Gramsci “All The Time In The World”

2005-gramsci-all-the-time-in-the-worldThe video opens with an intriguing situation – three men in hi-viz vests are sprinting up a stairwell, while a wet Gramsci is found slumped against a wall. What led to this? Oh, the video will reveal all!

In flashback, we find Gramsci holding a small glowing pebble, strangely reminiscent of the pebbles in the 1981 sci-fi kidault adaption of Under the Mountain. Maybe Gramsci is like a grown-up Theo, come to get revenge on the evil Wilberforces.

He puts the pebble in a giant water tank he just happens to have installed in his apartment. He watches the glowing dot move around in the water, and then it mysteriously transforms into a woman in an evening gown.

Gramsci just sits and watches her for a while, unconcerned that there is a lady in his giant fish tank. They both hold their hands up against the glass, which causes it to shatter. His apartment floods and he’s left holding her in his arms.

And this is why the hi-viz team comes in. Is she a mermaid? Are they some sort of rapid response fishlady trauma team? And – most importantly – are the people in the apartment below wondering why all that water is dripping from the ceiling?

Best bit: the return of an old friend from the ’90s – the mermaid’s gown is made from silver fabric.

Director: Richard Bell
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… black vs white.

The Accelerants “Up on Your Heels”

2004-the-accelerants-up-on-your-heelsThe Accelerants were a Wellington garage rock band, known for their live shows. “Up on Your Heels” is a a very ’60s sounding track and the video plays up to that.

The video starts with an LP playing on a vintage record player, and that leads to the band performing the song in a plain studio, with lighting and other equipment stacked at the sides. This set-up is like the t-shirt and jeans of the music video world.

For much of the video things are pretty uneventful. There’s the band playing, wearing suits. Most of the time it’s shot in black and white, but occasionally some colour is thrown in for extra thrills. The result is a video that isn’t very interesting. The band look bored to the point where the most exciting part of the video is when the camera does a whole lot of crash-zooms.

Things get a bit more interesting near the end when a whole lot of Mylar balloons appear. Even though they’re just heart-shaped, it’s hard not to think of the balloons spelling “Robin Thicke has a big dick” in “Blurred Lines” (or Lily Allen’s hilarious comeback). The shadowy silhouette of a go-go dancers also appears at this point, but not even that is enough to inject life into the song.

Maybe this video could work as a gothic parody of 1960s pop culture. Otherwise it’s just kinda dull.

Best bit: things get interesting when the reflection of the band is shot in the shiny balloon.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a prison break.

Lucid 3 “West”

2004-lucid-3-westLucid 3 like a bit of dress-up and this video takes inspiration from its title and puts the trio in the wild west, which looks to be played by somewhere in Otago. Victoria is kitted out as a cowgirl, but spends most of her time sitting outside a stone building, playing her guitar.

The other two band members are the villains. They’re a-comin’, with their cowboy hats and swagger. “I’m being hunted down. I’m not ready to surrender,” Victoria sings. It looks like there’s going to be a showdown!

After a tense standout, involving some top-level Eastwood-style eyebrow twitching, the three draw their guns. Only the guns are invisible, which is the cue for an invisible gunfight. It’s nowhere near as epic or as much fun as the legendary invisible gunfight on Spaced, but it serves as a somewhat arty conclusion to the tension.

With her two foes felled, Victoria heads back to her hut with the swagger of someone who can keep things under control and who looks good in a poncho.

The song is a typically smooth Lucid 3 track, which doesn’t obviously suggest the wild west. But in this situation, it seems to set the tone for a chilled out world where anyone who tries to bring aggro will find himself dealt to with invisible bullets.

Best bit: the flourish with which Victoria throws on her poncho.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… eyeliner acting.

Damien Binder “Anytime”

2004-damien-binder-anytime“Anytime” was the fifth (or sixth, depending on how you count it) and final of Damien Binder’s solo video funding. And just to be different, the video is set in the Australian outback.

