Abney Park (band)

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Abney Park
Background information
OriginSeattle, United States
World music
Industrial dance
Years active1997–present
LabelsNone (self-produced)
Associated actsRanch Hand Robbie and the Wasteland Wranglers, Good Co
MembersRobert Brown (Vocals, Darbuka, Diatonic button accordion, harmonica, bouzouki, bağlama, ukulele)
Kristina Erickson (keyboards, Piano)
Josh Goering (Guitar, Banjolele)
Mitchel Drury (violin)
Derek Brown (Bass)
Past membersTitus Munteanu
Daniel Cederman
Jody Ellen
Nathaniel Johnstone
Traci Nemeth
Krysztof Nemeth
Robert Hazelton
Magdalene Veen
Jean-Paul Mayden
Finn von Claret
Madame Archel (Rachel Gilley)
Robert Gardunia
Thomas Thompson
Henry Cheng
Lee Tillman
Jennifer Savage

Abney Park is a steampunk band based in Seattle that mixes elements of industrial dance, world music, and steampunk-influenced lyrics in their work. Their name comes from Abney Park Cemetery in London (UK). Formerly a goth band, Abney Park has transformed their look and sound and has been called the "quintessential" spokespeople of steampunk culture.[1]


Early days

Abney Park was formed by Robert Brown in 1997.[2] They released their first full-length album Abney Park in 1998, and in 1999 they released Return to the Fire. Their third album "Cemetery Number 1" drew from their first two albums as well as introducing several new songs. In the early years of Abney Park, the band featured a gothic musical and visual style, which culminated with their 2002 release From Dreams Or Angels. Their songs "The Change Cage", "Black Day" and "No Life" reached number one on the Industrial, Darkwave and Black Metal music charts, respectively.[3]

In 2005, the band released Taxidermy,[4] which is a collection of new versions of songs from past albums, three live tracks and two covers. In 2006, the release of the album The Death of Tragedy marked the beginning of a major change for the band, as their music departed from a goth/pagan sound to a more world music/fusion one. After this release, their line-up changed as well, with the departure of Traci Nemeth, Krysztof Nemeth and Robert Hazelton, replaced by Magdalene Veen (Eliza Gauger using a pseudonym), Jean-Paul Mayden and Nathaniel Johnstone. Shortly thereafter, Jean-Paul departed the band to be replaced by Daniel C.

Becoming steampunk

In early 2005, Abney Park transformed themselves from a largely goth industrial band into a steampunk band. As part of that transformation, Abney Park invented fictional identities of themselves.[4] Since steampunk is largely derived from science fiction and fantasy literature, the band also created a fictional backstory to explain the shake-up in membership and who they were now, and to set a stage for their new music. According to that story, the band's plane collided with a time-travelling dirigible called the Ophelia—said to have been created by a Dr. Leguminous Calgori (presumably a reference to the 1920 silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)—in a freak storm. The band commandeered the vessel, deciding to become airship pirates, and formed a new band from the surviving members of the crash. Much of their music since that time has been based around this fictional backstory.[5]

In the spring of 2008, Magdalene Veen left the band and was replaced by Finn Von Claret. That year, they released Lost Horizons, their first steampunk-themed album. Finn retired in the summer of 2009 to form Imaginary Daughter. Jody Ellen joined the band later that year and played her first show at Dragon*Con 2009. Also in 2009, the band released Æther Shanties, their tenth album. Nathaniel Johnstone hinted in March 2010 that they were working on songs for their next album, though no names were forthcoming. A recording of a live performance of one of them (later confirmed to be the title track, "The End Of Days") can be found here. The End Of Days, their seventh studio album, was released on October 15, 2010. In late 2011, Nathaniel Johnstone left the band,[6] to be replaced by Titus Munteanu. On April 11, 2014, Jody Ellen said on her Facebook page that she left the band to carry on her solo career.[7] On June 20, 2014, Daniel Cederman made a statement on his Facebook page that he was leaving the band for a position as Dean of Military Science at Hofstra in New York City, in order to pursue a PhD and spend more time with his daughter.[8]


Now sometimes called the "quintessential" steampunk band, Abney Park has been featured in major news media[9][10] and interviewed by several genre magazines and websites,[1][11][12][13][14] and has been highlighted on MTV[15][16][17] and G4TV[18] as primary examples of the steampunk musical scene.

