On tour in Vienna. Photo: Arno Loeffler
|Also known as||Builders, Die Bilder (1980s)|
|Origin||Christchurch, New Zealand|
Bilders (or Builders) is a New Zealand music group around Bill Direen who produced a string of self-recorded 7-inch vinyl releases between 1980 and 1982 leading to Beatin Hearts, the first studio-album from fledgling New Zealand independent record label 'Flying Nun Records'.
Also known as Builders, Die Bilder (German, for "The Pictures") or Bilderbergers, their alternative band names reflect a playfulness that predates the internet's accent upon priority branding.
Labels such as Unwucht (Germany), Zelle (Austria) Grapefruit (USA), Siltbreeze (USA) and SmartGuy (USA) have issued or reissued vinyl releases since 2010. The latest releases are a reissue of 1994 album "Cut", 2008 album Chrysanthemum Storm, the 1982 recorded LP Beatin Hearts, the 7 inch EP Measly (Grapefruit, USA), 'Cell Songs' (on a vinyl compilation by SmartGuy Records), and participation in two compilations of music by Dunedin (New Zealand) bands based on poems by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796).
Guests and collaborators
In the 1980s co-workers included Campbell McLay, mastermind of the Onset Offset label (bass, 1980–82), members of The Terminals, Scorched Earth Policy and Victor Dimisich Band, along with other prime movers such as entrepreneur/composer Alastair Galbraith 1994, artist and guitarist Alec Bathgate (recording project, 1984), Chris Knox (recording and production, 1982) of Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs, and poet/performer Alan Brunton (opera project Comrade Savage on the life of Australian-born NZ politician Michael Joseph Savage)  (Red Mole) and journalist Steve Braunias. Malcolm Grant was Bilders drummer (1980-82) before moving to The Bats.
Guests and collaborators have remained equally as varied in musical styles and backgrounds. Latest co-musicians are members of The Ghosts (U.S., Dave Nance, Chris Deden, Simon Joyner), Steve Cournane (drums, Dunedin, NZ) and Wellington (NZ) guitarist/curator/founder of Marineville Mark Williams with poet/composer/percussionist Jo Contag, in a group known in 2016 as Ferocious. Pianist Andrew McCully will join Builders in Auckland later this year to revive Songs for Michael Joseph Savage. Steve Cournane (percussion and drums) and Greig Bainbridge (bass), working with Stuart Porter of Primitive Art Group (saxophone) are among musicians essential to a Builders tour of New Zealand in 2016.
Other members include Berlin violinist TThomthom G'schrey (Germany, violin, 1997, 2006–present), Stuart Page (of The Axemen drums and artwork, 1983-85, 2010–present), Robbie Yeats (Dunedin, The Dead C, 2014, drums), David Watson (NYC, 2013, bagpipes, 335 semi-acoustic guitar), Miggy Littleton (Brooklyn, 2013, bass), Hamish Kilgour of The Clean (Brooklyn, 1989, 2013-14), David Wukitsevits of Austrian band Der Nino aus Wien (2013, drums), Jess McCann (Melbourne, accordion), Stuart Porter (saxophones, percussion), Louise Johns (Germany/Singapore, bass), Mark Williams (Wellington/Germany, guitar), Jo Contag (Wellington, drums), Barry Stockley (Wellington/Melbourne, bass and instrumentation, 1987, 2013), artist-guitarist Nikola Kapétanovic (2009–11, [France, electric guitar, dumbra, kalimba), dancer and actress France Hervé (France, 2010, chanteuse, actor), Kersten Ginsberg (Germany, drums, 1997), pianist, composer, improvisor, filmmaker Jonathan Crayford (Paris-NZ) - piano (2010–11, a special poetry-piano project), Rick And (2011, vocal), Peter Scott (2012, bass), Andrew McCully (piano, organ 2007-08, 2010, 13, 14) and Andrew Maitai (drums, 2008). Further groups have played or collaborated in Europe, USA, Australia and NZ; musicians include Jon Evans (Berlin, synthesiser, 2008, Berlin) and French DJ Fred Morvan (beatbox, 2008, Berlin). In 2018 Direen is working with Steve Cournane on a live set that samples all Builders periods. He is also collaborating with new musicians in Australia, Wellington (New Zealand) and the USA.
This list is not complete.
Since the early 1980s, their music has been released on labels such as South Indies, Unwucht, SmartGuy, Grapefruit Record Club, Onec Records Plymouth UK, South Indies, Siltbreeze, Onset Offset Christchurch NZ, Powertool NZ [CDs only 2006–2010], EMI, and Warner Bros Flying Nun.
