October 2008: Solstate, The Black Seeds, The Mint Chicks, The Tutts, Upper Hutt Posse

A caring world, the case of the disappearing seeds, owl vs robot, the power of the green screen and warrior spirit.

Continue reading October 2008: Solstate, The Black Seeds, The Mint Chicks, The Tutts, Upper Hutt Posse

Upper Hutt Posse “As the Blind See”

1995-upper-hutt-posse-as-the-blind-seeUpper Hutt Posse turn with another protest song, this time wrapped up in a cool soul groove with an equally cool video. Directed by Rongotai Lomas, the video is shot in high-contrast black and white, emphasing the Posse’s talent as musicians in a recording studio. Dean Hapeta raps as he’s seated at a grand piano, and Emma Paki turns up about halfway through the song to add her sweet, strong vocals to the chorus.

But there’s life outside the safe bubble of the studio, and indeed it wouldn’t be an Upper Hutt Posse video without examples of the things that make the Posse angry. There’s a moody stroll past Mt Eden Prison; a visit to One Tree Hill’s summit, the damaged tree supported by guy ropes; and Dean takes a tense walk past a line of police officers still wearing the old custodian helmet style of hats.

Both the song and the video have a strong message, but unlike earlier Upper Hutt Posse videos that have been packed with symbols, this video has a more minimalist style. By keeping the visuals simple, the music and its message are the stars.

Best bit: Dean’s slow turn to the camera at 3:11, which seems to include a sigh.

Director: Rongotai Lomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Upper Hutt Posse “Dread On A Mission”

1996-upper-hutt-posse-dread-on-a-mission“Babylon, stop your murdering!” Upper Hutt Posse are dreads on a mission with this politically charged reggae number. The video is directed by Chris Graham and it visits a number of landmarks including Parliament, Wellington railway station and with an axe on One Tree Hill (ha!). But there are also scenes on a beach, in the bush and at a marae.

They seem most staunch and at easy when they’re in the rural or coastal areas, far away from Babylon (i.e. the police, court system, government). But if the Posse are in the middle of the big bad city, rapping outside the Auckland District Court, they still hold their own.

There’s a confrontation at a train station. A dreadlocked guy bumps into a crowd of skinheads who aren’t happy. He’s outnumbered, but he stands strong and we catch glimpses of the invisible posse behind him. The skinheads beat it. Upper Hutt Posse has a posse.

Best bit: the shirtless MC bothering a man in a suit outside the District Court.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… baby, baby, baby, oh?

Missing videos from 1995

February 1995

D’bre “Let Me Know”

The band formerly known as Bush Beat return with a second song, “Let Me Know”. The track featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Not Ready”

“Not Ready” is the first Dead Flowers video to be missing. The song was a track from their 1994 album Sweetfish.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Greg Johnson Set “You Stay out of Your Life”

From what I can remember of it, the “You Stay out of Your Life” video involved Greg Johnson and Boh Runga zipping around on scooters (probably shot using green screen).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pumpkinhead “Third Eye”

More business from Christchurch grunge unit Pumpkinhead. With a song called “Third Eye”, I would be extremely disappointed if the video didn’t include low-tech animated third eyes. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Pumpkinhead perform “Third Eye” in a yellow lunar setting and in a pub.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ruia “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”

Ruia Aperahama, the frontman for Southside of Bombay, had the solo track “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”.

Film Archive

Southside of Bombay “Umbadada”

Spurred on by popularity from the “Once Were Warriors” soundtrack, Southside of Bombay make a house record, with the highly danceable “Umbadada”. But Southside haven’t lost track of their reggae roots – the song has a message of unity and living forever.

Director: Regan Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Feelers “The Leaving”

In 1995 the Feelers won the prestigious South Island Battle of the Bands competition. Part of the prize included a single and music video released through Wildside. That song in question was “The Leaving”, with the music video directed by James and Matthew of the Feelers and camera by future Feelers music video director David Reid. The song obviously didn’t have the impact of later single “Pressure Man”, but it was included as a track on the band’s debut album.

