non-fiction rock from Aotearoa New Zealand

Living The Dream

Living The DreamThe nice bloke, Mark, from Twisel, is the creator of a splendid new zine called Living the Dream.

In issue number two is a small interview with us (below).

We strongly encourage you, in the nicest possible way, to make contact with Mark and pick up a genuine piece of Twisel D.I.Y.

It contains quite a few band interviews, all answering the same questions, a bit of Bolshy McBard’s poetry, and a bit of Dunedin punk scene history.

An excellent effort Mark, good on ya.


When did the band form? How many members and what is the average age? Have there been
any lineup changes?

Hiya. The band original started as a solo bedroom recording project in the late 90’s, as an avenue to dump other ideas that weren’t making into a band I was drumming with called Loosehead. Ideas more along free, raw and spontaneous principles. And as a solo project three solo releases were made. Then came the mr sterile Ensemble in about 2002ish, which latter morphed into mr sterile Assembly for reasons unknown now. The band has for a long time had a fluid lineup, welcoming and departing players freely, going from just one to a maximum of seven players.

Average at the moment is possible 45ish, but bare in mind the average age has changed over the years.

How would you describe your sound? Any particular bands or events that have influenced your musical direction?

Tend to not bother describing the sound too much, that’s other peoples concerns. But if really pushed we use the oxymoron ‘Outsider Punk’. Maybe ‘Adventurous Music’ if I’m feeling brave.

There have been many musicians and performers that have made significant influence and impact on our our work, but often its more around the process and mode of working and not necessarily the end result. Though the end result is also important to some degree as well to contradict the previous sentence.

If I were to list a performers that have some input to the way we develop our sound it might include: Sabot, Nomeansno, Red Monkey, The Ex, Rhythm Activism, The Residents, Big Black/Shellac, Crass, Rudimentary Peni, Deep Turtle, Cardiacs, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Xiu Xiu, Uz Jsme Doma, Deverova Cheyba, South east Asian pop music, industrial music, experimental/noise music…the usual.

What subjects do your lyrics cover? Would you consider yourselves political? And is this what drives the lyrical content, or is the emphasis more on having a laugh?

Lyrics are usual a major focus of the songs, and a lot of time can be put into developing the text. Some songs require a lot of research, others less so. The last album a great many of the songs were loosely connected by themes of spying, surveillance, and the role of technology in these concepts. There were some comments that the songs were somewhat paranoid, recent news has proven that paranoia was quite close to the reality of the situation.

Other songs focus on local stories, of pranksters or individuals who have made some significant effort or act for some reason, stories that I think need to be remembered for one reason or another. This country has a log history of ordinary people doing great things against the grain but we tend to not remember them, unless it’s a Hilary of Holmes or some other body of mainstream worthiness, these great citizens are forgotten. Its the pranksters and rebels who need to be remembered, now more than ever.

Politics is full of laughs when it isn’t so serious.

Do you gig on a regular basis? What is your favourite Dunedin venue? Have you played out of town much? Any certain gigs that stand out?

We try to, we’ll play where ever will have us. And we are quite willing to travel to play, we have played a lot of Aotearoa and a bit overseas as well, the furtherest afield being the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and closer to home Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Not sure if I have a favourite Wellington venue, we do like the smaller show, independently organised and in interesting spaces. There use to be a wonderful venue here called FREDS, short for The Frederick Street Sound and Light Exploration Society, an old Chinese Mission Church Hall which use to host many brilliant experimental and adventurous music events.

Some of the shows in Indonesia stand out as the most memorable. The most active, positive, and hard working punk shows ever, completely community focused and truly D.I.y. Another would be playing on the back of a trailer in the tiny town on Mangaweka(population 80) for the opening of a small art gallery dedicated to Aotearoa’s best known art forger Karl Sim aka C F Goldie.

What is your opinion on the current state of Dunedin music, particularly the Punk Rock genre?Your 3 favourite Dunedin bands at the moment?

Wellington music: Varied, some interesting and active folk. A lovely recent music festival called Home Economics which curated an afternoon of experimental/interesting music in domestic settings i.e in peoples homes. For the best part of the last 20 years there has been an active and vibrant free-jazz/experimental music scene which has nurture many players in these areas. There has also been a long-standing and committed group of free-noise makers making a joyous and unholy din out of any sorts of amplified scrap metal and assorted brick-a-brac available. And at the end of last year there was an exhibition held documenting 30 years of punk rock in Wellington covering almost the full breadth of sound and action across that time.

Punk in sound, to me, I think is a bit stuck. A lot of what I hear sounds like what I was hearing a decade ago, and then back another decade, and then back to the Nerve Centre. Unfortunately I struggle to hear the development across time, it seems a bit frozen a D-Beat.

But then there are acts like So So Modern who I know have some of there lineage in the Wellington punk scene pushing into newer sonic areas. I also really Like Dead Vicious, middle age ‘old school’ punk with great dry, funny political lyrics, and Fantails, singing in bilingual Te Reo/English language giving a new edge to the music.

And really to me, punk is about a method of working and organising. So if the actual sound isn’t meeting my tastes at the moment, then so what. The act of the action is what is more important to us

Have you done any recording and/or released any albums? Any plans to do this in the near future?

Yup, we have about 4 albums released on our on wee label called skirted Records, which can be found from our website . Our last album was released in 2011 I think, and it was called Transit.

And we are currently in the process of writing a whole bunch of new tunes in preparation for a new recording.

Here’s the words to one of our new songs called UFOtago. A song that first contemplates a UFO crash site story that is believed to exist along the Presidential highway on the road to Gore, alongside some fairly fantastic alternate history theories of the events that happened. But then HP Lovecraft complicates the story by making reference to Otago in The Call of Cthulhu , which made me ponder on the possibility that maybe it wasn’t UFO’s that crashed around 800 years ago, but actually it was the last sighting of that fearful god Cthulhu departing to the deep, scarring the land on the way.    Serious stuff mate!


Stop the car, here we go off Presidential drive.
Hang a left and overland by foot.
Inflate ordinary to something unexpected
Rumour writes a new histories course
Hear a whisper, hunt for broken compass
Attract magnetic pull to a secret secret caught
Speculate on some massive past destruction
Brute heave and cleave with Gore and force

800 years, perhaps, the truth will out
Smack! seven silver craft arrive and nose dive
Transmute mundane to glorious speculation
An event that hints of something more
Look there, the skies on fire to eyes in China
Jan says the shock, it rocked the Pisan tower
Tapanui flu blew from foreign space invader
And tilt the axis at the core

Perhaps it’s not some young drunk kiwi ET
But a thing more vast and dark and fearful
Lovecraft sentences sense a deeper truth
It’s danger for a mind if not careful
Common scum will mumble amongst the shadows
Mongrels grumble on the wharves about a trip
A vicious hideous in the hinter of the inland
and drums and flames upon the hills

In from port, South East of Paradise
Hunt hidden gold, disrupt by savage view
This remnant pain of some domain
The scars of the old god Cthulhu
Claws like teeth, set to cast asunder
A wet and salty kiss to wrap around your throat
An age beyond an age beyond our comprehension
The dreadful West Otago long ago


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