A high street strip, a gothic seductress, a cultural lesson, a bomb threat, a photo booth, a photo shoot, a cruise down the main street, a broadcast from outer space, a floaty necklace, a Harajuku girl and a mysterious staircase. Continue reading Found videos from 1998
“Star” was the last Stellar song to make the charts, interesting timing, given the song is named after the band. It’s a fairly standard upbeat Stellar rock song, but the video has an intriguing concept behind it.
Julian Boshier, director of Stellar’s “What You Do” video has some fun with the new freedom technology offered with digital cameras. The video is basically Stellar performing the song on a plain performance area (all wearing black and denim), while they’re shot by a number of fixed cameras positioned around the band.
Oddly enough, it gives the video similar feeling to that of a Big Brother episode. The cameras are there to capture the action, but the shots won’t necessarily be nicely composed. But it means the cutting between shots can be done flawlessly, with a close-up leading to a perfectly matched, totally continuous wide shot.
The editing carefully creates a bit of suspense. We don’t get a proper look at Boh singing until the first pre-chorus. Before then, it’s the rest of the band pacing and playing, with the occasional glimpse of Boh in her breaks between singing.
The biggest moment happens when the chorus kicks in and it’s revealed that the band are playing under a giant star-shaped lighting rig. It’s slightly sinister, like we’ve just discovered that the band are involved in a weird cult.
I like this video as a document of video production in 2002. But it doesn’t seem like a good video for promoting the song. It’s not a particularly strong single, so having an edgier video is a risk.
This is another song and video that I have a disproportionately high level of love for. Even the near daily use of the song in the sports store TV commercials haven’t killed it for me. So come with me into the world of Zed and the “Renegade Fighter” video.
The song starts off with a spooky music-box sound. It’s a dark and stormy night and we’re inside an empty house. Lightening flashes, the Venetian blinds flap and suddenly there’s guitarist Andy with that opening chord. Bassist Ben (who’s doing the vocals on the verses) appears and does an alarmingly sexual slide on his instrument. The chorus kicks in and there’s Nathan in the corridor giving a hearty lip-sync of the chorus. It’s like a curious mash-up of a classic boy band video and a cool but arty rock video.
Second verse has Ben sitting in a perfect boy band pose. The camera stays on him for a straight 25 seconds, even sticking around when the chorus starts with Ben just doing a teen idol stare at the camera.
The band rock out together for the next chorus (nice pacing), then we return to Ben in a room draped with fairy lights, cutting to Andy delivering a few licks on his guitar.
There’s some clever editing in this video, echoing the spooky strobe-like lightning effect. The video isn’t obsessed with making this a pretty pop video, and there are some delightfully weird touches. But then just in case we’d forgotten these were teen dudes, the video ends with Nathan giving Andy a playful punch.
“Renegade Fighter” was Zed’s highest charting single (reaching number four), and I like to think of it as Zed at their absolute peak as kings of teen pop-rock.
Best bit: the patterned wallpaper, looking a bit too authentically New Zealand to be a “Song 2” homage.
I bloody love this video. It’s so massive and overloaded and extravagant. Few New Zealand bands have the cojones to make a video this röck, but in 2000 Sony ensured that Breathe would have that experience.
“Don’t Stop the Revolution” made it to number six in the pop charts. It’s a bold, feel-good anthem, but it hasn’t really become a classic. Perhaps it just wasn’t New Zealand-ish enough.
Directed by Julian Boshier, the video begins with a codger in a gold jacket introducing the group to the sound of teen girl screams. He makes frequent use of a cue card, glancing down every few words. Anyway, here’s “the fabulous Breathe.”
The curtains pull back to reveal the band playing to a backdrop of leafless tree branches, with the background colour changing to reflect, I dunno, probably seasons and/or moods. The video initially focuses on lead singer Andrew, but by the time the first chorus comes, the camera lingers on the other band members. It’s as if the band has stipulated equal screentime for each band member and are timing it with a stopwatch.
And here’s a curious detail – three of the band members are wearing sunglasses, so the eye focus is on the lead singer and lead guitarist. Why those two? Or do the others just have sensitive eyes?
It’s all choice, but the very best bit is when the chorus comes back after the break. Andrew picks up his microphone stand, slowly walks toward the camera but doesn’t lip-sync. The background slowly changes to blue, then Andrew starts singing. In the background snow starts falling. Magnificent.
But wait. The video gets better. For in this winter wonderland there comes to be a ballerina, who doth verily dance amongst the branches and the faux snow. And finally the song gets around to ending, almost clocking in at five minutes. If this were a drinking game, I’d be in a coma.
This video deserves a better afterlife than the one it currently has. Most of the YouTube comments are from high school kids having an “OMG! It’s my English teacher!” moments at seeing “Mr Tilby” rocking out, but I reckon it deserves better. “Can’t Stop the Revolution” might not have been the massive hit that Sony were after, but both the song and video are so audaciously epic that it’s still worth remembering.