Directors: James Reid, Matthew Thomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1995

The Tufnels “Pettibone”

“Pettibone” is the second single from the Tufnels, the greatest pop band in New Zealand that no one’s ever heard of.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1995

Andrew Fagan “Empty”

Andrew Fagan’s last NZ On Air-funded track was “Empty”, before branching out into the power combo of broadcasting and poetry.

Funhouse “I Don’t Mind”

Curiously enough, there’s an Italian punk band from the ’80s called Funhouse who also have a song called “I Don’t Mind”. It’s far removed the namesake “sweet ballad” of the New Zealand Funhouse.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jordan Reyne “Pandora’s Box”

“Pandora’s Box” was another song of Jordan Reyne’s 1998 album Birds of Prey. I have a suspicion that a video for this song not might not actually have been made.

Nothing At All! “Super Bullet”

Nothing At All! was the old band of Dion from the D4. “Super Bullet” was a tight 2:14 atomic bomb of a song that would have been a massive hit had it been released seven years later.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Motion”

The video for “Motion” isn’t online, but there’s another track from Sulata’s debut EP “Never”. It’s “Always”, and the video seems to largely comprise of extra footage of the rap bit from her earlier “Never” video. Intriguingly, the Deepgrooves YouTube account has a video clip for “Motion” but it’s not playable.

The Tufnels “Beautiful Ride”

The Tufnels’ last stab at pop immortality was “Beautiful Ride”. I think it was an extra track added to a revamped version of their “Lurid” album, once they’d signed to a major label. So long, Tufnels.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Urban Disturbance “Figure This Kids”

More coolness from Urban Disturbance. “Figure This Kids” has echoes of what was to become the more laid-back sound of Zane Lowe’s next music project, Breaks Co-op.

August 1995

3 The Hard Way “B All Right”

For their second album, 3 The Hard Way were going for a more mellow sound. “B All Right” has a bit of the Death Row Sound, and continues the 3 The Hard Way theme of mythologising their childhoods.

Barry Saunders “Little Times”

The Warratahs frontman has a solo song called “Little Times”, a bluesy ode to the opposite of the big time.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ermehn “Nuttin’ Personal”

Another of Ermehn’s early tracks is “Nuttin Personal”, which is strangely ungooglable. It could be a case where the song or song title was changed at some point.

Grace “Heart Of Stone”

“Heart of Stone” is a souly pop track. Instead of the video, here’s the brothers Ioasa talking about the inspiration behind their music from a 1995 episode of Frenzy.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Nobody”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey delivers a miserable but bangin’ dance number, “Nobody”.

Jordan Reyne “Millstones”

Jordan Reyne delivers a sweet guitar track with “Millstones”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Find Yourself”

“Find Yourself” is a great song that shows off Sulata’s rich voice. I think this might be a video that wasn’t actually made, with the funding possibly transferred to another song.

Upper Hutt Posse “Can’t Get Away”

Upper Hutt Posse have “Can’t Get Away”. Here’s the group performing the song live on What Now.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Wonderkind “Destiny Change”

Wonderkind have “Destiny Change”, an upbeat dance song about a teen prostitute. There was a lot of that in the ’90s – upbeat dance music about really depressing social issues.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1995

Bailter Space “Retro”

The “Retro” video was briefly available to purchase on the iTunes store, but it’s since been removed. Like a lot of Bailter Space videos, I suspect this video is being kept offline by an overprotective algorithm. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Bailterspace perform “Retro” in arid rural location. They are observed from an alien spaceship – which lands and an astronaut emerges. (The animated astronaut is as pictured on records covers of their earlier incarnation, The Gordons.)”

In 2002 I wrote this about the “Retro” video:

It’s Bailterspace in space! Well, they’re doing the Star Trek trick of picking a desert location, banging a coloured filter on the camera and entrusting the rest to the audience’s imaginations. Meanwhile, some old-school computer animated aliens are flying their old-school computer animated spacecraft around and spying on Bailterspace. It’s has great potential to be cheesy, but somehow Bailterspace’s seriousness manage to overcome that. It works, but only just.

Directors: Rongotai Lomas, Tracey Tawhaio
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “So Low”

“So Low” was a track off Dead Flowers’ third album. By this stage they were ruling the school, even opening on Pearl Jam’s NZ tour.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Too Late”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey has another single, “Too Late”. “Jacqui Keelan Davey has a voice that gabs you by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go,” enthused the Waikato Times.

