Over the last couple of weeks we have been pleased to have Keegan Slattery take beautiful photos of our museum and merchandise. Here is a sneak peek of what we have been up to. Come visit us this weekend (June 2-5, 2017) for the Steampunk NZ Festival and to celebrate the Queens birthday! There will be various events, markets, food and much more for you to enjoy.
As winter is approaching us in Oamaru, we thought we would share some Steampunk bands with you to get you through the cold winter months. Enjoy!
You might be wondering: what is Steampunk music? Abney Park is a Steampunk band whose website has in depth information on steampunk music and steampunk bands. The following information has been taken from their website: http://www.abneypark.com/2015site/concerts.html
WHAT IS STEAMPUNK MUSIC?
“Steampunk music is a modern style of music with elements that is infused with nostalgic sounds of the Victorian era.
You hear mixes of things like vaudevillian music, circus music, old shanties, swing, eastern European gypsy music, middle eastern dance , mixed with modern musics like EDM, industrial dance, etc. Instruments often featured include The Theramin , the Saw, Violin, Banjo, Accordion, Mandolin, Calliope, Pipe Organ, Puff Organ, etc.
WHY DO STEAMPUNK BANDS ALL SOUND SO DIFFERENT?
It’s not unusual for music genera’s to be diverse. Certainly genera’s like “Rock & Roll” or “World Music” have an incredibly diverse sound, when compared with more specific genera’s like “Delta Blues”. Taylor Swift, Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Hank Williams are all country artists, and all sound very different. Many generas are diverse.
Steampunk is diverse, and because it is such a new genera (steampunk music has only been around for a little over a decade), some one unfamiliar in the scene might have a tricky time hearing the commonalities between Steampunk bands. Well, at first anyway. When you spend your life working in this genera it becomes clear as day.
Why so diverse?
First off, because Steampunk musicians draw from a very broad era. We borrow musical stylings from vaudevillian, to victorian orchestral, and a million things in between. Victorian times had a lot of different sounds. That’s not to say that there is no steampunk specific sound, it’s just that it’s much broader in possible tones and instrumentation then some musical styles.
There is also the fact that not all Steampunk bands make Steampunk music. Some times a band is simply a bunch of Steampunks, making punk rock,or folk, or 70’s rock. Nothing wrong with that, and many Steampunks love this, but that will confuse you if you are expecting all bands wearing Steampunk clothes to sound the same. Just because a band is dressed Steampunk, does not mean they are playing Steampunk music.”
Now that we have given you a brief introduction to Steampunk music, please enjoy some of our favourite bands!
The next band we would like to share is called The Cog is Dead
The Cog is Dead is a steampunk band with a bit of a musical identity crisis, playing music of various styles. Their influences range from rock and roll to ragtime to russian folk music and movie scores. The members all portray steampunk timetravelers from the year 1893. As a time traveling band they travel to various points of time spreading their message to save steam power and analog clockwork while playing their marvelous melodies for all to hear and enjoy. Along the way they have discovered several types of marvelous music which has helped to inspire their own.“They say you can’t please everybody… sounds like a challenge to me!”
– Captain John Sprocket
Another band we would like to share is called Steam Powered Giraffe
Steampunk and Futurism mesh together with mime and music to create a breathtakingly imaginative act.Hydraulics hiss and motors hum as three robots begin to snap into mechanical movement.
Their instruments ring and the automatons begin to belt out in three part harmony.The robots of Steam Powered Giraffe are like nothing you’ve ever seen. The malfunctioning joke-spewing metal men play a collection of original Vaudeville inspired tunes fused with modern flare and executed in a super-sleek, one-of-a-kind performance.More than just a band, Steam Powered Giraffe is an experience that must be seen and heard by the entire family.
Steampunk HQ is excited to launch its latest venture; Pedal Punk cycle hire. These four-wheel steampunk themed cycles are a fun and novel way for visitors to experience Oamaru’s beautiful Victorian precinct & Harbour. The bikes have been purchased from the Wellington waterfront, they have been totally reconditioned and painted in Steampunk HQ’s signature colour, Black! A fleet of four Pedal Punks; two and four seater models, plus four black cruiser bikes are available to be hired from the Steampunk HQ car park.
The Pedal Punk team ‘all systems go’
“We see these Pedal Punks building our towns Steampunk reputation and will further promote Oamaru as a must visit holiday destination,” said HQ spokesperson Jan Kennedy. “Having our Pedal Punks cruising the Victorian Precinct and beautiful harbor area will add vibrancy and colour to the area. It will give it a real seaside holiday feel. Our Pedal Punks will be great weekend and holiday fun for families.”
Pedal Punks are available for hire daily from outside Steampunk HQ and bookings can be made in advance by calling 0277786547.
Steampunk HQ is thrilled to announce that their exhibition of Recycled Relics created by late Dunedin sculptor Chris Meder, has proved so incredibly popular that the exhibition is being extended. The exhibition that was due to end in August will now continue through until the end of summer giving locals and visitors an exclusive opportunity to see the talented sculptor’s works.
Archie Sitting Watch
“It has been fabulous to see so many people coming to Oamaru just to view Chris’ works,’ said exhibition organiser Jan Kennedy. “Visitors have been captivated with the exhibition as it includes such a large cross section of Chris’ works created at his Blueskin Bay home or at his Moat St workshop at the start of Dunedin’s northern motorway. Chris died in 2010 but his creativity lives on through his wonderful creations.”
