Author(s): Roger Shepherd
The inside story of New Zealand's iconic independent record label by the man who made it happen.
I wanted to be more than just an observer. I wanted to be a part of what was going on. I had told someone and the word was out, and now I had to actually do this thing. Start a record label.
I must have been drunk.
Roger Shepherd was working in a Christchurch record shop when he realised the local bands he loved needed someone to make their records. Flying Nun was born.
Those records and the bands that created them them – The Chills, The Clean, Chris Knox and the Tall Dwarfs, The Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings, The Bats, Straitjacket Fits and many more – went on to define an era and create what became known as “the Dunedin Sound”.
In truth it was less a unified sound than a spirit of adventure and independence that characterised the Flying Nun ethos. In this long-awaited memoir, label founder Roger Shepherd describes the idealism and passion that drove the project in the first place, the hard realities of the music industry, and the constant tension between art and commerce.
Filled with revealing anecdote and insight, this is the definitive insider history of the one of the most innovative and original record labels of the modern era.
"Surely the label with the highest quality output per capita in pop history." – Guardian UK.
"Something inexplicably special happened in the Southern Hemisphere a quarter of a century or so ago, the ripples still rumbling, and without it, all the music you love today would sound ever so slightly, and indefinably, different.” - British comedian Stewart Lee.
Roger Shepherd is the founder of Flying Nun Records, which he owned and managed throughout the 1980s and 90s, and with which he is still associated. He helped discover and nurture the careers of many of the country's best known alternative bands, including The Clean, The Chills, The Tall Dwarfs and The Headless Chickens. He lives in Wellington with his wife and children.