According to an Augustino fan forum from 2001, “Overblown” was a radio-only release for Augustino. The forum is amazing. It’s so full of energy and enthusiasm for this cool band everyone loves, there’s bonding and hugs when September 11 happens, then the forum regulars suddenly peter out just as the band release their debut album. And if a band’s fan base can’t stick around, there’s not much hope for the band.
BJ White “Uptown”
The only thing I can find out about “Uptown” by BJ White is that it was included on a sampler CD from Festival Mushroom Records, in between tracks from Lash and Kylie.
Canvas were an enthusiastic trio of young men from Wellington by way of Christchurch. “Tina” was a good pop track and the video got decent airplay on music video shows.
So, an artist called Flipside received funding for a track called “Movin'”. It’s almost impossible to google (and it doesn’t help that there are two other artists called Flipside with tracks that involve “Movin'” in the title) so I can’t find anything on this track.
Nurture was a poptastic collaboration between Deep Obsession producer Christopher Banks and singer Phil Madsen. “Beautiful” was their first single and it reached #13 in the charts.
Sumix “Jump House”
Sumix was a hip hip duo consisting of friends Craig Mckenzie and Aidan Richards. Their single “Jump House” is an upbeat number with a insanely cheerful chorus that instantly reveals Craig’s roots in Christian pop. (Seriously, it has such a Christian chorus). The video was involved the duo going down the slides at Wairewa hot pools. The video evidently made so little impact that director Joe Lonie could safely later recycle the video concept Falter’s “Falling to Pieces” video in 2003.
It sounds like the name of a yuletide horror film, but Jester‘s “Eyes 4 Xmas” is actually a sweet guitar-pop tune. The video seems to have taken inspiration from Popstars. Nga Taonga describes it as “An amusing take on a reality TV talent show. We are privy to auditions for the band (“day 12″), recording the single, shooting the video, creating an image and – Jester’s first show.”
Sheelahroc were an all-girl hip hop trio from Christchurch, comprising of Ladi6, Voodoo Child and Tyra Hammond, a powerhouse of talent. The cool and cautionary “If I Gave You Th’ Mic” was their only NZ On Air funded video. My vague memory of it was an overhead shot of Ladi6 in a space like the train station foyer. The video needs to be online! In this documentary, the group talk about the video shoot being a bit of a mess, and the end video not really making much sense.
Canvas had their second funded video “Sunday”. From memory, it was the band playing the song in a house, going for a lazy-Sunday vibe.
Carmen Steele “Believe In Me”
Kiwihits noted that Carmen Steele‘s song “Believe In Me” was a “reaction to media coverage of the tragic incidence of child abuse in New Zealand” and that the production make it “one of the year’s most evocative songs”. It was Carmen’s only NZOA funding.
Garageland‘s “Highway” is a cheerful ode to road-tripping, and other pleasures. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Footage from the road – including the Capitol Records – and on stage on a US tour by Garageland.”
GST, the early incarnation of Opshop, have the song “Put Up A Fight”. Most significantly, it was the making of this video that inspired Jason Kerrison to build his apocalypse shelter. As Jason told Salient, the video was filmed at his landlord’s “monolithic dome structure”, which inspired him to build his own.
PA Styles “Summer Breeze”
PA Styles were twins Naomi and Sharlene Sadlier. “Crowds are drawn to P.A Styles like moths to a flame,” claimed a Southgate Entertainment press release, creating an image of crowds of people madly running around PA Styles. “Summer Breeze” was their only funded video.
Director: Rongotai Lomas
Purrr‘s final funded video was “Oxygen”, but I’m not entirely sure if a video was actually made. Oh well, it was nice knowing you, three-piece girlband.
D-Super “The Moths”
D-Super go for a janglier, poppier sound for “The Moths”. It was their third and final NZ On Air-funded music video.
Meno Panteboy “Any Kinda Weather”
Meno Panteboy were an Auckland group made up of musicians who’d previously worked with artists such as Che Fu, Greg Johnson, Nathan Haines and John Rowles. “Any Kinda Weather” was a bFM hit. (In case you’re wondering, panteboy is the Greek transliteration of rendezvous and is another name for a coffee house.)
Slim have their final NZOA-funded video “Crumbling”, an upbeat song about someone who is struggling with drink and drugs.
I’m disappointed that Aaria‘s “Cry No More” video isn’t online. The slick bilingual pop vocal group had a top 10 hit with this single, but it was to be their last. From memory, the video had a similar vibe to the Spice Girls’ “2 Become 1” – all city-at-night cool.
The Relaxomatic Project “At The Onset”
There’s no sign of the final video “At the Onset” from Auckland groovsters the Relaxomatic Project.
