Found videos from the 1990s

Windswept beachiness, urban Balkan, Christchurch in the before time, racial unity, straight down, a ’90s fashion parade, tattoos, Auckland cool, velvet painting, getting seductive, and a bad lip sync.
Continue reading Found videos from the 1990s

Found videos from 1997

A fluffy bra, nightclub, a prison, a derelict swimming pool, three lifts and an escalator.
Continue reading Found videos from 1997

Damien Binder “Stray Banter”

1997-damien-binder-stray-banterSo, this is a weird one. This video is in the Kiwi Hits database as having received funding in 1997, but it looks the video wasn’t made then so the funding went back into the pool. The “Stray Banter” video finally appeared in 2001, but without NZOA funding. But I figure it’s worth including.

The video is shot in one take and slowed down a bit. By now I’ve grown weary of such techniques. It’s going to take more than that to impress me, yah.

So, Damien wakes up by the side of a country road and discovers he’s not alone. There’s been some sort of car crash. A confuses woman wanders around, a guy in a suit shouts into a cellphone and the contents of a suitcase are strewn on the road. A bewildered farmer, a small boy and a random cyclist look on the scene.

We eventually catch a glimpse of the car, which seems to have been involved in a head-on collision with… an invisible forcefield. And no sign of skidmarks either. Yeah, I’m thinking it’s an insurance scam.

The video seems to have been so caught up in the novelty of the scenario that the song have taken a backseat, feeling more like a soundtrack to a short film than the star of the video. Juice TV played this video a lot in late 2001, but while the images of the video were very familiar to me, I had no memory of the song itself.

Best bit: angry cellphone man – nothing can make him chill.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… some sound advice.

The Exponents “Change Your Mind”

1997-the-exponents-change-your-mindJordan Luck, MNZM, is subdued in this video. He usually slips into rockstar mode with such effortlessness that it seems like he’s having to consciously rein himself in.

“Change Your Mind” is a fairly ordinary video for this era. It’s very much influenced by Tarsem Singh’s era-defining video for REM’s song “Losing My Relgion”, complete with flash-cuts, focus-pulling and a subdued palette.

The video is set in a house full of objects, like a junk shop. In one cluttered room, we see a mysterious redhead woman who’s obviously the cause of the drama which fuels the song. The band perform the song in a corridor full of stuff. Not quite up there with Sweetwaters.

Jordan is very handsome in this video. He his shaggy locks have been tamed into a short, tidy haircut and the camera lingers on his strong jawline, but he’s still allowed a touch of the old extravagance with his open-neck silk shirt.

This song – and indeed this video – isn’t what the Exponents are remembered for, but I’m happy that this video exists as an artefact of the late ’90s

Best bit: the red-headed woman dramatically screws up a blank piece of paper.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a detour.

The Stereo Bus “Be A Girl”

1997-the-stereo-bus-be-a-girl“Be A Girl” takes us into a teenage girl’s bedroom where we find a forlorn Dave Yetton. The room is decked out with posters John Lennon, Bee Gees, the Eurythmics and David Bowie. I was going to say this doesn’t look like the bedroom of a ’90s teenage girl, but maybe it is. Maybe she not listening to cool bands like Vercua Salt or the Smashing Pumpkins and is instead holed up in her bedroom, listening to pop classics, sad that no one else gets her.

The beginning of the video features a lot of Dave lazing about on the single bed, his only friend a little doll. It’s all very bright, colourful and feminine, even though the song and Dave’s long face is dragging things down.

About halfway through we meet the rest of the band hanging out in a field by the sea, looking all quirky, just like something out of a JPSE video. I’m less convinced by these scenes. They seem a little tacked on, but maybe this is a fantasy of the girl.

I really like this song. It’s very fragile and raw, looking at female weakness in a similar way that JPSE’s song “Flex” look at the male. So I feel like the video hasn’t quite captured the essence of the song. But yet there’s a lot of charm in the video, with the lonely girl/man, alone her in bedroom, being a girl.

Best bit: Dave’s mutual wave with the doll.

Director: Andrew Moore
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bonus! Here’s the Stereo Bus playing the song live on Ice TV, including particularly pleasing close-ups of the arpeggio guitar work.

Next… a strong jawline.

King Kapisi “Sub-Cranium Feeling”

1997-king-kapisi-subcranium-feeling“Sub-Cranium Feeling” was King Kapisi’s first single and it made it to number eight in the pop charts. The arrival of King Kapisi was interesting. One minute he wasn’t there, the next minute he’d always been there. And so this video is like the birth – or the creation myth – of King Kapisi, where he just comes swimming along, surrounded by colourful lavalava, a violin, LPs and family photos.

The video even starts with a little kid who comes running into a studio, straight for the microphone. Then we meet ol’ King Cabbage himself, frolicking in a mysterious dark pool of water. We also see him in a more ordinary setting, rapping into a mic, in a comfy cardigan and wearing specs.