- "Cut" vinyl 12" recorded Dunedin (NZ) 1994. Zelle/Powertool/South Indies
- Oh! 88, on "My Bonie Bell", Burns compilation Volume 2 (Zelle Records).
- "Chrysanthemum Storm" vinyl 12" recorded 2008 Auckland (NZ). Zelle/Powertool/South Indies.
- There's a Youth in this City, on "Ae Fond Kisse", Burns compilation Volume 1 (Zelle Records).
- "Measly". Buildermash EP. Four tracks. Grapefruit Recs GY6-7.
- "Beatin Hearts". Builders. Reissue of remastered album of 1982. Grapefruit Recs GY6-1.
- "The Utopians". 7" 45rpm vinyl & iTunes download. Studio recordings from Melbourne and Auckland, with a live extract (Austria). 2014. SmartGuy Records smart35.
- "Fiat Lux". Builders live recordings 1980-82. Democrazy Records DR 009.
- "The Flavour of the Meat". 2013. 12 inch vinyl. 33rpm. Grapefruit Record Club.
- "New York Songs". 2013. 12 inch vinyl. 33rpm. Unwucht.
- Bilders Live. Tour merchandise CD. South Indies. 2012.
- "Wonders". 7 inch lathe. OneC Records. Plymouth, UK. 2012.
- High 30s Piano. (Live studio recordings, 1981-2). 2012. Unwucht.
- Soloman's Ball. 2012. 12" vinyl (from the quality studio recordings of 1981). Unwucht.
- Six Impossible Things. 2012. 12" vinyl (from the quality studio recordings of 1980-81). Unwucht.
- Vacuum, two 7 inch vinyl releases from the cult Philadelphia label from cassettes of early (1978–79) group Vacuum (Peter Stapleton, Steve Cogle, Peter Fryer, Allen Meek, Brendan Arnold). (Siltbreeze, 2011, 2012). Of these only the second remains in production.
- Above Ground. Siltbreeze. Philadelphia, USA. LP. Vinyl (from cassette of 1983). 2011.
- Krypton 10. 12" double vinyl album includes BD collabs with Onset-Offset stable in Christchurch c. 1980-82; taken partly from 20 Solid Krypton Hits (above). Unwucht, Augsburg, Germany. 2011
- Parisian Friday. CD (jewel case). Non-studio recordings (gallery openings, practices). 2010. Bilders Paris Sessions (w. Nikola Kapétanovic). Powertool Music.
- Flying Nun Box Set (Alligator Song). Limited period usage. Warner Bros. 2007.
- Divina Comedia. LP vinyl compilation of Builders material 1980-88). South Indies. 1989.
- Life in Bars. Bill Direen and Barry Stockley. 12" vinyl. 45 rpm. South Indies. 1987.
- The Cup. Builders. 12" vinyl. 45 rpm. South Indies. 1987. (w. John McDermott, Stuart Porter, Bainbridge, Holdorf).
- Let's Play. Builders.12" LP vinyl. South Indies. 1986. (w. Bainbridge, Tony Green, Karl Holdorf. Incl. a Vacuum archive song).
- CoNCH3. Builders. 12" LP vinyl. South Indies. 1985. (w. Page, Bainbridge, various).
- Campbell Walker, ‘The Songwriter’s Cut’ pp 36–39 in Music in New Zealand (Ed. William Dart) Number 28 (ISSN 0113-7441) Autumn 1995. Compositions and releases,1980–1995, with performance history of The Bilders.
- 2007 New Zealand radio interview about The Bilders
- Interview on various related subjects RNZ 2006
- Refers to recent developments particularly the 2017 documentary A Memory of Others, about Bilders
- SmartGuy American record label
- Grapefruit is an American record club issuing four subscription vinyl albums by various artists per annum. LPs are also sold separately.
- Unwucht is a German label reissuing Bilders/Six Impossible Things on 12 inch vinyl with art quality screenprinted covers.
- Siltbreeze is an American label currently releasing cassette band recordings from pre-Bilders group Vacuum (1976-79)
- Powertool Records New Zealand released CD's by the Bilders between 2005-2010
- Some Bilders videos with French explication
- Lisa Warrington on the Playwrights Conference, Nelson, New Zealand 1990 See also ‘Writers Turn Art on its Head’, Nelson Mail, 1990.
- Thomthom Geigenschrey - german Wikipedia article
- Zelle Records Robbie Burns anthology features a Bilders song