Another track from the elusive Brett Sawyer. His single “Supercool” has almost no digital traces, but there is a brief review by Graham Reid in the NZ Herald, where he accurately describes Sawyer’s album When It Happens as being “Not bad, but over the long haul not gripping.”
Joshna’s single “Anything” notably was written by New Zealand songwriter Pam Sheyne, best known for co-writing Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”. The song has a cool housey sound with undeniable pop chops.
Mary “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)”
Mary contributed the gentle track “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)” to Christmas on the Rocks a yuletide compilation of New Zealand indie artists. (It’s actually quite a good CD, by the way.)
Moana and the Tribe “Speak To Me”
Moana, having ditched the Moahunters and rebranded to Moana and the Tribe, has “Speak To Me” the first single off her third album “Rua”. It was, as Graham Reid noted in the Herald, a departure from the hip hop sounds of earlier albums and a move to the world music sound she’s known for today.
Suzanne Neumann “Lose Control”
Suzanne reports that the video for “Lose Control” was released and was played frequently on television. Unfortunately the video is not currently available online.
Before Friday “Now”
Before Friday were a duo of Dean Chandler and Ben Bell-Booth. They had a few singles – including “Now” – before deciding that it would be better if Dean went solo with Ben as his manager.
Carly Binding “We Kissed”
“We Kissed” was originally intended as the first single off TrueBliss’s second album, and indeed the funding was originally given as a TrueBliss single. But but eventually Carly Binding left the group, taking her pop with her. Carly’s first solo single was “Alright with Me (Taking it Easy)” had its video funded in 2002, leaving the funding for “We Kissed” on the books for later use.
Confucius was the work of Christchurch electronica musician Nava Thomas. Director Gaylene Barnes intriguingly describes the “Roll Call” video as “Confucius and MysteriousD become trapped in a drum and bass time warp, in this sepia toned music video which incorporates archive footage.” The video was also a finalist in the 2001 New Zealand Music Video Awards.
Sola Monday’s second and final funded video was “All For A Dance”, a sweet folky, jazzy number.
Splitter “Supermarket Girl”
August 2000 is proving to be not a particularly fruitful month for finding music videos online. Joining the missing persons line-up is Splitter with “Supermarket Girl”.
The Nomad “Life Forms”
There’s no sign of The Nomad’s second video, “Life Forms”.
DNE “The Cause”
DNE’s second and final video is for the upbeat dance-pop number “The Cause”. “We are bound to see this group do great things,” says the equally positive bio at Amplifier.
Goldfish Shopping Trolly (GST) “Hey You”
Goldfish Shopping Trolley (or GST for short) was the original name of Opshop. “Hey You” was their first single and has the classic Opshop anthemic sound. At the time, GST were threatening to release the alarmingly titled album “Homo-Electromagneticus”, which promised to capture “the turbulent etheric renderings and solid earthy rhythmic growl of the native New Zealand west coast”.
Breathe “She Said”
After a run of 10 videos, Breathe go out with “She Said”. They just seem like a band that – for whatever reason – never quite lived up to their potential.
Loniz “Child Street Blues”
Loniz were a Tauranga-based trio who later became Pacific Realm. “Child Street Blues” was their first single, which the Kiwi Hit Disc says was playlisted on iwi and b.Net radio stations.
Weta were one of those bands who seemed hovering on the verge of greatness, but for whatever reason, things didn’t happen. (But things are very much happening for Aaron Tokona’s new band, the psychedelic AhoriBuzz). This is Weta at their best, getting series amongst shipping containers.
We last saw Stellar in 1995 with the song “Ride”. Back then they looked like a fairly ordinary rock band. Three years later they showed up with a rejigged line-up and a striking new look.
We meet the new Stellar decked out in blue and red, done to direct the eye in particular directions. Specifically, the drummer, bassist and lead guitarist are in regressive black and blue, with the guitarist using a bright red guitar. But the total focal point of the video is Boh Runga, with bright red hair, a red gown (no jeans for this rock chick) and a blue guitar and blue eye make-up.
I remember reading at the time that Boh had dyed her hair so she’d look as unlike her famous sister as she could. Well, not only does she not look not look like Bic Runga, she looks more like a fierce rock alien. It’s like she’s forgone a traditionally ‘pretty’ look and just gone for as much impact as possible. And it works.
It’s a very bold, confident video. It makes the previous incarnation of Stellar feel like some kids mucking around. This Stellar has figured out who they are and aren’t afraid to show everyone what they’re capable of.
Oh, you know what? When this song was first released, I could never work out why it had ‘bastard’ in the title. I’ve now realised this is because the chorus goes “Show the bastards what you do.” Not bouncers, buzzers, bandsaws or whatever it was I thought Boh was singing back in the day.
