These Four Walls: The Venues Filling the Void

Written by on 15 October 2021

These Four Walls is a series by Liam Broderick investigating the resurgence of the Christchurch music scene. In this piece, Liam talks with Zak Cooper, co-owner of FLUX.

Ever since this city was affected by earthquakes and lockdowns, the cultural shift in Christchurch has been unmatched and normality is yet to be reached.

While people have not been the same and the crowds are inconsistent, venues in little pockets of the city, out of the way of the mainstream noise, are continuing to hold their own.

Slowly but surely the talent pool in the underground music ‘scene’, supported by the ‘labour of love’ venues, are growing in popularity, offering substance to the arts of this city.

Sitting down with FLUX, 12bar and A Rolling Stone opened my mind to the possibilities of music in Christchurch, as long as the variables at play remain balanced and support sustainability. Each of these venues shares two common values, supporting local and disinterest in greed.

Take a closer look at how all of this goes down.

Zak Cooper, joint-owner of the popular music venue FLUX, shared his take on the current culture, the businesses impact on the local industry, survival of the business, supporting local talent and where the industry will be in the near future.

Cooper defined the void which he fills as up-and-coming as well as new, saying, “we pride ourselves on trying to uncover and support new and emerging talent.

Flux focuses on electronic music, only opening its doors for events that were said to be sustainable, but not without sacrifice. Every member of the operation tackles full-time study or work to keep the business running and the model consistent.

Cooper said, “it’s really important to remember that each of these places also needs to pay their bills”

“If they don’t then they stop existing and then there’s a series or group of musicians who don’t have their space to play. A music venue is complimentary, it should exist within an ecosystem. We’re really conscious that we don’t want to start taking musicians or taking gigs out of their [other venues] spaces.”

“It is really easy when you do exist in this space to get into a competitive mindset, especially when you see other venues doing shows that you would either want to do or you feel it was more along your line.”

You can check out the full interview with Zak Cooper below.

Left to right: Ruby Scott-Hewitt (Bar Manager), Finn McCall (co-owner), Zak Cooper (co-owner)

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