Let it rain 1995! There’s Supergroove on bikes, funk at the Civic, Lionel’s disappearing act, mean streets, tropical lolz, music with a message, wide lapels and an Auckland story. Continue reading Found videos from 1995
A YouTube commenter sums up the impact of this video thusly: “it was hits like this that actually triggered off and established the Pacifica brand, thus Aotearoa actually taking into consideration what the islands had to offer in terms of creative arts and music”. And there’s something to be said for a video that is full of bold, fresh young Polynesian culture.
“Groovalation” is an upbeat track, merging traditional Polynesian music styles with contemporary hip hop, pop and R&B and multi-lingual lyrics. It’s a bit of everything and could only come from New Zealand.
Igelese Ete worked hard to get the video funded. As Dub Dot Dash notes, the initially labelless song was turned down three times for video funding before indie label Papa Pacific finally came along.
The video takes a similar form, using scenes of traditional Polynesian performers, mixed with the contemporary performers. The more traditional bits of the video are shot in sepiatone, giving it a bit of reverential distance. Whereas the big joyful crowd singalong (and shoutalong sometimes) is filmed in colour, which is just as well considering the bright palette of the lavalava, suits and and sportswear the large group is wearing.
The video gets away with things that might not work in another situation. While the group bust out a multi-lingual rap in the middle of the song, the video alternates between footage of the rapping and footage of an older man in tradition dress who appears to be chanting something unrelated to the song. While this song helped pave the way for contemporary Pacific culture in New Zealand, it is very much aware of those who came before them.
Best bit: the slightly out-of-place “Ski Colorado” sweatshirt.
Upper 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.
After bursting onto the scene as hip hop duo MC OJ and Rhythm Slave, Otis and Mark later teamed up with DLT, previously of Upper Hutt Posse. Together the three were Joint Force – a nice short two-syllable name.
The “Static” video is incredibly ambitious. Rather than just showcasing the first single of this new trio, a rage against the media, the song becomes a soundtrack to a stylish action film, very strongly inspired by the hip new films of Quentin Tarantino.
There are plenty of music videos from the mid ’90s that were gripped with Tarantino fever, but the “Static” video actually manages to pull it off this particular style. I reckon it works because Joint Force were as cool as characters in a Tarantino film.
A mysterious Russian woman takes a phone call and some evil scientists attempt to decipher the secret codes in the group’s performance. Meanwhile, Mark emerges from the sea and then joins his bros in the loos.
As this may all suggest, there’s a lot of plot and acting in the video and sometimes the song takes second place. But that’s ok. It’s such a strong song that the snippets that bubble up from under the acting make me want to hear more. (And the full version can be heard below.)
All the mystery and intrigue in the video leads to a thrilling cliffhanger with a bomb about to explode. What happens next? Forget the video – next I’m going to try and track down the group’s “One Inch Punch” EP.
And here’s “Static (Part 2)”. It’s the full song – no high jinks – just the raw performance footage of the group that’s occasionally featured in Part 1. DIY Steadicam provided by a bungy cord.
Otis explains (via Facebook) how the second version came to be released:
We actually just shot this version so we had something to put on the monitors in the ‘CIA’ office when they were trying to decipher our codes in the other video. But it’s kinda nice and slick ‘n’ simple so we thought, Fuck it… Put ’em both out.
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.”
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.
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.
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. Here’s a very 1997 remix of the song.
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.
Jordan and the boys head down to the beach for some proto-Jack Johnson surf pop. Jordan, whose hair in this video resembles mine when I don’t straighten it, sings the song sitting on a shady beachfront porch, occasionally joined by the other Exponents. They seem to just drift in when they feel like it. But it’s just as well they do, as there are plenty of guitars that need to be strummed.
This is cut with black and white footage of the band down on the beach, distant shots of surfers riding the waves, dogs on going mental on the beach, and kids running around – all the signs of the classic Kiwi summer.
But whenever we see the band, they’re dressed in long trousers and long sleeves. This, combined with all the surfers wearing wetsuits, suggests that this very summery video was shot on a cold winter’s day. Is it a cheap attempt at a summer setting? Or maybe this sneaky seasonal set dressing is a way of creating a “summer you never meant”?
