October 2008: Cairo Knife Fight, Cobra Khan, Collapsing Cities, Dave Dobbyn, Devolo, J Williams

Nature vs wallpaper, bloody lovers, Uncle Dave’s musical adventure, when shyness stops you from doing all the things in live you’d like to, and a solo dance.

Continue reading October 2008: Cairo Knife Fight, Cobra Khan, Collapsing Cities, Dave Dobbyn, Devolo, J Williams

August 2008: J Williams, Jonny Love, Kingston, Ladi6, Luke Thompson, Nesian Mystik, P-Money

Some dancing, general chaos, four times the fun, a glamorous silhouette, shooting in the woods, sweetness and strength, and piggybacking.

Continue reading August 2008: J Williams, Jonny Love, Kingston, Ladi6, Luke Thompson, Nesian Mystik, P-Money

June 2006: Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Hinewehi Mohi & Joel Haines, Ill Semantics, Katchafire

’06 Bonnie and Clyde, Greg’s Americana, angry graffiti, and the children (who are the future).
Continue reading June 2006: Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Hinewehi Mohi & Joel Haines, Ill Semantics, Katchafire

Baitercell & Schumacher feat. Flow On Show and Niki Ahu “Gimme”

2005-baitercell-and-schumacher-gimmeWhile previous Baitercell & Schumacher songs have used guest vocals, the videos never seem to feature the singers, instead relying on sci-fi worlds created by computer graphics. Things are very different in the “Gimme” video.

The video is set in reality and stars guest vocalists Niki Ahu and Flow on Show. And who needs a grainy CGI landscape when you have the old abandoned, graffiti-covered stands of Carlaw Park?

The performers are joined by two groups of dudes – one in white, the other in black. Things seem tense, but before it erupts into a Stanley Street version of West Side Story, everyone comes together to unite in dance. Wearing both black and white together (monochrome – so 2013) everyone enjoys some fresh B-boy moves.

The CGI worlds of Baitercell & Schumacher’s earlier videos are fine, but there’s just something that much more captivating about real people, singing and dancing in a music video. Let that be a cautionary tale for any bands thinking of making an animated video.

Best bit: the concrete block that seems to have magical powers.

Other thing: the lyrics name-check Kanye West’s debut single, “Through the Wire”, only a couple of years old.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… an educational film.

Savage “Swing”

2004-savage-swing“Swing” is the dancefloor gift that just keeps on giving. Savage’s first solo single was released in 2005, but he enjoyed American success in 2008 thanks to a remixed version of “Swing” featuring Soulja Boy. Then in 2013 “Swing” topped the Australian charts via an EDM remix by producer Joel Fletcher.

But back in 2005 it was a mini Savage in a laundrette surrounded by a bunch of ladies in hot pants putting a lot of effort into their weekly washing. This video surely took some inspiration from the iconic 1985 Levi’s commercial, featuring some very DIY stonewash jeans.

At the time this video came out, I wrote a review of it for NZmusic.com declaring it was terribly terribly sexist because of all the girls in hot pants and excessive booty shaking. The director, Sophie Findlay, wrote me a really nice email saying she was “definitely going more for sexy”, and that because it was a booty song “the record company are going to insist on girls, but I did my best to create a situation in the video where they were being revered by Savage, and in control.”

And now I pretty much agree with her. As part of the 5000 Ways experience, I have seen far worse. “Swing” lets the laundry girls be characters, not just anonymous dancers or body parts. And when you compare it to the video of a contemporary booty song like “Wiggle” by Mr Derulo, “Swing” seems a lot more innocent and female focused.

The laundry setting takes two forms. There’s the bright pastel world of honey-I-shrunk-the-Savage and the laundry ladies. Then there’s a darker version with full-size Savage, his Deceptikonz pals and the washer women, all grinding on it like it’s a night club. This sort of stuff never happened at the Wash Inn in Mt Eden.

A twist of sorts comes at the end of the video when it’s revealed that it was all a dream – Savage had fallen asleep while waiting for his laundry. And he’d been cuddling a flagon of moonshine as he slept – an uncomfortable way of promoting his next single and/or debut album.

The curious thing is, the song didn’t rely on this video for its 2008 or 2013 revivals. In 2008 it was part of the Knocked Up soundtrack, and in 2013 a new video was used featuring some people having a house party. But you know what? Seth Rogen doing daggy dancing or some Australians partying in an abandoned house just aren’t having as much fun as Savage was down at his local laundry.

Best bit: Mareko’s perfect 1960s flip hairdo.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… lack of words.

Adeaze “A Life with You”

2003-adeaze-a-life-with-youAlong come brothers Nainz and Viiz, who make up the R&B duo Adeaze, following in the footstepz of Split Enz, Nine Livez and Rockquest winnerz Dancing Azians.

“A Life with You” is a smooth jam, a heartfelt apology to a mistreated lover. So with a song like that, the video needs something with a bit of a story involving the sad-faced lover.

Nainz and Viiz are left to sing the song in a recording studio, but it’s the studio producer who becomes a player in the story of love and deception. After a busy day in sliding knobs in the studio, the producer returns home and sees a photo of his girlfriend. He thinks back and thinks back to his marriage proposal (with his girlfriend kneeling before him, in tears).

