About the band in a few words
The founding members of The Phoenix Foundation, Samuel F. Scott, Luke Buda and Conrad Wedde were students at Wellington High School when they formed the band in 1997 (along with Noel Phear and Tui Langford). They got the name for their band from a fictional organization on a popular TV show, MacGyver (you know, about a guy who doesn’t carry a gun and can unload an atomic bomb with a toothpick; just like Chuck Norris but without a roundhouse kick).
Back to the story about the band. With this five-member line-up they recorded their first EP, China Cove. Then Noel and Tui left the band and Sam, Luke and Conrad were joined by Tim Hansen, Richie Singleton and Will Ricketts in 2001. Two years later they released their first full length album, Horsepower. Richard Bell directed music videos for their two singles “Let Me Die a Woman” and “Going Fishing” and scored the ‘Knack Award’ (best video made for under $5000) twice at the 2003 and 2004 NZ Kodak Music Clip Awards.
Warner Emery replaced Tim Hansen on bass and in this new set they recorded their second album, Pegasus released in 2005. Soon the new album gained Gold status in New Zealand and was released in Australia next year. In 2005, they toured with New Zealand legends, Finn Brothers (you should check out Split Enz and Crowded House).
In early 2006 The Phoenix Foundation recorded the original score to Taika Waititi’s film Eagle vs Shark. The film was released world-wide by Miramax at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the band signed a deal with US label Young American Recordings to release their records.
Their third album, Happy Ending was released in 2007 and their collaboration with Taika Waititi continued. He directed two music videos for their singles “Bright Grey” and “40 Years”. Two years later, The Phoenix Foundation provided the score to Waititi’s second feature film, Boy for which they received Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award at the 2010 Qantas Film and Television Awards.
In 2009, Happy Ending was released in the UK and met with critical acclaim. The Independent gave them a 5-star review.
The band, working on their fourth album, Buffalo, collected enough material to release their second EP, Merry Kriskmass in December 2009 made up of songs that didn’t go with the atmosphere of their new album.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Auckland, on February 1st, 2010, was Warner’s last show with The Phoenix Foundation. He left the band on amicable terms and was replaced by Tom Callwood who had already featured as a guest musician. He had played double bass on the Merry Kriskmass track “Forget It” and cello on Happy Ending.
Buffalo was released in New Zealand in April 2010. For the first time in the history of the band, their LP was released on vinyl and as a digital download together with the The Do Son EP. The band and album were recognised in their homeland and got 8 nominations for the 2010 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards out of which they won four – all three Technical Awards (a.k.a. Tuis) and the Best Group Award.
In September the band had announced signing a record deal with UK record label Memphis Industries which released Buffalo worldwide on January 24, 2011. Reviews for Buffalo in Europe have been strong with The Guardian giving the album a 5-star rating. “Pot” was the first single released from the album and “Buffalo” is currently receiving airtime on the BBC 6 Music.
The Phoenix Foundation were on a tour to promote the UK/European release of Buffalo at the end of January and in February and have returned in May 2011 with a headline show at London’s Scala on June 2nd.
Their third visit to the UK that year was short. They came to perform live on BBC’s ‘Later with… Jools Holland‘. It was their UK TV debut and the show was broadcast on 25th and then 28 October. The band played two songs, “Buffalo” and “Flock of Hearts”. They also gave one-off show at the Garage in London that week.
Their fifth studio album called Fandango was released in April in New Zealand, Australia, UK and Europe and in the USA in May. The band toured UK, Europe and New Zealand in mid-2013 in order to support the Fandango release.
‘Thames Soup’, the single from Fandango was nominated for the 2013 APRA Silver Scroll Award. The Phoenix Foundation won two Technical Awards, Best Producer and Best Engineer to which the band was nominated at the 2013 Vodafone NZ Music Awards together with Brett Stanton and Lee Prebble. More nominations followed for Fandango, Album of the Year, Best Alternative Album and Best Group. The winners are announced during the ceremony at Vector Arena in Auckland, NZ on November 21.
NOMINATIONS and AWARDS
- “The Drinker” – Best Unreleased Song at the bNet Awards, 2002
- Horsepower – Nominated for Best Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2003
- Horsepower – Nominated for Best Album at the bNet Awards, 2003
- The video for “Let Me Die A Woman” – the ‘Knack Award’ at the NZ Kodak Music Clip Awards, 2003
- The video for “Going Fishing” – the ‘Knack Award’ at the NZ Kodak Music Clip Awards, 2004
- The video for “Going Fishing” – Best Cinematography at the Handle The Jandal Awards, 2004
- Pegasus – Nominated for Best Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2006
- “Damn the River” – Best Pop Track at the bNet Awards, 2006
- “Bright Grey” – Nominated for Single of the Year at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2008
- Happy Ending – Nominated for Best Rock Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2008
- The Phoenix Foundation – Nominated for Best Group, at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2008
- “Buffalo” and “Flock of Hearts” – Nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll Award, 2010
- Lee Prebble of the Surgery – Best Engineer and Best Producer (for the album Happy Ending) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2008
- The Phoenix Foundation – Best Producer (for Buffalo) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- Lee Prebble of the Surgery – Best Engineer (for Buffalo) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- Paul Johnson – Best Album Cover (for Buffalo) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- Buffalo – Nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- “Buffalo” – Nominated for Single of the Year at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- The video for “Buffalo” – Nominated for Best Music Video at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- The Phoenix Foundation – Best Group at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2010
- Boy – Best Original Music in a Feature Film at the Qantas Film and Television Awards, 2010
- “Thames Soup” – Nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll Award, 2013
- The Phoenix Foundation, Brett Stanton, Lee Prebble – Best Producer and Best Engineer (for Fandango) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2013
- The Phoenix Foundation – Nominated for Album of the Year, Best Alternative Album and Best Group (for Fandango) at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 2013
The Phoenix Foundation win the Vodafone New Zealand Music Award
for Best Group, October 7th, 2010