Best bit: Lion Rock reflected in the glassy water of Piha beach.
NB: Warners NZ used to host this video but the video has been since made private. However, another version of it is on YouTube but it’s been geoblocked to New Zealand (and Germany). Here’s the geoblocked version. Ask your auntie how to watch it.
The fancy NYC styles of “Too Much Violence” are a thing of the past. “Outside the Cage” gets back to low-budget, $5000 styles. According to YouTube user N0ISYLAND, the video is comprised of “Offcuts from Jeff Feuerzeig’s clip for “Too Much Violence”, Super-8 footage of NZ in the ’60s, and some new footage of [David Kilgour] and [Robert Scott] clowning around in Auckland, all hacked together by Stu Kawowski on a low budget tip…”
And indeed that’s what it is. The pair spend a lot of time mucking around hurling paint on a wall (express urself!!), before the action goes indoors and is filmed in fruity psychedlic negative.
This is a perfectly adequate Clean video. They have their fans, and it’s those fans who are quite happy to watch videos using the lazy music video trick of getting the band to hurl paint around. But they could – and have previously – made a much better video.
Previously seen as one of Moana’s glamorous Moahunters, Teremoana goes for a more casual look for her first solo single, opting for a baggy shirt and trousers as she performs the song at an outdoor concert.
The brown pride anthem (“Beautiful people – skin dark and brown”) is delivered to a large appreciative audience, cut together with shots of people out doing ordinary things, being beautiful.
To compare this with Shihad’s “Bitter” video filmed at the epic stadium experience of Big Day Out, Teremoana seems to have a better connection with her audience. We see a few New Zealanders standing with their arms folded, but there are many more who are happily dancing along.
While it’s a fairly predictable treatment for the video, it’s works. And after all of Teremoana’s work with Upper Hutt Posse and Moana, it’s cool that when she finally steps out with her own thing, she totally owns it.
Best bit: the slow-motion shot of a fisherman attending to his bait bucket.
The Big Day Out is a gift to bands. It lets them record a live video showing the band performing in front of a packed stadium. Shihad are always a massive crowd-pleaser at the Big Day Out, so it makes sense that they’d capture their 1995 performance in a music video.
The video looks like it’s been shot in such a way to avoid showing any Big Day Out branding. We never see a wide shot of the stage, and footage around the stadium is giving a choppy, black and white treatment to help draw attention away from the teens in jester hats (and indeed there’s no chance of me spotting myself aged 20).
At times there’s little sense that the performance in taking place in a stadium. They might as well be playing at the Powerstation (and, actually, that would have probably been a better location to shoot a music video).
But there is still heaps of live action. The video uses rapid cuts to disguise the live performance not matching exactly with the recorded version, but that pace matches the energy of the song.
We also see moshpit action – crowd surfing, stage diving, and a guy being pulled from the front by security. It’s like a perfect checklist of a mid-’90s music festival. Dudes, how’s the pit?
Best bit: the grungy brown filter making the sweaty teen audience at Mt Smart Stadium looking edgy and cool.
Maree is seated at a round booth at a nightclub. A man and woman sit down at the table across from her. Maree looks uncomfortable. She knows the woman. A waiter delivers a delicious fruit platter. And so the evening begins.
Other guests arrive. A woman who looks like a shave-headed Justin Bieber gives the camera a good stare, as if to preserve her Bieberesque likeness for future generations. Is Biebette there for the fruit platter? Maree simmers with the tension this situation is causing her.
A blonde-haired women appears at the table. Biebette gives Maree a goofy grin and lets Maree fondle her cigarette lighter. Suddenly a sleazy bro turns up, also smoking a cigarette. Another woman joins the table, bringing more seductive glances to drive Maree wild.
So many seductive glances! Such a tempting fruit platter!
Then finally it happens, following the rule of Chekhov’s Gun, the couple from the beginning feed each other delicious fresh fruit from the platter. For a video so packed full of bisexual desire, maybe Maree just wanted a good fresh melon.
Best bit: the highly symbolic fruit platter of desire.