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Ben Howe

Today Auckland band Bespin release their debut EP Osiris. Featuring five tracks, the psychgaze EP is a woozy fuzz Gigantor, careering out of control down an 8-bit space age freeway - much like the Take Control video the band released last week.

Bespin are nominated for the Critics Choice Award in New Zealand (see Noisy profile here), and have also played St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Camp A Low Hum and The Others Way Festival.

To celebrate the release of the "Osiris" EP Bespin are also on tour through New Zealand in November/December

  • THU - 12th November - Kings Arms - Auckland
  • FRI - 11th December - Meow - Wellington
  • THU - 17th December - Darkroom - Christchurch
  • FRI 18th December - Chicks Hotel - Dunedin

Jonathan Lee answers a few questions about the EP and the band below

Tell us a bit about the backgrounds of the three band members? How did you all get together?

I first saw Alex playing for the Artisan Guns many many moons ago, and thought he was special nearly right away. As a drummer, he's the complete thing - I stay up late trying to think of beats to stump him. (I never can.) I got my first chance to play with him in Djeisan Suskov's "Cool Rainbows" project. Joel joined a bit later on, and that's how we all met. A little while later, I took some songs I'd been writing to them - just to see how they sounded played by real people in a room, and to get a bit more confidence with it. It went really well, and we've been playing together since.

Where and how did you record the EP?

I had a lot of help. Drums were tracked by Djeisan Suskov (Cool Rainbows, Leisure) in his studio. I tracked guitars and vocals and all the extra bits in my attic (shout out to my long-suffering flatmates). The godly mixing was done by Tim Shann, and the mastering by Alan Douches.

How do you guys write songs, do you bring the whole thing along complete, or is it more of a work it out in the practice space sort of thing?

It typically starts with something I'm playing with, which I take to Joel and Alex to flesh out, and then they run with it, and do their thing. Their human feel will always re-inform the initial idea, and then we'll keep chipping away with it until we get an "eureka" moment or three. Sometimes that process is reversed, too... one of my favourite songs in the new batch we are writing now started with a part that Joel and Alex improvised, which I then shoehorned into an arrangement, and then we built it from there. I'm lucky; they are both monsters to write and play with, and are very intuitive to ideas and evoking a feeling or direction and pulling the thread.

I hear a lot of shoegaze, brit 90’s sound in there - is that something you are influenced by?

Definitely. Obviously the whole Creation Records scene, all of those bands are near and dear to me. I'm a big fan of ambient "landscape" music too... Stars of the Lid, Eno, Robin Guthrie... things where the mix is defined as a "space" and then filled up to the corners. Growing up in Auckland, there's always been a healthy live scene here with respect to heavier post-rock bands like Swans and Godspeed, too. Kiwis like it heavy. Really, I just like playing guitar and messing around with sounds... that's my happy place. 

What are some musical highlights for you all so far?

 Laneway festival was a great day, and playing the 4.20 slot at the final Camp A Low Hum was an incredibly vibey set. Opening for the Shocking Pinks tour was really cool too, I've always loved Nick's songs. Being nominated for the Critics Choice award was completely out of left-field for us, and obviously quite gratifying. The best highlight is finally releasing some music, though!


What are the future plans for Bespin?

It's album time. I'm very excited for it... I've been writing it this year, and it's another fairly significant step up for me as a vocalist and producer/arranger. We're doing a release tour for the EP, and then we'll be heading into the studio over the new year. I'm excited to play outside of Auckland! It's going to be a fun run of shows. 

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