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Music News - Tex Houston and the story behind Tex Tone

Tex Houston and the story behind Tex Tone

01 July 2020 - 0 Comments

Tex Houston, the man behind Tex Tone, is a true music lover and well known in the New Zealand music world. After cutting his teeth as a live engineer for Netherworld Dancing Toys he became a central figure in New Zealand’s iconic Dunedin Sound, working and travelling the world with numerous bands on the Flying Nun label.

Tex was also co-owner of legendary Fish Street Studios in Dunedin. He has recorded albums for The Clean, The 3Ds, The Verlaines and The Able Tasmans, to name a few. Tex still travels the world mixing The Clean and continues to record and mix some of New Zealand’s top bands.

After many years working in recording and audio engineering Tex wanted to make domestic hifi speakers that sound as good as the best active studio monitors. He also wanted to create something that looks as good as it sounds. That started a long journey leading to the development of Tex Tone Classic speakers – a true labour of love.

Unlike traditional box-shaped speakers, Tex Tone speakers have a smooth curved shape that also provides a unique and original type of canvas. It wasn’t too difficult for Tex to convince some of his long-time artist friends to create works of art on the cabinets, and the extraordinary Art Speakers were born.

Chris Knox

Chris Knox needs no introduction to most New Zealanders. ‘It’s impossible to imagine New Zealand cultural life without his contribution to it’ (AudioCulture). Chris rose to fame in the punk era with his bands The Enemy and Toy Love. After Toy Love disbanded he formed Tall Dwarfs with Alec Bathgate, and together they went on to make six albums on the Flying Nun label. Based in Auckland, Chris recorded and produced several solo albums on the same label. In the bNet Music Awards 2000 Chris received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chris is also a highly regarded artist, cartoonist and film-maker, and he was selected as an Arts Foundation Laureate in March 2009. After experiencing a stroke a few months later, Chris’s creative focus and energy has largely shifted to his art.

David Kilgour

Dunedin songwriter, singer, musician and artist David Kilgour is ‘a guitar god for guitar atheists’ (Merge Records). With his brother Hamish, David formed The Clean in the late eighties, one of the most significant indie rock bands in New Zealand and popular the world over. In 2017 The Clean were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. David has also released several albums as a solo artist and with his band the Heavy Eights, and has collaborated with poet Sam Hunt. In the 2001 New Year Honours, David was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

David’s artwork has graced many an album cover, and he regularly posts new art on his website. His work on these speakers is inspired by his love of surfing and is reminiscent of sixties Californian surfboards. He has named the speakers ‘Wave Boarder’, which fans will recognise as the title of one of his songs.

Nicola McLaren

Nicola McLaren is a Dunedin-based artist and ceramist whose work is a ‘glorious combination of glazes and textures’ (Quadrant Gallery). Nicola has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic School of Art and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. She has work held in collections such as the James Wallace Trust and the Waikato Museum of Art and History, and has won a number of awards including the Cleveland Art Award in Dunedin

The landscape depicted on these speakers is from Nicola’s childhood, and shows a long, often-solitary journey she would make when riding her horse down the Otago Peninsula to Portobello. Nicola used a combination of acrylic colours overlaid with ink drawings and some 24 carat gold leaf transfer in her design. Her surreal imagery is created from personal memories distorted by the passage of time, and a past made largely of imagination.

Robert Scott

Dunedin musician, artist and teacher Robert Scott is ‘truly a New Zealand songwriting legend’ (AudioCulture). Robert is best known as bassist and songwriter for The Clean and singer, songwriter and guitarist for The Bats, which enjoys a large and dedicated fan base in New Zealand and around the world. Robert’s catalogue of other bands includes The Magick Heads and Electric Blood, and he has released solo albums in several genres, including alternative rock, experimental instrumentals, and traditional folk music. Robert also teaches music and runs a gallery, Pea Sea Art, with his partner Dallas Henley in Port Chalmers near Dunedin. Robert has drawn and painted iconic cover art for many Flying Nun album sleeves. Robert’s art is characterised by strong blues and greens with a distinctive comic styling and often explores landscapes and space travel. Happily there is a little bit of both on these hardwood speakers.

For more information about Tex Tone speakers please head to: https://www.textone.co.nz/

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