Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Phoenix Foundation and The Thomas Oliver Band Free Concert

Phoenix Foundation and The Thomas Oliver Band Free Concert

‘Surely the most potent band to come out of New Zealand since the far-off days of the Chills… Gorgeous.’

- The Independent Newspaper, UK, November 2009 - 5 Stars (Happy Ending)

‘If Captain Cook was to explore the South Pacific in 2010, The Phoenix Foundation would be his greatest discovery.’

- Bret McKenzie, Flight Of The Conchords

With acclaimed gold albums and movie soundtracks to their name, as well as recent rave reviews in Europe, The Phoenix Foundation are one of New Zealand’s most innovative and respected bands.

Heralding from the capital city of Wellington, New Zealand, The Phoenix Foundation are a band in the truest sense: six members each bringing their own unique skills to a musical collective responsible for producing some of New Zealand’s finest music of recent years.

From intelligent and infectiously catchy pop/rock gems, to epic, psychedelic prog rock, The Phoenix Foundation’s music is a glorious pop polyglot: sunbleached harmonies, chiming guitars, progressive synthscapes and subliminal rhythms, combined at the service of consistently high-grade songwriting, yet the result never sounds like anyone else.

With lyrics stemming from the pens of vocalists/guitarists Samuel Flynn Scott and Luke Buda, their songs walk a musical tight wire of creativity. Slung between romance and absurdity, their music can move you to tears, make you laugh out loud, or whisk you away into another world, without ever losing its poise.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Formed in the closing days of the 20th century by Wellington High School classmates Samuel Flynn Scott, Luke Buda and Conrad Wedde, the band first started turning heads with the release of their debut album Horsepower in 2003. The only album to be nominated in the Best Album award category at both The New Zealand Music Awards and The B-net Awards, The NZ Listener’s Nick Bollinger noted it had “everything I hope for but rarely find in a pop record: atmosphere, emotion, wit and, most of all, great songs.”

2005’s follow up album Pegasus built on this groundswell, easily exceeding gold sales. Nominated for the Best Album award at the New Zealand Music Awards, Pegasus included one of The Phoenix Foundation’s biggest, and perhaps most surprising singles to date - the beautiful instrumental Hitchcock’. Talented New Zealand director Rueben Sutherland created a music video masterpiece for the song, receiving acclaim both in New Zealand and overseas. The clip features a fleet of choreographed Ladas performing a last desperate ballet in the face of petrol-head doom. Watch it here!

The band’s third studio album Happy Ending was released in 2007 through the legendary NZ label Flying Nun Records and was, like its predecessors, considered one of the top New Zealand albums of that year, topping many of the years ‘best album’ lists, and again surpassing gold sales without any major commercial airplay.

The Phoenix Foundation have recently excited ears in America and Europe. Andy Gill, writing in The Independent in November 2009, honoured Happy Ending with a five-star review, describing the group as “the most potent band to come out of New Zealand”, while influential webzine Drowned In Sound praised their “range of textural delights”. BBC’s Radio 1 host Steve Lamaq, along with Jarvis Cocker and Sex Pistols’ guitar-slinger Steve Jones, have all recently played songs by The Phoenix Foundation on their radio shows. On tour in the U.S., where Horse Power was picked up by respected indie label Young American, they played to full houses at the influential CMJ music festival.

Further showcasing the band’s talent and flexibility, The Phoenix Foundation wrote the score for Oscar-nominated director Taika Waititi’s first feature film - the quirky Eagle Vs Shark. Released through Miramax and starring The Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement, the film garnered international attention for the band and has also led to them writing the score for Waititi’s highly anticipated new film Boy, which is released in March 2010.


On April 26, 2010 The Phoenix Foundation released their long awaited fourth full-length album Buffalo: ten beautiful new songs that find the band scaling new heights of maturity and imagination. Their most collaborative and unique work thus far, Buffalo is a combination of the avant-garde experiments of earlier albums Pegasus and Horsepower and the kaleidoscopic pop of Happy Ending.

Opening gently with the lilting, lyrical ‘Eventually’, the album picks up pace with the stampeding title track (also the first single) ‘Buffalo’, the swelling, sonorous ‘Flock Of Hearts’ and faintly Dunedin-tinged ‘Bitte Bitte’; breaks for a refreshing ‘Orange and Mango’, before moving on, through the lush textures of ‘Bailey’s Beach’ and epic finale ‘Golden Ship’.

Having received 8 nominations for the 2010 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, with the band picked up the three technical awards for Best Producer, Engineer and Album Artwork, as well as being named Best Group for 2010.

Buffalo will be released in Europe in early 2011 after the band recently signed a record deal with top UK record label Memphis Industries. (Field Music, The Go! Team). The band will head to Europe in January for a 2-month release tour, before returning for a second, longer tour in mid 2011.

Watch the video clip for the first single and album title track here:

The Phoenix Foundation Are:

Mr Samuel Flynn Scott - guitars, vocals

Dr Luke Buda - guitars, vocals, keys

Prof. Conrad Wedde - guitars, keys

Snr Tom Callwood - bass guitar

Mssr Richie Singleton - drums

The Hon. Will Ricketts – percussion

For Press enquiries contact:


The Phoenix Foundation Management:

Watch Other Phoenix Foundation Video’s Here:

Bleaching Sun

Forty Years

Let Me Die A Woman


‘Praise for the Wellingtonian sextet is wholly justified’

- Uncut Magazine, March, 2010, 4 Stars (Happy Ending)

‘This record is like the beautiful feeling of falling asleep in a hammock out the back of a faded old beach house and dreaming of epic vistas and love affairs… a beautiful record indeed.’

- Neil Finn (Crowded House/Split Enz) (Happy Ending)

‘Surely the most potent band to come out of New Zealand since the far-off days of the Chills… Gorgeous.’

- The Independent Newspaper, UK, 5 Stars (Happy Ending)

Brimmed with Rock & pop classicism. Impressive.’

- Mojo Magazine, 4 Stars (Happy Ending)

‘A quest of a record. For those in the know, your secret might not be safe for long.’

- Drowned In Sound, 8/10 (Happy Ending)

‘The Phoenix Foundation’s whimsical and magical qualities transport you to another planet, and that’s the best indication of a perfect pop album… This is one of the best examples of pop music that this country has produced…’

- The Herald – Scott Kara, 5 Stars (Happy Ending)

A work of genius… a brilliant album… one of the few NZ albums of the past year that genuinely deserves the praise.’

- The Press NZ – Richard McFarlane, 5 Stars (Happy Ending)

‘…often blissful, occasionally bittersweet, The Phoenix Foundation are the sound of languid sunshine daydreams…’

- The Stranger, Seattle

‘The Best band in the country… something serious and important is going on with this unpigeonholeable new album.’

- Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times (Happy Ending)

‘Serene and fluid experimental pop rock that could be the soundtrack to the dream you never want to end.’

- Sentimentalist Mag, New York

‘…the most gorgeously unexpected surprise of the year.’

- V Man Magazine, U.S.

‘…one of the most nuanced, textured, seductively melodic and vibrant albums that Flying Nun has released in a very long time.’

- Graham Reid, Elsewhere (Happy Ending)


‘These six incredibly talented musicians proved beyond a doubt their brand of indie-pop music’s ability to shatter stereotypes and demographics as they performed a near perfect set of healing proportions.’

- ‘Best Live Gig of 2007’ – The Press NZ

‘Great band, great show.’

- Brooklyn Vegan, New York


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.