Alphrisk featuring Adeaze “Sunshine”

2004-alphrisk-sunshineWith Savage and Mareko already having released solo singles, it was only a matter of time before another of the Deceptikonz went solo. (And rounding out the quartet, Devolo’s solo work is coming as well.) “Sunshine”, a top 10 hit, is a cheerful celebration of life, with heavenly harmonies provided by Adeaze on the chorus.

The video is set at the Capitol cinema in Balmoral, a nice chance from the frequently used Crystal Palace in nearby Mount Eden. Alphrisk is alone in the cinema. He settles down into a seat and watches a slide show of photos and video from his life. It’s like a less sophisticated version of Scribe’s “Dreaming” video.

As Alphrisk looks through the moments of his life, paying respects to his loved ones, he is slowly joined by his mates who mysteriously materialise within the theatre. Maybe they snuck in the fire exit.

It’s a low-budget video and sometimes it feels a bit empty, but it generally hits all the marks it needs to. There’s Alphrisk and his posse and things are good.

Best bit: a shot of the year book where Alphrisk was voted second-equal “most likely to be famous”, with the number one slot going to fashion designer Leila Rawnsley-Mason.

Note: This video was on MySpace, but it’s since been taken down. It’s available on MTV Brazil, though.

Director: Andrew Sorenson
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the lady and the lake.

The Fanatics “TV”

2004-the-fanatics-tvLike the Fanatics’ earlier song “Models”, “TV” is another catchy electronic song with simple, repetitive lyrics. The video takes its inspiration from the titular home appliance and puts the Fanatics in a dark, shadowy world, surrounded by animated circuit diagrams and creepy stop-motion insects.

The band are found performing in an anechoic chamber, which I assume is the one at Auckland University. An anechoic chamber is basically a chamber of silence, used for acoustic testing. It’s a room with all surfaces covered with foam wedges. About a metre above the floor there’s a wire mesh to stand on. It’s so incredibly quiet in there that you can hear your own heart beat. And they say if you spend too long in there you start hallucinating and go crazy.

It also has a vaguely sinister look and feel to it, which perfectly suits the vibe of the video. And of course the only other organic creature is the super creepy spiders. If it’s not the enslaving technology, it’s the spiders that’ll come for you. Yeah, it’s a metaphor for television.

Best bit: the bouncy mesh floor of the chamber being put to good rock use.

Director: Mark Albiston
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… most likely to be famous.

The D4 “Sake Bomb”

2004-the-d4-sake-bombJapan loved the D4 and the D4 loved Japan so they wrote a song about one of their favourite social beverages, the sake bomb. There’s even a version with Japanese lyrics.

The 105-second song is basically about going out and getting pissed in Tokyo, but the video avoids a Japanese setting and just puts the band in a small room, whereupon they rock out. The video had various layers of animation, dripping paint, scribbles, Japanese characters, and a cartoon D4 enjoying a drink.

There have been various music videos shot in Japan, but they tend to consist of footage taken out on the streets, like a wide-eyed tourist amazed at how busy and cool Tokyo is. While “Sake Bomb” was (probably) filmed in New Zealand, it has the energy of a dumb-arse night out in Tokyo.

Best bit: the poster of the Virgin Mary, just keeping an eye over things.

Director: Wade Shotter
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… inside the anechoic chamber.

Steriogram “Go”

2004-steriogram-go“Go” was the second of Steriogram’s two song to chart, reaching number 28. The song is an attempt to convince a friend to leave their small-town home and move to the exciting city. The video catches Steriogram in transit, with the band packed into a car heading through the countryside.

Dual singers Tyson and Brad are in the front of the car, along with their haircuts. Yes, by this stage Steriogram had become a haircut band. A quality haircut band.

But this isn’t a quiet Sunday drive. Soon enough the old car starts falling apart, with panels flying off and various band members being pulled out by the backdraft. This is the best part of the video, with some really fun shots of Steriogram flailing about in front of the green-screen rural scenery.

Having a music video based around goofy pop antics doesn’t always work, but Steriogram and director Adam Jones manage capture plenty of energy and spirit. Yeah, the video doesn’t have much to do with the song lyrics, but who cares when there’s a flying Tyson to admire? “Go” was voted 96 in the Film Archive’s top 100 New Zealand music videos.

Best bit: as most of the YouTube comments note, a SpongeBob appears at 1:55.

Director: Adam Jones
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… kampai!

Sommerset “Faded”

2004-sommerset-fadedThe “Faded” video follows Sommerset on tour in Germany in 2004. It immediately reminded me of the video for Steriogram’s song “Road Trip”, and then I realised that both videos were directed by Andrew Morton.

That’s not to say this video is a clone of “Road Trip”. Steriogram’s video was more focused on both the good and bad aspects life on the road, while “Faded” has more of an emphasis on the live shows.

“Faded” is a strong anthemic song so the best parts of the video are the live performance scenes. The backstage and travel footage seems unnecessary, but I guess if you’ve travelled to the other side of the world, you want viewers to know you’re not just playing down at the King’s Arms.

Best bit: a case with “The Donnas” stencilled on it, specifically dating it to 2 October 2004, when Sommerset supported The Donnas in Dortmund.

Director: Andrew Morton
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… life on a different kind of road.

SJD “The Witness”

2004-sjd-the-witnessThe music video starts and SJD and his band are performing the song and… Wait? Why is there a lawnmower instead of the song? Is this one of YouTube’s weird audio replacement tracks? Thirty seconds into the video all is revealed. It was a false start, second only to the false start at the beginning of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” video.

