June 2010: The Phoenix Foundation, Timmy Schumacher, Tyree, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vince Harder, We Are Romans, Young Sid

The flooded underground, snacks and guns, straight hair and big glasses, the rock format, and working for the man.

Continue reading June 2010: The Phoenix Foundation, Timmy Schumacher, Tyree, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vince Harder, We Are Romans, Young Sid

October 2005: Sophie Moleta, Streetwise Scarlet, Tha Feelstyle, The Phoenix Foundation, The Sneaks, Tyna & JB

Best use of $5000 video funding ever, a punk house, petrol crimes, at the movies with the boys, and an ode to a girl.

Continue reading October 2005: Sophie Moleta, Streetwise Scarlet, Tha Feelstyle, The Phoenix Foundation, The Sneaks, Tyna & JB

Weta “Got the Ju”

1999-weta-got-the-juAs with all the other Weta videos on YouTube, this one is short. It’s the last one minute and 28 seconds of the “Got the Ju” video, but that’s ok.

Like a lot of people, the first time I heard the song, I thought the chorus was controversially exclaiming “Got the Jew! Got the Jew!” But it turns out it’s slang – either short for juice or juju, depending on who you ask. And yes, this is what 90% of the YouTube comments are about.

It’s nice a nice, positive rock tune and the video doesn’t go any deeper than that. The video is directed by Reuben Sutherland who had previous worked with Weta pals Shihad. Unlike the previous videos that were a bit more high concept, this one is simple black and white concert footage.

The concert is somewhere in central Auckland – and the Sky Tower really makes it easy to positively identify Auckland settings. It looks like Aotea Square, or somewhere around that area. It’s a decent crowd and Weta appear to be goin’ off. It reminds me of seeing Aaron Tokona’s new project A Hori Buzz at Homegrown earlier this year. It was crazier, the audience was smaller, but there was the same sense of stagecraft. This is a band that knows how to perform.

Sadly this was the final NZOA funded video for Weta. Their next single “Calling On” had the mighty wallet of Warner behind it, intended as a vehicle to launch Weta in Australia. Except the band broke up, splintering in some rather interesting directions, which we’ll get to when the late ’00s roll around.

Best bit: the rock pose silhouette against the distant Sky Tower.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… moody delights.

Weta “Let It Go”

1999-weta-let-it-goLike the video for “Where Have You Been”, there’s only an excerpt of “Let It Go” online. But this time we get well over a minute of footage. It’s also not the greatest quality, so pixelly that I wonder if it was lifted from an old website.

The video seems to be made with a kind of live-action stop-motion animation – or at least I’m assuming it’s stop motion and not the video quality. A small television set features broadcasting a footage of Aaron singing the song, and other footage. He also shows up holding the TV broadcasting that’s himself (meta!) and sans le telly.

Sometimes the video is set in the strange world of music videos, with strange machinery, swimming pools and flying TVs. But other times it’s recognisably Auckland, featuring the St James complex and the motorway.

Because this video is a poor quality excerpt, it’s hard to get a sense of exactly what is happening in the video as a whole. This just adds to the legend of Weta, the idea that the band had a good year or so of amazing rock before they fell apart. The video is like a glimpse inside that world, where it’s always 1999 and everything is good.

Best bit: using old TVs as floaty pool toys.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… I know this much is true.

Shihad “My Mind’s Sedate”

1998-shihad-my-minds-sedateAt the time this song was released, I felt very energised by the sarcastic opening line: “Well, I trust the police and the government!” Whereas now it seems like boilerplate angry young man. But I like what Shihad have done with the video. Directed by Reuben Sutherland, it’s taking a fairly standard video treatment – the mad scientist – and giving it a really dark, icky edge. This is not a musical performance video, but Shihad have never been afraid to take themselves out of traditional rock settings.

Jon spends most of the video wearing a lab coat, curled up in the corner of a lab, with the rest of the band lurking in the background, like three other scientists who are watching their colleague descend into madness.

Dr Jon’s hair is wet with sweat. It’s a filthy lab and strange things slither in the corners. The line “you don’t have a brain” is complemented with an selection of brains, arranged like chess pieces on the lino tiles.

The video keeps looking like an ordinary mad scientist sci-fi, but suddenly really weird things, ugly things will pop up, making Jon’s character seems like a run-of-the-mill mad scientist in the midst of severe meth psychosis. Poor chap. He probably just wanted to create a bride.

Director Reuben Sutherland won Best Video at the 2000 New Zealand Music Awards. It was his second consecutive win, and the third win in a row for a Shihad video.

Best bit: the weird insecty thing on the shelf.



Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… bullet boys.

Shihad “Wait and See”

1998-shihad-wait-and-see“Wait and See” was originally on Shihad’s “Blue Light EP”, but was later an album track on their fourth album, “The General Electric”. That album was full of pre-millennium tension and this song and the video fit right in.

The song looks to the future and wonders, “Is there space for every boy and girl in a competitive, material world?” But it seems like the kind of doomy, dramatic thought that only happens in boom times. When things are good, you have the luxury to wonder if they’re going to be bad. When things are bad, you just want the good times to return.

The video is filmed in a scratchy sepia tone, but shows a futuristic world of electronics, metal cells and cameras. Wait – a future full of advanced electronic technology but one that looks like something from 100 years prior? Hey, Shihad totally predicted 2011 and the rise of the Instagram.

Directed by Reuben Sutherland, the video won Best Music Video at the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards, the second consecutive win for a Shihad video. It’s a very stylish video. It doesn’t quite feel like a remnant of the late’ 90s, so I’m going to declare that it did have a genuinely original vision. The band seem to be at their peak, strong and confident in their rock ability. Just don’t think too much about future.

Best bit: very briefly, the metal room has tentacles.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… red, hot and blue.