Shayne P Carter on himself and ‘Offsider’:
I was born in Dunedin ages ago now, and wrote all the songs for my first band Bored Games on one string. My flatmate Graeme Downes (Verlaines) taught me the chords of D and E and G while we were flatting together in a student hovel and I applied that information to six strings in my successive bands the Doublehappys, Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer.
I guess I grew up around the fabled Flying Nun Dunedin scene but when my friend Roger Shepherd sent me a signed copy of his new book recently, he'd signed it to David Kilgour. I thought maybe there was a metaphor in that.
Rock n roll has taken me everywhere from the Winz office in Dunedin to the Arista offices in New York with both locations providing their own oppressive ambience. I've enjoyed varying levels of success here and abroad. I've been given a few New Zealand Music Awards including the old school perspex ones that bust in half when they get sent to you in the post. They inducted our band Straitjacket Fits into the Hall Of Fame which made my mum proud so there was always that.
I'm about to release a new album of piano based songs called "Offsider". I like the title because it seems to suggest being out of step or out of kilter with the times which it probably is. I decided to write the songs on piano - despite having never played the instrument before in my life - because I liked the idea of naivety and discovery and having a new angle on songwriting after so many years doing it. I explored the classical music solo piano music canon before embarking on the project because I wanted to see what had been done with the piano before I sat my useless self in front of it. Schubert's lieder, Chopin's Nocturnes, Debussy's neo psychedelia, Mozart's pristine classicism, Beethoven's cosmic exploration - it was an amazing journey of discovery of a whole universe of music I'd previously known nothing about.
Like all influential music it was the essence of this music rather than it's actual sound that inspired me.