“Interconnector” was a track off “The Blue Light Disco EP”, right in the middle of Shihad at their absolute peak.
Directed by Julian Boshier, the video starts with a squeal and a crash, with the band walking to their instruments in a hail of feedback. Shot with a strong blue tint, the band kicks off with the tense, energetic song.
Jon has newly short hair, accessorised with a dog collar, eyeliner and a shiny blue shirt. Weirdly enough, his look reminds me of the sort of thing the Feelers were wearing around this time. I’ll just chalk it up to fashion.
The rest of the band are dressed more subtly in black, but they’re still very much part of the video, with the camera rotating around the band on a circular dolly track.
Throughout the video, various words are highlighted with on-screen graphics, using a blue neon-style font. BULLSHIT, THAT’S TRUE, HOPE, ME + MY TV and GARBAGE flash on screen, but it’s not entirely successful. For a start, the text is up very briefly and the font isn’t so easy to read. But the chosen words seem to have been picked at random. Some choice nouns flash up, but what kind of statement is made with TO DO or GOT?
I like the simplicity of this video. Ignore the graphics and it’s a really good portrait of Shihad as a solid rock unit.
YouTube uploader HEADLIKEAHOLENOISE introduces the song thusly: “a song developed from the find of a German porn movie in a works bin on the streets of Wellington. Enjoy!” Oh right, they just found it.
And indeed the video starts with footage of what appears to be an old porno with a Germanic voiceover informing us that “the gentleman is dressed up all in red, and the lady as it is done in pink”.
We don’t see the Euro pervs again, but were are introduced to HLAH, all decked out in leather, rubber, studs and a cowboy hat. They’re in a long wooden tunnel, gliding up and down it, which is probably highly symbolic.
It seems there was a bit of a ruckus regarding the video. A 1998 episode of the New Zealand music show “Squeeze” had a story on the “controversy surrounding their video for ‘Wet Rubber'”, even speaking to TVNZ’s head of programming standards. Well, it’s no AFFCO but I can see how it might ruffle some feathers.
The video and the song both seem intended as a pisstake of porn culture, and indeed it’s fair game, but yet when I hear the repeated lyric “Ride that whore! Make her blow!”, it makes me sigh. I’m going to blame it on the post-“Boogie Nights” (1997) mainstreaming of porn culture. The trouble is, not everyone is as clever as Paul Thomas Anderson, and it takes smarts to reference porn culture without going down the tired old route.
Best bit: drummer Hidee Beast earnestly decked out in bondage leather.
In 1998 HLAH released “Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It?” aka HLAH: The Sex Years, on account of all the singles released off it being about sexy sex. There’s something cutely adolescent about it, like someone who’s figured out what sex is and wants everyone to know about it.
The video itself isn’t especially erotic or even sexy. It’s based about the very masculine, sweaty, smelly enviroment of a HLAH gig, alternating with Booga Beazley in a silver room. The lyrics speak of a man who’s in bed with “mirrors above my head”, but the bedroom presented is a mundane hotel room, with a chaste peach interior.
Then it’s time for some outdoor fun, with various outdoor high jinks, including the drummer drumming/hooning around a roundabout in Invercargill. The video then finishes with scenes from an outdoor concert in… oh crap, it’s Christchurch. No matter what HLAH’s sexy intentions were, seeing the dearly departed rose window of the Cathedral lurking in the background is an instant boner killer. *sad face*
Tribute albums were big in the ’90s. As well as Flying Nun’s Abba tribute “Abbasalutely”, the label also released “God Save the Clean”, where local bands tackled the back catalogue of the Clean. HLAH’s contribution was their version of “Beatnik”.
The video keeps with the weirdness of the original video, opening with a spin around Albert Park where we meet Booga playing a disco-suited lout, which is as close as HLAH get to a beatnik. I mean, there’s no way HLAH could do the black skivvy and beret thing.
The beatnik causes trouble in a Jervois Road dairy and bothers some people outside St Patrick’s Cathedral. In the world of HLAH, men still wear walk shorts and long songs, so obviously they deserve to be bothered. There’s some more bothering at the Herne Bay Bowling Club, then the band heads over to the Point Erin Pool where they play on the concrete divider between the two pool areas. This video has so many Auckland landmarks that it could form the basis of a walking tour.
In the rool-trippy-as middle bit of the song, the action moves to the most amazing restaurant ever. All the walls have fish tanks on them and the room has freaky fishtank light. I want this place to still exist. I want to go there.
The action winds up with a saunter through the bowling club bar, then the band hangs out in the middle of Ponsonby Road. Guys, it’s not safe there!
HLAH take the Clean’s original song and throw it around a bit, having some fun with it. The video has that vibe too, and I love all the Aucklandic locations.
Best bit: the briefcase do-si-do with Mr Walkshorts.