Tokyo is an amazing city and it can look brilliant in music videos. For example – “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys, and “Just Can’t Get Enough” by the Black Eyed Peas both take the city and do their own thing with it.
But there’s also the genre of the low-budget Tokyo video shot by a New Zealand band who wants to make the most of their Japanese visit by shooting a music video shoot at the same time. This is one of those videos. It’s like a wide-eyed New Zealander bewildered by the big busy train stations and the streets that are full of Japanese people. (When people shoot videos at Britomart station in Auckland, it’s never about the trains or the masses of commuters.)
The Fanatics do make an appearance in the video, busking their cover of the Snapper song around Shinjuku. It’s a stark contrast to their mysterious, shadowy appearances in the Fanatics previous videos for “Models” and “TV”. Suddenly here are two quite ordinary New Zealand musicians busking in Tokyo.
But the one big saving grace of this video is the ghostly animation. Some ghoulish white shapes fly around, smooshing the faces of unsuspecting commuters. It’s taking the run-of-the-mill Tokyo music video footage and doing something a bit interesting with it. Nice.
Best bit: The Fanatics “Buddy” karaoke screen, for singalong fun!
Like the Fanatics’ earlier song “Models”, “TV” is another catchy electronic song with simple, repetitive lyrics. The video takes its inspiration from the titular home appliance and puts the Fanatics in a dark, shadowy world, surrounded by animated circuit diagrams and creepy stop-motion insects.
The band are found performing in an anechoic chamber, which I assume is the one at Auckland University. An anechoic chamber is basically a chamber of silence, used for acoustic testing. It’s a room with all surfaces covered with foam wedges. About a metre above the floor there’s a wire mesh to stand on. It’s so incredibly quiet in there that you can hear your own heart beat. And they say if you spend too long in there you start hallucinating and go crazy.
It also has a vaguely sinister look and feel to it, which perfectly suits the vibe of the video. And of course the only other organic creature is the super creepy spiders. If it’s not the enslaving technology, it’s the spiders that’ll come for you. Yeah, it’s a metaphor for television.
Best bit: the bouncy mesh floor of the chamber being put to good rock use.
This electro-gothic song is probably best known as the theme tune for New Zealand’s Next Top Model, what with the repeated lyrics being simply “Give me models! Give me money!”.
The video, by award-winning director Mark Albiston, forgets about the money and puts the emphasis on the models. But this is not the world of smizing. Things are much more sinister here.
In a dark, shadowy factory, a truckload of models have been dropped off. They’re all identically dressed, all walking in unison. They almost seem like aliens and it’s a reminder that, like elite athletes, professional models are where they are partly because of freakish physical characteristics.
Because the song is largely instrumental, the video wisely doesn’t dwell on the band for too long. We get few glimpses of the duo energetically playing the song in a dark room, which just adds to the overall intrigue of the video.
Things get weirder and creepier and Frankensteinier, with the models moving through a production line and end up being dropped in model-size preserving jars, with one sold to a little girl who has the exact same hair and makeup of her catwalk cousins.
The video is ridiculously good looking. Every shot is fabulous. It obviously cost more than $5000, but it’s a reminder of the sort of cool shit that can be achieved in New Zealand.
Best bit: 0:52, the models come walking down the hallway. Fierce.