NZ musician Robert Scott has a day job

ROBERT SCOTT: Says he writes and thinks about music all day.
ROBERT SCOTT: Says he writes and thinks about music all day.

Robert Scott talks about his new solo album, his day job, and touring with The Clean.

The pivotal member of Flying Nun bands The Bats and The Clean has dashed home for lunch from Port Chalmers School on the Otago Harbour.

"I work as a teacher aide," Scott says at around 12.38pm. "I work with different classes from five-year-olds all the way up to 12-year-olds. It's good, the school is flexible when I need to go away on tour."

He made an album collaborating with children from the school once called Chalmers Greatest Hits.

"It came out on Powertool Records five or six years ago."

But we have convened to speak about his new solo pop-rock album, Green House, the follow-up to 2010s marvellous Run Together.

Out on Flying Nun, it sees Scott collaborating with Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins) on five tracks, with extra guitar lines courtesy of Tristan Dingemans (HDU) and drums provided by Rob Falconer.

"Everyone seems to like it so far," Scott says affably. "It seems like the work I put into it is paying off."

It was recorded in a relaxed fashion, sporadically, with Dale Cotton at the helm over the course of 18 months.

"We worked a couple of nights a week, then had maybe a month off. There was no rush to it."

Scott says he's pretty much writing and thinking about music all day.

"When I'm working with the children ... I make music whenever I can. I pretty much have a guitar with me all day, subconsciously I do a lot of it during the day, some songs come out randomly."

The mood is set firmly to gentle on Green House, intimate stories beautifully told and with a haunting almost spiritual dimension with the inclusion of Tiny Ruins' unique voice.

There is subtle humour, too. He didn't own a Lazy Boy chair before he wrote the song of the same name. But a friend loaned him one for the video and it is now a permanent feature in his home.

Each song has its own tale, from the languid guitar monster , to gentle ballads like album highlight Show.

"There is a laidback feel to them. They are observations on life and relationships, work ... some of them are made up, some are not."

Found recordings feature everything from vehicles on Hear the Hondas, to the night Scott went outside his home to record frogs in his garden. The album cover art is a picture Scott took of a "particularly interesting" goat.

"There are lots of little elements like that."

Tiny Ruins was enlisted to add her beautiful vocals to the album when Scott discovered she was visiting Dunedin on tour and persuaded her to stay for a few days.

"It worked out well," he says in his understated way.

The children of Port Chalmers School are missing out on music lessons from a New Zealand music legend this month while Scott tours the United States with The Clean.

When we speak, Hamish and David Kilgour are patiently waiting for Scott to join them in the United States where The Clean will perform their first gigs in Alabama and Georgia.

"I'm the last one to get there," Scott says. "I go straight from work to tour then straight back to work again. I don't seem to add in any days off for myself. We are playing places we haven't played before, it will be good fun."

He'll bring home a few stories for the children when he returns.

He may be a member of New Zealand music royalty, but in his day job Scott has experienced dramas with Novopay.

"They overpaid me by $350 and I had to pay it back at $10 a week. I was lucky, there were so many people who were underpaid. If politicians were underpaid it would be fixed pretty quickly I imagine."

Robert Scott's album, Green House, is out now. See

GREEN HOUSE: Robert Scott's album of intimate stories beautifully told.
GREEN HOUSE: Robert Scott's album of intimate stories beautifully told.

The Press