People will be familiar with Chopper Holland the giant motorbike on permanent display in the HQ yard and Bosca (the Gorilla) from the 2009 Steampunk art exhibition at the Forrester Gallery. Bosca is owned by Oamau Councilor Sally Hope. The other works have been loaned for the exhibition by family and from his close friend Jon Baxter of Perceptual Engineering in Auckland.
They look comfortably ‘at home’ amongst the recycled art sculptures at Steampunk HQ. Made from worn-out, broken-down machines, Chris’ focused on expression and posture to make his creations react to the viewer. Archie the Orangutan perches above a steel maze looking down over his re-acquainted friends including Cheeky Moa, Stingray, Fiddler Crab and various other birds and insects. It certainly is a sight to behold!
Also on display is Jenny the Train; constructed by Chris for a short animated film made by Jon Baxter and set to music by Fat Freddy’s Drop. In 2007 the short film appeared in animation festivals throughout the world gaining prestigious awards. This video can be viewed in typical Steampunk fashion on a barber’s seat in the foyer of HQ.
Jenny the Train
‘This is a ‘very special’ exhibition in honour of Chris Meder and we are thrilled to be showing it here in Oamaru at Steampunk HQ,’ said Jan. “It’s not to be missed and now thanks to the generosity of his family and friends the NZ public will get an opportunity to view the works throughout the summer.”
Steampunk technicians have been hard at work at Headquarters re-activating one of the building’s most intriguing and important pieces of scientific equipment. The work is finally complete, and the once-abandoned Metagalactic Sonic Device has now been officially rewired, reprogrammed and switched on for all visitors.
One of the Metagalactic Mechanics at HQ described the intriguing musical machine as;
“A device for capturing sounds and signals picked up by the HQ time travel Officers when visiting alien worlds.The sounds were captured during space-time jumps to earth. To an alien listener, they would sound very strange. Some say that special combinations of notes will open up time portals within the building to exotic alien holiday destinations. The tones, loops, and extra-terrestrial sound bytes go together in many different ways, resulting in surprising combinations.”
Visitors are encouraged to try it for themselves, and to see if they can find and decode some of the sound messages that are stored the Organ.
The Elevator building was the largest commercial building undertaken by the design partnership of Forrester and Lemon. The exterior constructed of locally quarried Oamaru stone, was completed in 1883 and rose to a height of five stories. It was the first elevator building in the Southern Hemisphere. It had the specific purpose of handling and storing grain, based on the American principle of self-emptying bins.
Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum
The Elevator is a significant example of the development of Oamaru as the gateway for exported produce from the developing colony. It was built during a period of sustained growth and its design embodied the optimism of the period. No others exist making this a rare and important survivor of Victorian investment, innovation and enterprise. Almost as soon as it was completed its role and purpose was diminished as the volume of grain grown was significantly reduced as the export trade in frozen lamb was promoted over grain.
Streetscape of Itchen St with Elevator Building in Background Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum
A disastrous fire in 1920 saw the top two stories removed with the remains reroofed and utilised as a store. The adjoining wing with grain bins was completely destroyed. The surviving south wall is a tangible reminder of the event and the scale of the original building. Reduced to three stories the building retains an imposing and commanding presence and position. It is a prominent reminder of Oamaru’s industrial heritage.
Meeks Elevator Fire, 20 January 1920 Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum
The building has survived to the present day due to geographical factors & a declining economy. In recent years, a commitment by the Whitestone Community Trust to restore the town’s Victorian heritage and architecture has led to an increase in tourist activity that has rejuvenated the Historic Precinct.
Opened to the public in November 2011 The Elevator has taken on an entirely new life form and function as the headquarters for Steampunk.
Meeks Elevator as Steampunk HQ 2015
The Elevator, once a time travel craft, has now settled permanently on the shores of a small town on the coast of New Zealand. This location is an ideal inconspicuous resting place for a once mighty inter-dimensional time travelling vessel.
Alien creatures and strange contraptions inhabit Elevator Building today.
Its Pilots are human, yet, weathered and evolved by constant travel through alien worlds. It is speculated that they still meet deep in the building, and that it is now their headquarters. From here, they conduct reconnaissance, scouting and protective missions to undisclosed locations. Many of their travels are recorded – esoteric footage of unusual creatures, places and machines can be accessed in the building at different data entry points.
Even today The Elevator building continues to exude a sense of mystery.
“This is the closest I’ve ever felt to space travel!” an excited visitor commented upon experiencing Steampunk HQ’s latest project.
Steampunk HQ introduces The Portal; a retro-futuristic mirror and lighting installation that features original glowing light sculptures with a theme of skulls and mythology. It contrasts yet fully complements the eclectic collection of recycled industrial art and sculptures that exists already within the Steampunk HQ museum.
Steampunk HQ NZ’s premier Steampunk experience is a museum in the historic Victorian precinct of stunning Oamaru, open 10am – 5pm, 7 days per week.
Outside of the imposing free-standing Oamaru stone building, iconic “steampunk” Engine SP001 greets visitors whilst inside, the foyer gallery showcases the work of local artists and retails HQ brand merchandise.
The museum of two large darkened rooms and a basement presents a theme of a dark post-apocalyptic vision of a future “as it might have been”. Contraptions and bizarre machinery featuring heavy use of copper, gears, pipes, gas cylinders, as well as an ensemble of skeletal sculptures are lit by flickering lights and accompanied by film, projection and sounds.
Steampunk HQ Stanley
A back door leads to a large yard with projects and machines in various stages of being “steampunked” including a train carriage, “aethertractor” and giant motorbike.
Lonely Planet has rated Steampunk HQ one of New Zealand’s best new tourist attractions and it is ranked highly on Trip Advisor.