3 The Hard Way “Nothing’s Changed”

2003-3-the-hard-way-nothings-changedIn “Nothing’s Changed”, 3 The Hard Way look back at their youth, the golden days of “Hip Hop Holiday” when they were running wild and free. It was only 10 years prior, which shows how young they still were. (I bet now they look back at the golden days of 2003, etc.)

So, what goes with reminiscing? Why, Mongolian barbecue. The video is set in that Mongolian barbecue restaurant and karaoke venue at the top of Queen Street. It’s packed with young Asian diners – a change from the “crazy Asian fans” trope seen in other music videos.

The restaurant patrons take turns at singing the song’s chorus. The screen that would normally display the karaoke lyrics instead shows the “Hip Hop Holiday” music video, which seems custom-made to evoke nostalgic feelings of youthful extravagances.

There’s slow-motion footage of goings-on in the restaurant, including the delivery of a giant platter of noodles. (OMG, I would actually watch a music video that was just people eating a giant bowl of noodles.) We also see chefs in the kitchen literally playing with fire, setting alight a meat skewer via fire breathing.

But about halfway through the video loses steam. There’s no more rapping, so the video is left with clips of the “Hip Hop Holiday” video and karaoke kids. It’s partly due to the song also running out of energy, with the end result being like a tired old man who’d rather be at home watching Coronation Street than bothering with all this hip hop malarky.

Best bit: the giant plate of noodles.

Director: Michael Reihana
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… under construction.

3 The Hard Way “Many Rivers”

“Many Rivers” takes its chorus and inspiration from the Jimmy Cliff classic, “Many Rivers to Cross”. It’s full of contemporary hip hop beats with extra vocals provided by Sulata and Cherie. The video funding was granted before their massive hit debut single “Hip Hop Holiday”, so presumedly someone once thought this was the strongest song.

The video sees the three lads of 3 The Hard Way go to the beach, but it ain’t no sunny seaside moment. No, it’s the rugged west coast beach at Piha with Lion Rock towering in the background as the trio hang out on the empty beach.

Sometimes the beachside setting feels like it’s getting uncomfortably close to a literal depiction of the lyrics, but there’s still that feeling of unease that comes from such a wild beach. Here are three dudes decked out in fresh urban threads, alone in the wilderness. (Given they’re all wearing long sleeves and that the beach is deserted, I’d guess this was filmed on a chilly winter’s day.)

Sulata shows up for the chorus but she’s in Devonport with an evening cityscape of Auckland looking all sexy in the background. Things seem to be far more uplifting for her in the city, and sometimes she’s joined by the boys.

We also see the trio in their natural habitat – wandering K Road at night. It’s like a roll call of dearly departed K Road retail establishments – Deka, Rendalls, Modern Bags and there was even once a Hannahs.

But the video always comes back to the beach, finally leaving us with the trio as they wander off to metaphorically cross the many rivers.

Best bit: Deka, K Road – a good place for pick ‘n’ mix.

Director: Clinton Phillips
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… everybody have fun!

3 The Hard Way “All Around”

1994-3-the-hard-way-all-aroundOver at the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, this video is ominously described as “LA style, basketball, moving images of cars etc projected in background”. The video does have a bit of a West Coast flavour, but there’s no mistaking its Auckland location.

“All Around” is a compass-points-themed shoutout, which also pays a fair bit of homage to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” (“You know we can!”) It made it to number 22 in the pop charts, and it’s a really upbeat track and actually had me bopping along, swept away by its infectious fun-time charms.

The video is set in various locations around central Auckland. There’s the trio in front of a pile of logs (?) with some green screens playing footage of old videos and the Auckland skyline behind that. They’re also in front of a large graffiti mural being done by DLT – and think this might be the first appearance of live graffiti in a NZOA video. (The second I’ve seen is Joint Force’s “Burntime” video, also featuring DLT.)

The video is accented with some animation – the flickery kind that was popular in the ’90s. Occasionally a compass, a globe, a cool dude playing a saxophone pops up to underscore the lyrics or music.

All this might seem influenced by LA, but this is how a lot of young Aucklanders were back then. There was a specific street culture that took its cues from America but mixed it up with its Pacific location. And this video captures a bit of that scene.

Best bit: hanging out under the Auckland Harbour Bridge, all pylons and security fencing.

Director: Clinton Phillips
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bonus: here’s a 1994 interview with 3 The Hard Way on TV3’s New Zealand music show “Frenzy”.

