Eye TV “Worse For Wear”

2001-eye-tv-worse-for-wearIt’s Eye TV’s final NZ On Air-funded video. They had 15 funded videos, which puts them on par with Garageland and Tadpole. It’s kind of nice that their final video was directed by Greg Page, whose music-video-directing career developed alongside Eye TV’s music career.

Greg previously directed “One Day Ahead” for the band, a stylish performance-based video. He takes a different tack with “Worse For Wear” going back to his roots in animation. He’d previously done claymation music videos (Shihad’s “Yr Head is a Rock”, Throw’s “Honeyblonde”), but those were done with a dash of humour.

“Worse For Wear” has the darker side of Greg’s creative vision, previously seen in the gothic mad-scientistic story in Throw’s “All Different Things”. It tells the story of a lowly cleaner (who works for the Worse For Wear cleaning company). In fact, with a title card reading “The Cleaner”, the narrative-heavy music video also effectively works as a short film.

It’s a scribbly grey world, with the animation done as simple black pen drawings on cardboard cut-outs, with slightly more detailed cityscapes and backgrounds. Wielding his mop like a paintbrush, Clive the cleaner gets to work on the murky grey walls, but they seem to dirty themselves almost as quickly as he can clean them.

Finally he gets the wall clean and it glistens with pristine whiteness. But now that everything is clean, what will Clive do for work? He cries dark grey tears and the teardrops plop on the floor and soon turn everything else grey. “All is well” appears on the wall. Clive leaves, content in the knowledge that there’ll be more work for him tomorrow.

“Worse For Wear” is a sweet, uplifting song but the lyrics are specifically a man addressing a messed-up woman. The video sticks with the same theme but moves it to the far more interesting scenario of Clive the cleaner and his tears of eternal employment.

Best bit: Clive’s work ID card – his ticket to happiness.

Next… bonus power round.


En Masse “Break My Heart”

2001-en-masse-break-my-heartThe En Masse story goes a little something like this. A couple of Christchurch businessmen noticed the success of overseas boybands and their successful managers. They fancied themselves to be the Lou Perlmans of the South Pacific so they put together a boyband called En Masse.

There’s an amazing promo video of the group, that seems to have been created for potential investors, rather than music media. We meet Whaaka, Reuben, Howie, Rychalo and Matt (as well as managers Brynley and Peter) and hear of their big dreams for the future. “We truly believe that we’ve got something unique here,” enthuses Brynley. “Quincey Jones said the next big thing is going to be Polynesian music,” asserts Peter, seemingly oblivious to the existence and successes of Te Vaka and Moana and the Moahunters on the world music circuit and the need for such a group to have more than just Polynesian members.

The group also say they want to “portray high-class music with a high-class look.” And “we wanna wear suits and look real styley when we get up there and perform.” So, a classy New Zealand boyband aiming for global success. What could go wrong? Hey, it kind of worked for Purest Form.

The video begins with the boys dressed in nice suits (a quality product; not street) in the gardens of a palatial home. While they hang out with the topiary, a pretty blond woman arrives home. She doesn’t notice the boyband on her front porch, and after they suddenly disappear, I can only conclude that they are ghosts.

The boys spend a lot of time performing the song in the house’s living room. But they’re very stiff and awkward. They can’t really dance and they all have different performance styles – some are highly expressive and camp, others are understated.

For a group with ambitions of having a high-class look, the video actually looks really cheap, like they’ve just showed up at this house wearing fancy suits, set up a tripod and swayed around in front of the camera for a bit.

Even though the house appears to be very large and posh, its blandly decorated, so anything other than a wide shot looks like the band are just standing in front of a blank, anonymous wall.

The heartbreaking conclusion of the video sees their dream girl going off on a hot date with a middle-aged businessman in a fancy car. If that’s the kind of guy she’s into, how can these young guys possibly compete?

It’s like a metaphor for En Masse’s career. They showed up on the doorstep of the music industry with their fancy suits, but audiences weren’t having it. The New Zealand public wanted to drive off with cool dudes like Craig David, Afroman and Uncle Kracker.

En Masse had funding for a second video in February 2002, but the follow-up single and video “Crazy Baby” never eventuated. Boybands weren’t cool anymore. It wasn’t until 2012 that a manufactured New Zealand non-comedy boy band actually made it to the top of the charts, with Titanium’s #1 single “Come on Home”. And in the world of the X Factor, Moorhouse (also from Christchurch) are making the girls scream – something the ordinary boys of En Masse never quite managed.

