Flying Nun Records is an independent record label formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1981 by music store manager Roger Shepherd. Described by The Guardian as "one of the world's great independent labels", Flying Nun is notable for bringing global attention to the Dunedin sound, a cultural and musical movement in early 1980s Dunedin, which gave rise to modern indie rock.
|Flying Nun Records|
|Country of origin||New Zealand|
The label formed in the wake of a flurry of new post-punk-inspired labels appearing in New Zealand in the early 1980s, in particular Propeller Records in Auckland. Shepherd had intended to record the original local music of Christchurch, but soon the label rose to national prominence by championing the emerging music of Dunedin.
"Ambivalence" by The Pin Group (the first band of Roy Montgomery) was the first release from Flying Nun, although "Tally Ho" by The Clean was the first release to draw public attention to the label, as it unexpectedly reached number nineteen in the New Zealand charts, bringing the label unanticipated profile and income. There followed the seminal Dunedin Double, a release which cemented the place of the southern city in the forefront of New Zealand independent music. Flying Nun moved into the full-length album market in 1982 with the Ego Gratification Album by Chris Knox and Beatin Hearts by Builders (recorded 1982, Auckland).
Many of New Zealand's most prominent kiwi rock and alternative bands have signed to Flying Nun at some stage in their careers. In 2000 Australian youth radio network Triple J produced a list of the thirty "Greatest New Zealand acts of all time", twenty of them by Flying Nun artists. The label has been home to various styles of music, including the much-debated Dunedin sound, "high-end pop with a twist", lo-fi experimentation, strongly Velvet Underground-influenced pop, minimalism, industrial, and rock-electronic crossover.
In 1999 Matthew Bannister of The Sneaky Feelings wrote Positively George Street: A Personal History of the Sneaky Feelings and the Dunedin Sound, covering the New Zealand music industry of the 1980s, including Flying Nun.
In 1990 Festival Records bought a fifty-percent stake in Flying Nun, and then in 2000 merged it with Mushroom Records, bringing Flying Nun into the Festival-Mushroom Records family of companies. Warner Music Group acquired Flying Nun as part of its purchase of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) in 2006. A consortium that included Shepherd bought back the label from Warner on 21 December 2009, for "more than what I sold it for". New Zealand musician Neil Finn, his wife Sharon, and another business partner together own a quarter-share in the repatriated record label.
Roster, early 1980s to mid-1990sEdit
- Able Tasmans
- The Axemen
- Bailter Space
- The Bats
- The Bilders
- Bird Nest Roys
- The Chills
- The Clean
- The Dead C
- Dead Famous People
- The Expendables
- Exploding Budgies
- From Scratch
- Alastair Galbraith
- Goblin Mix
- The Gordons
- The Great Unwashed
- Headless Chickens
- Jean-Paul Sartre Experience
- David Kilgour
- Chris Knox
- Look Blue Go Purple
- Loves Ugly Children
- Mainly Spaniards
- Marching Orders
- The Max Block
- The Pin Group
- The Puddle
- The Renderers
- Scorched Earth Policy
- The Skeptics
- Snapper (band)
- Sneaky Feelings
- The Stones
- Straitjacket Fits
- Tall Dwarfs
- The Terminals
- This Sporting Life
- The Verlaines
- The Vibraslaps
Roster from the mid-1990sEdit
Since the mid-1990s many of the original stable of artists have split up or moved to other labels, including Xpressway Records (Port Chalmers, New Zealand), Arch Hill Recordings (Auckland), Powertool Records (Auckland), South Indies, Paris or Matador Records (United States). A similarly eclectic new generation of bands is signed to Flying Nun, including:
Flying Nun also released compilations of a cross-section of its artists. These are now the only easy-to-find documents of certain featured artists.
- Tuatara (1985)
- In Love With These Times (1990)
- Roger Sings the Hits (1991)
- Getting Older 1981-1991 (1991)
- Pink Flying Saucers over the Southern Alps (1991)
- Shrewd: A Compilation of NZ Women's Music (1993)
- The Sound Is Out There (1995)
- Pop Eyed (1996)
- 15 – Flying Nun Records (1996)
- Topless Women Talk About Their Lives (film soundtrack) (1997)
- How Much For Trade? – 1998 Flying Nun Sampler (1998)
- Scarfies (film soundtrack) (1999)
- Under the Influence - 21 Years of Flying Nun Records (2002)
- Speed of Sound (2003)
- Very Short Films (music video compilation DVD) (2003)
- Second Season (music video compilation DVD) (2004)
- Where In The World Is Wendy Broccoli? (2006)
- Flying Nun 25th Anniversary Box Set (2006)
- Tally Ho!: Flying Nun's Greatest Bits (2011)
- Time To Go: The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-1986 (2012)
- McNeilly, Hamish (23 December 2009). "Founder re-acquires Flying Nun after ten years". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- "Flying Nun Records: 10 of the best songs of the Dunedin sound". the Guardian. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
- Hume, Tim (21 February 2010). "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nun cult record label". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Flying Nun to partner with Captured Tracks". 2013. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- McDonald, Liz (4 June 2018). "Anti-establishment Flying Nun founder just wanted to get music on the record". The Press. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
- "Various – Roger Sings the Hits". Discogs.
- Official Flying Nun site
- radionz.co.nz/flyingnun – A five-part Radio New Zealand documentary about the label and its musicians.
- tallyho.co.nz – website that has a large number of Flying Nun concert posters, magazine advert and misc.
- In love with those times — detailed feature-article from Stylus Magazine on Flying Nun artists
- "Dunedin and Christchurch Bands" — Part Two of a 3-part TV New Zealand series from 1984, featuring interviews and live footage of several Flying Nun Records bands.
- Heavenly Pop Hits – The Flying Nun Story full length 2002 documentary on NZ On Screen