,” Steve says.
“And I lived in London for two years and played in a band there so I’ve got quite a few musical contacts there.”
New album Flax Happy is the second recorded with the Chrysalids since 2006.
The band draws together musicians from top local bands – Geoff Maddock from Goldenhorse, Mike Hall and Milan Borich from Pluto and Gareth Thomas from Goodshirt.
Steve says the musicians first came together to record his first album, Little Death.
“We kept doing the odd gig when we could because they’re all so busy doing other stuff,” he says.
“A group of musicians only stays together if what’s occurring has something special, has an x-factor, and there’s no question this group really clicked.
“The guys are all great musicians and they love playing together as well.”
Steve scraped together enough money to record the new album over two days at Roundhead Studios in Auckland.
The result is a folkrock album of melancholy ballads.
“I really struggle to describe it but we constantly get referred to as alt-rock or folk rock,” he says.
A musician all his life, the 38-year-old has only focused on making a living from music for the past two years.
But it’s hard work, he says.
“There’s very few musicians who can live solely off their music.
“But I think you can make a living if you work really hard and think about getting bits of income from different sources.
“But we’re so lucky even to have the opportunity to be a musician so you can’t complain.”
Band member Mike Hall says his job is just to make Steve’s songs shine.
“All the guys in the band are there for the right reasons. We don’t want to be superstars, we just want to play material we believe in,” he says.
“We make time for it because we believe in the truthfulness of Steve’s songs.”
Steve Abel and the Chrysalids perform at Bethells Beach Cottages with Kirsten Morell on June 21. For tickets phone 810-9581.
Homegrown: Musician Steve Abel has just released his second album, Flax Happy.