We meet Damien walking along a dusty red road in the middle of the bush, looking very cool with his guitar case in hand. He reaches a sealed road and sets himself up to hitch-hike, but no cars come along. Is it just an unpopular road or are more sinister things at work?

After entertaining himself on his guitar, he sets off on foot and discovers an abandoned car. Walking further, he comes to a small town, but there’s no sign of anyone around. Maybe it’s the day of the grand final and everyone is glued to their TVs.

Or maybe there’s been a Quiet Earth type of disaster and almost everyone on earth has mysteriously vanished. Damien, think – what happened at 6.12am? Hey, if he can make it across the Tasman there would be at least three New Zealanders he can hang out with. Maybe he and ’80s Bruno Lawrence could jam before the world ends.

The video has a lot of fun with Damien’s rock star silhouette, giving him plenty of interesting walls to stand against and roads to walk down, guitar case in hand. Well, if everyone else in the world has vanished, you would have a bit of fun with your newfound status as king of the world.

The story ends with Damien walking off into the sunset, not even stealing an abandoned car. Being an entertainer, maybe he’s just looking for an audience to play to. Well, maybe he can reach Dubbo by nightfall. There might be people there.

Best bit: law-abiding Damien does not steal beer from the pub after determining it too is empty.

Director: Richard Bell

Next… all you need is lube.

Lucid 3 “AM Radio”

2004-lucid-3-am-radioThis song is Lucid 3’s very cool tribute to the pleasures of AM radio, but I assume they’re not including 1300 1ZH, the local Hamilton pop station of the ’80s. Because there was nothing cool or romantic about hearing a fuzzy, monophonic rendition of “The Living Years”. Ew.

The video sees the trio performing the song in a wood-panelled room in front of a small audience of hoodie-wearing dude slumped in their chairs, looking like they’d all be more at home in a Blindspott video.

There’s once latecomer to the performance. He arrives and walks over to a vintage Wave Master radio and switches it on. Soon he and his hooded brothers started nodding their heads to the beat.

And there the video seems to have reached its happy place. The song fades out, which leaves the prospect of the band playing to the audience of nodding, hooded radio heads forever. But being an AM radio station, it’s only a matter of time before an ad comes on for a local muffler repair shop.

Best bit: the shiny silver Wave Master radio.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the bad-boy aesthetic.

Eight “Centre of Me”

2004-eight-centre-of-meThere’s never been a consistant look and feel to Eight’s previous videos. “Whale” was like a short film, “Moments Gone” was goofy, “No Way to Decide” was serious, and now “Centre of Me” goes in an arty video direction.

The video begins with a pair of red theatre curtains hanging in the woods (filmed in Christchurch), very Twin Peaks. The curtains part to reveal lead singer Bruce performing in a dark room with some of that music video wallpaper. Then that wall behind him parts and there are the rest of the band. Super indoor-outdoor flow.

Then it’s back out to the woods where the band are lined up along a path, then the band also have a posing session on a big gold-coloured couch. By now it’s starting to seem like a roll call of music video tropes.

The video ends with the band in another room and they’re going all out to rock out for the video. No one just plays their instrument. Everyone is getting in there and putting a ton of energy into their performance. But it still feels like another music video trope.

The band’s music sounds like very mature, serious rock (helped by Bruce’s deep voice), and yet it’s obvious that band are relatively young. Eight’s videos seem torn between presenting their serious maturity that comes across in their music and the more youthful vigour of the band themselves.

Best bit: the cut between the woods and the couch, where a close-up of the drummer conceals the edit.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a strange Masonic ritual.

Missing videos from 2004

February 2004

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

February 2004

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.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 2004

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.

Dimmer “Case”

2004-dimmer-case“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 “Recovery”

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.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

August 2004

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.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Visions

October 2004

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 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.”

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

December 2004

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.

Fang “I Can’t Help It”

2003-fang-i-cant-help-itFang was led by Arch Hill label boss Ben Howe, and these cool indie grown-ups produced cool indie pop. “I Can’t Help It” was the first of their two NZ On Air-funded music video.