This doesn’t make him happy, and he writes a note, packs a bag and leaves. The girlfriend comes home, reads and letter and shrugs. Oh, snap! Despite the male voice of the song, it turns out she’s the cheating cheater and he’s the the one getting out of the crappy relationship.

Back at the studio, Adeaze invite him out for some sort of post-recording celebrations, but he declines. He’s probably going to spend the night sleeping on the control room floor.

That’s not quite an M Night Shyamalan level of twist, but it’s still highly entertaining. It works with the laidback groove of the song. And it’s a good introduction to the smooth world of Adeaze.

Best bit: in the studio, the producer mouths “wow” at Adeaze.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… running down a hill.

Mareko feat. The Deceptikonz “Stop, Drop & Roll”

2003-mareko-stop-drop-and-rollThe phenomenon of “Mareko feat. The Deceptikonz” was like when the Supremes became Diana Ross and the Supremes or Miami Sound Machine became Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Except in this case, Mareko isn’t the star – he doesn’t even show up until halfway through the song. Instead it’s Savage who gets the impossibly catchy hook, making it very much Savage feat. the Deceptikonz.

The fire-safety catchphrase of the chorus is turned into a military command for the video – which would be a whole lot easier than shooting people with flaming clothes. It’s filmed at what looks like actual military barracks, complete with the New Zealand flag flying.

The video opens with Mareko broadcasting over the camp’s PA, with his personality flipping between Robin William’s cheerful Good Morning, Vietnam DJ, and R Lee Ermey’s draconian drill sergeant of Full Metal Jacket.

The action alternates between the day and night. In the AM, drill sergeant Savage keeps the troops in line. There are outdoor exercises, head shaving, bunk inspection and some attempts at formation dancing. While at night, the troop’s barracks have been transformed into a party zone, with dancing girls wearing sexy camo. (This is actually what happened with Work & Income’s Limited Service Volunteer programme under Labour.) There’s also a bit of jungle action, where waterguns take the place of serious weaponry.

By the way, this song has one of the greatest lines in New Zealand hip hop, where Devolo tells all opponents to bring it on, adding, “I’ll pay for your minibus!” Yeah, that’s serious.

This is a really fun video, playing along with the cheeky spirit of the song. After the previous branding-intense video for “Mareko (Here to Stay)”, it’s very refreshing to just have the Deceptikonz being these cool dude MCs.

Best bit: the lack of discipline during the bunk room inspection. Eyes front!

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision “dirty” version and “clean” version

Next… a menace II society.

Ill Semantics “Highway”

2003-ill-semantics-highwayThis song reminds me of the golden days of M2, TVNZ’s after-hours weekend music video show. Back when a premiere of a local video would be treated as a grand royal event. And it’s helps when it’s a really cool, fun video like “Highway”.

The video opens on a sunny day at a remote train station. DJ CXL finds himself taunted by a ukulele-playing kid. “He wants to battle you, bro!” CXL ignores the kid and heads off along the train tracks on foot, but the kid follows.

It seems CXL is trying to get to a house party that Nemesis is holding at a state house in Orakei. The kid jumps a passing boxcar (in a slow speed but nonetheless impressive stunt), leaving CXL along with the kid’s ukulele.

Meanwhile, Patriarch takes the much easier route – he’s driving, with a small child in the passenger seat and eventually picks up an exhausted CXL. Finally the trio are reunited and the party takes off, complete with the Fat Albert “nah nah nah” referencing middle-eight, only to have Savage accidentally cut the power. Oh, Savage! Then it’s time for the turntable-ukulele duel, and the party goes on into the night.

“Highway” was released as a double A-side with “Watching You”, which also had a music video directed by Sophie Findlay. Both videos are ambitious and have a fun sense of style an theatricality – and not every group can pull off something like this.

Best bit: the ukulele kid, equal parts creepy and cute.

Note: the video was on YouTube, but it’s since been taken down. Here it is via a random video site.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a double up.

Ill Semantics feat. Betty-Anne “Watching You”

2002-ill-semantics-watching-youPart of the Dawn Raid family, Ill Semantics were a hip hop trio who had some pretty good singles. “Watching You” was based around a sample of Ardijah’s 1988 single “Watchin’ U”. (It tickles me that Ill Semantics ironed out the Princely spelling for the remake.)

The Ill Semantics video seems to take a little inspiration from Ardijah’s original, which saw the band playing in a smoky bar. But director Sophie Findlay take things further into a film noir world, with celeb cameos galore.

The video starts with a femme fatale (played by K’Lee!) hiring a private investigator Patriarch to find something in a safety deposit box. At the club, the detective’s partner, Nemesis, is on the case, as Betty-Anne is introduced on stage by Oscar Kightley.

And there begins a world of sideways glances, gunshots, fainting, car chases, tussles, snogs, and an undercover cop played by Robbie Magasiva.

In the end, K’Lee is arrested, Nemesis goes home with the hot cop leaving bar man DJ CXL and detective Patriarch at the bar. It’s way too much of a happy ending to make a satisfying ending, but for a music video, it’s ok.

Best bit: the role of the safety deposit box is played by a post office box.

Note: The video was on YouTube, but it’s since been taken down. But I’ve found it on this random other site.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… vintage telephony.