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An Emerald City

An Emerald City

Monday 9th August, 2010 11:50AM

We catch up with Reuben Bonner from An Emerald City on the eve of their Circa Scaria album release show which also doubles as their farewell show - the band are soon to depart for Berlin to share their music with the world!


Been around since?

Late 2005, thats when the whole thing started...

Current line up?

Rob Croft,(sitar, oud, percussion, electronics), Reyahn Leng (drums, table), Ede Giesen (Persian long necked lute, acoustic guitar) Reuben Bonner (guitars, voices) Sam Handley (organ, guitar), Felix Lun (violin).

Your musical history?

Well if you searched you would find various people in One Black Shoelace, Milk Milk Lemonade, The Mt Albert Whataboutits, Ishtar, The Rubber Chickens... I thinks that's about all.... We have a bunch of influences, too many to name... who doesn’t love Zeppelin though right?

How did An Emerald City come about?

The story is too long and has been told too many times, but basically we all found each other, some friends were already friends, but some friends were strangers, and now there are no strangers amongst these six friends.. We know each other well.. I think the universe wanted us all to be in the same room twice a week.

How would you describe your sound?

A journey in amongst the folds of nooks and crannies of experimental psychedelia.. with sprinklings of eastern influenced sounds and a dash of avant garde pretension?

What are you listening to at the moment?

Me personally, i am listening to Yeasayer, Dictaphone Blues, Mogwai, Andrew Bird, Charlotte Ryan’s beautiful radio show, german language tapes, a Body Corporate vinyl... and i can not wait to hear the Kerretta album. I am gonna get so loaded and turn that up so loud.

What were you listening to at high school?

Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Silverchair, Nirvana, all the angsty cliché stuff...

Sepultera, Pantera, Grip Inc., Metallica... I kind of crossed over between grunge and metal, and didn’t really expand my tastes until i hit 20 or so.

What is your writing/recording process?

We used to write separately at times and bring ideas to practise,sometimes fully formed... Even little recorded demos sometimes... We now tend to just turn up at the practise room and tinker, and little ideas will turn into big ideas and they might turn into a piece we like, and then someone comes up with an interesting working title for the song...I wanna call a song Estralita.. I gonna suggest that next time.

Who’s idea was it to record your latest album in a cave and why?

It came from an idea that Sam had when he was out at a cave in Bethelsbeach... I think the theory behind it was to just be able to record in an amazing and organic space that might bring out our sound and suit our attitude towards always trying to create the best of what we can from our music..

Your Dream Collaboration?

I think if we ever branched into getting a vocalist it would be amazing to enlist someone like Damo Suzuki or David Bowie, that would be so choice that i would shit myself. We would love so much to have an orchestra behind us, that would be my dream collaboration, to have a big massive amazing orchestra from the Czech Republic playing our songs with us and churning it into a tornado of strings, wind instruments, and percussion.. I am actual thinking of that in my minds eye right now and feel like a little kid who isn’t allowed the ice cream. I want that.

Your off to Berlin soon, why Berlin in particular and how long do you intend to stay?

Berlin is an artistic hub in Europe.. It is not London, it is cheap, it has good graffiti. So i am told.. i have never been. Noone in our band has. Also, it is close to Dubai, where my girlfriend is moving.

Do you have any shows booked? Been in contact with any bands over there – who?

Yeah we have some shows booked throughout Germany and Belgium, not a lot, but we are working on it.. working on it very hard.. We have a festival booked in the Netherlands and we have an awesome Irish guy in Berlin hustling for more and more shows.. He is going great so far...

We have been in touch with a bunch of bands, but no real tours planned yet.. Maybe the Datuns will invite us on their luxury tour bus if they come through Europe... If there is bed I would like to get sandwiched between Phil and Dolf, i would also like Christian to be in some form of harness hovering over me playing guitar and Ben to be driving the bus with the same gusto as he smashes the drums. Are you reading this guys? Fax me if we can make it happen.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt musically in the last year?

Buy a tuner. You are not as good a performer as you think you are when you have crossed over from confidentally drunk to incoherent.

What has been your favourite show so far?

There have been a bunch of great ones.. Mussel Inn in Golden Bay and Canaan Downs festival were so great. They bayed for our blood at the Mussel Inn.. We finished our show and it felt like there was gonna be a riot if we didn’t do an encore. I have never had that before, felt great...

Womad 2008 was so amazing too. Great crowds, gentle people enjoing our tunes and dancing.. Beautiful surroundings

If you could share the stage with anyone who would it be?

Jimmy Page. I would sit in front of him and just watch. He is just such a beast. Best band ever. Its not a cliché if its true.

The state of music in NZ is…?

Pretty, pretty, pretty good. We have so many amazing bands. What i don’t get is though, how are Fleet Foxes world famous when The Phoenix Foundation aren’t? I love Fleet Foxes, but you know what i mean... The Phoenix Foundation should have been championed by someone overseas and they should be getting all their just desserts. Maybe they need to get overseas more? I don’t know how it works... It feels like they work hard enough to have gained more!! But there are other bands too you know? Die!Die!Die!, they have a good following overseas, so why don’t they get paid a decent wage to be creating this music? How come everytime i see those guys they are just scraping by... Where’s the justice.. Maybe i am too romantic about this all. Maybe i don’t know what i am talking about.

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