Moana and the Moahunters with Fagan “I’ll be the One”

Moana teams up with Andrew Fagan for “I’ll be the One”, a big, fast soul-infused rock number (or is that a rock-infused soul number?). Moana’s bold voice dominates the song, perhaps better suited to the genre than Fagan’s punky drawl. Nonetheless, they’re both in the video together.

It’s a high energy song and the video builds on that with an almost manic pace. Moana and Fagan are joined by an array of colourful characters. There’s a cute little girl, drag artistes, b-boys, an old lady, kapa haka perfomers, modern dancers, rock dudes, and of course the Moahunters. Everyone is happy as they dance around in front of different coloured bright background. A few people seem to be reacting to a “do something crazy” direction, but mainly it’s people dancing and having fun.

Meanwhile, Moana and Fagan are wearing black skivvies (she’s accessorised with a red hat, he with fingerless gloves) and there’s a choice chemistry between them. Moana even gets to pull Fagan on a leash, which manages to be more comedy than kinky.

The video is directed by Fagan’s missus Karyn Hay and the colour and energy reminds me of other videos she’s done – like “Hey Judith” and “Arm and a Leg”. It looks like a low budget video but the simple concept is executed well and it matches the tone of the song.

Best bit: “DISPARITY” chalked on a wall, possibly a first for a New Zealand pop song.

Director: Karyn Hay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… amateur Egyptology.

My Conviction “My Conviction”

My Conviction was an early project of Kurt Shanks, best known as the bass player in Stellar. I think Andrew Thorne of Splitter was also involved – the two of them are now back together as touring Kurt’s solo work.

But let’s go back to 1993, where a flaky old copy of the “My Conviction” video, taped off an episode of Pepsi RTR, reveals a band full of really good looking young dudes.

It’s a laidback, grunge-pop tune with an adventurous melody. The video starts off with the band in a stark white studio. This is them, and there’s nothing else to distract the viewer’s gaze. Lead singer Kurt delivers his swagger with ease.

Next we meet the band outside, in a wasteland outside an old building. Because it’s the early ’90s, there are flannel shirts, but also above-the-knee shorts. I’d almost forgotten about those shorts. I think that style came from Pearl Jam.

As far as I can tell, the song didn’t chart. It wasn’t following Inner Circle and Bell Biv Devoe to number 15 in the RTR charts. This might even have been the only screening on New Zealand television. Listen to how excited announcer Daniel Wrightson sounds when he announces the upcoming videos, including the alarming 1993 remix of the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running”. “My Conviction” is good song, but maybe it just wasn’t the right time for the My Conviction band. Shorter hair and slicker moves beckoned.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the losing entry of the 1993 Kennedy’s talent contest.

Strawpeople “Love Explodes”

Thanks to NZ On Air, Strawpeople’s very first funded video is now online. On their second album, Strawpeople covered the Ted Brown song “Love Explodes”, with vocals by Stephanie Tauevihi – then a teenaged presenter of youth TV show InFocus.

The video has a simple treatment. Stephanie and Strawpeople Marke Tierney and Paul Casserly sit in a car. Stephanie is in the driver’s seat, while the producers laze in the back. A minute into the video, the Michael Ondaatje poem “Kim, at Half an Inch” is displayed on screen, a few words at a time.

It’s a very stylish video, already showing signs of the video-directing talent that both Tierney and Casserly would later demonstrate with other artists. There’s a slightly odd bit during the bridge with Mark and Paul do slow-motion jumps in front of a selection of green-screened curiosities. The trio also have moments of standing around looking cool.

The video concludes with the trouble leaping around the studio. After spending the past three minutes looking sultry, Stephanie finally gets a few moments to jump around like the teen she is.

Best bit: Mark’s yawn in the back of the car.

Director: G Smith
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Missing videos from 1993

There are 17 videos missing from 1993, including two Hamilton bogan rock classics, early work from guys who’d go on to more success in Stellar and Splitter, and the return of Kiwi rock legend Larry Morris.
Continue reading Missing videos from 1993

Shihad “Stations”

What are the Shihads doing? It’s rock star 101 – the crucifixion of Christ. Yeah, that’ll offend the hardcore Christians and wake up the atheists and make people have a good think about the message of the music. You know what else did that? “Jesus Christ Superstar” is what.

So I guess the ‘stations’ the title is referring to are the Stations of the Cross, and that in turn is depicted in the video. A Jesus lookalike gets a crown of thorns and schleps around a cross, while Shihad walk around in slow-motion.

