Abney Park. From left: Robert Brown, Finn Von Claret.
|Associated acts||The Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society|
Finn Von Claret
Abney Park was formed by Robert Brown in 1997. In 1998 they released their first full-length album Abney Park, and in 1999 they released Return to the Fire. Tracks from these two albums as well as a couple of new ones formed their third release, titled Cemetery Number 1. In the early years of Abney Park, the band featured a gothic musical and visual style, which they culminated with their 2002 release From Dreams Or Angels.
In 2005, the band released Taxidermy, which is a collection of new versions of songs from past albums, three live tracks and two covers. In 2006 they released the album The Death of Tragedy. After this release, their line-up changed as well, with the departure of Traci Nemeth, Krysztof Nemeth and Robert Hazelton, replaced by Magdalene Veen, Jean-Paul Mayden and Nathaniel Johnstone. Shortly thereafter Jean-Paul departed the band to be replaced by Daniel C.
As part of their transformation, Abney Park invented fictional identities of themselves, complete with a background story that describes the fictional history of the band as the crew of an airship named the Ophelia (see below). In the spring of 2008, Magdalene Veen left the band and was replaced by Finn Von Claret. That year, they released Lost Horizons, their first steampunk-themed album. Finn retired in the summer of 2009. Jody Ellen joined the band later that year and played her first show at Dragon*Con 2009. Also in 2009, the band released Aether Shanties, their tenth album.
Abney Park has performed at numerous goth and steampunk festivals including Dragon*Con, Saturnalia, Utah Dark Arts, Bats Day, Convergence, Ravenwood Festival,[4 ] Masque and Veil, the Bay Area Maker Faire, and Steamcon. Their music has also been featured in many compilation CDs, including Gilded Age Records' An Age Remembered: A Steampunk and Neo-Victorian Mix,[7 ] Cleopatra Records' The Unquiet Grave vol. III, BLC Productions' Annihilation and Seduction,[8 ] Squish Me Down Records' Eighteen (Eighteen NW Bands Benefit CD); and in several movie soundtracks, including Insomnis Amour, Goth, and Lord of the Vampires. Sometimes called the "quintessential" steampunk band, Abney Park has been featured in major news media and interviewed by several genre magazines and websites, and has been highlighted on MTV[14 ] and G4TV.
In 2006, Abney Park transformed themselves from a largely Goth Industrial band into a Steampunk band. Since Steampunk is largely derivative from science fiction and fantasy literature, the band created a fictional backstory to "explain" the shake-up in membership and who they were now, and to set a "stage" for their new music. According to that story, the band's plane collided with a time-travelling dirigible called the Ophelia - said to have been created by a Dr. Leguminous Caligari (a reference to the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) - in a freak storm. The band commandeered the vessel, deciding to become "airship pirates", and formed a new band from the "surviving" members of the "crash". Much of their music since that time has been based around this fictional backstory.