This was Jester’s final NZ On Air-funded video. “Enemy” is a crunchy rock song (a change from the gentle “Fries With That”, but its main riff is rather reminiscent of the intro of “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots. I don’t like unexpected wormholes into the ’90s.
The band themselves are absent from this video, replaced by animated robots. “Enemy” takes place in a dystopian robot world where a robot scientist has made an experimental rock band. It’s not such a flash build – eight-ball stands in for one of the lead singer’s robo-eyes. The eight-ball starts off the video on a journey seemingly inspired by the groovy pinballs of the Sesame Street counting song.
This roboband proves a hit, with their songs lighting up the hit song meter and causing a media fuss (in this robot world, there are still newspapers). But it’s all too much for these metallic musicians. Like a real band, they burn out – but that’s literal burn-out, falling apart and exploding in front of the horrified scientists.
It’s chaos. The roboband runs wild, creating havoc. I’m sure it’s some sort of statement about manufactured pop, about how put-together bands will never last. Except Jester themselves broke up in 2003, with a final gig that didn’t involve exploding robots.
The animation is of average quality. It’s not the worst-case scenarios of a half-finished mess, but there are lots of short cuts and scenes with little movement.
All the drama is concluded when a scientist pulls the plug on the roboband. The screen goes blank and the message “Support NZ music” appears along with Jester’s (now defunct) website address. It’s lazy to expect people will support New Zealand music just out of national loyalty. First the music and the band have to be good.
Best bit: the “Cuss 2000” device, fitted to bleep out the song’s one swear word.
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.)
Before he was revealed to be the Ferndale Strangler on “Shortland Street”, Johnny Barker was the lead singer of Jester who had the sweet song “Fries with That”.
The video sees Johnny sitting on the seawall at Mission Bay, busking, as his bandmates watch from the nearby park. Soon Johnny realises that another musician is moving in on his turf. An old lady has set up nearby with an accordion and she’s even brought along an attractive wicker basket to collect coins.
Bemused by the old lady, Johnny puts down his guitar and just gazes at her. Suddenly the gran is surrounded by psychedelic colours and the setting changes to a theatre, complete with the Jester boys watching from their park bench.
Inspired by this, Johnny sings to the old lady and again the psychedelic colours come, but this time Johnny takes things a step further and magics his band on stage with him. It’s like some double-level “Inception” business. Even though it’s a gentle acoustic pop song, the band rock out. Isn’t this sweet? The old lady is making these lads’ rock dream come true.
Eventually the fantasy ends, with Johnny still playing his guitar in Mission Bay as the old lady shuffles off. But suddenly he disappears from the waterfront, and is panicked to find himself alone in the theatre. I can only conclude that the old lady is a witch who disposes of the young punks who try to impinge on her busking turk.
Best bit: the old lady’s careful wiping of the accordion bellows.