Next… alterno angel.

Missing videos from 1999

February 1999

Bailter Space “So Am I”

“So Am I” was Bailter Space’s final NZOA-funded video from the ’90s. They took a break and showed up again in 2012.

Cabbage Bomber “You’re a Sun”

Cabbage Bomber included Mark Petersen who had previously replaced Andrew Brough in Straitjacket Fits. Their first single was “You’re A Sun”, extravagantly described by Kiwihits as “an unashamedly melodic slice of guitar pop, laden with hooks and harmonies.”

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

D-Faction “Take a Little Piece”

After having all their videos online, it’s sad that D-Faction’s final video, “Take a Little Piece” isn’t around. YouTube uploader slydogmania notes the group “disbanded in late 1997 before this final single was ever released”

Head Like a Hole “Hot Sexy Lusty”

Head Like A Hole have “Hot Sexy Lusty”, another single from their sex album, Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It? Guys, in googling for this video, I saw things I wish I hadn’t seen.

Mika “Angel”

Mika, last seen in Jan Hellriegel’s “Geraldine” video, has his own single “Taniwha Angel”. Here’s a live performance.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1999

Brett Sawyer “When It Happens”

Brett Sawyer has the song “When It Happens”. I’m most interested to discover that he and Pearl Runga sang New Zealand’s official millennium anthem, “I’ll Meet You There”, written by sister Bic and James Hall.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Delta “Slather”

Delta! “Slather”! I saw them play a few times and I happily bought the “Slather” single. It was a fun burst of pop that should at least have enjoyed one-hit wonder success. But anyway, here’s Delta performing the song at a 2010 reunion show. Nice one.

Director: Garth Maxwell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Angel”

Girl group Ma-V-Elle had lost a member (but weren’t renamed V-Elle). “Angel” was the first single from their new album as a duo. Here’s a Tangata Pasifika profile of the group enjoying their early days of success.

Strong Islanders “Shining On”

Kiwihits notes that Jonah Lomu’s cousin is in “Strong Islanders”. Their song “Shining On” is ok, but their main MC has a somewhat lacklustre delivery.

Director: Joe Lonie
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1999

Ardijah “Do To You”

There’s no shortage of Ardijah videos from the ’80s, but the ’90s are AWOL, including “Do To You”.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Never Say Goodbye”

Ominous foreshadowing! “Never Say Goodbye” was Ma-V-Elle’s penultimate funded video.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Trip To The Moon “Sexual Healing”

The final NZOA-funded video for Trip to the Moon is their cover of “Sexual Healing”, a duet by Bobbylon and the ethereally voiced Rachel Weatherly. NZ Herald reviewer Russell Baillie dramatically described it as having “all the charm of a lavish STD-treatment jingle”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1999

3 The Hard Way “Front Back Side”

Well, I dunno. This song is on the list of videos that were completed, but I can’t find any sign of a 3 The Hard Way single called “Front Back Side”, or indeed any releases from this time. But there might have been some shuffling – there’s a 3 The Hard Way video for their 2004 single “Girls”. It’s set in the same sexy club world as “It’s On (Move to This”), only it’s so much cheesier.

Bike “Gaze”

Bike’s final NZOA-funded single is “Gaze”, which also appeared on the “Scarfies” soundtrack.

Brett Sawyer “Where We Wanna Be”

“Where We Wanna Be” is Brett Sawyer’s ode to his partner for sticking out a decade in Britain with him.

Delta “The Baddest”

Delta’s second single was “The Baddest”. It’s ok, but it’s not “Slather”. Here’s a live performance from their 2010 reunion gig.

Fiona McDonald “Wish I Was a Man”

Fiona McDonald gets dirty and grungy with “Wish I Was A Man”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moizna “Summer Goodbye”

Moizna’s final NZ On Air-funded video is aptly titled “Summer Goodbye”, a sweet tale of a break-up.

Satellite Spies “Please Never Leave”

Satellite Spies apparently had a song called “Please Never Leave”, but it’s ungooglable.

TrueBliss “Freedom”

TrueBliss’s third single was a cover of the Wham song “Freedom”. I’ve found an 2001 Australian documentary about the “Popstars” phenomena that shows a short clip from “Freedom” at 8:01. It features the group dressed in red, white and blue costumes, performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1999

DNE “Be There”

DNE was a “cyber collaboration” between Aly Cook and David Horizon – their name for the now commonplace practice of online collaboration. Their old bio at Amplifier promised a fabulous web experience with “CLUBDNE interactive”, and directed viewers to NZmusic.com to watch their video for “Be There”. Sadly all is but a cyber memory now.

