Otago Daily Times 1/4/06
Auckland musician Simon Comber spent nearly four years playing music in Dunedin after seeing the Dunedin Sound series of shows at the Otago Festival of the Arts in 2000.
He heads to Dunedin this week for the first time since returning to Auckland in 2004. “I was in Auckland all my life before moving to Dunedin. I was there for three and a half years. I don’t know why I left. It felt like my time was up, I guess. I miss Dunedin,” he said via email earlier this week.
Comber was going to record his album, Pre-Pill Love, off his own bat, probably at home in a low-key way. But his plans changed when he played at a fund-raiser for his former school, Sacred Heart College, along with fellow old boys Mike Chunn, Dave Dobbyn and Neil Finn.
Acting on the boy scout motto, “Be prepared”, Comber took cassette demos of a couple of his songs to the gig and passed them out.
Just after he arrived back in Dunedin, he got a call from Chunn, who recommended that he record in Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studio in Auckland.
” Most of the songs were recorded by Edmund Cake over two weeks in summer 2004 in Auckland at Roundhead Studio. The others were recorded bit by bit through the winter 2004 at (the former Albaney St) radio studios by Tom Bell when I was back in Dunedin. It was mixed by Dale Cotton at Liquid Studios in Auckland.”
With his show tonight he will rekindle an old acquaintance with Martin Phillipps. “It’s the first gig in ages I’ve played in Dunedin. The last Dunedin gig I played was at the Captain Cook Tavern in support of The Chills.”
At 28, he is still youthful and humble enough to pay homage to people who have influenced his music. “So much to say, so little page space. But the primitive distorted folk strum of Neutral Milk Hotel left a big impression on me. My lecturer of 3 years, Graeme Downes, is also one of my favourite songwriters in the world so he’s definitely been an influence. Favourite lyricists include D.C Berman (The Silver Jews), John Darnielle and John Vanderslice.
“Peter Jefferies’ The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World was the sole reason I visited Port Chalmers the minute I got to Dunedin for the first time, as it was recorded there. I love Radiohead. The list could go on and on.”
Comber, with band members Darren Stedman (drums) and Tom Healy (bass), plays with Anji Sami and Martin Phillipps at Arc Cafe tonight.