Goldenhorse “Run Run Run”

2004-goldenhorse-run-run-runGoldenhorse return with the first single of their second album, Riverhead. The song is a bit rockier than the band’s previous singles, but it still has the melody and the sweet lyrics the band became known for. But the star of the song is the layers of guitars, chiming and overlapping and threatening to dominate Kirsten Morrell’s vocals, but still managing to perfectly fit together.

The video puts the emphasis on the musicianship by shooting the band using lots of close-ups. It’s a similar technique to the Kitsch video for “Eleven:Eleven”, but while the punk dudes seemed like they were hiding from the camera, “Run Run Run” draws us into the world of Goldenhorse.

The camera provides wider shots as the video progresses, showing the band bathed in red light and Kirsten in a red dress. The band are pretty sedate in their performing, providing contrast to Kirsten’s tense movement. I like this. So many bands do an over-exaggerated kind of rocking out in music videos, but sometimes it can be more effective just to play your instruments like you would when you’re actually, er, playing your instruments.

Previous Goldenhorse videos have tended to be either enjoyable weird or very commercial. This one goes in a different direction with the way it very strongly works with the sound of the song itself. The song didn’t chart, but who cares when the video is a good one.

Best bit: Geoff Maddocks’ fierce strumming.

Director: Adam Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision


Fast Crew “The Incredible”

2004-fast-crew-the-incredibleFast Crew return to Britomart, and this time they’re in the old Masonic House, cast as a damaged, graffiti-strewn wreck. It looks great on camera. The corridors are packed full of the Crew and their friends and building seems to heave with the energy of the song.

By the way, I need to note these epic lyrics, a back and forth between Jerome and Rebecca. There are cooldude rappers who try to make threats in their lyrics, but B-Recka just lays it down.

Jerome: And if you critics don’t go back and start to pack your luggage, I’ll be coming for your girl.
Rebecca: And I’ll be coming for your husband.
Jerome: And that’s something kind of rugged.
Rebecca: Yo, I’m on my monthly.
Jerome: Jerome and B-Recka.
Both: This shit is getting ugly.

Anyway, back to the video. The whole building seems to be on the verge of falling apart, with big holes in the walls and the ceiling. It’s quite a nice record of just how grotty Britomart got before the developers came in and started fixing and fancying the place into much posher place it is today. In fact, the video is actually hosted on the YouTube account of the Britomart company – a proud reminder of how far they’ve come?

I have a friend who explored this building in the mid-’00s. Masonic House wasn’t just a name – he came across a room used by the Freemasons for their ceremonies, all pyramids and chequerboards. Now, that would have looked amazing in a music video. But the Fast Crew probably prefer a smashed-up old corridor. Even if it was set dressed for the video, that little piece of mid-’00s Britomart at its lowest is a fine thing to capture.

Next… the tension of the close-up.

Eight “Centre of Me”

2004-eight-centre-of-meThere’s never been a consistant look and feel to Eight’s previous videos. “Whale” was like a short film, “Moments Gone” was goofy, “No Way to Decide” was serious, and now “Centre of Me” goes in an arty video direction.

The video begins with a pair of red theatre curtains hanging in the woods (filmed in Christchurch), very Twin Peaks. The curtains part to reveal lead singer Bruce performing in a dark room with some of that music video wallpaper. Then that wall behind him parts and there are the rest of the band. Super indoor-outdoor flow.

Then it’s back out to the woods where the band are lined up along a path, then the band also have a posing session on a big gold-coloured couch. By now it’s starting to seem like a roll call of music video tropes.

The video ends with the band in another room and they’re going all out to rock out for the video. No one just plays their instrument. Everyone is getting in there and putting a ton of energy into their performance. But it still feels like another music video trope.

The band’s music sounds like very mature, serious rock (helped by Bruce’s deep voice), and yet it’s obvious that band are relatively young. Eight’s videos seem torn between presenting their serious maturity that comes across in their music and the more youthful vigour of the band themselves.

Best bit: the cut between the woods and the couch, where a close-up of the drummer conceals the edit.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a strange Masonic ritual.

Del Rey System “Sweet Division”

2004-del-rey-system-sweet-division“Sweet Division” is a reflection upon younger years from the perspective of someone who isn’t even all that old to begin with. Vocals are by Dallas Tamaira (aka Joe Dukie) of Fat Freddy’s Drop, and it’s the first New Zealand I’ve come across that mentions the Defender video game (though the Beastie Boys had a reference in “Body Movin'”).

The video begins with time-lapse footage of downtown Auckland, which didn’t seem like a particularly promising start, but soon the action moves to a train and it becomes obvious – we’re going into town.

From then on we’re hanging out on Queen Street one night. The song’s lyrics are lip-synced by a number of people hanging out along the road, particularly in the block between Wellesley and Victoria Streets.

With the lyrics reminiscing about youthful antics, the video manages to capture that great pastime of teens – going into town and hanging out. Too young to get into bars without trying, there’s nothing much else to do but go into the McDonald’s or Wendy’s, then wander around, sit on a planter box, have a smoke, hoping you’ll meet someone cool.

The video is also a nice time capsule of Queen Street in 2004. Some things are the same, but there are definitely a lot fewer one-hour photo places than there were a decade ago. The “Sweet Division” video captures one night in Auckland, where hanging out with your friends on Queen Street is the best place in the world.

Best bit: the inner city resident taking photos of the night light out her window.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… tales of the gold sofa.

Brooke Fraser “Arithmetic”

2004-brooke-fraser-arithmeticIt’s curtain up on a stage, revealing a grand piano, a string quartet and several kilometres of fairy lights strung around the place. All this provides the setting for Brooke Fraser to perform her very sweet ballad “Arithmetic”.

It’s a very pretty, very atmospheric video that perfectly works with the tone of the song. Brooke always looks serene in the golden glow of the fairy lights. Sitting on the piano is a frame photo (her inspiration for the song, perhaps) and a glass of water, which – OMG – the number one rule is no drinks on the piano, ok?

Interestingly the string quartet members are all senior citizens. It’s a bit of a cliche having attractive young orchestral players, all long hair and sensual poise, so it really stands out that the video used a group of grandparents for the video. It gives the song’s message – a declaration of long-term love – a more serious context. It’s not just a young girl declaring she’s sooo in love with her bf. No, it’s the message of someone who sees herself growing old with the love of her life, just like the oldies down the back.

NZ On Screen notes that the video was the “winner of the (satirical) award for “Most use of fairy lights in a video clip” at the 2004 Studio 2 Awards”. And a rightly deserved award.

Best bit: the playing face of the granny on cello – she’s seen it all.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Friday night in town.

Bleeders “All That Glitters”

2004-the-bleeders-all-that-glittersThere’s nine seconds of silence and stillness, as the camera moves through the corridor of an old warehouse, then suddenly – “Let’s burn the bridges!” and the anti-bling anthem kicks off. The Bleeders were a hardcore punk band, though they became more metal on their second album. “All that Glitters” was their explosive debut.

The band has a ton of energy as they deliver the impossibly catchy tune with its tight singalong chorus. This is captured well by Greg Page, who was like the go-to guy for videos that rocked as hard as they bands within.

The secret is that despite all the black hair and tattoos and attitude, “All that Glitters” is secretly a pop song, cleverly hiding under all the guitars and fringes. And really, no one’s going to notice when the lead singer has a Straight Edge “X” tattooed on his hand. (Remember Straight Edge? I tried being Straight Edge for a week before I inadvertently engaged in non-SXE behaviour and gave up.)

Lead singer Angelo brings energy and swagger to the video. When he sings, it’s like he’s using his whole body to get the words out. It’s the sort of video that makes the band seem like they’d be really amazing to see live – and it sounds like they were.

Best bit: the pink Chucks go en pointe.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… not enough fairy lights.

Ben Lummis “They Can’t Take That Away”

2004-ben-lummis-they-cant-take-that-awayWelcome to New Zealand, 2004. Somehow Feelers videos always seem like they’re from the late ’90s and Mint Chicks videos always feel like it’s 2007, but this video is like a direct portal into 2004.

Five years after New Zealand had melded talented shows and reality TV together as the Popstars series, the format had bounced around the world and been improved, expanded and fine-tuned into the Idol franchise. Now it was our turn, again.

When the debut single of NZ Idol winner Ben Lummis reached number one in May 2004, it kicked off a particularly good run for New Zealand music. In the 26 weeks to follow, a New Zealand single held the number one spot for 21 of those weeks. But this lucky streak soon ended and from late 2005 to early 2007, the few New Zealand songs to reach number one were – like “They Can’t Take That Away” – reality show winners’ singles.

The song is a really generic Idol winner’s single, with highly self-conscious lyrics using the fleeting nature of reality show fame as a metaphor for love. “Don’t know if I’ll get there cos it could change in 15 minutes.” Oh look, an Andy Warhol reference.

The “They Can’t Take That Away” video looks like it was hastily produced on a reasonably low budget, no doubt needing to get the video out as quickly as possible. We meet Ben as he drives into a bleak underground carpark. On screen, only sinister things happen in parking buildings. Is there going to be a “Bad” style show down? Nah, he’s just walking out of the car park. Ben goes on one of those music video strolls that don’t make any sense geographically but look great.

But where is this wander taking him? Why, to a gig. Soon he’s on stage, performing in front of a group of screaming fans. It’s a typical music video audience – we never see the crowd more than four people deep and they’re always waving their hands in the air. People don’t do that in real life because their arms get tired.

Ben isn’t an especially charismatic performer, and coupled with the melancholic tone of the song, there’s a risk that the whole video could be a giant downer. The video works hard to add some spark, but there’s only so many shots of screaming teens you can add before it starts to feel a bit staged.

“They Can’t Take That Away” was at number one for seven weeks. That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that with TrueBliss and The X Factor winner Jackie Thomas only managed two weeks each with their debut singles. Ben’s album also made it to number one, but he didn’t bother the charts after that. Basically, the Idol dream that New Zealanders had seen play out with Kelly Clarkson and Guy Sebastian wasn’t happening in New Zealand.

But was it all over for Lummis? The internets suggest that as well as being involved with churchy work, he’s still performing music. A few years ago I was passing through Sky City and saw him singing in one of the bars there. It was actually encouraging. The song lyrics may have been strangely accurate with the prediction of short-term fame, but when there aren’t many people in New Zealand who can make a living off music, if Ben Lummis is getting gigs, good on him.

Best bit: the teen girls trying to fake fangirling.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the golden age.

Augustino “You’re Making Me Sober”

2004-augustino-making-me-soberAugustino return to the Wintergarden at Auckland Domain, previously seen there for the video for their 2000 single “The Silent Film”. So, is “You’re Making Me Sober” a sequel? Well, it doesn’t appear to be, both videos have an eerie scifi flavour to them.

Lyrics about booze and other mind-altering substances feature a lot on Augustino’s lyrics. But rather than by going for a more literal interpretation of the lyrics, instead goes in an astral direction.

This time the band are strolling around the back of the buildings, passing a number of people who seem to be set up to watch some sort of eclipse. There are telescopes, goggles, reflecting ponds, and cardboard boxes with slits – very instructional! And just to make things even more unusual, the watchers are all very different groups – an Asian family, a group of Victorian-era nurses and 1940s schoolboys.

All are staring up at a new-moon shaped brightness in the sky. We never see it directly (it’s not safe, you know), but we see it reflected in various surfaces. Finally the eclipse ends and sunshine returns to the Domain.

There’s something reassuringly eerie about eclipses, and combined with ye olde scientific equipment, things get even spookier. It’s like all these people have time-travelled from various points in the past to view the that particular eclipse in Auckland Domain in 2004. But the question is – what are Augustino doing there and why aren’t they using any devices for safely observing the eclipse?

Best bit: the line-up of the cardboard box heads.

Director: James Barr
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the first 15 minutes.

Missing videos from 2004

February 2004

The Have “What You Owe”

“What You Owe” was the third single by Rockquest winners The Have. The group were one of five New Zealand acts to perform at South by Southwest in 2004, with “What You Owe” being included in a best of SXSW CD included with UK music industry publication Music Week.

Director: Adam Jones

February 2004

Falter “Fear Of Heights”

Christchurch punk-pop band Falter, the 2003 Rockquest winners, have their second single “Fear of Heights”. The single was recorded at York Street Studios as part of their Rockquest prize package.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 2004

Crumb “Got It All”

The saga of the missing video for Crumb’s song “Got It All” has the best story. Basically, the band had agreed to work with a director who was planning an ambitious semi-animated video. It involved something like the lead singer performing at a gig, seeing a mysterious girl who zaps him and he’s sucked into a cartoon world. The production was all going well until the band saw the finished product. It was terrible. No one was happy. The label refused to pay and the video never saw the light of day. No known copy of it exists, just some raw footage and a few stills. One can only hope that some day “Got It All” will surface in all its glory.

Dimmer “Case”

2004-dimmer-case“Case” is the final video from Dimmer’s second album “You’ve Got to Hear the Music”. It’s one of those great Dimmer tracks that sounds like the soundtrack to the best/worst weekend. The video used to be hosted at Amplifier and a lone screenshot is all that remains.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Gramsci “Recovery”

Gramsci get gruntier with the very röck “Recovery”. 2004 feels like the tail end of the early ’00s rock revival. It will be interesting to see how much rock there is in the years to come.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Lucid 3 “Pitch Jumping”

Lucid 3’s song “Pitch Jumping” is their most popular track on Spotify, so it’s sad the video isn’t available anywhere. It’s a typically laid-back Lucid 3 track, with some cool organ playing.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Have “Monday Through Friday”

The Have’s song “Monday Through Friday” is another track that might not have actually had a video made, but the Rockquest winners were keeping busy and have more funding to come.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

August 2004

Heavy Jones Trio “Free”

The Heavy Jones Trio song “Free” was their second funded video and the first single off their debut album. Director Ivan Slavov vaguely but intriguingly noted that the band “gave us freedom of expression which lets us do our job.”

Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Niki Ahu “Nobody Knows”

Niki Ahu won a Mai FM talent quest and had her single “Nobody Knows” produced by UK producer Colin Emmanuel. The Kiwi Hit Disk quoted Niki describing the song as “deep, grunty and heartfelt.”

Strawpeople “Love My Way”

“Love My Way” was the Strawpeople’s penultimate NZ On Air funded video, another track fro their final studio album Count Backwards from 10. The song had vocals from Leza Corban.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Visions

October 2004

No Artificial Flavours “Homeland”

“Homeland” was the follow-up single from No Artificial Flavours, but also their final NZ On Air funded video – though I’m not actually sure if a video was made. There was talk of an album, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. But I found a 2009 profile of frontman Taaz where there’s mention of new music.

Salisha Taylor “I Saw An Angel”

Young singer Salisha Taylor had her debut single “I Saw An Angel”. There’s little trace of her online, but I found a post on the newsgroup where an enthusiastic member of her team described her as “a real diva but she still replies to all her fan mail.” This prompted someone to cruelly reply: “It’s good to see New Zealand music in the international spotlight. It’s a shame its shit New Zealand music.”

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

December 2004

48May “Spinning Around”

48May had funding for their song “Spinning Around”. There’s no sign of the video, but instead here’s “Into the Sun”. It seems to have been made around the same time and includes outtakes from “Home By 2”, as well as ever reliable live footage.

Red Drum “Resurrect Jim”

Red Drum was a rock band fronted by Garageland frontman Jeremy Eade and “Resurrect Jim” was their funded song. A 2003 blog from Arch Hill Recordings mentions the production of a Red Drum song called “No Cross in the Crossroads”, but there’s no sign of that either.

Director: Paul Taylor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Rhian Sheehan feat. Gramsci, Bevan Smith & Matthew Mitchell “Miles Away”

Rhian Sheehan teamed up with Gramsci and friends for “Miles Away”.

Director: Age Pryor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision


This month’s consolation video is Steriogram’s lively “Walkie Talkie Man”, directed by the perpetually creative French director Michel Gondry, far removed from the world of NZOA. By the mid 2000s Monsieur Gondry was well established as one of the cool-dude video directors, so he was the go-to guy for Capitol Records when they needed an impressive music video to attempt to launch Steriogram in America. The stop-motion-animated woolly world was created by production designer Lauri Faggioni and her team of knitters. (This is also a good enough place to link to Gondry’s enigmatic video for “Sugar Water” by Cibo Matto, one of my favourite videos ever.) Seeing a big budget video like this makes all the New Zealand videos set on beaches seem like roughly made home movies (and in some cases that’s just what they were). Sometimes it’s just nice to revel in the world of the fancy international music video in all its glory. (Director: Michel Gondry; Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Hey, this is the halfway point!

In almost three years, I’ve reviewed 777 videos, which is quite a lot, really. There are also 350 videos that aren’t currently available online (like the ones above), though there are definitely more videos available from the mid 2000s than there were from the early ’90s. And 57 previously awol videos have since turned up online, which is splendid. I just need to get around to catching up with those ones.

When I started 5000 Ways, I didn’t have a specific end date in mind, but I realised that I don’t want to do it forever (oh God). So I’ve decided that a good enough end goal is June 2011, the final funding round of $5000 grants before that was replaced with the current Making Tracks scheme. I’ve roughly calculated how long it’s going to take to complete it and I will reveal this: it’s going to take a bit longer than three years. It’s ok. It’s not like I have anything better to do.

The one thing this project has done is completely kill the joy of nostalgia for me. When I look at a video from the olden times, it’s like I’m seeing it how I saw it back then. And when I’m not watching old music videos, I only listen to contemporary music. Anything older than five years just makes me feel depressed. Yay.

Anyway. This is still loads of fun. Most videos are a pleasure to watch and there’s a lot of good stuff out there. The only ones I have trouble with are ones that are just really boring – because no one deliberately sets out to make a boring video. But at least now when I come across a difficult video, I can at least console myself that I’m over the hump.

Ok, on we go. Here’s a video right from the beginning, “The Beautiful Things” by the Front Lawn one of the first three to be funded.