It’s fairly elaborate for a New Zealand music video, and obviously someone had enough faith in them to ensure the video would have good production values. But it seems like they were going for a really niche bogan metal audience, which Shihad then spent their long career trying to get out of.

Best bit: the Jesus actor’s anguish face.

Director: Josh Frizzell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Mr Knox don’t need no funding.

JPS Experience “Ray of Shine”

This video’s concept is the lads mucking around on a beach. There’s a ukulele (future chic!), pool toys, hula hoops, leis and general whacky zany madcap beachwear – all accoutrements of ’90s ironic cool.

It’s also notable that the band do not lipsync to the song, so instead of an invented music video narrative of “We’re playing the song on the beach!”, it becomes “We’re doing weird dancing to this song on the beach!”, which is much crazier.

The action shifts to the sea for a while, and seems to pay homage to the pool scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not sure, but the think the tiki gods may have been displeased by the antics in this video.

Occasionally we see the beachside fun projected on a screen, as it it’s a home video of the JPS Experience’s fun day at the beach. This makes me wonder who the video of this screening is. Are the band sitting in a dark room, years later, watching the image of their former selves and thinking, “Those days were golden. Why’d we let them go?”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the debut with Jesus on its side.

Jan Hellriegel “It’s My Sin”

“It’s My Sin” is a cruisy ode to life. The video is shot in high-contrast black and white, usually on a close-up of Jan’s head. Sometimes her hair and makeup is neat, other times it’s a little messed up.

It’s a simple video, but has really strong visuals. Jan vamps up well, and the high-contrast effect emphasises this even more. Also appearing in the video is an occasional microphone, a blindfold, a candle and a freshly poured half-pint of lager. And given that Jan spends most of the video under what are obviously very bright, hot lights, a cold beverage would no doubt have been very welcome.

On the YouTube page, Jan notes, “During the video I start to melt,” which conjures up an image of a Doctor Who alien, the melting pop star who can’t sustain human form away from the spotlight.

Best bit: the random blindfold at the beginning.

Director: Matt Noonan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… indie fun day at the beach.

Headless Chickens “Choppers”

“Choppers” was released as a double A-side single with “Juice”. And it’s the perfect pairing – the sweet “Juice” is the yin to the brash yang of “Choppers”.

The video takes place atop Rangitoto, and on the lavafields of the volcanic island. Even though the city is in the distance, across the water, the Chooks are still really cool. Fiona’s even wearing a baggy sweatshirt for Planet magazine. In fact, they don’t look like they’re making a music video, they look more like they’ve gone to Rangitoto because Auckland was too mainstream and Rangitoto is more relevant.

The slight military theme of the song is hinted at with the setting of the old Rangitoto bunker, and the title aircraft is seen in shadow as it flies over the bushclad slopes. Is this the first NZ On Air-funded video to contain a helicopter? Thrilling!

Best bit: dancing around the trig station.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Jan melts.

Dead Flowers “Plastic”

I wished for a video with crazy stuff in it and my wish was granted. “I’m in love with myself,” Bryan Bell sings, dressed as a vampire. While the video seems to be going for a sexy vampire theme, it comes across more like a flat of goths having a party. They are seen eating cherries and drinking goblets of red wine (or possible Ribena) but it would be more authentic if they were eating real goth party victules such as corn chips and those pre-mixed dips and drinking cider.

There seems to be a minor plot with Vampire Bry being torn between his vampire bride and some other goth chick. But they might be the same person. Those goths, they all look the same.

“Plastic” is a cheerful song, so it’s strange that it’s been paired with fairly serious, sexy visuals. I guess it’s like a teen goth striving to look cool and be sexy, but looking like a dick with too much makeup.

Best bit: meaningful over-the-shoulder goth glances.

Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… scenic Rangitoto thrills!

The Bats “Courage”

“Courage” is a brilliant song, though it has always felt like an instrumental song that’s had vocals written for it as an after thought. The video knows it’s a great song, and so the video doesn’t try any dumb tricks. It’s a simple performance video shot in high-contrast colour as the band play in front of a crinkled silver backdrop.

Using a really simple setting, it looks like the focus has then gone on the production – good lighting and a few post-production tricks to make it look cooler.

It manages to capture the finesse and serious tone of the song, and is probably a good example of making a good looking video on a budget. I mean, there’s a major label behind it, but the sole location feels like a budgetary decision.

But you know what? Simple videos are really hard to write about. It’s much easier when random crazy stuff happens. Videos with a subplot are even more awesome.

Best bit: the faux film frame visual effect.

Director: Karyn Hay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… goths eating cherries.