On record . . . Lawrence Arabia, a.k.a. James Milne, is bringing his tour Lawrence Arabia Does Chant Darling to Oamaru this January.

Lawrence Arabia is bringing new life to his hit album Chant Darling

The 2009 album has taken James Milne, the man behind the stage name, all over the world – a distant concept these days.

“Right now it feels like a strange dream – the idea of being able to travel freely around the world,” Milne said.

“At this point I’m just grateful I had the chance to do it.”

On January 14, Milne is bringing his tour, Lawrence Arabia Does Chant Darling, to Oamaru.

The Christchurch-born artist “drifted” into music.

“I was obsessed with [it] as a child. I never really considered it as a career.”

That was until he studied politics at the University of Canterbury, and gradually drifted away from his studies towards band practices and released his first album in 2006.

After its release in 2009, Chant Darling, garnered Milne a Taite Music Prize and an APRA Silver Scroll for his song Apple Pie Bed in 2010.

“I’ve had a whole lot of life since then.”

Milne has two children, has released three additional albums – The Sparrow, Absolute Truth, Lawrence Arabia Singles Club – and been on countless national and international tours.

The “catalyst” for his latest tour was the re-release of Chant Darling on vinyl.

More than 12 years on from its release, the album was being pressed by New Zealand’s only vinyl pressing plant, Auckland’s Holiday Records, an uncommon practice in 2009.

After being in Auckland’s lockdown for the past four months, Milne said he was excited to tour around New Zealand.

He was most looking forward to being in a room with other people and playing with his band again.

“They are all sort of foreign things to think about really.”

His upcoming tour would take him back to Donna Demente’s Grainstore Gallery in Oamaru next month.

“It’s a completely unique place to play on so many levels – it feels like playing in a strange Victorian lounge.”

Milne will be accompanied by Na Noise, a “surf, rock and roll band” comprised of Yolanda Fagan, Hariet Ellis, and Christopher Varnham.

Lawrence Arabia Does Chant Darling is on at the Grainstore Gallery on January 14. Tickets are available from