February 2009: Audio Empire, Black River Drive, Boh Runga, Bruce Conlon, Dane Rumble, David Dallas

Anywhere but here, a new town, attack of the clones, a dark city, the dying days of ’00s bling culture, and the green screen scene.

Audio Empire “Paper Soldiers”

“Paper Soldiers” was the last of Audio Empire’s four funded videos. And it’s much like the others, with its staunch this is not New Zealand feeling. The opening shots of the video suggests it’s set in Manhattan, but we only see the band in a generic studio space that could be anywhere. The video is full of graphics showing crashing stock prices and images of war. And none of that especially justifies a faux New York setting. But that was Audio Empire’s gimmick – anywhere but here.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Black River Drive “Everywhere”

“Everywhere” was the debut single of Black River Drive. It’s a fairly ordinary rock song, the lyrics are a little tired, but it’s decent debut. The video follows a young woman with good hair as she walks around Auckland at night, looking all pouty and mysterious. Meanwhile, Black River Drive are performing in an empty building. Finally the two are united, but the woman is left to watch the band from afar as a no man’s land of fluorescent tubes separates them. The video has great lighting. Everyone looks amazing, and Auckland at night is all sexy and mysterious, feeling both like Auckland and like a completely new town.

Director: Ivan Barge

Boh Runga “Names in the Sand”

Weirdly enough, this video has exactly the same idea behind it as K’Lee’s “Broken Wings” video from nine years prior. In both cases, the performer is hanging out in a nice house with multiple versions of herself. But there are differences – in the K’Lee video, there was a subplot involving a boyfriend drama; and in Boh’s video one of her clones pours her a glass of wine. Tbh, Boh has the better situation.

Director: Tim van Dammen
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Bruce Conlon “City That Never Sleeps”

The London-based Bruce Conlon has his ode to the “City That Never Sleeps”. In the video, the city is depicted using a collage of scenes from various cities, making it both all cities and no cities. The video is a black and white (and occasionally red) job, with Bruce inserted in and around the cityscapes. Despite the song lyrics, the subdued colour palette doesn’t always live up to the promise of a city that never sleeps.

Director: Andy Bird

Dane Rumble “Don’t Know What To Do”

“Don’t Know What To Do” is a sunny pop tune that reached No.10 in the New Zealand chart. But the video rejects the sunniness in favour of clinging on to the dying days of ’00s bling culture. The video shows Dane living the good life -shopping for CDs (CDs!!!!), hanging out with his friends in a showhome-looking apartment, rocking out with his proper band, travelling on an aeroplane and driving around in a fancy automobile. But despite all these trappings of the good life, it’s hard to buy into a pop star who acts more like a cashed-up property developer than a man in love.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

David Dallas featuring Niko “I Get The Feelin'”

David Dallas mixes pop-soul and hip hop on the sweet “I Get The Feelin'”. The video is based around a guy in green bodysuit moving various props around the music video set. Sometimes he’s been digitally removed and the objects float around on their own, other times he’s there, a guy in an unflattering lime green bodysuit. I feel like I’m missing something. I get the concept of the video, but it just doesn’t seem to come together. But still, it’s Special Problems video and it’s better than most.

Director: Special Problems

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