Top mu­si­cians band to­gether

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Home­grown: Mu­si­cian Steve Abel has just re­leased his sec­ond album, Flax Happy.

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