We find the band playing the song in an old villa. The walls are draped with colourful hangings and it’s all very boho. A mysterious furry figure quickly passes in front of the band. The version of the video that’s been uploaded to YouTube is very pixelly – looking very much like a product of the ’00s – which just makes the furry figure seem more mysterious. A Grey Lynn yeti?

The band plays on, then the furry figure reappears. It’s… a person in a novelty pink gorilla costume, just like the one seen in Voom’s “King Kong” video. And I like to think there’s some sort of narrative going on here, like a scene girl who likes hanging out with indie Auckland bands.

The band put down their instruments and take a seat, watching Pinky as she has a go on all the instruments. She even gets behind the drumkit, predating the Cadbury drumming gorilla by three years.

The band aren’t impressed with this furry newcomer and send her away, returning to their rightful places on stage. While they continue to pop-rock on, the gorilla is seen slouching down the road, seemingly saddened by her failure to become Fang’s new member.

The gorilla is important. The video would be pretty uneventful if the gorilla didn’t appear. I mean, if you were sitting in a living room watching Fang play, you’d want something eventful to happen.

Best bit: the enthusiasm the gorilla has in her performances.

Directors: Richard Bell, Stephen McCarthy

Next… big mouth strikes again.

PanAm “Cigars In The Suitcase”

2003-panam-cigars-in-the-suitcaseA horse walks into a music video. Animals aren’t the easiest things to have in music videos, but director Richard Bell uses plenty of footage of a horse in PanAm’s final NZOA-funded video.

The video opens with a close-up of a horse’s eye, but the whole video is shot in black and white, so it’s more artistic than veterinary. The horse shots provide the backdrop for PanAm performing the song in a studio. As well as the horse, we also see Paul from PanAm singing on the backdrop as he simultaneously performs in front of it. Meta. I will also note that by this stage Paul’s hair has grown out of the awkward in-between stage, as seen in the previous video, and is looking longer and more in control. Nice one.

It’s easily PanAm’s best video. It’s shot nicely (though the fake film scratches now look really dated) and the band are confident performers. Even the visual non sequitur of the horse fits right in with the song and the band’s energy.

Over on the Songlines Across New Zealand blog, Paul says this about the video:

“With this one we were tying to do a late 60’s psychedelic idea crossed with a bit of early 90’s (in black and white), we added shots of a big old horse into the mix I and I still think this video is by far the best example of a band performance as we were honed from lots of touring around that time. In fact that video probably represents the high-water mark in terms of the bands powers of entertainment. It was all downhill from there!”

It’s a reminder that making a good music video isn’t necessarily something that a band can do right off the bat. Performing on camera is a different thing to performing on stage. A good director can help, but it takes time to learn that skill. And it seems that PanAm got there in the end.

Best bit: extreme close-up horse nose.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… robot smash.

Gasoline Cowboy “I Hear You Call My Name”

2003-gasoline-cowboy-i-hear-you-call-my-nameGasoline Cowboy originally came from Christchurch and was made from ex members of previous Canterbury bands Slim and Fuce. The video takes inspiration from the band’s name, and casts singer Jolyon Mulholland as a cowboy, wandering the countryside.

Most of the video is sepiatone, giving it that ye olde wild west feel, but Jolyon is shown in black and white, with a fuzzy watercolour-style filter. He looks like he’s escaped from the magical hand-drawn comic world of A-ha’s “Take On Me” video.

I think the idea is that this is some sort of robot or hologram cowboy. Because after things going in a very ordinary direction (man rides horse), suddenly they get a bit sci-fi. He stops the horse at a petrol station and fills up the horse with quality Europa fuel. But then this raises the question – if the horse runs on gasoline, what’s all the hay doing in the barn? And what happens if you accidentally give the horse unleaded petrol? Will it run wild? This point should actually be covered.

The video feels like someone’s come up with the “Gasoline Cowboy = petrol-powered horse” gag and constructed the entire video around it with nothing much else in the video either side of the gag. So it ends up feeling quite slow and empty.

Best bit: the horse’s elegant side-on pose for the camera.

Director: Richard Bell

Next… colour me prickly.