Real Life With John CowanReal Life With John Cowan

Terrible Sons

View descriptionShare

Folk duo Terrible Sons may well be the most famous New Zealand band you’ve never heard of.

Hailing from Ōtautahi, husband and wife Lauren and Matt Barus only launched the band seven years ago, but their music quickly garnered international attention.

One track has had 20 million downloads on Spotify, and data from the streaming service reveals they have fanbases in Turkey, Finland, South-East Asia, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Their overseas success is all the more remarkable because the pandemic and raising their two young children have made international touring something of an impossibility.

“It’s a strange sort of success,” Lauren told Real Life with John Cowan on Sunday night.

“We started this project seven years ago. Our second daughter, who is six, was just born when we signed to a record label in Toronto. We’ve been pretty quiet – we weren’t touring, you don’t really have the energy when you have two young children to go touring.

“We’ve been making music at our home in Ōtautahi for that length of time, just releasing little EPs. So it’s this strange world where niche music like ours can find an audience around the world and still not be very well-known by the people who live next door – the people of our own country.”

Even without local love for their songwriting, Lauren feels confident they’re on the right track.

“Matt and I have a strong belief there’s something vital in music, even though it doesn’t make financial sense in the current climate.”

The Baruses live in an intentional community in Christchurch, which inspires much of their music. Much of this is based on making hospitality a priority – providing spaces where they can get together and share food.

They also support the local school and have set up a community garden where people can grow their own food and foster a sense of connection with the environment.

The ‘intentionality’ of the community lies in its Christian faith foundations.

“It’s really a group of us living in the same location, working together to be intentional about knowing who our neighbours are, knowing what’s going on in our local area,” Lauren told Cowan.

“There’s a part of that in our context that’s connected to faith. I really feel scared of the word ‘Christian’ because it comes with a lot of cultural projections… even though that’s what it is.”

“When we realise what it means to be a follower of Jesus – the implications of being focused on the marginalised, or looking at your neighbour and thinking as highly of that person as you think of yourself – that’s the backbone of it.

“It feels like a very direct invitation to think of your life a little differently than perhaps our society would drive us to live.”

-Matt Burrows

  • Facebook
  • X (Twitter)
  • WhatsApp
  • Email
  • Download

In 1 playlist(s)

  1. Real Life With John Cowan

    195 clip(s)

Real Life With John Cowan

John Cowan hosts ‘Real Life’, a weekly nationwide chat show on Newstalk ZB featuring a different hig 
Social links
Follow podcast
Recent clips
Browse 195 clip(s)