ESTHER STEPHENS & THE MEANS
Purveyors of modern torch song, stripped back soul, jazz beats and vibrant psychedelia, Auckland quartet Esther Stephens & The Means are one of the most exciting young ensembles operating in New Zealand and Australia.
Singer & actress Esther Stephens is a mainstay of the Auckland music scene, having lent her pipes to acts including Homebrew, Sola Rosa and Tama Waipara. Her first underground release ‘Asahi’ was praised by music journalist Martyn Pepperell as a ‘sultry, richly toned trip-hop/modern soul voice through an engaging melodic and rhythmic frame’ (Martyn Pepperell, Vanguard Red Magazine) and in 2012 Esther was given special mention after the release of the chart topping Home Brew album on which she features. ‘Stephens is a true standout, and adds her smoky-toned R&B talents to four different tracks including the classily smouldering Plastic Magic.’ (Lydia Jenkin, NZ Herald).
Abraham Kunin (guitar), Tom Broome (drums) and Marika Hodgson (Bass) aka The Means got their start several years ago as session musicians, bonding at the time over D'Angelo records and a shared love of playing. Having spent the last couple of years gigging on both sides of the Tasman, and sharing stages with the likes of Olivier Daysoul (US), Apollo Brown (US) and Oddisee (US), things really crystalised for The Means late 2013 with the release of their Aaron Nevezie (The Bunker Studio, NYC) produced debut EP The Ends. Featuring outside contributions from vocalists Rachel Fraser, Jesse Cassin, and Courtney Meredith, keyboardist Steph Brown (Lips) and beatmaker Christoph El Truento, their EP lead to media coverage and support from New Zealand Musician, 13th Floor, Wildstyle Mag, Vanguard Red and Radio New Zealand.
Continuing the longterm creative partnership which most notably produced three tracks from 'The Ends EP', and singles 'Free', and NZ on Air funded 'Under You' Esther Stephens & The Means have made their tryst public. On the back of successful Red Bull Sound Select NZ tours, they have joined both forces and monikers, and are currently producing an EP under this unified banner, due for release Summer 2015.
"Mesmerising and almost hypnotising…the complementation of these two magical musical forces is one that you have to experience" Rachael Watson, Groove & Marvel