Greg Johnson “Beautiful Storm”

Greg Johnson gets drench in meteorological metaphors with the upbeat “Beautiful Storm”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Greg Johnson tours an Asian city and sings “Beautiful Storm” to camera as the surroundings move rapidly around him.”

Director: Bernadine Lim
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Don’t Be So Shy”

Ma-V-Elle have “Don’t Be So Shy”, described by the Kiwi Hit Disk as a “cool slice of original, soulful pop”. It’s the final Ma-V-Elle track funded by NZOA. The duo was to eventually disband, with Lavina ending up in the Australian Idol final 12 in 2006, among other achievements.

December 1999

Ardijah “Way Around You”

I’m pretty used to Ardijah videos not being online, and indeed “Way Around You” isn’t available.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Sick & Tired”

“Sick & Tired” is another track from Breathe’s second album, the one that seemed really big at the time, but has now faded into history.

Fiona McDonald “Bury Me”

Described in a review I found on a vintage website as a “edgy, emotionally charged” song, “Bury Me” is another single from Fiona McDonald.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Garageland “Good Luck”

Garageland have the blusey “Good Luck”, another track off their second album “Do What You Want”.

The D4 “Come On!”

Another early track from The D4. “Come On!” is an typical piece of energetic rock. Here’s a fan video, setting the song to clips of rally cars sliding around corners.

Director: Alex Johnson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Big World Out Your Window”

“Big World Out Your Window” was the final Exponents track funded by NZOA. It was a single off their 1999 album “Hello, Love You, Goodbye”, a half-studio, half-live collection. There’s no sign of the “Window” vid, but I do know it was filmed on Mt Eden.

Director: Andrew Moore

Instead…

Here’s a video from the world of non-NZOA funding. Director Marc Swadel made the “Crystal Chain” video for Flying Nun group The Subliminals for “300 bucks and one re-used 100 foot reel of 16mm film”. As a NZ On Screen commenter notes, 100ft of film is only two minutes, 45 seconds. The solution? “A lot of repeats, keying over footage with footage, and other lo fi tricks”. It’s a moody delight.

Director: Marc Swadel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

3 The Hard Way “It’s On (Move To This)”

1998-3-the-hard-way-move-to-thisThis song was released in 2003, but the funding is from the 1998 round. The group originally received funding in 1998 for a single called “Home”, but that didn’t get made. Instead the funding stayed on the books and was put to use five years later.

Eight years since their last single, 3 The Hard Way returned with the smooth grooves of “It’s On (Move To This)”. In contrast with the seductive hip hop soul of the song, the video is set in the Cask & Cleaver, a cowboy theme bar on Dominion Road.

But rather than being full of diners wanting an entertaining dining experience along with a delicious steak, the joint is full of gruff looking cowboys and fly cowgirls.

The cowgirls feature a lot in the video, and I think this is the first NZOA-funded video that has included video vixens. At the time it was a little shocking, with an extra layer of WTF for me as one of the girls had been a receptionist at my old workplace.

YouTube uploader and label boss Simon Grigg notes, “The video got some flack for having ‘girls’ in it, but within a month or two every 2nd NZ hip hop video seemed to be copying it. It was meant to be very tongue in cheek at the time”. And that seems a fair comment. The ironic sexy cowgirls paved the way for non-ironic booty girls.

The video has a bit of plot. 3 The Hard Way upset the cowboys, who throw bottles at them, “Blues Brothers” style. But there’s never a sense of true jeopardy. The lads quit their performance and run off with the cowgirls, where they go for a hoon along Dominion Road in a stretch limo. Just think about that – it’s the early 2000s, you’re walking along Dominion Road – maybe you’ve just enjoyed a gourmet pizza at GPK – when a limo full of conspicuously partying young hip hop dudes and bisexual cowgirls drives past. You look at them and think, “_______”. Yeah, me too.

Best bit: the painful reminder of the millennial trend for low-rise jeans 🙁



Director: James Barr
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… legal advice.

