Setting the mood: Paul Marcham and Claire Forrester in a promotional photo for their new album, Amongst the Tall Trees


An album released on Friday by a Queenstown ‘folktronica’ duo has been largely honed by feedback from busking on local streets.

The duo, Choice — Claire Forrester, from Ireland, and Paul Marcham, from England — originally met in Queenstown in 2003 after they’d been busking separately.

After a long bout of travelling, they’ve been busking here again for the past five years.

For their fifth full-length album, Amongst the Tall Trees, seven of the 10 tracks were ‘‘adjusted on the street’’, Marcham says.

For the recording, ‘‘we pick the version that goes down the best or that’s given the most positive feedback’’.

The duo call their music ‘‘a mix of looping instruments — violin, guitar and vocals — with electronic sounds and high-energy drumming’’, creating an hypnotic, intense and atmospheric sound.

Marcham: ‘‘They all revolve around beats and a bass line, and then Claire puts on the  hooks — the violin melodies, the vocals, the guitar riffs.’’

The beats range from drum and bass to dub and ambient trip-hop.

Because the music’s run through sample pads and loop stations, they can mix it on the  night when they’re busking.

‘‘If it’s a quiet, peaceful evening, we’ll play a super-chilled version [of each number], then if a crowd of people come round the corner looking like they want to dance and go a bit crazy, we’ll just beef up the beat a little bit.’’

The couple have travelled widely, but now happily call Queenstown ‘home’.

‘‘We love to snowboard, I enjoy mountain biking, we love living in the mountains.’’

Aside from busking, they also perform in pub gigs and at festivals and each month they  host the ‘Songwriter Society’ — an open-mic night for original music and the spoken word — at Queenstown’s Sherwood.

Their latest album’s available via their website,, and on

‘‘We’ll probably release it on other platforms a few months down the line,’’ Forrester says.