I’m not sure if Garageland actually made a video for “Crazy”, but it’s worth celebrating as it was their last lot of video funding. They had a total of 15 videos funded over seven years, which is an impressive rate. From the low-budget fun of the early years to the more sophisticated vids of later years, Garageland made good use of the medium of music video.
Lavina Williams “So I Cry”
The “V” in Ma-V-Elle, Lavina Williams went solo with “So I Cry”. In 2006 Lavina made it to the final 12 of Australian Idol, following younger sister Emily who placed second in the 2005 series.
According to the bio on Amplifier, Michelle Kazor‘s debut single “In This Life” was the “highest charting song from an unsigned act ever on radio” – but that’s referring to a radio plays chart, not the singles chart. I’m not totally sure if this video ended up having NZ On Air funding, but it’s in the Nga Taonga archive, nonetheless.
There were two non-funded videos that made a significant impact in 2001. One was the Deceptikonz‘s “Fallen Angels”, the other was Blindspott‘s debut “Nil By Mouth”. It was self-funded and made with a budget of a mere $800. With a solid song behind it and a great scream-along chorus, it proved a popular hit and won Breakthrough Video Artist at the Juice TV awards and launched Blindspott as alternative metal heroes. (There’s a slightly-higher-budget alternative version, but it’s not as much fun as the original.)
This video didn’t used to be online, but there’d been enough written about it that I could kind of review it from memory. But now that it’s been uploaded, well, there’s even more to write about.
But first, this video features nudity. Totally NSFW. Also, I’m not 100% sure if this video eventually had NZ On Air funding as it’s only in one of the three lists I use. But nonetheless, this vid is still worthy of a few paragraphs.
In their early days, Garageland made fun, colourful pop videos, but they sometimes got a little edgier with their later releases. Still, their previous video, “Gone” was a funny low-budget vid that imagined a world where Garageland were big in Asia. But things changed with “Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?”
It was directed by Myles Van Urk, the man behind “The Trip” compilation albums of “alternative grunge” from the early ’90s, and his own foray into the world of pop with the 1994 track “Sanctuary”. This time Myles was taking Garageland into the world of live nude girls.
The video is a slick extravaganza, filmed in black and white and set in a strip club. The video even started with opening titles, crediting the band and the video’s director. And then came the strippers. Crotches thrust at the camera in an erotic fashion. And the boobs – the troublesome boobs.
The nudity meant it didn’t get to screen much in its unedited form. I remember seeing it screened on a late-night music video show, given all truckload of promotion because boobs. The nippless version was still restricted to after the 9.30pm watershed. But the world’s cruel reaction to his artwork seemed to take Myles by surprise. He had, after all, just wanted to create a video that was “beautiful, simple, hedonistic, ironic, potent and most importantly rock’n’roll”. Yes, ironic strippers.
As Myles explained in a 2001 statement, “It was never a question of ‘eek, let’s put some tits in here and make the video really edgy and controversial'”. No, the video just happened to end up like that.
Funnily enough, in a TVNZ article on the matter, all the producers of music video shows quoted were sympathetic to Garageland. They liked the video, they wanted to play it, it’s just that it was inappropriate for their audiences and time slots.
Myles mused, “Perhaps it’s naive to consider the music video one of the last free mediums where art and commerce don’t collide.” Lolz! Music videos are precisely all about the sticky collision of art and commerce. As the NZ Herald commented at the time, “We here thought music videos were exactly the point where art and commerce not only collide, but end up lap dancing with each other.”
So how did the “Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?” video affect Garageland’s career? Well, it created a largely bemused reaction in the media. The single didn’t chart and the album it was taken from was to be their last. But, you know, Garageland were still cool.
The lesson: you want boobies in your vid? You must pay the price.
“Gone” was the first single off Garageland’s final album “Scorpio Righting”. And while they never quite reached the levels of international success they were striving for, they could at least pretend. The “Gone” video is set in an alternate reality where Garageland are big in Asia.
I don’t know exactly which Asian country exactly, but signs seem to point to China. The band are performing on a low-budget looking TV show, crammed into a tiny studio. The TV host introduces them (sounding like she’s reading the lines phonetically), and the camera lingers on the all-Asian crew, who look like a bunch of Chinese New Zealanders.
The band perform “Gone” on the tiny stage, with lead singer Jeremy wearing a pair of bogan sunglasses. Perhaps that’s trendy in faux Asia. We also see the lads signing CD singles for a small but excited group of fans (also all Asian). One fan is so excited she lifts up her top and has Jeremy sign her boob. Another fan presents Andrew the guitarist with a foot massaging stick ensuring a “Lost In Translation” kind of “OMG, Azns r weird!” moment.
The band are interviewed backstage, grapple with Pocky, and discover the song is number one, and not only that, they’ve earned a silver record for their efforts.
