Seth Frightening is:
Sean Kelly. Currently based in Berlin, Germany.

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‘Avant-bard’ Seth Frightening sings damaged neo-folk songs with contagious sincerity, bearing the dried blood of the macabre. Drawing from diverse folk, noise and grunge influences, he weaves stories of clouded characters that reads simultaneously like a diary account and a news report of a car crash. He is the regretful drunk; the infant victim; the curious rubbernecker.

Five years has seen Seth Frightening (real name Sean Kelly) release a consistent stream of albums and EPs. He arrived in 2010 with the much-revered The Prince and His Madness LP, recorded entirely on laptop microphones to astonishing effect. Frightening’s 2012 follow up Don’t You Worry (Heat Death) was described as ‘…a constant exploration of timbre and ornamentation’ (; in the same year he toured Australia with alt-royal Jonsi of Sigur Ros and New Zealand with Grizzly Bear – who hand-picked Kelly to support them. He’s gone on to share stages with the likes of Low, Neutral Milk Hotel, Jessica Pratt, Deerhoof and Kirin J. Callinan.

Ever prolific, Frightening’s work has culminated in 2015’s But We Love Our Brothers And Sisters. In his words, ‘…it is a deathly ode to the failings of love, the reality of being nothing and alone, forever dead in space.’ Released digitally on Frightening’s own Wellington-based label, Sonorous Circle, the album bears his signature knack for wrenching, off-kilter melody, deft textural experimentation and intimate, self-defining production. In the words of NZ Musician; ‘it’s eye catching. It’s evocative and emotional. It’s the kind of ugliness that you can’t help but feel a connection with.’

Visit Seth Frightening’s Bandcamp to purchase But We Love Our Brothers and Sisters on 12” vinyl/digital download.


SCR030 – But We Love Our Brothers and Sisters
Released 7th March 2015.

13 tracks : 43 minutes : “…positively overflowing with beautifully surreal and exploratory New Weird New Zealand folk rock compositions. With his guitar playing, vocal delivery and overall arrangements, Seth has that “it” quality that only matters because we hear it so rarely.” – (Martyn Pepperell, Vanguard Red Magazine)

SCR024 – Urine (A Container)
Released October 2013

SCR021 – Eschaton Soundtrack (by i.ryoko & Seth Frightening)
Released December 2012

ESCHATON is a theatre show that was performed in the final week of the Mayan calendar, directed by Stella Reid and described as “a layered, visionary and surreal performance… a cosmic drama that uses breathtaking images, puppetry and projection to fly through different worlds, different ages and different rituals of death.” This soundtrack was created by Thomas Lambert (i.ryoko) and Sean Kelly (Seth Frightening) with trumpet played by the actor, Theo Taylor.

SCR020 – Don’t You Worry (Heat Death)

Released November 2012

After more than three years in the making we just had to call this epic complete. Don’t You Worry (Heat Death) is a logical progression from previous releases – still rooted in Neil Young-style folk but more audibly influenced by noise and improvised music. Unique, beautifully twisted and intense. Available now on Limited Edition CD and pay-what-you-like Download from

Limited Edition CD and Pay-what-you-like Download (No minimum)

SCR016 – B.Hoo /

Released December 2011

A recent excavation revealed these three fine outpourings of spirit; Uniquely coloured and powerful forms laid down on laptops in bedrooms and hospital hallways with contagious sincerity and words tinged with protest and the fear of reality that comes alongside modern injustice and social awareness. A rare and wonderful listen!


SCR0015 – B.Hoo / High School

Released December 2011

Forward to the past! Here goes a wee selection of songs written and recorded in Seth Frightening’s high school days; Sincere tracks laid down in the lofi bedroom style by a wise young man, excavated from broken hard drives and still bearing the character of minidisc glitches and planes taking off in the background.


SCR004 – The Prince and His Madness

Released January 2010
<a href="">Can We Eat It (Truth) So We Know What To Say (Visions!) by Seth Frightening</a>
“The Prince and His Madness is unmistakably brilliant; Kelly’s voice is strong and focused, delivering tortured tales of war and injustice, self-possession and discovery…. a twisted, unique piece of work that’s sincere from start to finish.” – Nick Fulton, Einstein Music Journal.




Listen to Sean on Radio New Zealand performing three songs and talking to Zac Arnold about death, the void, and the music of Neil Young, 7th May 2015:

Read a 2012 interview with Sean Kelly on Under the Radar here

Listen to a 2012 interview with Sean Kelly and Thomas Lambert on Radio New Zealand here


The Seth Frightening band is oft-mutating. In the past it has featured Claire Duncan (I.E.Crazy), Eamonn Logan (Ghostwave, Team Catfood), Thomas Lambert (i.ryoko), Caleb McKenzie (Minnelli), Micky Tubb (Pluriverse), Reece McNaughton (Big Flip the Massive) and Jonathan King.