About Disjecta Membra
Initially better known for their long-standing goth credentials, since the 1990s, Disjecta Membra’s musical horizons have broadened considerably. The New Zealand band’s The Infancy Gospels EP (November 2016), for instance, has been widely praised for its diversity; incorporating elements of spiky post-punk, swampy blues, folk, western, noise rock, synthpop, ambient/drone and traditional Māori influences.
Formed in 1993, Disjecta Membra quickly became known as New Zealand’s front-runners in the ‘gothic’ genre; a reputation consolidated internationally with the release of the 1997 debut album Achromaticia and its lead single, ‘Cauldron of Cerridwen’. Long out of print, with original copies fetching insane prices on eBay and Discogs, more recently the album celebrated its Twentieth Anniversary with a beautifully packaged deluxe, 3-CD set re-issue containing rarities from the group’s formative years (1993-97).
Over the years, the band would survive multiple incarnations, with founder Michel Rowland on vocals and guitar the only constant. In the current trio, Rowland is flanked by long-time guitarist Kane Davey, the band’s only other mainstay for the past decade; and bassist Jaz Murphy, who has served intermittently with the group since 1998.
December 2013 marked the twentieth anniversary of the band’s formation, celebrated by the release of ‘Death by Discothèque’; the first new single since 2007. A scathing pisstake, ‘Death by Discothèque’ was partly an homage to walk-on appearances from The Damned and Motörhead on the anarchic British comedy, The Young Ones.
Backed with an equally tongue-in-cheek remix from electro-industrial giants Leæther Strip, the single would prove the band’s most popular track to date, while gracing the decks of specialist clubs, DJs, radio shows and webcasts in every corner of the globe. Following swiftly with tourdates supporting the iconic former Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy, the end of 2013 saw a revitalised band met with a resurgence of interest and recognition.
Composed by the Maniapoto tribal elder Pumi Taituha, Disjecta Membra’s treatment of ‘Whakataurangi Ake’ featured instrumentalist Rob Thorne performing taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments), and has been described as “hauntingly beautiful” (Cruel Britannia), “deeply soul-stirring” (Six Noises) and “incredibly powerful” (Mike Hollywood). Receiving heavy rotation on Auckland’s 95bFM and RadioActive.fm in Wellington, the single also garnered airplay around the world, most notably in Australia, the US and England.
Three months later, in February 2017, the Songs to Scattered Symbols CD appeared; a three-way split-release between Disjecta Membra, IKON (Melbourne) and Sounds Like Winter (Sydney), coinciding with the three bands’ New Zealand shows together in Auckland and Wellington over Waitangi Weekend. The album again sold out within weeks of its release, with the Disjecta Membra cover of the Euro-disco hit ‘Rasputin’ by Boney M. proving a fan favourite.
Late 2017-early 2018 saw the Twentieth Anniversary re-issue of Achromaticia as a deluxe 3-CD set, and the Madeleine! Madelaine! (remixes) EP. The latter comprises reconstructions of the synthpop-tinged promo-single from The Infancy Gospels EP. Alongside the original, the EP includes remixes from Andee Blacksugar (KMFDM, Peter Murphy), Bzzrkr (NZ), Delphine Coma (USA) and Tempest Xii (alias Rich Witherspoon, of The Wake/Hamsas Xiii, USA).
As of mid 2018, Disjecta Membra have spent the intervening period writing and recording new material, while working with a range of both local and international collaborators, only occasionally interrupted for intimate, low-key semi-acoustic performances. The band look forward to returning to the stage and revealing new release projects in the near future.