Making metal work

Working lives of metal musicians in Aotearoa/New Zealand


  • Catherine Hoad Massey University
  • Ian Moore Massey University



heavy metal, new zealand, professional lives, music career, local scene, professional life


This article explores lived experiences of heavy metal careers in Aotearoa/New Zealand as bands navigate shifting metal markets, and rapidly expanding digital landscapes for the music industry more generally. Drawing from interviews conducted with four established metal bands in Aotearoa—Blindfolded and Led to the Woods (Otautahi/Christchurch), Shepherds Reign (Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland), Stälker and Bulletbelt (both from Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington)—we explore whether metal musicians are able to make music into a viable career, and furthermore how the changing commercial and technological landscapes for metal might have also brought about differing ideas of the mainstream versus the underground, commerciality versus authenticity, and amateurism versus professionalism. Such binaries, these interviews show, continue to play a complex role in how musicians experience, or reject, metal as an entrepreneurial activity, where the coincidence of genre with geography, and metal’s long-held anti-commercial and anti-establishment discourses, influence career expectations and opportunities.

Author Biographies

Catherine Hoad, Massey University

Dr Catherine Hoad is a Senior Lecturer in Te Rewa o Puanga/School of Music and Creative Media Production at Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa/Massey University, and the Chair of the Australia-Aotearoa/New Zealand branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Her research analyses diversity, access, and opportunities within the creative industries in Aotearoa, and her published work has explored constructions of identity and community in heavy metal and hardcore scenes, practices, and cultures.

Ian Moore, Massey University

Ian Moore completed his Bachelor of Commercial Music (First Class Honours) at Massey University in 2021. Ian’s solo work as Deathtrippa has been featured in international media, including Bandcamp’s front page. Ian also plays in hardcore band Pissbaby, and tour manages international metal bands with Valhalla Touring.


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How to Cite

Hoad, C., & Moore, I. (2023). Making metal work: Working lives of metal musicians in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Perfect Beat, 22(1), 22–42.

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