It all feels like an elaborate fantasy. If Garageland can’t have number one singles and CD signings to groups of adoring fans in New Zealand, then they can at least experience three minutes and 26 seconds of a Shangri-La where all their pop dreams have come true.
“Kiss It All Goodbye” takes inspiration from Pop Up Video, the VH1 series that combined music videos with pop facts and was insanely popular in the late ’90s. The video begins with one such ‘fact’ – “Garageland members are famous for having personalities like animals”, and the shocking revelation that bassist Mark isn’t just like a tiger, but he wears a tiger mask. Of course, today a dude in an animal mask just looks like a hipster, but kids, back in the ’90s it was really weird.
Mark wanders around Newmarket (and passes a Truetone record store), baffled by strangers’ cruel reactions to his tiger mask. Meanwhile, Jeremy is tormented by many cups of decaf as he waits in a cafe, Andrew G is a football-loving office worker, and a bound and gagged Andrew C fights to escape from a dark room.
Subtitles give us further insight into the four. Mark is very baffled; Jeremy is very tormented, Andrew G really loves football and Andrew C is trying hard to escape.
When the chorus comes along, we take a break from this chaotic world and experience Garageland performing the song in a simple, sepia-tone setting. It’s a nice break because all those subtitles and crazy adventures are a little exhausting.
The video doesn’t quite deliver on the premise. It has a good sense of humour, but it just feels like a lot of effort has been made to set up something that doesn’t really go anywhere.
The four finally reunite at Jeremy’s cafe, sharing tales of man-tiger discrimination, soccer love, daring escapes and truckloads of decaf. The video concludes and threatens “To be continued…” Oh, I hope so.
Best bit: The irate music story owner, banning man-tiger Mark for something terrible that happened “last time”.
“Not Empty” was the first single off Garageland’s second album. And while guitarist Debbie Silvey had left the band, she made an appearance doing backing vocals on this track. “I wanna be free! No empty!” goes the chorus, in a song about the search for meaning in life.
The video goes with this, focusing on a situation of classic emptiness – the modern office. The band members are dressed up in office finery, but they shuffle around the office with a dead look in their eyes because they are empty.
I don’t quite buy it that there’s an entire office full of people who have become completely numbed by their jobs. Surely it’s far worse to be the only one suffering in an office full of people happy with their mediocre lives.
But, ok, for the purposes of this music video, I will accept the seventh floor of this office is full of extremely unhappy people. That’s not even the focus of the video – the focus is bullet time!
The technique had been popularised by The Matrix, released earlier in the year, but bullet time had first been popularised in music videos, including Michel Gondry’s quite good vid for the Rolling Stones’ 1995 cover of “Like a Rolling Stone”.
The bullet time in “Not Empty” is a little clunky – the shape of the camera perimeter is apparent and makes it feel like a very obvious attempt at a gimmicky effect, rather than something that adds to the story. Is the viewer supposed to feel more sympathy for a man who knocks the mouse off his desk if we see it in 360 degrees?
The video ends with one of the workers jumping off the roof onto Vulcan Lane below. But don’t worry – he’s ok. He survives the fall and – in possibly some Groundhog Day-like cruelty – he gets up, unharmed. It’s much easier to just hand in your resignation.
Update: Commenter Dan reveals the bullet time was faked by getting the actors to stay very still, moving the camera around then speeding up the footage. So that’s why it looks clunky!
Bonus: And here’s a clip of the band performing the song live on Ground Zero.
“So Am I” was Bailter Space’s final NZOA-funded video from the ’90s. They took a break and showed up again in 2012.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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’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.
Fiona McDonald “Wish I Was a Man”
Fiona McDonald gets dirty and grungy with “Wish I Was A Man”.
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’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.
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.”
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.
Ardijah “Way Around You”
I’m pretty used to Ardijah videos not being online, and indeed “Way Around You” isn’t available. It’s a breezy house jam
“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
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.
The last time we saw Garageland, they were a fun alterno-pop-rock group, good for having a few drinks and jumping around to. But the band changed. Guitarist Debbie left, the band moved to the UK and new guitarist Andrew Claridge came on board. But more importantly, the band had become more serious, more mature.
The “Feel Alright” video is an introduction to this new Garageland. Directed by British film-maker Gina Birch (formerly of post-punk group The Raincoats), the video consists of a grid of 12 one-take shots of the band, with each band member split into three sections.
Filmed in black and white in an urban wasteland with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral glimmering in the background, it’s a slick video that is very definitely not playing up to any New Zealandness.
This song has always reminded me of an old instant coffee commercial, the way that instant coffee used to be marketed as a soothing, relaxing, comforting experience. And this video captures that feeling. Even when there’s a burning newspaper, a giant pumpkin or the dazzling reflection of the run, it’s still four dudes just hanging out, feeling alright.