The Chills heat up arts festival

The Chills frontman Martin Phillipps. Photo: Supplied

LEGENDARY New Zealand band The Chills will perform at the Scottish Hall in Invercargill next Friday, with special guest Anthonie Tonnon.

Fronted by Martin Phillipps, the band was formed in 1980 and had early releases through New Zealand label Flying Nun.

Although it’s had a few line-up changes and the odd hiatus over the years, momentum had really been growing again for the past three or four years, Phillipps said.

He said he thought it had been about 10 years since they last played in Invercargill.

With a busy touring schedule overseas, they hadn’t been able to get out of the main centres in New Zealand for many years so were looking forward to this Vigorous and Far-reaching New Zealand Tour, he said.

“It’s a good chance to sort of get out there and just show people how good the band is and keep ourselves excited as well.”

Along with playing their critically acclaimed recordings such as Heavenly Pop Hit and Pink Frost, the band is also making new music.

Their last album, Silver Bullets, which was released in 2015, was the first in almost 20 years and Phillipps said it was well received.

“The response from old fans and new fans was really, really good.

“It’s up there with anything from the past and it’s just a good way to start to move forward.”

The band released its latest single, Rocket Science, last Saturday to celebrate International Record Story Day. Phillipps said there would possibly be another recording later in the year, leading in to a new album next year.

“Things are just sort of on a roll.”

Phillipps has been performing since he joined his first band in 1978.

“Once I’d realised I could write songs and I just had experienced the buzz of performing live, there was no turning back.”

The Chills were part of an exciting Dunedin music scene which emerged out of the post punk-era, he said.

Although Dunedin was a small city, Phillipps said there were a bunch of like-minded people who were all good songwriters – and it became a bit of a movement.

“Each band had their own direction right from the start.”

And a lot of them were still making music to this day, he said.

“It wasn’t being done just for fun, it was what was coming out from deep inside them. It becomes more than just a career choice, it becomes a discovery of what you’re kind of here on Earth to do.”

Still based in Dunedin, Phillipps said while he had been battling health issues and had had a lot going on during the past few years, this had only made him more aware of which direction he’d like to take.

“I’m very much aware of wanting to make every day count and also about what kind of music I want to make.”

Scottish Hall, Invercargill. Friday, May 5, 8.30pm – Anthonie Tonnon. 9.30pm – The Chills. Book at TicketDirect.

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