Abney Park has performed at numerous festivals, including World Steam Expo, Dragon*Con, WGW, Utah Dark Arts,[19] Bats Day,[20] Convergence, Ravenwood Festival,[21] Masque and Veil, Queen Mary Pyrate Daze,[22] the Bay Area Maker Faire,[23] Steamcon[24] and Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention[25] They have also been seen twice at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition in Ontario Canada. Their music has also been featured in many compilation CDs, including Gilded Age Records' An Age Remembered: A Steampunk and Neo-Victorian Mix,[26] Cleopatra Records' The Unquiet Grave vol. III, Sepiachord's A Sepiachord Companion, BLC Productions' Annihilation and Seduction,[27] Squish Me Down Records' Eighteen (Eighteen NW Bands Benefit CD)

Their music has also appeared in several movie soundtracks, including Insomnis Amour, Goth, and Lord of the Vampires. The Abney Park song "Sleep Isabella" was used in a scene in the HBO series True Blood, Season 5 Episode 4.[28]



  • Abney Park (1998)


  • PegasiaMusic008: The Lost Journals: Volume I (2011) (features Airship Pirates from Lost Horizons)

Airship Pirates RPG

In August 2011 Cakebread & Walton, using Cubicle 7 Entertainment as their publisher, released a role playing game based on the world of Abney Park's backstory. Set in the post-apocalyptic world after their album, The End Of Days – a future world with a severely disrupted timeline – Airship Pirates features steampunk themes and Victorian-era style. Airship Pirates places players as air pirates in command of their own steam-powered airships. There they will seek not only to pillage the skies, but to plunder history, possibly causing even greater disruption to the past. Meanwhile, the world below struggles in Victorian-style squalor under an oppressive government that maintains control through clockwork policemen.[33] In December 2011, the RPG game won Diehard GameFAN's "Best Core Rulebook of 2011" award.[34]


In 2012, a novel was released entitled The Wrath of Fate: Book 1 of The Airship Pirate Chronicles, by Robert Brown. Set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk future, the book is a companion to Abney Park's music and RPG game, exploring Abney Park's backstory and fictional setting in greater detail. A second novel in the series, Retrograde, came out in 2013, followed by a third novel, "The Toyshop At The End Of The World", in 2015.

See also


  1. ^ a b Tome (September 24, 2009). "INTERVIEW — Captain Robert of Abney Park". Dieselpunks.org. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  2. ^ "Abney Park | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  3. ^ "Volume 16, Issues 7-12", Electronic Musician, Polyphony Pub. Co., 2000, p. 28, 2000
  4. ^ a b Kim Lakin-Smith (2008-06-20). "Pump Up The Volume: The Sound of Steampunk". Matrix Online : the news and media magazine of the British Science Fiction Association.
  5. ^ "sepiachord.com". www.sepiachord.com. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  6. ^ "Nathaniel Johnstone moves on from Abney Park". 8 December 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Jody Ellen parts ways with Abney Park". 11 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  8. ^ "It is true that my time with Abney Park has come to an end". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  9. ^ Caroline Sullivan (17 October 2008). "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1899". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  10. ^ Ruth La Ferla (May 8, 2008). "Steampunk Moves Between 2 Worlds". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  11. ^ "Abney Park Interview". Aether Emporium. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  12. ^ "Lost Horizons with Abney Park: Catching up with Ophelia's crew". Aether Emporium. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  13. ^ Rebecca Firth (2008-08-27). "Dread Captain Robert and Abney Park Sailing the Metaphorical High Seas in the Name of Steampunk". WooEB. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  14. ^ Caitlin Dougon (28 April 2009). "Hanging With Abney Park". Spartan Youth Radio. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  15. ^ Andrew Ross Rowe (September 29, 2008). "What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  16. ^ "MTV News video: 'It's Airships, Pirates And Goggles'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  17. ^ "MTV News video: Abney Park's 'Airship Pirate'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  18. ^ "Abney Park — Steampunk Culture Video". YouTube. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)[dead link]
  19. ^ "Dark Arts Festival 2006 Schedule". Dark Arts Festival website.
  20. ^ jillian (July 24, 2006). "Bats Day In The Fun Park". LA Metblogs.
  21. ^ David Koon (July 10, 2008). "Steaming into Fayetteville: Big-name goth and steampunk acts gear up for this weekend's Ravenwood Festival". Arkansas Times.
  22. ^ Liz Ohanesian (September 20, 2009). ""Best of" Awards: Pirates Versus Steampunks at Pyrate Daze". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-04-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "Abney Park: Music Stage 1". Maker Faire Bay Area 2008.
  24. ^ "Steamcon Musical Acts: Featured Musicians". Steamcon 2009. Archived from the original on December 6, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  25. ^ "Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention: Entertainment". Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention.
  26. ^ DJ FACT.50 (2007). "An Age Remembered — A Steampunk / Neo-Victorian Old World Mix". Discogs. Gilded Age Records. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  27. ^ "Annihilation And Seduction". Discogs. BLC Productions. 2003. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  28. ^ Jef With One F (Jul 2, 2012). "True Blood: Steampunk and Strippers". Houston Press.
  29. ^ "Abney Park — From Dreams Or Angels". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  30. ^ "Abney Park — Taxidermy". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  31. ^ "Abney Park — The Death Of Tragedy". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  32. ^ http://www.sepiachord.com/index/?p=5127
  33. ^ "'Abney Park's Airship Pirates' RPG". ICv2. 2011-04-18.
  34. ^ "Diehard GameFAN's 2011 Tabletop Gaming Awards". Diehard GameFAN. 2011-12-26. In a year in which nostalgia was the dominant theme, Airship Pirates was a breath of fresh helium. From the novel approach to party composition and character creation to the beautiful binding, Abney Park’s Airship Pirates was not just a great book, it was the start of a great adventure.

External links