June 2009: Salmonella Dub, Sarah Brown, Solstate, The Checks, The Earlybirds, Trei

Down at the hall, a mild winter, cats eyes, dramatic silhouettes, coloured dots, and a ghostly wander around Wellington.

Salmonella Dub “Freak Local”

Salmonella Dub celebrate their position as the elders of New Zealand’s dub scene by going back to their roots in the ’90s. The “Freak Local” video is loaded with cheesy green-screen effects, pasting the band into a town hall, but in ways that they don’t quite match up with the expected perspective. Going with the “freaky” theme of the song, the video is full of the band hamming to the camera and more ’90s style digital distortion effects. It’s very likely that this video wasn’t made with NZOA funding, which would help explain its low budget style. This either makes it their 17th or 18th funded video, either way, it was their last.

Sarah Brown “Winter With You”

“Winter With You” is a romantic soul-inspired tune that’s all about having someone to cuddle up with on cold winter nights. The video combines footage of Sarah Brown in a studio (sometimes with her band) and footage of European cities, sometimes Sarah in a European city. But the song is very much about a New Zealand winter, where the weather is mild enough that the lyrical suggestion “meet me on the hilltop beside the old lighthouse” isn’t an invitation for hypothermia.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Solstate “Rise” – missing

I can’t find any evidence that a video for “Rise” was ever made, yet it’s there on the completed list. Either way, it was the final lot of video funding that Solstate had.

The Checks “Ballroom Baby”

The Checks barely feature in the “Ballroom Baby” video. Ed is there, covered in a dark, muddy substance, but the rest of the video is given over to footage of random other people. A running theme of the video is eyes, so there are the eyes of the random people covered with black bars or pixelations, and then the eyes and mouth of the Checks appear superimposed over animals. It’s a pleasantly arty video, but it feels like the Checks have chosen to take a backseat and not be visually present as a band.

Director: Ben Rood

The Earlybirds “Runaway”

The Earlybirds show up looking like The Strokes but with a broader, cleaner more pop-oriented sound. The video puts them in a dark cinema, surrounded with shadows and moody lighting and plenty of opportunities for dramatic silhouettes. There’s not much else to it, but they bring a lot of confidence to the video, more than some experienced bands manage.

Director: Adam Jones
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Earlybirds “I Killed the DJ”

Two Earlybirds songs in one funding round! In this case “Runaway” was music video funding, while “I Killed the DJ” was New Recordings funding, which involved funding for both recording the song and making a music video. The funky “I Killed the DJ” is alluding to radio disc jockeys, not club DJs. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the song is about, and seems like a sequel/tribute to the Smiths’ “Panic”. The video puts the band in front of a wall of coloured dots. They’re joined by dancers and random other musicians. It looks good and doesn’t feel terribly low budget. And, as always, the Earlybirds sell it with their engaging performance.

Director: Adam Jones

Trei featuring Thomas Oliver “Lead Me On”

Drum n bass producer Trei enlists Thomas Oliver on vocals for “Lead Me On”. Thomas spends much of the video wandering around Te Aro in Wellington, haunted by ghostly form of a woman who is leading him all over Cuba Street and the waterfront. He then takes a train to Castlepoint (oh really?) and has a dramatic experience under the lighthouse, all thanks to the ghostly lady.

Director: Art Thou Productions

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