June 2007: Steve Abel, The Black Seeds, The Braxton Hicks, The Electric Confectionaires, The Phoenix Foundation, The Rabble, Young Sid

DeLorean drama, the Seeds on tour, loneliness, painful context, split-level adventures, and North Island gold mining history.

Steve Abel featuring Kirsten Morell “Duet (Lonely I Be)”

Marionettes have featured in a lot of videos in the mid 2000s, but a lot of the time it’s just a bunch of unrelated puppets having wobbly adventures. “Duet” gets serious and artistic. The two puppets closely resemble Steve and Kristen and there’s good editing between the puppets in their barren landscape and close-ups of the two real-life singers. There’s a lot of emotion in this song, and Steve even gives Sinead O’Connor a run for her money by shedding a tear.

Director: Florian Habicht, Steve Abel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Black Seeds “Cool Me Down”

The Black Seeds’ “So True” video caught them in a chilled-out New Zealand style, but “Cool Me Down” is the band as busy international touring artists. The video is made up of black and white footage of the band on tour, taking in Australia, New Zealand and European locations. There’s recording-studio footage, live footage and plenty of mucking around on the road.

Director: Gareth Moon

The Braxton Hicks “Fake” – missing

It’s so hard to google this band and song because the namesake Braxton Hicks contractions are often described as “fake” contractions. But anyway, the blessed Htown wiki has a brief bio of the band, including this line: “In early 2008 the band recieved a New Zealand on Air Recording Artist Grant, which they used to record the song “Fake”, with video directed by Luke McPake.” And then I found a blog which had a link to the video on YouTube, but it’s since been made private.

Director: Luke McPake

The Electric Confectionaires “Piece of my Heart”

The video starts off with the four-piece band performing in near darkness, lit only by cold spotlights. But suddenly the lights come on and it’s revealed that the band are in a two-level set, with each in his own room. Because the set is so elaborate, it feels like none of the spaces are explored in enough detail, leaving a feeling of disconnection.

Director: Richard Bell

The Phoenix Foundation “Bright Grey”

The “Bright Grey” video is based on a live video of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s song “Rydeen”, but it throws more in the mix, including early 1980s green-screen effects, a group of cool boys, and Taika Waititi as a Delorean-driving businessman who nods in appreciation as he watches the band. The band described it as a “tacky wonderland TV studio”, but the focus is otherwise on the Phoenix Foundation who deliver their best serious-face prog-pop performance. “Bright Grey” was No.45 on the Film Archive’s Ready To Roll? top 100 New Zealand music videos poll.

Director: Taika Waititi
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Rabble “Seeking”

Sites of urban decay are common in music videos, but this is the first to use rural decay. The “Seeking” video is primary set on top of the old Victoria Battery in the eastern Waikato town of Waikino. In the late 19th and early 20th century it was a gold boom town (and – curiously enough – the location of New Zealand’s only school shooting). But from boom town to ghost town, and with it the old battery buildings in the lush Karangahake Gorge (and the nearby Hauraki Planes) became a good enough location for a music video shoot. Sometimes The Rabble play it straight with traditional punk styles, but “Seeking” isn’t afraid to go for an undeniably New Zealand location.

Director: Anthony Plant

Young Sid featuring Bradd Marquis “Too Much Pain”

“Too Much Pain is Young Sid’s frank description of this childhood – poverty, violence and deprivation. The song offers no solutions. It’s Sid offering some context for who he is and the music that he’s created. The video also features American R&B singer Bradd Marquis, and the video puts the pair of them in a dark warehouse, evoking both a theatrical performance space and an interrogation room.

Director: Andrew Morton

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