Missing videos from 1995

February 1995

D’bre “Let Me Know”

The band formerly known as Bush Beat return with a second song, “Let Me Know”. The track featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Not Ready”

“Not Ready” is the first Dead Flowers video to be missing. The song was a track from their 1994 album Sweetfish.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Greg Johnson Set “You Stay out of Your Life”

From what I can remember of it, the “You Stay out of Your Life” video involved Greg Johnson and Boh Runga zipping around on scooters (probably shot using green screen).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pumpkinhead “Third Eye”

More business from Christchurch grunge unit Pumpkinhead. With a song called “Third Eye”, I would be extremely disappointed if the video didn’t include low-tech animated third eyes. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Pumpkinhead perform “Third Eye” in a yellow lunar setting and in a pub.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ruia “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”

Ruia Aperahama, the frontman for Southside of Bombay, had the solo track “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”.

Film Archive

Southside of Bombay “Umbadada”

Spurred on by popularity from the “Once Were Warriors” soundtrack, Southside of Bombay make a house record, with the highly danceable “Umbadada”. But Southside haven’t lost track of their reggae roots – the song has a message of unity and living forever.

Director: Regan Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Feelers “The Leaving”

In 1995 the Feelers won the prestigious South Island Battle of the Bands competition. Part of the prize included a single and music video released through Wildside. That song in question was “The Leaving”, with the music video directed by James and Matthew of the Feelers and camera by future Feelers music video director David Reid. The song obviously didn’t have the impact of later single “Pressure Man”, but it was included as a track on the band’s debut album.

Directors: James Reid, Matthew Thomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1995

The Tufnels “Pettibone”

“Pettibone” is the second single from the Tufnels, the greatest pop band in New Zealand that no one’s ever heard of.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1995

Andrew Fagan “Empty”

Andrew Fagan’s last NZ On Air-funded track was “Empty”, before branching out into the power combo of broadcasting and poetry.

Funhouse “I Don’t Mind”

Curiously enough, there’s an Italian punk band from the ’80s called Funhouse who also have a song called “I Don’t Mind”. It’s far removed the namesake “sweet ballad” of the New Zealand Funhouse.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jordan Reyne “Pandora’s Box”

“Pandora’s Box” was another song of Jordan Reyne’s 1998 album Birds of Prey. I have a suspicion that a video for this song not might not actually have been made.

Nothing At All! “Super Bullet”

Nothing At All! was the old band of Dion from the D4. “Super Bullet” was a tight 2:14 atomic bomb of a song that would have been a hit had it been released seven years later.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Motion”

The video for “Motion” isn’t online, but there’s another track from Sulata’s debut EP “Never”. It’s “Always”, and the video seems to largely comprise of extra footage of the rap bit from her earlier “Never” video. Intriguingly, the Deepgrooves YouTube account has a video clip for “Motion” but it’s not playable.

The Tufnels “Beautiful Ride”

The Tufnels’ last stab at pop immortality was “Beautiful Ride”. I think it was an extra track added to a revamped version of their “Lurid” album, once they’d signed to a major label. So long, Tufnels.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Urban Disturbance “Figure This Kids”

More coolness from Urban Disturbance. “Figure This Kids” has echoes of what was to become the more laid-back sound of Zane Lowe’s next music project, Breaks Co-op.

August 1995

3 The Hard Way “B All Right”

For their second album, 3 The Hard Way were going for a more mellow sound. “B All Right” has a bit of the Death Row Sound, and continues the 3 The Hard Way theme of mythologising their childhoods.

Barry Saunders “Little Times”

The Warratahs frontman has a solo song called “Little Times”, a bluesy ode to the opposite of the big time.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ermehn “Nuttin’ Personal”

Another of Ermehn’s early tracks is “Nuttin Personal”, which is strangely ungooglable. It could be a case where the song or song title was changed at some point.

Grace “Heart Of Stone”

“Heart of Stone” is a souly pop track. Instead of the video, here’s the brothers Ioasa talking about the inspiration behind their music from a 1995 episode of Frenzy.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Nobody”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey delivers a miserable but bangin’ dance number, “Nobody”.

Jordan Reyne “Millstones”

Jordan Reyne delivers a sweet guitar track with “Millstones”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Find Yourself”

“Find Yourself” is a great song that shows off Sulata’s rich voice. I think this might be a video that wasn’t actually made, with the funding possibly transferred to another song.

