“Whilst shopping from fiffdimension make sure to get hold of ‘Gleefully Unknown’, a best-of compilation of Dave Edwards’ music from 1997 to 2005. Rough outsider folk-blues mysteries, dissonant rock textures, electric and acoustic improvisations…
“Edwards strikes me as one of the most overlooked musicians from the fertile lands of New Zealand and if you need a fresh start this might very well be the place.” – Mats Gustafsson, The Broken Face
I was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and grew up in New Plymouth, near the sleeping volcano Mt Taranaki, rolling green hills, and black sand beaches with surf pounding on the shore of the Tasman. I’m a sixth-generation pakeha (European-descended) New Zealander.
As a teenager I learned a few guitar chords and started writing songs, and have self-released several albums combining folk, rock, avant-garde, free-improv and spoken word elements. I tend to record as ‘Dave Edwards‘ for the inward-looking singer-songwriter and live improvisation aspects of my music.
These combined songwriting with an interest in free jazz and poetic modernism, which, along with my rudimentary conventional musicianship and love of dissonance, and the influence of the local avant-garde scene… meant I had zero commercial chance.
From 1999 I was also influenced by the Wellington free improv scene. There was a lot happening around venues such as the Space, and Happy (later Fred’s, and the Pyramid Club), and I tried my hand at working with jazz musicians:
At some point mid year I met Paul Winstanley, the Digitator, Brian Wafer and others back in New Plymouth to record tracks for The Marion Flow.
Paul recorded the remaining tracks for The Marion Flow at Thistle Hall in 2001, with Wellington musicians Chris O’Connor, Chris Palmer, and Simon O’Rorke.
The difficult third album, an idiosyncratic spoken word + instrumental voyage into inner space – I locked myself in my room for a month with a 4-track tape recorder and a guitar & a bass and wrestled with the void.
NZ Musician gave it an uncomprehending bad review; minor notoriety and dark hilarity ensued.
Next, finding lyrics harder to write as I got older (and also not wanting to repeat myself or to be pigeonholed), I mostly left the solo singer/songwriter genre and reinvented myself with a more collaborative and mainly instrumental approach in The Winter
The Winter – myself, Mike Kingston and Simon Sweetman – plus Sam Prebble on violin – appeared on
By this point my abrasive experimental electric side was in ascent
the next logical step was to expand the sonic palette
The result was the Ascension Band.
Meanwhile The Winter met again to record on 30th of December, our last time for several years.
Ascension Band, a successful collaboration with Nigel Patterson, Ryan Prebble, and over a dozen other musicians, from jazz-schooled to untrained punks, won the best music award in the NZ Fringe Festival.