Flying Nun Records
|Type of business||Independent record label|
|Headquarters||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Key people||Ben Howe (label manager)|
The label was formed in the wake of a flurry of new post-punk-inspired labels forming in New Zealand in the early 1980s, in particular Propeller Records in Auckland. The intention was to record the original local music of Christchurch, but soon the label rose to national prominence by championing the emerging music of Dunedin.
The Pin Group's "Ambivalence" 7" (the first band of Roy Montgomery) was the first release from Flying Nun, although it is widely assumed that "Tally Ho" by The Clean was the first release, as it unexpectedly reached number nineteen in the New Zealand charts, bringing the label unanticipated profile and income. This was followed by the seminal Dunedin Double EP, 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 the most prominent kiwi rock and alternative bands have been 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 which were 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.
A consortium that included Roger 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-1990s
- Able Tasmans
- The Axemen
- Bailter Space
- The Bats
- The Bilders
- Bird Nest Roys
- The Chills
- The Clean
- The Dead C
- The Expendables
- From Scratch
- Alastair Galbraith
- The Gordons
- The Great Unwashed
- Headless Chickens
- Jean-Paul Sartre Experience
- David Kilgour
- Chris Knox
- Look Blue Go Purple
- Love's Ugly Children
- Mainly Spaniards
- Marching Orders
- The Max Block
- The Puddle
- The Renderers
- Scorched Earth Policy
- The Skeptics
- Sneaky Feelings
- The Stones
- Straitjacket Fits
- Tall Dwarfs
- The Terminals
- This Sporting Life
- The Verlaines
- The Vibraslaps
Roster from the mid-1990s
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)
- Bannister, M. (1999). Positively George Street. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0704-5
- McNeilly, Hamish (23 December 2009). "Founder re-acquires Flying Nun after ten years". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- Hume, Tim (21 February 2010). "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nunn cult record label". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Flying Nun to partner with Captured Tracks". 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- "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