Terrible Sons to perform in Queenstown

3 minutes read
Posted 28 March, 2024
Screenshot 2024 03 22 101537

The fantastic Ōtautahi-based indie folk duo Terrible Sons are heading to town in April. The pair are made up of Lauren and Matthew Barus, who will be performing in Queenstown together under the moniker for the first time. The tour is also in celebration of the release of their debut album, The Raft Is Not The Shore.

The album was recorded in the pair’s shoebox home studio with a group of friends, including producer Tom Healey (Marlon Williams, Tiny Ruins, Soaked Oats), Jo McCullum (The Veils) and brother Jo Barus (Dave Dobbyn). Lauren and Matt weave their voices in harmony while singing about the unexceptional and the big things in life, the you and me, and sometimes each other.

“We’ve spent maybe the last ten years, just slowly when time allows, making little records in our studio in the back of our house and releasing material,” Lauren Barus says. “We got the support of a Toronto-based record label called Network Music Group, they released our music for us and last year we finished a record called The Raft Is Not The Shore. We released that in April of last year and we were not able to tour it, so we’re coming back around a year later to just play a few shows, mainly in the South Island and a couple in the North Island, to celebrate the release.”

Lauren describes the process of releasing the album as an experiment in writing together, representing the work that they’ve done. It speaks more to relationship dynamics and throughout the process they’ve learnt that there’s a bit of negotiation that goes on in the creative process so as to not hurt the other person’s feelings. The last time they performed in Queenstown together was when they were part of Kiwi five-piece rock band, The Dukes and they’ve previously gone on tour with artists such as Blondie and The Pretenders.

When they relocated to Christchurch and started a family, Lauren considered how she wanted to parent and how she wanted to be present. She said to do that and to be a musician they both had to work differently but “maybe that’s just the difference between being 20 and being 40.” She reminisces on playing a show in London and meeting Mick Jagger on a Chesterfield couch at the back of the gig, compared to today’s gentler, warmer shows in wee spaces around Aotearoa.

“They’re both good memories; different things and an evolution. Terrible Sons is a project that Matt started after the earthquakes, actually, and around that time we got married and didn’t have small children. We were making quieter music – music that wasn’t pop-rock or wasn’t like my earlier music, which was more like soul. It was just something that came out as a quieter way of making music and the two of us joined together on it.”

Ryan Fisherman will also share the stage with Terrible Sons and recently released some wonderful and acclaimed musical works – the album Country Emo and the Hidden EP. Ryan verges on weird folk and is a prolific musician within the scene – his tunes are described as ever loved and to be loved.

Terrible Sons often reference silence as their third instrument – they work hard to create a feeling of spaciousness. The music is gentle and quiet but has moments of raucousness as they sing together.

“I think we like the energy and the dynamic of those two things – we tell stories, we sing along and then there are also moments where we’re brave, bringing some of our own sadness and a lot of our own moments of what the world is and what the world feels like to live in.

“We’re excited to bring that down to a Queenstown audience and hopefully they’re excited to come along for a journey and maybe see something they haven’t seen before or have an experience with us that they haven’t had. That would be the thing that we’re looking forward to the most,” says Lauren.

Terrible Sons will play at the Sherwood on Friday, 12 April, with support from Ryan Fisherman.
You can buy tickets or find out more information at


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