Strawpeople new album continues collaborative legacy

Thursday 31 August 2023

New Zealand’s electropop icons Strawpeople return with a brand new album, Knucklebones, which sees Paul Casserly and Fiona McDonald back together as the core of the project.

Knucklebones is a collection of all-new material produced by Paul and Fiona, and while the guts of the project is the work of the pair, there’s a cast of New Zealand music’s heavy-hitters including: Matthias Jordan of Pluto on keys, Nick Atkinson of Supergroove on sax, drumming legend Chris O’Connor on drums, Mark Hughes on bass and even a cameo appearance from legendary Auckland busker Luke Hurley on guitar. 

Guitarist Chris van de Geer and bassist Joost Langeveld are also back; as players and producers. “It’s so cool to work with  these guys again,” says Casserly, “they live and breathe music. They’re kinda the godfathers.”

Strawpeople originally formed in the late 1980s when Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney met at student radio station 95bFM. Also there at the time was Fiona McDonald who went on to become part of the Strawpeoplehistory.

Paul and Fiona had the idea to collaborate again during a combined 50th birthday celebration and the result is something she feels proud of: “I called Paul when we got the master back, and said, good job us.” For her, working with Casserly again was “a rare treat. Paul has always been my favourite writing partner. We usually agree on things and for some reason our outsized egos don’t seem to overlap.”  

At the heart of Knucklebones is that familiar Strawpeople combo of sampled beats, bass, guitar, keys and more than anything, the voice of Fiona McDonald.