Missing videos from 2005

February 2005

Strawpeople featuring Jordan Reyne “Wire”

“Wire” is the last of the the 17 videos the Strawpeople had funded. That’s a lot of videos – they’re outnumbered only by Salmonella Dub, Katchafire, Greg Johnson, The Feelers and Shihad.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

April 2005

Alphrisk “Guess Who’s Here”

“Guess Who’s Here” asks Alphrisk. The answer is Alphrisk. He’s joined by fellow Deceptikon Savage, and notes that the “Deceptikonz are going places”. There’s a live performance of the song on the short-lived New Zealand version of Top of the Pops.

Bennett “Stop Holding Us Back”

Bennett’s second and final funded video is the assertive “Stop Holding Us Back”.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Blindspott “Trevor Sue Me”

The weirdest entry in the old NZ On Air database was funding for a Blindspott song called “Trevor Sue Me”. No song (or video) with this name exists, so I assume it’s a placeholder title. That raises the question: who was Trevor and how did he earn the ire of Blindspott?

Michael Murphy “How Good Does It Feel”

I’m not sure if a video was made for NZ Idol runner-up Michael Murphy’s second single “How Good Does It Feel”, but it’s on the list. If so, it was his one and only funded video. This seems like such a luxury – a realty show contestant being allowed to release an album full of original songs. Murph’s post-Idol solo career didn’t have a future, but he will later show up with his band 5star Fallout. (Bonus: long-term readers of my online oeuvre may wish to think back to #sodamncontroversial and laugh and laugh and laugh.)

Sommerset “Magdalene”

Sommerset has the dramatically titled “Magdalene (Love Like a Holocaust)”, which sounds like the aftermath of a bad break-up. It was the final of Sommerset’s five funded videos.

Director: Andrew Morton
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The New Trends “Five Minutes With You”

The New Trends were a high school duo from Taradale. They were finalists in the 2004 Rockquest, the same year Incursa won and Kimbra was the runner-up. But they had their most success with the song “Five Minutes with You”, which placed second at the Play It Strange songwriting awards in 2004, including a performance of the song by Michael Murphy.

Director: Paul Taylor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Instead…

The consolation video for this month is a charity single. “Anchor Me”, the Mutton Birds’ nautical love song, was recorded by an all-star line-up to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sole act of international terrorism in New Zealand.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Veils “The Wild Son”

2005-the-veils-the-wild-sonWhen the music video funding for the Veils first song was announced back in 2005, there was a fierce debate on NZmusic.com. Were the Veils a legit New Zealand band, or were they actually an English band using the Kiwi connection of the lead singer for getting funding? Well, it turns out that Finn the Devonport kid fit the criteria (though other New Zealand/England popster Daniel Bedingfield didn’t), so all was good.

So, we find the Veils playing in a small room, crammed into a corner. Finn, wearing fur, eyeliner and a crown, locks eyes with the camera and delivers a very confident performance. When the chorus kicks in, the camera moves back to reveal a room full of revellers. It looks like the band just invited all their friends a long, because they all look like they’re genuinely having fun, in a “Woohoo! I’m in a music video!” way.

Finn rocks the room like a skinny indie prince, before eventually fleeing the confines of the house party and going for a jog along a beach. The partygoers follow their indie prince, as he leads them all into the ocean, where they mysteriously vanish, Harold Holt style.

The song has a meandering, Smiths-inspired sound which seems like it should have had a slightly more sophisticated video. But for a bunch of kids from Devonport, it’s a good debut.

Best bit: the gleeful run to the beach.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… shipshape.

The Phoenix Foundation “Damn the River”

2005-the-phoenix-foundation-dam-the-riverAfter starting off with some self-funded videos, the Phoenix Foundation produced their first NZ On Air-funded video for “Damn the River”. The band are absent from the video, meaning we don’t get to see some of that “Sultans of Swing” inspired guitar work. Instead the song is illustrated with arty imagery that doesn’t dominate, letting the song stand out. And not a dam (or a river) to be seen.

An elderly man features a lot. He’s not like the wise old man who has seen it all in Trinity Roots’ “Little Things” video. Instead things get a bit surreal – he lies down, sans shoes, with ramps of a motorway rapidly constructed above him. Fortunately the codger does not complain about progress or how when he was a boy it was all fields.

