16 Jan 2019

NZ band dumped from label amid allegations

7:58 pm on 16 January 2019

New Zealand record label Lil' Chief has severed ties with a band whose members make up part of internationally popular group Superorganism due to "unresolved" allegations.


Superorganism Photo: supplied

London-based band Superorganism released their debut album last year to critical acclaim and have since been announced as one of the acts performing at California music festival Coachella.

Four of the group's members - Mark Turner, Chris Young, Timm Shann and Blair Everson - were all previously in the New Zealand band The Eversons.

But Lil' Chief has announced in a press release it was severing ties with the group due to "unresolved" allegations against Mr Turner.

Superorganism Mark Turner

Mark Turner. Photo: Supplied.

"Between 2012 and 2013 some allegations about Mark surfaced, generally regarding the same incident - invariably from third parties and always denied by him," the record label said on its website.

"As a small label run by friends and musicians we had neither the tools nor the experience to get involved.

"In the light of things that we as a scene and society have learnt in the #MeToo era, we now see our hands-off approach was inadequate, and on reflection is something we are not proud of.

"We are no longer prepared to give anyone the benefit of the doubt or abdicate our responsibilities.

"Applying that approach, we find that we are no longer able to comfortably continue to distribute The Eversons while these issues are unresolved."

There were several comments made on the thread below the press release, either disagreeing with the label's actions or claiming it had not done enough.

Late last week online music magazine Pitchfork reported on two "restraining orders" Mr Turner made against his former girlfriend and bandmate, and a second unnamed person, for comments made about him online.

The court orders came in 2012, months after the group faced criticism for releasing a song called 'Harlot,' Pitchfork reported.

The song is about a man whose former girlfriend becomes a sex worker. Mr Turner's ex-girlfriend was at that time a sex worker.

The court orders were settled confidentially, Pitchfork reported.

Lil' Chief said in the statement last week that at the time it "unfortunately didn't give [the song] any thought".

"When we started to receive complaints we initially tried to stay out of the fray. We soon realised, however, that the song was not one that we wanted to be associated with and, after talking with the band, we pulled the song."

At the time Mr Turner made a written apology.

"It's become very clear to me that I have screwed up big time," Stuff reported him as saying in October 2012.

"Had I put more thought and consideration into what I was doing I would have realised how offensive the song is. Not just to sex workers, and women in general, but to everyone.

"I am ashamed that I am the author of a song where I have come across as another misogynistic, ignorant guy."

RNZ has approached Verdigris, Superorganism's management, for comment.