Best bit: the creepy family portraits in the billiard room.

Director: Paul Sparkes

Next… a two dimensional farewell.

Damien Binder “Turn Me Round”

2001-damien-binder-turn-me-roundThere are plenty of music videos that are set in classrooms, but the learning facility of “Turn Me Around” is delightfully surreal. Damien enters a classrom where all the students are men his age, all neatly dressed in the same suit.

Teaching the class is a young woman, who has drawn some diagrams on the blackboard that look like a cross between American football play diagrams and dance step diagrams, only weirder. She’s a suitably prim-looking teacher, so part of me expects the video to get all Van Halen and have the teacher let down her hair and start dancing in her undies. But no. It’s very well behaved.

Damien joins the class and soon assimilates in this strange school. The teacher rubs a stick all over Damien’s suit (?) and the men do a tapping and listening thing with dinner forks, the same thing you’d normally do with a tuning fork. Damien struggles with this task. He just can’t get that tap-and-listen technique right.

There’s also a bit of biffo, with Damien and one of this classmates engaging in some civilised fisticuffs. Finally he’s ready to graduate. The classmates and teacher disappear and Damien is left sitting alone, repeatedly singing “I’m ready now,” like someone who’s having trouble ordering a taxi with a voice-reconigition phone system.

Filmed in such murky colours that it almost looks black and white, the video has a stylish, slightly surreal feeling, this strange school of cutlery, suits and fists.

Best bit: the artful fanning of spoons.

Director: Jonathan King

Next… a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Missing videos from 2001

February 2001

Augustino “Overblown”

According to an Augustino fan forum from 2001, “Overblown” was a radio-only release for Augustino. The forum is amazing. It’s so full of energy and enthusiasm for this cool band everyone loves, there’s bonding and hugs when September 11 happens, then the forum regulars suddenly peter out just as the band release their debut album. And if a band’s fan base can’t stick around, there’s not much hope for the band.

BJ White “Uptown”

The only thing I can find out about “Uptown” by BJ White is that it was included on a sampler CD from Festival Mushroom Records, in between tracks from Lash and Kylie.

Canvas “Tina”

Canvas were an enthusiastic trio of young men from Wellington by way of Christchurch. “Tina” was a good pop track and the video got decent airplay on music video shows.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Flipside “Movin'”

So, an artist called Flipside received funding for a track called “Movin'”. It’s almost impossible to google (and it doesn’t help that there are two other artists called Flipside with tracks that involve “Movin'” in the title) so I can’t find anything on this track.

Nurture “Beautiful”

Nurture was a poptastic collaboration between Deep Obsession producer Christopher Banks and singer Phil Madsen. “Beautiful” was their first single and it reached #13 in the charts.

Sumix “Jump House”

Sumix was a hip hip duo consisting of friends Craig Mckenzie and Aidan Richards. Their single “Jump House” is an upbeat number with a insanely cheerful chorus that instantly reveals Craig’s roots in Christian pop. (Seriously, it has such a Christian chorus). The video was involved the duo going down the slides at Wairewa hot pools. The video evidently made so little impact that director Joe Lonie could safely later recycle the video concept Falter’s “Falling to Pieces” video in 2003.

Director: Joe Lonie

April 2001

Dam Native “Terminal Illness”

Last seen in 1997, Dam Native returned with the boisterous “Terminal Illness” (which eventually showed up on their 2010 album “Aotearoa Nobody Does It Better”). Here’s the band playing the song live in Wellington.

Jester “Eyes For Xmas”

It sounds like the name of a yuletide horror film, but Jester‘s “Eyes 4 Xmas” is actually a sweet guitar-pop tune. The video seems to have taken inspiration from Popstars. Nga Taonga describes it as “An amusing take on a reality TV talent show. We are privy to auditions for the band (“day 12″), recording the single, shooting the video, creating an image and – Jester’s first show.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pierced “Painted Angels”

All I’ve been able to find out about Pierced is that they toured with Loki in 2003. “Painted Angels” was their only NZ On Air funding.

