3 The Hard Way “Many Rivers”

“Many Rivers” takes its chorus and inspiration from the Jimmy Cliff classic, “Many Rivers to Cross”. It’s full of contemporary hip hop beats with extra vocals provided by Sulata and Cherie. The video funding was granted before their massive hit debut single “Hip Hop Holiday”, so presumedly someone once thought this was the strongest song.

The video sees the three lads of 3 The Hard Way go to the beach, but it ain’t no sunny seaside moment. No, it’s the rugged west coast beach at Piha with Lion Rock towering in the background as the trio hang out on the empty beach.

Sometimes the beachside setting feels like it’s getting uncomfortably close to a literal depiction of the lyrics, but there’s still that feeling of unease that comes from such a wild beach. Here are three dudes decked out in fresh urban threads, alone in the wilderness. (Given they’re all wearing long sleeves and that the beach is deserted, I’d guess this was filmed on a chilly winter’s day.)

Sulata shows up for the chorus but she’s in Devonport with an evening cityscape of Auckland looking all sexy in the background. Things seem to be far more uplifting for her in the city, and sometimes she’s joined by the boys.

We also see the trio in their natural habitat – wandering K Road at night. It’s like a roll call of dearly departed K Road retail establishments – Deka, Rendalls, Modern Bags and there was even once a Hannahs.

But the video always comes back to the beach, finally leaving us with the trio as they wander off to metaphorically cross the many rivers.

Best bit: Deka, K Road – a good place for pick ‘n’ mix.

Director: Clinton Phillips
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… everybody have fun!

Fuemana “Rocket Love”

Funded in 1992 but not released until 1994, “Rocket Love” was a cover of a Stevie Wonder track and the first NZOA-funded video for Fuemana. Phil and sister Christina supply smooth-as vocals, along with a contribution from Matty J.

The video is based around the 1994 short film Funny Little Guy, a kitschy, romantic tale of a woman’s love for an alien. But sometimes it’s an awkward mix, with the beautifully photographed scenes from the film sitting uncomfortably alongside the simpler shots of the group green screened over the top.

But other times the kistchy B-grade style of the film suits the low-budget awkwardness of the video. One thing that makes the cinematic connection work really work is the subtle James Bond motif in the song. That makes the video come across like the DIY opening titles of Bond flick, with, er, Matty J taking the place of the sexy Bond girl silhouette.

Maybe the video is a little overpowering. There’s so much cool stuff going on on screen that it seems to make the song recede. I feel like I’d rather watch the short film and listen to the song separately, each doing their own thing.

Best bit: stop-motion background animation, featuring Elvis stamps, satellites and robots.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… headphones and kerbstones.

Dead Flowers “Be Someone”

The last time we saw Dead Flowers, they were flailing their hair about in the last days of hair metal. By now grunge had taken hold, so they had to up their game if they wanted to survive in the ruthless world of popular music.

The “Be Someone” video – the only video available online from this funding round – is shot in grainy, scratchy black and white, and takes place at a sinister “CHEMISTRY LABORATORY”. It looks highly influenced by the videos Nine Inch Nails were making.

The basic plot involves a bothered scientist running around the CHEMISTRY LABORATORY, while the band plays. I’m not sure why the band is playing in the lab, but this seems to greatly torment the scientist, causing him to go mad and then be particlised by a crazy science experiment.

The video keeps a consistent level of manic energy, but it could have done with a few pauses, moments to reflect. Even when the scientist pauses at a locked gate, he still has to madly scramble for his spectacles.

Best bit: the guitar-head-mounded camera capturing the scientist’s neverending torment.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next: old vids for new.