Upper Hutt Posse “Can’t Get Away”

Upper Hutt Posse have “Can’t Get Away”. Here’s the group performing the song live on What Now.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Wonderkind “Destiny Change”

Wonderkind have “Destiny Change”, an upbeat dance song about a teen prostitute. There was a lot of that in the ’90s – upbeat dance music about really depressing social issues. Here’s a very 1997 remix of the song.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1995

Bailter Space “Retro”

The “Retro” video was briefly available to purchase on the iTunes store, but it’s since been removed. Like a lot of Bailter Space videos, I suspect this video is being kept offline by an overprotective algorithm. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Bailterspace perform “Retro” in arid rural location. They are observed from an alien spaceship – which lands and an astronaut emerges. (The animated astronaut is as pictured on records covers of their earlier incarnation, The Gordons.)”

In 2002 I wrote this about the “Retro” video:

It’s Bailterspace in space! Well, they’re doing the Star Trek trick of picking a desert location, banging a coloured filter on the camera and entrusting the rest to the audience’s imaginations. Meanwhile, some old-school computer animated aliens are flying their old-school computer animated spacecraft around and spying on Bailterspace. It’s has great potential to be cheesy, but somehow Bailterspace’s seriousness manage to overcome that. It works, but only just.

Directors: Rongotai Lomas, Tracey Tawhaio
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “So Low”

“So Low” was a track off Dead Flowers’ third album. By this stage they were ruling the school, even opening on Pearl Jam’s NZ tour.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Too Late”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey has another single, “Too Late”. “Jacqui Keelan Davey has a voice that gabs you by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go,” enthused the Waikato Times.

Mara “Message At The Bottom”

Mara Finau – best known as co-lead singer of The Holidaymakers – went solo with a cover of Chaka Khan’s “Message At The Bottom”.

Ngaire “The Way I Feel About You”

Ngaire returned to the pop charts with “The Way I Feel About You”, which spent one ever-so-brief week at number 42.

Director: Tim Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Back To Hong Kong”

“Back To Hong Kong” was another track from Sulata’s “Kia Koe” album. And this is another case where the video may not have been made or the funding given to another track.

Ted Brown and the Italians “Battle Inside”

“Battle Inside” was a track from Ted Brown’s album Shaky’s Blessing.

December 1995

CMB Swing “Your Love Is All I Need”

CMB Swing were a five-piece group (four vocalists and one percussionist). And were they named after the Cash Money Brothers from 1991 film “New Jack City”?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Watching Me Drown”

Another track from Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey, this time with “Watching Me Drown”.

Maree Sheehan “Might As Well Shout”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described “Might As Well Shout” as a “fast-paced, catchy dancefloor number”. It features backing vocals from expats Mark Williams and Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.

Papa “For What It’s Worth”

This is pretty much impossible to Google (it’s not a unique song title). I don’t know who Papa was, but it might be related to the record label, Papa Pacific.

Instead…

Meanwhile in the world of non-NZOA-funded videos we find “Manic (Is a State of Mind)”, the first music single from Jan Hellriegel’s second album. Filmed in Sydney, it takes place in a gloriously garishly painted art deco house (not a visual effect, the YouTube description notes!), and features a very sinister looking cafe fridge.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Missing videos from 1994

There’s a Rockquest winner, some more bogan rock, a bit of hip hop, and some reggae.
Continue reading Missing videos from 1994

3 The Hard Way “Hip Hop Holiday”

Every time you play this song, 10CC’s giant swimming pool of money gets a few more gold doubloons. Remember, kids: always clear samples.

Directed by Clinton Phillips and filmed in lovely warm sepia tones, “Hip Hop Holiday” evokes a hot city summer. This is not the New Zealand of going to the beach. It’s the New Zealand of inviting all your friends around to hang out in your backyard.

The lads cruise Aucklandtown in a convertible before arriving at their slightly less urban destination – a suburban house (but it’s a proper New Zealand state house bungalow). Bobbylon from the Hallelujah Piccasos shows up for some guest MCing, and the suburbs erupt into game of touch rugby and hip-hop-loving.

Fun and charming, “Hip Hop Holiday” is a perfect slice of the early ’90s Auckland hip hop sound. It was the first single with a NZ On Air-funded video to reach No.1, where it happily remained for three weeks in early 1994.

Best best: cruising down that cinematic stretch of Queen Street between Wellesley Street and Mayoral Drive.

NB: the YouTube uploader has provided the video twice – once from Pepsi RTR, the other from Max TV. Different vibes, yeah.

Director: Clinton Phillips
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a forbidden dance of desire in seaside Auckland.