The haunted mural, glowing in the dark, back to the old house, currency, along the coast, a glamorised kebab and a geek’s night out.
Shooting a music video in a spooky old hospital isn’t a new idea, but when Shihad do it, they do it with flair. They’re rocking out in a gloomy old building, which is slowly overcome with stop-motion graffiti murals on the walls. The effect is genuinely spooky, and the sense if that the paint is taking over. “Engage” is one of Shihad’s catchiest tracks in years, and the video give it an edge, saving it from being too pop.
“Engage” was Shihad’s last lot of video funding from the first 20 years. They received funding for 28 videos – the most of any New Zealand artist. And they made a lot of really good, iconic music videos, and gave New Zealand a legendary rock band we could call our own.
Director: James Solomon
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Simon Spire “Liberate Your Love”
The star of this video is Simon Squire’s teeth. They are white and so luminous. It’s oddly captivating. The video involves Simon digging up lightbulbs buried in the woods, then setting up a bright background behind his “band”, which is just himself. But his teeth! People are even leaving YouTube comments about the teeth, which doesn’t normally happen.
Director: Ivan Slavov
Six60 “Don’t Forget Your Roots”
“Don’t Forget Your Roots” was a huge hit. It reached No.2 in the singles chart, and still regularly turns up in the New Zealand Artists chart, thanks to streaming. The video is shot around Dunedin’s student area. This makes it seem like the “roots” Six60 are urging us not to forget are the ones that take place in a freezing cold student flat, when the only source of warmth is that med student who brought over the tray of Speights on Wednesday. Much of the video takes place at a concert, but being chilled out Six60, it never manages to capture an energetic live gig. Would it have worked better as a chilled-out backyard gig?
Director: Robin Walters
State of Mind & Subsonik featuring 3PM “Somebody Stop Me”
Drum and bass duo State of Mind have “Somebody Stop Me”. The video is largely animated, but not in a traditional sense. The singer’s visage has a filter making him look like an illustration from a currency design. The nest of the video is simple pulsating images with strings of random numbers floating on top. It is very much a drum and bass music video, with all the expectations of the genre, but it does it well.
Steriogram “No Ordinary Man”
“No Ordinary Man” was the last lot of funding Steriogram had, but I’m not convinced it ended up going to towards making this video. That is to say, it doesn’t look like it’s benefitted from funding.
Picking up on the post-punk revival that was a thing in the late ’00s, Steriogram sound like Interpol but look like the scrappy punks of the early ’00s, mainly because much of the video is amateur footage of their 2005 Big Day Out appearance. The shaky footage of their energetic younger selves is an odd visual match for the more mature sound of “No Ordinary Man”.
The rest of the video is more amateur video of live on the road, mostly shot out the window of their tour van. It’s all very scenic and New Zealand, then along comes a haunting shot: it’s State Highway One, near Kaikoura. The road that’s now impassable, covered in tons of rubble.
This is an unexpected consequence of shooting music videos out and about in New Zealand. Like many of the videos shot in Christchurch, this one now has a sombre feeling to it. But at least there are some nice scenic shots of Kaitaia to enjoy.
Street Chant “Sink”
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the ridiculously amazing pop hooks of “Sink”, that meandering melody in the verses. Hell yes. Street Chant’s ode to being young and getting pissed depicted by a stylised bar, where everyone is young and cool and even the bouncer is a skinny hipster. While Street Chant hoon around in a stolen shopping trolley, the video’s heroine negotiates the sometimes tricky world of going out and getting pissed. With all the “in the club” videos that portray a glamorous world of nightclub babes, it’s refreshing to find a video that instead glamorises dropping a kebab on the footpath.
Director: Claire Littler
The Black Dahlias “Ready To Roll”
In the Black Dahlias video, the group didn’t quite seem rock ‘n’ roll enough. Here they get it right, with the video featuring on a group of geeky guys going out to see their favourite band rocking out. The video captures the magic of seeing an energetic band live – where a group of geeky music fans and an equally geeky band can feed off each other and transform the experience into a a thrilling rockstravaganza.
Director: Zac Blair