Gig of the Week: Homecoming for Sunshine


As some of New Zealand’s best music acts converge on the Southern Lakes this weekend, for one band it’s a chance to come home.

Sunshine Sound System, who forged their beginnings in the dark bars of Queenstown, join other top Kiwi acts playing at the Rippon Music Festival in Wanaka on Saturday.

Sunshine band member Stauny Popham aka MC Switch is stoked at having the chance to come back to the resort after shifting to Auckland four months ago.

“I would still love to call Queenstown home but the winters here make it difficult for us to keep the group going,” he says. “We had a few bad ones where we struggled to get flights in and out and missed gigs.”

Simon Hendl – betwter known as the DJ Downtown Brown – is still based in town and is one of the owners of Subculture nightclub.

Hendl chucked away a career in medicine to pursue his passion for music, forming Sunshine with Paora Apera “P-Digsss” in 2000.

Stauny’s older brother Kyle “MC KPz” joined the pair in 2001 and they played gigs around Queenstown for bar tabs.

Stauny was asked to fill the P-Digsss slot when he started playing full-time with Shapeshifter – P-Digsss plays with Sunshine when not on tour with the Kiwi drum ‘n’ bass act.

“When I first moved to Queenstown, I had given up on music and was just trying to get as far away from Auckland as possible to work out what I really wanted to do,” Stauny says.

“Luckily, the boys officially asked me to join in 2003 – Downtown gave me my Sunshine Sound shirt and that was that.”

The group have had a chocker summer playing throughout the country at all the major festivals, including supporting the Shapeshifter album release tour.

After Rippon the Sunshine crew play the Homegrown festival in Wellington before the boys climb into some independent projects.

Other acts at Saturday’s music festival include Little Bushman, Minuit, The Mint Chicks, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Open Souls and The Black Seeds.