It’s a short song – just over two minutes – but the video packs a lot in and goes with the tone of the song. At the end, when the song reaches its uplifting conclusion, the old man looks content as he is slowly covered with water.

Best bit: the busy digger, building those super highways.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… house party, beach party.

The Mint Chicks “I Don’t Want to Grow Old”

2005-the-mint-chicks-i-dont-want-to-grow-oldThis was final Mint Chicks video before they went away and came back with the poppier album Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! “I Don’t Want to Grow Old” follows the band’s early style of crazy videos back with pop-culture infused imagery.

Video co-creator Dylan Mercer explains the idea behind the video: “The band had a love/hate fascination with the badly translated, nonsensical, garish bombardments of Asian culture in and around their lives and work in Auckland, New Zealand and wanted to translate back to Asian pop culture their own perceived reflection of itself. We just wanted to make some crazy animation.” And that vision worked. The video is a crazy mix of the Mint Chicks performing, along with commercially inspired animation.

It reminds me a lot of one of the first funded videos – “The Beautiful Things” by the Front Lawn, which also had an offbeat take on advertising. But instead of glamorous ladies and kiwifruit, the Mint Chicks have gone for golden suits and Froot Loops. And if you compared the two, it’s a nice reminder of how the technology of green screen and animated effects had improved in 14 years.

It’s a fine, fun Mint Chicks video, but it does feel like the band was at the end of one creative period, ready for something new.

Best bit: how the NZ On Air logo seamlessly fits in amongst all the other crazy logos.

Directors: Dylan Mercer, Tim Murphy, Hamish Waterhouse
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a tribute to New Zealand’s hydroelectricity schemes.

The Checks “What You Heard”

2005-the-checks-what-you-heardI saw the Checks perform live in 2005, at the Grey Lynn bowling club on a Sunday afternoon. Most people had gone outside because these whippersnappers with their rock ‘n’ roll were too loud, but I stayed inside and was blown away. Even though it was a virtually empty room, they still rocked out. And there was a sense that, whoa, these guys are going to be huge.

Did they get huge? They enjoyed some successes, but I think they just kept doing what they wanted to do, and eventually that turned into the dreaded artistic differences and the Checks were no more.

But back in 2005, they were bursting onto the scene with their debut video. “What You Heard” is almost mocking vintage style, having the film look yellowed and scratched. This isn’t a band trying to emulate earlier decades; instead they’ve been trapped in amber, regenerated to bring some rock ‘n’ roll to the tail end of the early ’00s rock revival.

The song lyrics are virtually meaningless (“I feel like a motor police parade!”), but then the chorus comes along with “Drunk man’s word is what you heard” and suddenly there’s a teen totally schooling you on life. So the video just goes for style, with the band looking sharp and moving with swagger. It’s a good debut.

Best bit: the mysterious messages on the marquee sign behind the band – “Empty cans of diamond sauce”.

Directors: Summer Agnew, Dylan Pharazyn
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… special golden boy.

Steriogram “On and On”

2005-steriogram-on-and-onI like that Steriogram always have a bit of fun with their videos without totally playing for laughs. “On and On” is another of those.

We find the band playing on the roof of a parking building, with singer Tyson entering the stage by jumping from above. A flamboyant rock entrance, or is there more to it?

There’s more to it, of course. In the middle of the song Tyson leaves the stage and goes running down through the parking building. There’s something about car parks in music videos that never quite works. The difficulty of big empty grey spaces?

But things soon get interesting when Tyson discovers the band and pals waiting on some mini choppers (“and yes they are our bikes!”, says the band’s YouTube description). This leads to the highlight of the video – a 30 second shot of the band riding the bikes, with perfect vehicular choreography.

Tyson gets separated from the group, is pursued by a bat-wielding maniac. In desperation, Tyson jumps off the edge of the car park, landing in the middle of his band performing. Oh, it’s the exact same scene from the beginning of the video. And on and on it goes. Clever.

Director: Adam Jones
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… empty cans of, wait, what?

Stellar “Whiplash”

2005-stellar-whiplashWith their previous video funded in 2002, Stellar returned with “Whiplash”, the first single from the band’s final album Something Like Strangers. “Whiplash” was the band’s 13th funded video, and comes a decade after their very first video was funded back in the ’90s.

