Salmonella Dub “Problems”

2002-salmonella-dub-problemsI like a good animated video and this one works really well. It’s a good looking video and it tells a story.

We meet the hero of the story waking up in the desert. He’s just survived a plane crash and discovers a briefcase full of money. Not that it will do him much good when he’s alone in a hot, barren landscape.

He thinks he spies a lush, wet oasis, but, yes, it turns out to be a mirage, complete with an ominous skeleton hanging from a dead tree. This sparks off a hallucination where he plays skulls like a glockenspiel, but he comes back to reality and trudges on. It reminds me a bit of the Sola Rosa video for “Don’t Leave Home”, another slightly surreal desert adventure, only it’s from the skeleton’s perspective.

Eventually the traveller comes across a detention camp, so he carefully removes his fake moustache and replaces it with a “summer moustache” which looks exactly the same as the previous one (a winter moustache?).

A tank rumbles past, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the detention camp. Instead he ends up in a place with giant Easter Island-like statues, where upon it rains. The waters rise fast and high, sweeping him away and scattering his money to the tides. Is this the end of our antihero? No, he wakes up on a pleasant beach, being pecked by a pukeko.

The video was directed by James Littlemore and Steve Scott and it looks so good. Many of Salmonella Dub’s videos had a low-budget look to them, like the sort of thing that was quickly filmed in the middle of a tour. But this one feels like a lot of time and effort has gone into it. And as a result, it’s simple, clear and very stylish video.

Best bit: the hallucinated skull solo, where the higher floating skulls make higher notes.

Directors: James Littlemore, Steve Scott
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… f’n oats.

Salmonella Dub “Tha Bromley East Roller”

Salmonella Dub get all cyberpunk with their drum and bass track “Tha Bromley East Roller”. It feels like the offspring of the Headless Chickens “Donde Esta La Pollo” video, a nocturnal meeting of freaky friends.

It’s all set in a car wrecker’s yard, a quick and easy set for a music video. Among all the heaving masses, we find a sinister preacher man, a cyberpunk Tiki Taane and a Maori warrior doing some mau rakau with a taiaha.

The video also features a performer in a metal bikini, shooting sparks off herself with an angle grinder. It’s all feeling a bit like a Lollapalooza sideshow, circa 1992. But, ok, trends take longer to reach New Zealand. Or maybe this takes place in a post-apocalyptic distant future where young women must wear spark-shooting metal bikinis for practical reasons.

For a group like Salmonella Dub that’s all very outdoorsy, these Mad Max styles actually seem like the logical way to depict the group’s adventures in D&B. There’s the drummer bashing out some tribal beats amid scrap metal, and some tight bass next to a flaming column. There we go – it’s organic…ish.

Best bit: the raver extras, recalling their favourite moments at the Gathering.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… squiggles and wiggles.

Salmonella Dub “Push On Thru”

Hey guys, let’s do a road trip! Salmonella Dub – who by this stage had a pretty strong reputation as a sunny, summery kind of group – subvert things by setting their video in a winter wonderland.

We catch up with three of the Dub as they’re cruising along in a Saab convertible in the South Island countryside. From a main road, they’re soon cruising along a gravel road with clusters of snow around the edges, heading towards some snowy mountains.

Tiki’s singing the song as he cruises along past the icy landscape. And I can’t help think that everyone in the video looks freezing. Who drives a convertible in winter? The band are wrapped up with jackets, scarves and gloves, but there’s a real sense of “OMG, it’s freezing!”

The roads get even snowier, with the camera lingering on the whitening landscape like a kid who’s never seen snow before. Eventually the trio arrive at a skifield, where they are met with hugs by the other band members. Then they hit the snow, frollicking in the frozen whiteness.

Actually, this video is playing like an Aotearoa prequal to Wham’s “Last Christmas” video. That video starts with George Michael turning up to a ski resort (sensibly in a nice warm enclosed Land Rover) and also hugging his pals, settling in for some heterosexual ski lodge fun. I’d like to blend these together, with the scraggy Dub posse showing up at the resort to – hugs – join the Europosh Wham crew. And you know they’d all get on like a ski lodge on fire.

Best bit: the awkward hug, caused by an over-eager hugger going in before the hugee had climbed out of the car.

Directors: Nathan Puhoi, Jane Gray
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… nothing but net.

Salmonella Dub “Love Your Ways”

2000-salmonella-dub-love-your-ways“Love Your Ways” looks like a pretty low-budget video. It’s a fairly standard sort of video that’s cobbled together from video of the band performing in various locations. Sometimes they’re at a small club, other times they’re on stage in front of a packed arena at the Big Day Out 2000.

The video also features Tiki Taane in a dark room, with no shirt on, singing the song. And there are other shots of him hanging out, playing his guitar, (standing near my old flat on K Road) and getting a tattoo on his belly.

The footage varies in quality, some looking it was shot with a home video camera, other stuff looking pro. And the editing is a bit messy too, often a rapid-fire series of shots that doesn’t work with the music. It’s directed by Greg Riwai who made the much slicker “Broken Wings” vid for K’Lee, which shows he can work to different budgets.

