Home' The Wellingtonian : May 31st 2012 Contents 12 THE WELLINGTONIAN, MAY 31, 2012
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The seeds of a musical career
talks to The Black
Barnaby Weir about
learning to play the
piano, working in radio
Barnaby Weir: ''We're more of a slow-burning band. We've got better as we've got older.''
Photo: REBECCA THOMSON
Did you grow up in Welling-
Yes, except for a year in Dune-
din for my dad's radio work when
I was about 4. I went to Karori
Normal initially, then to Kelburn,
and then on to Wellington College
and Victoria University.
What is your earliest musi-
My mum made me learn to play
the piano. We had Wellington
composer Roger Joyce as a
teacher. I would hardly say I loved
it, but it was probably good for me.
Playing classical music isn't
exactly exciting for a kid.
When did music become
When I was at Kelburn School,
[teacher] Jed Bartlett taught me
guitar and put me in a stage show.
That's when I started enjoying it.
Mum had a guitar lying around
the house. I'd pick it up and play
it.You father is broadcaster
Dick Weir. Did you ever try
your hand at radio?
Radio has been a very big part
of my life. Radio Active gave me a
lot of opportunities. I wrote and
made ads, did the Sunday morn-
ing arts show, the Roots and Cul-
ture show, and Death till Dawn
shows. I also did [radio pro-
gramme] Upload, for youth. That
was a good job. I'm glad I don't
work in radio any more, but I
enjoyed it at the time. Radio
Active was my hero. I developed
skills I use today.
What did you study at uni-
Theatre and film. Drama
directing was my major. It was
really good learning how to put
stories together. It's given me a
good grounding. I didn't finish,
though. I have about a year to go.
It would be nice to finish it some
Why didn't you study music
I don't know. Music didn't really
work out as an option until I was
in my early 20s, when I became
committed to Radio Active and
started The Black Seeds.
Did you ever imagine the
Black Seeds would last so
I didn't really imagine being
here now. We have done such lot
since the early days. It was after
[the second album] On the Sun we
wanted to take it further -- a
couple of members -- so we re-
organised and stepped it up. We're
more of a slow-burning band.
We've got better as we've got
You've just come back from
an overseas tour. What was it
We did a big tour of the United
States and Europe, and all these
crowds that came to see us. It was
unreal. That's what you do it for,
The band played at a few
festivals. Which was your
Roskilde in Denmark, because
there are all these massive stars,
like Jay-Z, Slayer, Cat Empire.
Heaps of absolutely huge acts. We
were this humble Kiwi band in a
shitty van up next to all these
musicians in massive coaches.
You must have seen a lot of
airports. Which ones do you
The airports in Germany are
pretty good. Shanghai airport was
awesome. There were really flash
massage chairs there.
Where would you like to go
that you haven't visited.
Japan's at the top of my list,
How often does the band
We travelled overseas every
year between 2005 and 2010. We
didn't go anywhere last year,
because we were concentrating on
When is that album, Dirt and
It's out now. It's quite different
to our other albums. We've been
very conscious of not repeating
How helpful is social media
for a band?
Social media is really good for
getting feedback from fans or so
they can see feedback and photos
from us. It's about keeping in
touch with our audience. If every-
one on our Facebook page went
out and bought an album, we'd
have 8000 sales.
What is one of the biggest
challenges for the band?
Time pressures can be hard for
the guys with kids. The mums do
really well, especially when we're
away for long stretches.
Do you think about
relocating the band to
It's an option, but for now we're
happy to keep it here. If you take
people out of the environment
they're used to, that creates a
whole lot of stress.
What are some of your
favourite Wellington places?
I like Scopa and I can't wait for
the new pizza joint on Courtenay
Pl to open. I also like Motel,
Ancestral and Betty's, and Hum-
mingbird. They're like old friends.
What about outdoor spots?
The Botanic Gardens is a beau-
tiful place. I'll never forget the
naughty sneak-outs to the gar-
dens at night as a teen. A rite-of-
passage for Wellingtonians, I
You have a number of side
projects. How are they going?
Fly My Pretties is going really
well. I've been working on a sec-
ond Flash Harry album. That's a
solo project. I'm keen to get that
finished some time.
The Black Seeds play at The Front
Room, Hania St, Mt Victoria, June 2
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