Mara “Message At The Bottom”

Mara Finau – best known as co-lead singer of The Holidaymakers – went solo with a cover of Chaka Khan’s “Message At The Bottom”.

Ngaire “The Way I Feel About You”

Ngaire returned to the pop charts with “The Way I Feel About You”, which spent one ever-so-brief week at number 42.

Director: Tim Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Back To Hong Kong”

“Back To Hong Kong” was another track from Sulata’s “Kia Koe” album. And this is another case where the video may not have been made or the funding given to another track.

Ted Brown and the Italians “Battle Inside”

“Battle Inside” was a track from Ted Brown’s album Shaky’s Blessing.

December 1995

CMB Swing “Your Love Is All I Need”

CMB Swing were a five-piece group (four vocalists and one percussionist). And were they named after the Cash Money Brothers from 1991 film “New Jack City”?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Watching Me Drown”

Another track from Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey, this time with “Watching Me Drown”.

Maree Sheehan “Might As Well Shout”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described “Might As Well Shout” as a “fast-paced, catchy dancefloor number”. It features backing vocals from expats Mark Williams and Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.

Papa “For What It’s Worth”

This is pretty much impossible to Google (it’s not a unique song title). I don’t know who Papa was, but it might be related to the record label, Papa Pacific.


Meanwhile in the world of non-NZOA-funded videos we find “Manic (Is a State of Mind)”, the first music single from Jan Hellriegel’s second album. Filmed in Sydney, it takes place in a gloriously garishly painted art deco house (not a visual effect, the YouTube description notes!), and features a very sinister looking cafe fridge.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Upper Hutt Posse “Stormy Weather”

1991-upper-hutt-posse-stormy-weatherLet’s go back to April 1991, the very first NZ On Air music video funding round. When I started 5000 Ways, I could only find two of the three videos in this found. But it turns out that four days after I posted the entry saying the “Stormy Weather” video wasn’t online, it was uploaded to YouTube by its director, Upper Hutt Posse frontman Dean Hapeta. Nice one!

“Stormy Weather” starts provocatively with footage of riot police, which I’m guessing was from the Springbok Tour protests. We discover D Word is watching this on his TV. It affects him deeply, prompting him to pick up a Sharpie and notepad and make a list of the troubles of the world.

The video is made with a green screen, with members of the Posse performing against scenes of global strife. Nuclear bombs, Bastion Point, troubles in the Middle East, the KKK, bombs over Baghdad – these are a few of my least favourite things.

But despite all this strong imagery, the song itself is laid back, with the ever-popular “Funky Drummer” drum loop and a particularly smooth chorus courtesy of Teremoana Rapley’s silky vocals. And it’s just as well. With lyrics like “I got a real strong fear, you know, that things will only get worse”, there needs to be a little sweetness.

Despite the international influences in the song, it’s a very New Zealand video and it seems a perfect choice for being one of the first three videos to receive NZ On Air funding.

Best bit: the really nice handwriting on the list of troubles

Director: Dean Hapeta
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Upper Hutt Posse “Ragga Girl”

Girls of the world, do you love the ragga? Upper Hutt Posse like girls who like the ragga and have gone on a musical mission to inform the world of this.

The video takes part at an impromptu performance by la Posse down a graffiti-covered alley. The MC and his trio of backup singers have attracted a substantial audience of ragga-loving girls. There’s a lot dancing. The ragga girls are really digging it.

The camera work is based around a ton of crash zooms, which gives the video a hand-held, “Breaking the Waves” feel. Take that, Lars von Trier – Upper Hutt Posse did it first.

My favourite part of the song is when Teremoana sings that ragga “make me feel so irie”, except the way she sings it sounds like “make me feel so irate”.

I wish Upper Hutt was really like this. Instead of the half-tenanted mall and lunch bars with white bread sandwiches in plastic compartments, instead you could wander down a dark alleyway and come across a crowd of cheerful, smiling people, getting down to rap group, the world alive with music.

Best bit: the woman wearing a gold flat-top hat with giant black polka dots on it.

Director: Dean Hapeta
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a look back at Pat and his sister’s old group.