But that doesn’t actually matter. “Love Your Ways” is a really strong song, and at number 11, it was Salmonella’s highest charting song. It has an uplifting, feelgood vibe so who cares if the video is a bit rough? It probably just reminds people of the happy time they had dancing to to Salmonella Dub.

Best bit: the shot that makes the Sydney metro look like Tokyo.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… shooting and scoring.

Salmonella Dub “Johnny”

1999-salmonella-dub-johnnySalmonella ditch the barbecue and get all film noir with the “Johnny” video. When we meet Johnny, he’s either having a terrible dream or undergoing brainwashing. Either way, the Salmonella Dub eye logo is emblazoned on his chest, and he’s just woken up to find himself at the corporate HQ of Salmonella Dub, Inc.

The band suspiciously eye this dodgy looking fellow who had ended up in their highrise Auckland boardroom. He’s given a package and ends up going to a night club. There he encounters a femme fatale who is all seductive glances and hair. There’s also tense conversations with goons involving guns, the mysterious package and eyebrows.

The femme fatale seduces Johnny. She has a cigarette, but it turns out to be the same variety that the Penguin smoked on Batman. She blows a poisonous gas in his face, knocking him out.

Johnny wakes up and discovered he’s in the back of a convertible, travelling on a scenic bush road. He leaps out of the car, but the goons are soon on his trail. Deep into the bush he runs, eventually coming across a dam. There’s gunfire (crikey!) and Johnny commandeers the abseiling set-up of a nearby DOC worker and sets off down the dam.

There’s a tense 14-second gap where Johnny stands at the edge of the dam. Is he gonna jump? No, he’s going to climb down with the abseiling ropes. The chasing thug pulls at the ropes before strapping himself onto a second rope, chasing after Johnny.

This results in one of the greatest, most ambitious scenes in a New Zealand music video: a choreographed fight between two men on abseiling ropes, halfway down a dam. As far as ridiculous yet awesome cinematic things involving dams, it is second only to the opening scenes of “GoldenEye”.

At the bottom of the dam, the femme fatale awaits, smashing him with her gun. The goons have the package and they reveal it to Johnny. It’s… a snack-size pizza box with the Salmonella Dub logo painted inside it. Wait, what? Someone needs to teach the Dub what a MacGuffin is.

Best bit: the mid-’90s retro Tarantino vibe.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… can you feel the claustrophobia?

Salmonella Dub “For the Love of It”

By 1999 Salmonella had taken a form that would lead them on to many successes. They’d acquired a new singer Tiki Taane, a charismatic, handsome and cool dude to front the less remarkable band. But most importantly, they’d stumbled across their sound, what Wikipedia terms “a unique Pacific style of dub/drum ‘n’ bass/reggae/hip hop and groove-based rock” and what others may unflatteringly call barbecue reggae.

The “For the Love of It” video is like a manifesto of what the new Salmonella Dub is all about. The opening shot in the video is a wide panorama of a pristine lakeside area, empty of people. It’s the way New Zealand has been portrayed in tourism propaganda for over a hundred years.

We soon meet the band as they travel through rural New Zealand, hanging out at the beach and by waterfalls. They finally arrive at their destination – music festival the Gathering. This lets the band engage in the very modern, very manmade act of performing amplified music, but keeping it in a natural setting.

There’s lots of random footage of the Gathering, which is a nice record of that period of the late ’90s. And with that context, it seems obvious why Salmonella Dub would have appealed to a field full of loved-up festival-goers.

But the live performance almost takes a backseat to the footage of the band enjoying the great outdoors. There’s a game of beach cricket, skateboarding, fishing, riding an inner tub in a river and, yes, even a barbecue. “Stripping it back to the roots,” declares Tiki in the lyrics, and that’s exactly what this video it all about.

Occasionally there’ll be a glimpse of the band indoors, recording stuff in dark rooms. But that never lasts for long. This is a sunny, summery video to remind people of the real wicked-as time they had on their holidays.

Best bit: the stilt-walker performance artist at the Gathering.

Director: Rongotai Lomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… eat your greens.

Missing videos from 1998

February 1998

Bike “Take In The Sun”

Bike have the rather Fits-esque sounding “Take In The Sun”. The video was shot on Super 8 film in Mexico.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Coelacanth “Never”

Coelacanth return with “Never”. The Kiwi Hit Disc likened this song to Bailter Space and quoted Tearaway magazine enthusing, “Their music is to die for. We like them very much.”

Lole “Take You Higher”

Another track from Lole. This time she has “Take You Higher”.

Salmonella Dub “Loletta”

Back before Salmonella Dub were the kings of barbecue reggae, they had “Loletta”, an askew jazzy number. From memory, the video was a studio-based black and white job. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform in monochrome while the subject of song is in colour in backstreets”.

Director: David Reid
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1998

Bailter Space “Argonaut”

“Argonaut” is an epic instrumental from Bailter Space.