The song starts and we find SJD at an old motel, looking on the verge of being demolished. Everything all smashed up, with perfectly suits the offbeat soul of the song. SJD wanders around the wrecked room, while an outside an angry lawnmower man chucks bricks through the window, and the room floods with water.

The song has a lot of energy to it (a change from SJD’s earlier work) yet the video refuses to play along. This is a weird, dangerous environment that highlights the desperation of the lyrics.

Things get even more surreal at the end. The camera slowly pans along the balcony of a motel. Steam billows and people stand waving, like they’re seeing off (or welcoming) a train. On another balcony, SJD offers a confused wave. A perfect ending.

Best bit: SJD and band pause to enjoy some fish and chips.

Next… unterwegs.

Pine “Tokyo”

2004-pine-tokyoIs this what happens when robots take over the world? Pine is in this video, but the camera pays more attention to a collection of wind-up robot toys wobbling around on a table in front of the band.

Yeah, the band have a catchy indie pop song and they’re playing it in a room decorated with fairy lights, but the focus is on the little robots. Even when drummer Stephen is in shot singing the song, he’s out of focus. The toys are just that much more interesting.

As a concept, it works. Pine aren’t necessarily the most rocktastic band to watch, so it helps putting them into a secondary role, adding a bit of mystique. The song is little over two and a half minutes, not really time for a complicated video. The simple world of cool robot toys lets the song really stand out.

By the way – this is the third song to mention Geraldine in its lyrics. I don’t even think Auckland or Wellington has been mentioned that much.

Best bit: the two robots who seem about to start a fist fight.

Director: John Chrisstoffels
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the flat from hell.

P-Money featuring Scribe “Stop the Music”

2004-p-money-stop-the-music“Stop the Music” was the first single off P-Money’s second album and also his first number one single. Or – if you count the work he did on Scribe’s solo album – it’s his and Scribe’s third number one single.

It’s a bleak song – a declaration of the need to keep on making music, no matter what. The video is set on a dark and stormy night. Scribe is wearing his familiar uniform of a cap and hoodie, but this time the clothing has a practical use, to protect him from the pouring rain.

Inside we find P-Money, along with Sam from 8 Foot Sativa on drums, Justyn from Elemeno P on guitar and a dry Scribe. They’re all rocking out for the chorus. The way the video is lit makes P-Money look like an ill junkie goth zombie, but I think that’s the effect it’s going for.

I’ve previously noted the difficulty of shooting “in the club” videos, of directing a large number of people to look like they’re all having fun on the dance floor. Director Greg Page makes it work in this video by removing the requirement of fun. Instead we get a large group of people, jumping and punching the air in slow motion. It feels more urgent and authentic, like the music is genuinely moving them. It also helps that they also have the uncanny ill junkie goth zombie look.

The ending isn’t so strong. The song effectively ends after four minutes, leaving another minute of guitar noodling and rainfall sound, accompanied with footage of Scribe mooching off in the rain. Overall, it’s not as strong as previous P-Money/Scribe collaborations, but it’s still a nice gothic slice of hip-hop.

Best bit: the reflection of a rain-streaked windowpane on Scribe’s face, like a moving moko.

Director: Greg Page
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… robot invasion!

Opshop “Being”

2004-opshop-being“Being” is set at an old cinema, which I immediately recognised as the Crystal Palace in Mount Eden, the star of Dead End Beat’s porny “All My Riches” video. But things are a lot more G-rated with Opshop.

While Opshop are performing on stage in the present, we get flashbacks of the theatre in previous decades, bits of the 1940s and 1950s. You can tell it’s the 1940s because a solider and a lady with hair rolls are doing swing dancing in the foyer, which is what people did in the ’40s.

But historical inaccuracies aside, the thing that bothers me the most is the really unflattering t-shirt that Jason Kerrison is wearing. It’s a solid red t-shirt that just hangs off him and makes his head look tiny. With all the extras in the video wearing quality historical costumes, it’s a shame that the same styling wasn’t applied to the present day.

The video ends with the ghost of a magician’s assistant leaving a bouquet of flowers on stage, no doubt to say thank you to Opshop for lyrics such as “And we don’t wanna go to war again!”

While the song and the video are both pretty boring, it still feels like another step towards the mighty Opshop of the late ’00s and their two number one albums.

Best bit: the tableau of an American-style 1950s, straight outta Mount Eden.

Director: Adam Jones

Next… a dark and stormy night.

Minuit “I Hate Guns”

2004-minuit-i-hate-gunsMinuit are a band who have always made stylish videos for their songs, and this time they’ve gone for a stylish animation. The video is also another recipient of the $1500 grant from Positively Wellington Business for the production of music videos in Wellington.

In this situation, the video is set in a classy department store, looking more inspired by the 125-year-old Smith & Caughey’s building in Auckland than Wellington’s 15-year-old Kirkcaldie & Stains building.

The video centres around a posh lady who buys a gun from the department store. Straight after anti-gun protest ninjas attack, splashing red paint and causing chaos. They try to go after the posh lady, but they’re too chaotic and she’s too cool. But as soon as the posh lady leaves the store, she chucks her newly purchased gun in a rubbish bin, sticking it to both arms manufacturers and the anti-gun lobby. And giving the town’s rubbish collectors a special treat.

The animation is a bit stiff and awkward, but that’s the sort of thing that happens with a relatively cheap music video. It could have been better, but it still suits the quirky world of Minuit.

Best bit: the bust of a Star Wars stormtrooper, a target of the anti-gun ninjas.

Next… one night only.