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The Brunettes

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Biography

New Zealand (1998 – present)

The Brunettes were formed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1998 by musical couple Jonathan Bree and Heather Mansfield. They were a paradox from the beginning - creating boy/girl melodramatic pop inspired by 70s New York punk and 60s girl groups but surrounded in an Auckland scene of opiate-infused garage rock ‘n’ roll. Inspired by his dreams of domestic bliss while a teenager living in rat infested junkie flats, and in direct rebellion to the messy hair, tight pants and leather jackets of the local music circle - Jonathan decided to craft a carefully constructed ‘cutesy carpenteresque consumerist’ image for the duo.

The Brunettes soon produced “Mars Loves Venus,” a lathe-cut EP pressed up by King Records, Geraldine. The short run quickly sold out and Jonathan set to work demo-ing up the band’s first six albums. Heather and Jonathan’s relationship suffered, understandably. Heather was often seen in New Zealand’s society pages with champagne flutes in each hand, while Jonathan’s striving for sonic perfection within the constraints of four-track cassette recording drove him to Smile-like levels of madness.

Dressed in his fireman’s helmet, Jonathan applied for a job at Marbecks, a downtown Auckland record store. It was while he worked there that one of those four-track recordings, ‘Talk to Jesus’, was noticed by local manager and promoter Melinda Olykan on Auckland’s student radio station BFM. Pulling out her cheque-book straight away, she managed to get Jonathan away from the store counter for a two-figure sum, and soon the Brunettes were playing shows again.

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