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Phoenix Foundation’s Samuel Scott says they’ve “never been that popular”.

In saying that, Scott — who sings, plays guitar and bangs keys for the band — reckons it hasn’t been a bad thing for the Wellington band.

“That’s kind of worked for us in some ways because we make music that has an audience but we’ve always been in it for the long haul”.

The six-member band, who’ve made six studio albums together, are rounding out Queenstown’s WinterFest this Sunday.

Scott is joined by Lukas Buda on vocals, guitar and keys, Conrad Wedde on guitar and keys, Tom Callwood on bass and vocals, Chris O’Connor on drums, plus Will Ricketts jamming percussion and keys.

They’ve been The Phoenix Foundation since 2000, but a few of them have been playing together since 1994.

Having spent such a long amount of time in each other’s company, Scott says some festivals and gigs sort of blur in his mind.

He can remember playing many gigs in both Queenstown and Wanaka, he’s just not exactly sure what they were all for.

“It’s always a great time so it’s an easy decision to come back.”

Some of the band are planning to go up the mountain but Scott won’t be joining them.

“I feel my body’s a bit frail at this point.

“When the guys are enjoying skiing I’m just gonna dress up apres-ski and put on some nice ugly jersey with some reindeer on it and go drink hot cocoa in a chalet or something.”

The lads aren’t always together touring and creating music.

They’ve got other creative and music-oriented things on the go alongside The Phoenix Foundation.

Scott reckons having those other outlets takes the pressure off the band.

“It allows us to make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons instead of focusing on, ‘How do we write a radio hit?’, or whatever.

“We’re just focusing on enjoying playing together and doing something creative.

“And when it’s really exciting and we find we’re not doing all that much, and we get to go and play a gig in Queenstown at Winter Festival, it really just brings out the best in us and we’re just totally amped to be playing a show together.”

However, they don’t just fit back neatly together straight away after time apart.

Usually it only takes a few days before the confusion wears off and they’re saying: “Oh, yip, this is it, this is what we do.”

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz

The Phoenix Foundation are playing the main stage at the Auckland Airport Carnival this Sunday, 8pm, Earnslaw Park. Free entry