An Emerald City
Returning home to New Zealand to tour and release their second album ‘The Fourth’ in Summer 2011, Berlin based band An Emerald City’s sound had evolved and grown since the release of their critically acclaimed debut Circa Scaria. With psychedelic influences and their relocation to one of the world’s most beautifully bizarre cities, it was easy to see where the inspiration behind the band’s second album came from. Recorded in a former communist radio station on the banks of the river Spree in East Berlin (also rumoured to be the location of one of the Stasi secret police’s headquarters), it showed a band unafraid to explore new dimensions in sound and space.
Forming in late 2005 this New Zealand six-piece has a musical voice that combines Eastern traditional instruments and psychedelic leanings with experimentation and liberation. Instrumental, thoughtful songs created by guitars, drums, synths, keyboards, sitars, violins, a Persian long necked lute, daabuka, piano and percussion found from various reaches of the universe. Their debut EP of 2008 featured alt radio favourites Qing Song and A Question and the band’s reputation grew further in 2009 after the release of their debut album Circa Scaria, which was recorded in the great cave of Whatipu amongst the black sand of Auckland’s isolated west coast.
2009 was a big year for An Emerald City with stand out performances at the Auckland Big Day Out, sold out album release shows and Circa Scaria receiving critical acclaim from some of New Zealand’s most respected musical voices. The album spent several weeks in the New Zealand Top 40 album chart and the band continued to play memorable live shows and festival performances across the country.
In May 2009 An Emerald City relocated to Berlin, Germany and spent the latter half of the year touring Europe and playing shows with the likes of Beirut, The Datsuns, The Veils and Divotchka and were invited to play at Germany’s infamous Fusion Festival. 2010 saw the band introducing new personnel while writing their second album ‘The Fourth’ in Berlin. The album took shape in between touring, which included support shows with Black Mountain and The Black Angels.
2010 was a hard year for the band, having half of the original lineup returning to New Zealand for good, or temporarily due to personal reason while the band continued to play. But the new members, Israeli drummer Dan Katz and Kansan bassist Jessica Roth took to their roles and helped An EmeraldCity develop as an exciting new entity. With the completion of the writing of ‘The Fourth’ and the winter settling in in East Berlin, the snow surrounding Studio East while the band began recording their album was an eerie and thrilling way to begin capturing their new sound and chapter.
Upon returning to New Zealand with the raw files from Berlin, they enlisted David Holmes to mix the record and add the finesse he used on Circa Scaria. The Fourth was also well received, gathering 5 star reviews across the country for the record and praises were sung for their hefty 30 date album release tour with The Checks as special guests.