The Surgery Interview

Since Lee Prebble set up The Surgery in 2002 it has been a stalwart of the New Zealand music scene, mixing and producing some of our finest musical talent. With each project Prebble creates a sound best suited to the style of music and the musicians themselves, the latter of which include: The Phoenix Foundation, The Black Seeds, Jess Chambers, Little Bushman and many more.


What's rockin' in The Surgery?

2013 is going to be a busy year. I'm in full swing building the new studio which will hopefully be up and running by March, (cos I've already got a few months of bookings planned with Flash Harry and The Nudge). Really looking forward to having a custom built studio!


What music is on your playlist at the moment?

Just got 'Smile' by The Beach Boys, 'Brand Neu' a tribute to the German progrock band 'Neu' and a compilation of Desert Blues music.


What's the most important lesson your business has taught you?

Life is not about making lots of money. It's about making your community a better place. People are the most important aspect of running a studio. It's not about what gear you have, it's about what you do with it and making people feel like they can be creative in the space you provide for them. But gear is cool too!


What business trends are inspiring you at the moment?

I'm really inspired by people's growing awareness of mass-produced excess and the efforts they are going to, to try and live a more localised and community-based lifestyle. Love thy neighbour.


What place does generosity have in business?

Musicians don't have money. If I was to run the studio like an 'ideal business model' I'd be out of business in a week. I try to make it work with what people have. Obviously I still have to meet certain amounts but I have to be flexible. 


Which creative talent has sparked positive social change in this world?

That's a tricky question. I'm gonna go with the first thing that popped into my head and that's the band 'Radiohead'. They seem to be the one band that everyone can agree on and they continue to inspire and excite people. They have always pushed technological and musical boundaries and business models. When the mainstream is heading one way, they'll try something else and I think that's very important for such a high profile act to do.


Tell us three things that inspire you.

  • Tim Prebble's (no relation) blog site Music of Sound 
  • Musicians of Wellington
  • My children Solomon and Edith

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