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11 April 2012 | 10:20 am | Nic Toupee

“We have no real reason why we haven’t included Australia – maybe because it is so easy."

If a t-shirt existed sporting the amusing slogan 'I'm Big In New Zealand', Christchurch band The Feelers should rightfully have one each to sport as they walk to the milk bar for some tasty NZ foodstuff. Because they are – and for the last 20 years have been – consistently massive at home. With a track record that would cause many fellow Long White Clouders to Covet Their Neighbour's Chart Positions, The Feelers have had three #1 Albums, seven #1 singles, and more radio airplay than any other NZ band in the last decade.  

The Feelers admit that having continued demand for albums and tours at home has made them a little complacent about extending their profile further afield. However, with their latest album Hope Nature Forgives they've decided to test the waters in Australia, and drummer Hamish Gee explains why The Feelers have dusted off their binoculars.

“We released the album in August and have just released our second single Didn't Want To Fall In Love in Australia, so we're coming over to promote that, but also just to promote the band in general. It's been a long time since we've been to Australia” he admits ruefully. “Our singles have been played on radio in Australia and we've wanted to come, but we've been doing a lot of work in NZ, which makes it harder – to be honest, we've become complacent.”

It's not as though they keep their passports entirely stamp-free, in fact the band make regular trips to Europe to satisfy their rabid fans in both Switzerland and the Czech Republic, as well as the odd swing by Swinging London. But just as many Australians pick look North rather than east on the map, The Feelers have slacked on their close-to-home visitations.

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“We have no real reason why we haven't included Australia – maybe because it is so easy. But recently we've found ourselves working way too hard here, so we have decided it's time for a 'working holiday' in Australia and catch up with family and friends.”

Gee and the band are optimistic that their show will not only appeal to existing Australian fans and expat Kiwis, but also that their eclecticism may earn them some new fans. Gee believes the beauty of their indie sound is that there's something for pretty much everyone.

“We have such a great variety in what we've released that we have a really broad audience,” he tells. “It's common for us to play here in NZ to have 18-year-olds moshing alongside old age pensioners (moshing slightly more gingerly) – that's our demographic. Quite often the pensioners get into it just as much,” he laughs. “We released our first album in 1997 and it went straight to number one, and were suddenly playing sports stadiums. Now those teenagers have grown up with us, and many have families now and bring them along to our shows. ”

They're hoping Australia not only forgives their long absence, but welcomes them warmly enough that the band are tempted to stick around. Gee believes there's a chance that if all goes well we might see a lot more of The Feelers.

“Our new manager is an Australian, and he lit a fire under us and said, 'Go to Australia!' I think maybe he wants to move back there, so has an ulterior motive” Gee chuckles. “We decided that if we want to try to really crack Australia, it might make sense to move there: we've thought about it before but, you know, life just crept up on us and we put it off. Now might just be the right time – it's not out of the question that we'll make a permanent move.”