Director: Alistair Parker
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Barry Saunders “Colour Me Blue (Song For Jas)”

The Kiwi Hit Disc noted that “Colour Me Blue” was a “heartfelt ode” to Barry’s “globetrotting son”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Barry walking on rural road as cyclist passes. Cyclist seen in various rural locations interspersed with Barry singing in one room then another.”

Director: James Cowley
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Started Something”

“Started Something” is another video from the early days of Breathe. The track has an epic film montage sound to it. The Film Archive describes the video as, “Band perform in leaking warehouse/ garage.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Outer Space”

“Outer Space” is an upbeat pop-track, produced by Eddie Rayner. The Split Enz connection continues, with Bryan Bell saying that the song was “‘Loving The Alien‘ meets ‘Poor Boy‘”.

Michelle Rounds “Culture Cross”

Singer Michelle Rounds had the song “Culture Cross”.

Southside of Bombay “Say”

“Say” was produced by Ian Morris (who had previously produced “What the Time Mr Wolf”). The Kiwi Hit Disc quoted band member Kevin Hodges saying that the love song, “just felt like a good summer single”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1998

Freaker “All Alone”

“All Alone” was the second of Freaker’s two funded videos. An album was planned but it didn’t get released due to the closure of record label Deepgrooves, so it’s likely this meant the “All Alone” video wasn’t made either.

New Loungehead “Ike Just Do It”

New Loungehead subvert a corporate slogan with “Ike Just Do It”, from their album Came a Weird Way. New Loungehead were another act signed to Deepgrooves.

Pause “Jana”

Pause’s second funded song is “Jana”. Dub Dot Dash has more about Pause and their never-released album. Pause were also signed to Deepgrooves.

August 1998

Ma-V-Elle “Love Is”

Vocal trio Ma-V-Elle were back with “Love Is”, the soulful closing track from their debut album.

Mary “Bigger”

Girl band Mary have the track “Bigger”. Nga Taonga offers this rather comprehensive description of the video: “A woman sits at night in a green corner diner/coffee bar with large windows (which recalls the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks at the Diner”). A car approaches with the guitarist in the back seat. Mary perform “Bigger” on a TV screen in the diner. The car stops for the singer/ guitarist.”

Director: Peter Bannan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

NV “Don’t Make Me Wait”

Wellington trio NV have “Don’t Make Me Wait”, described by the Herald as having a “bitter brand of bubblegum”. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Woman sings on roadside with warehouse, pedestrians and traffic – and later rioters – behind her.”

Directors: Wayne Conway, Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist “Superkool”

Named after the last Dutch governor of New York and/or an international cigarette brand, the Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their entertaining loungey grooves. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Four office workers in a pub sing karaoke to the Peter Stuyvesant Hit List’s “Superkool”. The Peter Stuyvesant Hit List are seen performing on the karaoke screen.” Ah, the old “music video as karaoke track” treatment.

Director: Carla Rotondo
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sina “Boy”

Another solo track from Sina. “Boy” was from the soundtrack of “Once Were Warriors” sequel “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”, but was never actually released as a single.

Stereo Bus “Hey Thank You”

The Stereo Bus have the rather cheerful “Hey Thank You”, sounding like The Cure on a happy day.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1998

Bailter Space “Big Cat”

“Big Cat” was the penultimate video that Bailter Space had funded in the ’90s, before returning with “World We Share” in 2012.

Leza Corban “Comfort & Joy”

Debbie Harwood put her coordination skills to good use with the album “Angels”, featuring New Zealand singers (Hammond Gamble, Rikki Morris, Mika) and TV personalities (Willy de Witt, Leanne Malcolm and Nick-bloody-Eynon) covering classic Christmas songs. Leza Corban, who had previously sung with Strawpeople, had the first single “Comfort & Joy”.

December 1998

Brett Sawyer “She Came Along”

The video for Brett Sawyer’s song “She Came Along” was filmed at St Leo’s school hall in Devonport.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Eye TV “Doo Song”

Eye TV have the comedically named “The Doo Song”. The Kiwihits entry notes it was rerecorded and released in 2000, and the database note that the funding was changed to the “Doo Song” from their song “Ditch Witch”.

NV “Unlikely”

“Classy come-down band” NV have the single “Unlikely”, which was a nominee for Best Video in the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards. Nga Taonga describes the videos as, “Singer in Queensland lakes setting and on jetty”, by which I think they mean Queenstown.

Directors: Wayne Conway, Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Paua Fritters “Her Story”

Paua Fritters are (were? I think they’re still together) an acoustic folk-pop group with busking roots. “Her Story” was a finalist in the 1998 APRA Silver Scroll awards.

Pause “Kronos”

“Kronos” is another track from Deepgrooves artist Pause.


In the world of non-NZOA-funded videos, 1998 saw Neil Finn contending with a 50-foot woman in the video for “She Will Have Her Way”. Neil is expertly integrated with footage from films “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock”, making him the beau of the towering heroine, a height pairing reminiscent of the golden days of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision