Hey, it’s a Splitter video! This is their seventh and final NZOA-funded video, but the first that I’ve managed to find online. And finally a bit more of Splitter is revealed.
It’s a performance-based video. The band are playing the song in a black studio, illuminated by strategic rock lighting. The camera flows around the band, during the verses, before locking in for some traditional rocking poses in the chorus.
It seems that Splitter were kind of indie and kind of rock – and maybe that’s their problem. With the rock ‘n’ roll revival in full flight by 2002, were Splitter a bit too nerdy and indie to be able to successfully jump on that bandwagon?
On its own, the video is nothing spectacular. But if it’s the only digital remnant of Splitter’s videography, then I’m happy with it. In very sensible terms, it seems like one of those music videos that has taken the funding and used it carefully, ending up with a good looking, low budget video.
Best bit: the glorious, rockin’ guitar solo.
Note: This video has since been removed from YouTube.
In what has to be one of the most exotic locations for a New Zealand music video, “Neil of Diamonds” is set in Havana, looking like a home movie crossed with the Buena Vista Social Club.
It’s all very scenic. Lively kids hangs out on the streets, the iconic pre-1960 American cars lumber past and the band go fishing. At one point one Spa is seen lying back with a puny cigarette between his lips. Pft. Whatever.
Being a group of young dudes in Cuba, they can’t resist a visit to Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás, a cigar factory museum. There the band sample the wares, leading one to mouth to the camera “motherfudger” (or similar).
This leads to a big montage of the band enjoying the town’s nightlife and smoking cigars, including a 16-second shot of one of them slowly walking down a street with a cigarette in his mouth, gazing at the camera, probably wondering if this was actually the high point of his life.
But that’s what the song is about – “when I go out tonight I am the Neil of diamonds”, the chorus proclaims. It’s about going out and feeling like a cool dude, and not worrying about life back in New Zealand, Cuba’s human-rights issues or even morning-after cigar-breath.
“Unity” was another top-10 hit for Nesian Mystik, and another of their singles built around the theme of Nesian Mystik. It’s an upbeat song with a bit of everything – brass, reggae, hip hop, acoustic guitar – all part of the Nesian experience.
The video is a fun adventure, casting the band as members of a shadowy agency, also called Nesian Mystik. They’re summoned to action by a mysterious black dog. There’s work to be done.
Awa hits the streets delivering boxes of “Nesian Pizza” (well, they couldn’t have called it Mystik Pizza) that contain secret messages instead of pizza. Actually, I would be disappointed if I got a scrap of paper saying “The Movement’s coming” instead of a delicious Hawaiian pizza.
By the way, part of Awa’s verse was previously the chorus of the anti-GMO charity supergroup song “Public Service Announcement” (including Nesian Mystik), which was released about a year prior.
The rest of the band can be found in various disguises around town – delivering newspapers, driving a bus, and posing as pot-banging homeless buskers. Band members also take over various television programmes, shocking their families to see Nesian news, cooking, gardening and music shows. All that’s missing is a home-renovation show.
The band finally meet up to revel in their unity. Yep, they’re all together so you had just better watch out. Or something.
Best bit: the group’s clever disguise as a crazed mariachi band.
There’s something strange about Damien Binder videos. They tend to start off seeming quite ordinary, but then unusual things happen. This one reminds me of Betchadupa’s “Life Will be the Same” video, the tale of a man out driving on a dark and stormy night.
In this case, Damien is behind the wheel. He’s in a dazed and confused state, as if perhaps he just woke up and found himself in a strange car. He starts the engine and hits the road, but is readily distracted by all the shiny things in the car.
He goes to light a cigarette with a Zippo from the glovebox, but it won’t light. Tragically it appears to be a vintage a vintage motorcar with no built-in lighter, which is a pity because lighting a cigarette with the hot coil is the second most best thing you can do with a cigarette in a car. (The best thing is smoking as you drive, feeling like a cool dude.)
Distracted by a road map, he appears to hit a cyclist, but he doesn’t stop and goes back to the map. Later he appears to hit a woman standing in the middle of the road, but she appears in the passenger seat, still wet from the rain. Then he hits a stop sign.
It’s a driving disaster. Fortunately some red and blue lights are flashing, ready to take this menace off the road. I’d like to see this story continued a part of an episode of Motorway Patrol, seeing what the officers make of the guy who tries to blame his bad driving on a phantom hitcher.
Best bit: the headlights from oncoming cars that never seem to pass Damien’s car.
This video is all about a guy who is in love with a sex doll. This is a known phenomena, portrayed in the 2002 BBC documentary Guys and Dolls, and later the 2007 feature film Lars and the Real Girl. But in both those cases, the fellows in question are in love with RealDolls, the expensive and lifelike silicone mannequins. But in the star of the “About Myself” vid is in love with one of those cheap blow-up sex dolls, more used for their comedy value than practical applications.
He wakes up, struggles getting the doll set up at the breakfast table, where she ‘declines’ his offer of a banana. Sigh. The couple have a romantic picnic, then it’s off to band practice. But – because society is cruel – he can’t take the bus and must walk, making him late.
His bandmates are angry and end up throwing the doll around the room. This bit is actually a bit uncomfortable to watch – men violently throwing a likeness of a woman around. There’s no comedy, it’s just creepy.
Dejected, the guy walks off dragging the doll, seemingly not in love with her anymore. A little dog attacks the doll, and somehow that’s the video’s lone bit of actual comedy. Back in town, the dude is distracted by a hot store mannequin, leaving the blow-up doll to be found by another person. But as soon as it’s gone, he realises how much he wants/needs/loves it. Pft, too late, mate.
This was Mightyscoop’s final NZ On Air video. It seems to follow the pattern of a certain kind of new artist – they get a few videos funded, the market is tested, but if nothing happens they’re on their own.
If you go to a regional museum in New Zealand, chances are there’ll be an old manual telephone switchboard on display. The “Paradigm” video makes use of such a switchboard. It’s obvious that Victoria is in a such museum (MOTAT, I’m guessing) as she operates the old switchboard, but we’ll just ignore the display case on the wall behind her.
More important is how she’s connecting calls without using a headset to hear which numbers the callers want. Maybe she’s just randomly connecting people. At one point she totally neglects her operator duties and pulls out her guitar.
The song is all about communication. The other band members (one in a workshop, the other in a butcher shop) each have old hand-crank phones and seem to be puzzled by who they’re getting connected with.
We also see a contemporary couple chatting on the phone, each lying on their beds like teens. The guy is even talking on a wired landline phone, which now almost seems as old-fashioned as the antique telephony in the museum.
But yet no matter whether it’s made wood, Bakelite, metal or glass, people have been using technology to communicate for decades now. Let’s just be grateful that technology today isn’t interrupted by a guitar-playing telephone operator.
Best bit: the male caller’s “I see dumb people” t-shirt – so 2000s.
Part of the Dawn Raid family, Ill Semantics were a hip hop trio who had some pretty good singles. “Watching You” was based around a sample of Ardijah’s 1988 single “Watchin’ U”. (It tickles me that Ill Semantics ironed out the Princely spelling for the remake.)
The Ill Semantics video seems to take a little inspiration from Ardijah’s original, which saw the band playing in a smoky bar. But director Sophie Findlay take things further into a film noir world, with celeb cameos galore.
The video starts with a femme fatale (played by K’Lee!) hiring a private investigator Patriarch to find something in a safety deposit box. At the club, the detective’s partner, Nemesis, is on the case, as Betty-Anne is introduced on stage by Oscar Kightley.
And there begins a world of sideways glances, gunshots, fainting, car chases, tussles, snogs, and an undercover cop played by Robbie Magasiva.
In the end, K’Lee is arrested, Nemesis goes home with the hot cop leaving bar man DJ CXL and detective Patriarch at the bar. It’s way too much of a happy ending to make a satisfying ending, but for a music video, it’s ok.
Best bit: the role of the safety deposit box is played by a post office box.
While Joe Lonie’s music videos have a really strong association with Goodshirt, he only directed five videos for the group. “Monotone” was the final, and while it follows the Lonie/Goodshirt style of being a one-take wonder, it’s a lot more surreal than previous Goodshirt videos.
In a gloomy forest clearing, good and evil are having a doubles game of badminton, only they seem to be using a ping pong ball, rather than a shuttle cock. The players are dressed in beekeeping outfits with their player numbers on the back – good are 23 and 42, evil are 13 and 69, of course.
The beekeeper outfits also mean that the players’ faces are obscured, which makes me wonder if the band wasn’t available for the video. Maybe they used pro badminton players instead.
While the game goes on, the camera continuously circles their makeshift court. By the court there’s a table set up to record their scores, with enough room to track up to 999999 points per side.
But there’s not a lot of winning happening. The players are just too good. They effortlessly bat the ball to and fro, with little sign of either team missing. So, four badminton players who never miss, combined with a music video filmed in one take. Well, it’s probably a CGI ball, yeah. Either that or those really are pro badminton players in the costumes.
It’s nowhere near as much fun as the earlier Goodshirt videos. In fact, it seems more like a video art project than a music video. Slow it down by 75%, play it on an old CRT television and there’s your exhibition.
Perhaps this was just the Goodshirt/Lonie partnership coming to its natural conclusion. The next video by the group took a very different approach.
Best bit: the disappearance of the ball after a particularly mighty hit.
This is a very Polynesian sounding pop song. I went to Samoa around the time this song came out and this style of music could be heard everywhere – cheesy synth brass, South Seas guitar and sunny harmonies. While Fou Nature’s earlier single “Love Come Down” had a more mainstream pop sound, “It’s Our Party” is more niche.
The “It’s Our Party” video takes places at a backyard party. And unlike the Feelers’ crammed party in their “Anniversary” vid, Fou Nature’s shindig has a lot more room to move. I mean, if you’re going to dance, you want room to dance, right?
It’s an all-ages function, with kids chugging back cans of Coca-Cola, basketball tricks, dancing (of course) and sepia-tone group portraits. Feleti from Nesian Mystik shows up to perform a rap, which nicely brings in the sound of New Zealand-Polynesian pop and hip hop.
We only briefly see the group performing the song. Most of the time it’s just shots of partygoers. And there’s no attempt to turn this humble backyard party into a massive rave to look good in the video. Mostly it’s just groups of people standing around, enjoying the company and the long table full of food.
Best bit: the kids who all chug down cans of Coke together.