February 2009: J Williams, Kidz In Space, Lawrence Arabia, Luger Boa, Midnight Youth, Mumsdollar

A rainy night in Kingsland, eight-bit space adventures, a swingin’ good time, black on the outside, purposeful Manhattan, and one last gig.

J Williams “Ghetto Flower”

I was going to accuse this video of having a product placement shot of a BlackBerry, but there’s also an iPod Nano, and it doesn’t seem like proper product placement videos. “Ghetto Flower” sees J Williams sitting in a Kingsland restaurant on a rainy night, having a coffee and singing about his bae, an “educated sister and she’s streetwise just like a pro”. The woman in question shows up at the end of the film, and despite the song big-upping her to be some sort of superhero, she’s just an ordinary looking lady. I can’t help wonder if the video would have been better off just alluding to the ghetto flower but never actually showing her face.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Kidz In Space “Downtime”

Kidz in Space fused pop, hip hop and electronica — which is exactly the direction pop, hip hop and electronica were moving in. The “Downtime” video follows three astronauts exploring a strange planet, played by Aotearoa’s volcanic landscape. The video is packed full of CGI effects, and a dramatic climax where the explorers find an Egyptian needle, touch it and turn into eight-bit video game characters. Of course. Also, I found a bio of Kidz in Space that was full of a self-created spacey mythology (reader, it used the term “earthlings”), so this video seems a perfect part of that world.

Director: Tim van Dammen
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Lawrence Arabia “Apple Pie Bed”

“Apple Pie Bed” won the Silver Scroll in 2009, and as sweet as the song sounds, the video adds an enjoyably weird dimension. Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) is hosting a swingers’ party, in a very ordinary mid-century New Zealand house. It’s full of people with ordinary bodies – saggy, jiggly, and all up for a good time. At several points, Lawrence is surrounded by undie-clad men, and it’s surprising not at all sexual or sinister – just some dudes having a swingin’ good time. And who isn’t impressed by someone who can lick their own manboob?

Director: Luke Savage

Luger Boa “I Wanna Girlfriend”

The sexual longing of the verses (“I need a lover so I can heat it up!”) comes undone when the chorus hits with its simple line, “I wanna girlfriend”, sounding like a 37-year-old who hasn’t had much luck with Tinder. Anyway. The video is set in a dark bar. As members of Luger Boa check out the laydeez, their eyes turn black, like the guitarist from Limp Bizkit (yeah, click that link) who wore those novelty contact lenses. It’s a very good looking video, and if you’re wondering why it’s so black, director Tim van Dammen explains in this interview.

Director: Tim van Dammen

Midnight Youth “Learning to Fall”

This has to be the first funded video shot in New York that isn’t all “Look! We’re in New York!” full of amateur footage of the artist on the subway or or standing outside a brownstone. Instead it follows lead singer Jeremy (inexplicably dressed like a civil servant from the 1950s) as he walks through the city, eventually joining the band for a rooftop jam. There is a tiny bit of location show-off, but the video has structure and is nicely shot.

Director: Guy Quinlan
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Mumsdollar “Catch Me If You Can”

This is the last of Mumsdollar’s four funded music videos, and in that four year period, they have gone from boys to men, all the while delivering their punk-pop styles. “Catch Me If You Can” captures the band at a live gig. It’s the real thing because — and this is totally adorable — the band are all wearing earplugs! It also feels authentic because the audience is largely guys, with a few conspicuous shots of girls edited in to make it not feel like a total sausage fest. The band broke up at the end of 2009, but reunited for a one-off show at Parachute in 2013.

Director: Ivan Slavov

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