Members: Karsten Schwardt - Vocals/Guitar, Leal Butler - Bass/BV's, Anna Monteith - Drums
The Electric Era is a three-piece indie rock band from Auckland, New Zealand. Their self-styled Antipodean Antigloss Pop has been compared to seminal New Zealand bands such as The Clean and The Verlaines, as well as English acts The Smiths and The Cure. Other influences include David Bowie, Joy Division, Wire and Magazine.
It is hard to pinpoint the band's exact beginnings, since it started as a one-man recording project some time in the early 2000s. Singer and guitarist Karsten Schwardt put out two albums under the Era moniker before putting together a six-piece live band in celebration of the third album release 'Too Many Damaged Heroes' in late 2009. Amongst the band members were Marcel Bellve of Battle Circus and former Fang drummer Brignall Wood. Two shows ensued in front of capacity crowds, before this formation disbanded.
In early 2011, The Electric Era was reformed as a streamlined three-piece, gigging in the Auckland region and sharing stages with acts such as The Zoup, Violet Hertz, Puppeteer, Filth Dog and Used To Be Apes, amongst others. "Going to a three-piece has allowed us to be more flexible as performers, although it was a challenge to strip the songs back to their core. They have become more immediate, their message more exposed to the audience, where every note and every word counts," says Karsten.
The band's strongest objective for 2012 is to take their music overseas. "There is an attitude here in New Zealand that measures bands on their overseas success," says Karsten, "gigging in New Zealand alone can be a bit of a trap. We think it might make things easier to go overseas, and get that experience under our belt early. It'll be fun and give us an idea of where we are at, too."
Apart from Karsten, only one other member, bassist Leal Butler, remained from the earlier incarnation of the band. Long-standing drummer Brignall Wood who contributed to two of the three albums was replaced by drummer Anna Monteith in late 2011 to complete the new band line-up.
The band released the crowd favourite 'Parallel Lines' as a single in late 2011, and is planning to record a new album before, during and after a tour of Germany mid year. "Since Anna has joined as our drummer, I feel the band is finally where I wanted it to be," says Karsten. "Everyone is pushing the same idea now, and the future is a bright, sunshiny place for us."