YouTube uploader mindbait describes the video as “simple but great”, and that’s a perfect description. Nothing much happens in the video, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a strong song and the video works as a perfect introduction to the world of King Kapisi.

Best bit: the violin that emerges from the water. That’s munted it.

Director: Sima Urale
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… lonely teen girl.

Garageland “Feel Alright”

1997-garageland-feel-alrightThe last time we saw Garageland, they were a fun alterno-pop-rock group, good for having a few drinks and jumping around to. But the band changed. Guitarist Debbie left, the band moved to the UK and new guitarist Andrew Claridge came on board. But more importantly, the band had become more serious, more mature.

The “Feel Alright” video is an introduction to this new Garageland. Directed by British film-maker Gina Birch (formerly of post-punk group The Raincoats), the video consists of a grid of 12 one-take shots of the band, with each band member split into three sections.

Filmed in black and white in an urban wasteland with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral glimmering in the background, it’s a slick video that is very definitely not playing up to any New Zealandness.

This song has always reminded me of an old instant coffee commercial, the way that instant coffee used to be marketed as a soothing, relaxing, comforting experience. And this video captures that feeling. Even when there’s a burning newspaper, a giant pumpkin or the dazzling reflection of the run, it’s still four dudes just hanging out, feeling alright.

Best bit: passing the pumpkin.

Director: Gina Birch
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the first splash.

Eye TV “Dynamite”

1997-eyetv-dynamiteThis video is directed by Supergroove’s bass player Joe Lonie, who gained his directing chops through making all the videos for Supergroove. I’m not sure if this is his first video for another band, but it’s at least amongst his earliest. Joe’s music videos have a particular style – they all have a gimmick. This video can be summed up thusly: shot in one take, with sped-up footage, the band perform the song on the back of a truck at it drives around One Tree Hill. Kind of like Bjork’s “Big Time Sensuality” video, plus colour and a Kiwi location, minus the budget and Stephane Sednaoui’s artistic eye.

“Dynamite” is an energetic rock number, with the fierce, Nietzsche-quoting chorus “I am not a man! I am dynamite!” The video captures this energy, with the sped-up footage giving the video a crazy twitchy energy.

While the video has a gimmick behind it, the song and the general execution of the video don’t make it seem gimmicky. The idea of a “dynamite” person hooning up One Tree Hill and then coming down just as fast, fits well with the theme and tempo of the song.

But like other videos of this era shot at One Tree Hill, it now has a bittersweet flavour. Everytime there’s a glimpse of the now missing tree, a feel a little sadness. Poor tree.

Best bit: the two moments where Luke the drummer gets to come up to the front.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… drawn and quartered.

Dead Flowers “I Don’t See Anyone At All”

1997-dead-flowers-i-dont-see-anyoneSo far, most music videos have been filmed in New Zealand, but occasionally a video will manage to have an exotic international location. Hong Kong! New York! Miami! And now the Dead Flowers have their music video OE moment in London, filmed when they were on tour with Greg Johnson, the Exponents and Mental as Anything.

But rather than the slick look of other videos in overseas locations, this one looks like it’s been shot on a home video camera. The screen is split into three, usually with the left and right panels mirroring each other.

We meet the band being proper tourists on the top of an open-top double-decker bus. The bus tours around London, passing by familiar attractions – Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Abbey Road Studios, Oxford Circus and the Underground. It’s an odd fit with the lyrics. The song is about being a poetic drunkard, so it’s hard to link that to a group of young New Zealanders enjoying a guided tour of London.

The really disappointing thing is that this is a really good pop song. The poor quality video (both technically and artistically) really detracts from what could have been a brilliant single. It didn’t need to be shot in London.

The band’s third album had a slicker, more poppy sound, and seemed to have some serious backing by their record company. But yet that support didn’t stretch to the production values of the music video.

Best bit: the video’s double use as a quickie tour guide to London.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… going for a drive up the hill.

Bike “Welcome to my World”

1997-bike-welcome-to-my-worldBike finally cheer up and have a bit of fun in one of their music videos. “Welcome to my World” is based around a Kiwi caravan holiday, set some time in the late 1970s.

There’s Dad, played by Ian Hughes, wearing walk socks, Stubbies and a towelling hat for period authenticity. He’s joined by Mum and their son, and with a caravan in tow they head off to a seaside motorcamp.

But it turns out there are three stowaways on board. We discover Bike inside the caravan, playing the song as they’re tossed about with Dad’s distracted driving. A policeman notices and pulls the car over, where we discover – gasp – the cop is played by Shayne Carter!

Jonathan King has directed other videos for Bike, and his treatment for this video works well. It manages to add humour to the video, cleverly letting the band be the straight men in a world of comedic chaos.

The happy campers eventually arrive at Sunnyglade Camping Ground but – uh oh – there’s a gas leak in the caravan. Oh guys, always disconnect the gas bottle when in transit. And always check your caravan for stowaway indie bands, especially ones who like to smoke. Kaboom!

Best bit: Dad’s messy attempt at eating his ice cream. Hey, we’ve all been there.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the Flowers hit London town.