Coloured squares, postcards from Aotearoa, singing in the rain, cruising around Melbo, a lyrical video, and a music box adventure.
The Have “What You Owe”
“What You Owe” was the third single by Rockquest winners The Have. The group were one of five New Zealand acts to perform at South by Southwest in 2004, with “What You Owe” being included in a best of SXSW CD included with UK music industry publication Music Week.
Director: Adam Jones
Falter “Fear Of Heights”
Christchurch punk-pop band Falter, the 2003 Rockquest winners, have their second single “Fear of Heights”. The single was recorded at York Street Studios as part of their Rockquest prize package.
Crumb “Got It All”
The saga of the missing video for Crumb’s song “Got It All” has the best story. Basically, the band had agreed to work with a director who was planning an ambitious semi-animated video. It involved something like the lead singer performing at a gig, seeing a mysterious girl who zaps him and he’s sucked into a cartoon world. The production was all going well until the band saw the finished product. It was terrible. No one was happy. The label refused to pay and the video never saw the light of day. No known copy of it exists, just some raw footage and a few stills. One can only hope that some day “Got It All” will surface in all its glory.
“Case” is the final video from Dimmer’s second album “You’ve Got to Hear the Music”. It’s one of those great Dimmer tracks that sounds like the soundtrack to the best/worst weekend. The video used to be hosted at Amplifier and a lone screenshot is all that remains.
Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Gramsci get gruntier with the very röck “Recovery”. 2004 feels like the tail end of the early ’00s rock revival. It will be interesting to see how much rock there is in the years to come.
Lucid 3 “Pitch Jumping”
Lucid 3’s song “Pitch Jumping” is their most popular track on Spotify, so it’s sad the video isn’t available anywhere. It’s a typically laid-back Lucid 3 track, with some cool organ playing.
The Have “Monday Through Friday”
The Have’s song “Monday Through Friday” is another track that might not have actually had a video made, but the Rockquest winners were keeping busy and have more funding to come.
Heavy Jones Trio “Free”
The Heavy Jones Trio song “Free” was their second funded video and the first single off their debut album. Director Ivan Slavov vaguely but intriguingly noted that the band “gave us freedom of expression which lets us do our job.”
Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Niki Ahu “Nobody Knows”
Niki Ahu won a Mai FM talent quest and had her single “Nobody Knows” produced by UK producer Colin Emmanuel. The Kiwi Hit Disk quoted Niki describing the song as “deep, grunty and heartfelt.”
Strawpeople “Love My Way”
“Love My Way” was the Strawpeople’s penultimate NZ On Air funded video, another track fro their final studio album Count Backwards from 10. The song had vocals from Leza Corban.
No Artificial Flavours “Homeland”
“Homeland” was the follow-up single from No Artificial Flavours, but also their final NZ On Air funded video – though I’m not actually sure if a video was made. There was talk of an album, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. But I found a 2009 profile of frontman Taaz where there’s mention of new music.
Salisha Taylor “I Saw An Angel”
Young singer Salisha Taylor had her debut single “I Saw An Angel”. There’s little trace of her online, but I found a post on the soc.culture.new-zealand newsgroup where an enthusiastic member of her team described her as “a real diva but she still replies to all her fan mail.” This prompted someone to cruelly reply: “It’s good to see New Zealand music in the international spotlight. It’s a shame its shit New Zealand music.”
48May “Spinning Around”
48May had funding for their song “Spinning Around”. There’s no sign of the video, but instead here’s “Into the Sun”. It seems to have been made around the same time and includes outtakes from “Home By 2”, as well as ever reliable live footage.
Red Drum “Resurrect Jim”
Red Drum was a rock band fronted by Garageland frontman Jeremy Eade and “Resurrect Jim” was their funded song. A 2003 blog from Arch Hill Recordings mentions the production of a Red Drum song called “No Cross in the Crossroads”, but there’s no sign of that either.
Director: Paul Taylor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Rhian Sheehan feat. Gramsci, Bevan Smith & Matthew Mitchell “Miles Away”
Rhian Sheehan teamed up with Gramsci and friends for “Miles Away”.
Director: Age Pryor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
This month’s consolation video is Steriogram’s lively “Walkie Talkie Man”, directed by the perpetually creative French director Michel Gondry, far removed from the world of NZOA. By the mid 2000s Monsieur Gondry was well established as one of the cool-dude video directors, so he was the go-to guy for Capitol Records when they needed an impressive music video to attempt to launch Steriogram in America. The stop-motion-animated woolly world was created by production designer Lauri Faggioni and her team of knitters. (This is also a good enough place to link to Gondry’s enigmatic video for “Sugar Water” by Cibo Matto, one of my favourite videos ever.) Seeing a big budget video like this makes all the New Zealand videos set on beaches seem like roughly made home movies (and in some cases that’s just what they were). Sometimes it’s just nice to revel in the world of the fancy international music video in all its glory. (Director: Michel Gondry; Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
Hey, this is the halfway point!
In almost three years, I’ve reviewed 777 videos, which is quite a lot, really. There are also 350 videos that aren’t currently available online (like the ones above), though there are definitely more videos available from the mid 2000s than there were from the early ’90s. And 57 previously awol videos have since turned up online, which is splendid. I just need to get around to catching up with those ones.
When I started 5000 Ways, I didn’t have a specific end date in mind, but I realised that I don’t want to do it forever (oh God). So I’ve decided that a good enough end goal is June 2011, the final funding round of $5000 grants before that was replaced with the current Making Tracks scheme. I’ve roughly calculated how long it’s going to take to complete it and I will reveal this: it’s going to take a bit longer than three years. It’s ok. It’s not like I have anything better to do.
The one thing this project has done is completely kill the joy of nostalgia for me. When I look at a video from the olden times, it’s like I’m seeing it how I saw it back then. And when I’m not watching old music videos, I only listen to contemporary music. Anything older than five years just makes me feel depressed. Yay.
Anyway. This is still loads of fun. Most videos are a pleasure to watch and there’s a lot of good stuff out there. The only ones I have trouble with are ones that are just really boring – because no one deliberately sets out to make a boring video. But at least now when I come across a difficult video, I can at least console myself that I’m over the hump.
Ok, on we go. Here’s a video right from the beginning, “The Beautiful Things” by the Front Lawn one of the first three to be funded.
It’s a golden sunny day at Castlepoint, so what better time and place to shoot a music video? Only this video isn’t being shot in a video format. Instead director Peter Tonks has shot a large number of still photos and edited them together to create the sense of moving image.
Sometimes it has a sped-up timelapse feel, sometimes it’s like a cheap security video that only shoots one frame per second, and other times it’s literally like a series of photos. But all shots are beautifully composed and work well with the rhythm and dynamics of the chilled-out song.
The star of the video is vocalist Jess Chambers though due to the restrictions of the medium, there’s not many shots of her actually singing. But a few times it’s managed, with the series of frames of Jess singing skilfully coming together to match the song.
Castlepoint is a notoriously windy location, and perhaps the photo collage technique helps disguise this more than straight video footage would. Instead the video has a dreamy feel, like looking back at some photos of that really amazing day we went to Castlepoint when everything felt golden and perfect.
Best bit: Rhian Sheehan mystically appearing in the bush, like a wood sprite who has been summoned.
Director: Peter Tonks
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… aerial shots.