Pine “Speeding”

Pine are a three-piece pop band who specialise in melodic charm. Nga Taonga describe it as “Pine play with a Scaletrix slot-car racing set.” “Speeding” isn’t online, but here’s an in-studio performance from the late night music programme “Space”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sheelahroc “If I Gave U Th’ Mic”

Sheelahroc were an all-girl hip hop trio from Christchurch, comprising of Ladi6, Voodoo Child and Tyra Hammond, a powerhouse of talent. The cool and cautionary “If I Gave You Th’ Mic” was their only NZ On Air funded video. My vague memory of it was an overhead shot of Ladi6 in a space like the train station foyer. The video needs to be online! In this documentary, the group talk about the video shoot being a bit of a mess, and the end video not really making much sense.

June 2001

Canvas “Sunday”

Canvas had their second funded video “Sunday”. From memory, it was the band playing the song in a house, going for a lazy-Sunday vibe.

Carmen Steele “Believe In Me”

Kiwihits noted that Carmen Steele‘s song “Believe In Me” was a “reaction to media coverage of the tragic incidence of child abuse in New Zealand” and that the production make it “one of the year’s most evocative songs”. It was Carmen’s only NZOA funding.

Garageland “Highway”

Garageland‘s “Highway” is a cheerful ode to road-tripping, and other pleasures. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Footage from the road – including the Capitol Records – and on stage on a US tour by Garageland.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

GST “Put Up A Fight”

GST, the early incarnation of Opshop, have the song “Put Up A Fight”. Most significantly, it was the making of this video that inspired Jason Kerrison to build his apocalypse shelter. As Jason told Salient, the video was filmed at his landlord’s “monolithic dome structure”, which inspired him to build his own.

PA Styles “Summer Breeze”

PA Styles were twins Naomi and Sharlene Sadlier. “Crowds are drawn to P.A Styles like moths to a flame,” claimed a Southgate Entertainment press release, creating an image of crowds of people madly running around PA Styles. “Summer Breeze” was their only funded video.

Director: Rongotai Lomas

Purrr “Oxygen”

Purrr‘s final funded video was “Oxygen”, but I’m not entirely sure if a video was actually made. Oh well, it was nice knowing you, three-piece girlband.

August 2001

D-Super “The Moths”

D-Super go for a janglier, poppier sound for “The Moths”. It was their third and final NZ On Air-funded music video.

Meno Panteboy “Any Kinda Weather”

Meno Panteboy were an Auckland group made up of musicians who’d previously worked with artists such as Che Fu, Greg Johnson, Nathan Haines and John Rowles. “Any Kinda Weather” was a bFM hit. (In case you’re wondering, panteboy is the Greek transliteration of rendezvous and is another name for a coffee house.)

Slim “Crumbling”

Slim have their final NZOA-funded video “Crumbling”, an upbeat song about someone who is struggling with drink and drugs.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 2001

Aaria “Cry No More”

I’m disappointed that Aaria‘s “Cry No More” video isn’t online. The slick bilingual pop vocal group had a top 10 hit with this single, but it was to be their last. From memory, the video had a similar vibe to the Spice Girls’ “2 Become 1” – all city-at-night cool.

The Relaxomatic Project “At The Onset”

There’s no sign of the final video “At the Onset” from Auckland groovsters the Relaxomatic Project.

December 2001

Garageland “Crazy”

I’m not sure if Garageland actually made a video for “Crazy”, but it’s worth celebrating as it was their last lot of video funding. They had a total of 15 videos funded over seven years, which is an impressive rate. From the low-budget fun of the early years to the more sophisticated vids of later years, Garageland made good use of the medium of music video.

Lavina Williams “So I Cry”

The “V” in Ma-V-Elle, Lavina Williams went solo with “So I Cry”. In 2006 Lavina made it to the final 12 of Australian Idol, following younger sister Emily who placed second in the 2005 series.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Michelle Kazor “In This Life”

According to the bio on Amplifier, Michelle Kazor‘s debut single “In This Life” was the “highest charting song from an unsigned act ever on radio” – but that’s referring to a radio plays chart, not the singles chart. I’m not totally sure if this video ended up having NZ On Air funding, but it’s in the Nga Taonga archive, nonetheless.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision


There were two non-funded videos that made a significant impact in 2001. One was the Deceptikonz‘s “Fallen Angels”, the other was Blindspott‘s debut “Nil By Mouth”. It was self-funded and made with a budget of a mere $800. With a solid song behind it and a great scream-along chorus, it proved a popular hit and won Breakthrough Video Artist at the Juice TV awards and launched Blindspott as alternative metal heroes. (There’s a slightly-higher-budget alternative version, but it’s not as much fun as the original.)