While Boh Runga has always been the star of previous Stellar videos, this is the first to ditch the band entirely. Her first solo release was only three years away.

So, it’s night time in Auckland. Looking down from the balcony of a high-rise hotel room, Boh decides to go for a walk along Queen Street. As she wanders along the street (shot in black and white), various genuine drunken revellers play up to the cameras behind her. This kills any notion that Boh is just a lady taking a night stroll – no, she’s a pop star with crowd-attracting capabilities. And wearing a skirt decorated with fairy lights isn’t exactly something a shy lady does.

I was wondering if having the video shot in black and white would obscure its setting, but no – the expats there are in the comments. When a video inspires outpourings from homesick New Zealanders, that’s a sure sign that it’s hit a minimum level of Aotearoan identity.

Best bit: Boh stops off at the White Lady for a burger.

Next… a never-ending story.

Shaft “I Just Wanna Have Your Baby”

2005-shaft-i-just-wanna-have-your-babyThis was Shaft’s third and final funded video, coming a decade after their debut vid, “Downhill Racer”. It’s just as offbeat as their first one, though without the retro thrills of the bomb-recipe websites that featured in “Downhill Racer”.

Filmed in high-contrast black and white, the video is based around a backyard shed. In the shed we find the band, with singer Bob allowed out to rock around the garden. There’s also some particularly blokeish DIY happening. A hairy fellow in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt constructs a musical instrument out of hooks and wires, that could handily double as a bean trellis.

The video is mad, messy, chaotic fun. And when you consider the unusual theme of the song – a man having a baby – it makes sense that if a bloke were to give birth, he’d do it out in his shed, with support from his mates and a bit of number-eight fencing wire.

Best bit: something that looks like maybe a religious birthing ritual.

Director: Stuart Page

Next… a Queen Street wander.

Savage “If You Love Savage”

2005-savage-if-you-love-savageIt’s very easy to compare “If You Love Savage” with “Mareko (Here to Stay)”. Both are solo singles by members of the Deceptikonz, and both are about reinforcing the personal brand of the singer. “Here to Stay” was a weak song and its video was so determined to push Mareko’s name that it ended up not being much fun at all.

Two years later, “If You Love Savage” seems to have learned a lesson or two from “Here To Stay”. The song is an upbeat, super catchy, highly danceable number. Even though it’s all about Savage (and being a fan of him), the song is so good that it makes perfect sense. And Savage has earned it, with the number one hits “Swing” and the non-funded “Moonshine”. At this stage, yeah, Savage is allowed to celebrate his successes.

The video is shot in South Auckland, filmed in high-contrast black and white so everything looks cool and cinematic. Savage wanders around the Otara markets with a posse of boys and/or the Deceptikonz. This boys’ zone is far removed from the girly world of “Swing”.

The South Auckland locations visited in “If You Love Savage” are very popular ones for music videos (I’ve counted eight videos so far that feature the Otara markets), but the bold black and white footage gives it a different tone. Other bands manage to slip around the markets unnoticed, but Savage is a force of nature who draws the attention of the shoppers.

There’s no sense that this has all been faked for a music video. The crowd of kids surrounding Savage don’t need to be prompted to get them to adore their idol. And when Savage signs an autograph outside the local Pizza Hut, that’s just how big he is.

Best bit: the special guest appearance of Crayfish of hit TV sitcom Melody Rules, who is apparently some sort of rather good graffiti artist these days.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the multipurpose garden shed.

Rhombus “Mile High”

2005-rhombus-mile-high“Mile High” is an aeronautically inspired ode to good times in flight, and Rhombus have fun with the music video. Rather than showing people shagging in aeroplane toilets, the video goes sci-fi in a passenger spaceship, a mix of CGI and real sets.

The video is at its best when it’s being a bit silly – tropical beach girls sashaying in space, a dude on a motorbike floating outside the vessel. But the video also spends a lot of time lingering on shots of passengers looking out of windows. This just feels lazy, like there weren’t enough crazy space antics to fill up the video. There’s even a 30-second scene of a man looking out a window and (eventually) seeing a giant chicken.

The end of the video seems to be where most of the effort has gone, with the spaceship flying through space. The animation is adequate, but it just has no spark. Bring back the cocktails in coconuts!

Best bit: the spaceship’s rear end is a thong-wearing booty.

Director: Scott Harens
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… being recognised down at the shops.