A high street strip, a gothic seductress, a cultural lesson, a bomb threat, a photo booth, a photo shoot, a cruise down the main street, a broadcast from outer space, a floaty necklace, a Harajuku girl and a mysterious staircase. Continue reading Found videos from 1998
Weta! It’s nice to see them. Sadly only 56 seconds of this video is available online and it’s a pretty lowres version, but good on Pandanya for uploading it to YouTube.
I haven’t seen the video before and the excerpt starts right in the middle, so I’m left trying to make sense of what’s happened previously. There are shirtless, muscly men with pink hoods on their head, young women gleefully tossing their hair about, a bank of TVs and the pink-hooded heavies terrorising the band.
Weta were a great band with some great songs. It seemed like they were going to take over the world, but for whatever reason, things just didn’t work out (famously inspiring Shihad to write “Pacifier” about Aaron) and by 2001 Weta had broken up.
This video offers a glimpse into the early days of Weta, making a crazy music video that manages to capture their energy (at least 56 seconds worth of it). But the best thing about the video excerpt is that includes Aaron Tokona’s fierce guitar solo. It’s thick with sonic energy, and a fine reminder of Weta at their peak.
Best bit: the hair tossing, the likes of which have not been seen since Ngaire’s “So Divine” video.
What happens when a band is too busy touring to make a new music video? They make a music video cobbled together from footage of life on the road. But somehow the Feelers’ version of this ends up being kind of crazy.
The video starts with The Feelers having a Backstreet Boys moment, disembarking a small aeroplane. Only it’s not a Learjet. It’s an Air New Zealand Link. There’s a lot of footage of the band on stage, but it’s the off-stage antics that are more fun.
The boys sit in a DeLorean, squirt each other with water guns, hoon around rural Canterbury, through the Mt Victoria tunnel and they sign autographs. Autographs! Remember when the Feelers were teen idols? When young women would thrust their t-shirt-clad bosoms at the Feelers and demand a signature?
We’re also treated to the sight of a young man with a theatrical circular saw slicing into a Feelers’ guitar. And then we see a newspaper article about the incident (which includees the phrase “capital hard rockers Shihad), proof that the incident wasn’t just extreme but it was also notorious.
The most revealing vignette is where James Feelers puts on a superhero eyemask. He wears it for few moments, smiles, then shakes his head and takes it off. Because wearing a superhero mask is silly.
But despite all the shenanigans, at the heart of the video is the Feelers playing to a stadium of people who love them. There’s real joy and excitement on the faces of the fans, and that’s something worth capturing in a music video.
Shihad’s labelmates Slim came from the remains of Pumpkinhead. “Bullet in my Hand” is a satisfactory short and punky tune that looks to have been directed by guitarist/singer Aaron Hogg.
It’s obviously a low-budget job. Most of the video is static shots of the band playing in a bare studio, almost as if they set up the camera on a tripod, hit record and went for it. The shots aren’t always framed with much artistry. A lot of the video involves the lead singer’s head right up close to the camera. That’s fine, but some contrast would be good.
The unremarkable studio footage is spiced up a little with digital graphic flashing in quick succession. It’s a reminder that effects like this were becoming cheaper and more accessible.
And things get even more exciting when the lights go out, Aaron loses his shirt and the video becomes a rapid kaleidoscope of darkness, colour, skin and scowls. These bits are more effective than the main studio shots, but for a DIY effort without a major label behind them, it’s not a bad effort.
Best bit: the power leap, an injection of rock showmanship.
At the time this song was released, I felt very energised by the sarcastic opening line: “Well, I trust the police and the government!” Whereas now it seems like boilerplate angry young man. But I like what Shihad have done with the video. Directed by Reuben Sutherland, it’s taking a fairly standard video treatment – the mad scientist – and giving it a really dark, icky edge. This is not a musical performance video, but Shihad have never been afraid to take themselves out of traditional rock settings.
Jon spends most of the video wearing a lab coat, curled up in the corner of a lab, with the rest of the band lurking in the background, like three other scientists who are watching their colleague descend into madness.
Dr Jon’s hair is wet with sweat. It’s a filthy lab and strange things slither in the corners. The line “you don’t have a brain” is complemented with an selection of brains, arranged like chess pieces on the lino tiles.
The video keeps looking like an ordinary mad scientist sci-fi, but suddenly really weird things, ugly things will pop up, making Jon’s character seems like a run-of-the-mill mad scientist in the midst of severe meth psychosis. Poor chap. He probably just wanted to create a bride.
Director Reuben Sutherland won Best Video at the 2000 New Zealand Music Awards. It was his second consecutive win, and the third win in a row for a Shihad video.
The Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their comedy loungey live styles, but they tone it right down for their second single, “Ode To K Road”. The video, made by Andrew Moore, Steve Sinkovich and Stuart Page, consists of sped-up footage of K Road, mostly with members of the band just standing around.
I lived on K Road around this time, so the video is a nice bit of nostalgia. When Karangahape Road appears in music videos, it’s normally at night, but “Ode to K Road” also happens at day time, with the very ordinary sunlit goings-on of the street.
It’s a reminder of K Road of the late ’90s, before Starbucks came, Rendalls closed and the adult shops disappeared. Back when it was all a bit shabby and the street was full of more weird shops than cool shops. (My favourite weird shop was the plastics shop that never every depreciated their prices, so there was a crappy old spice rack full of a long discontinued spice brand still selling for $39.95. As if.) Back when K Road has multiple second-hand record shops that wanted to eat all my money.
The song has a bittersweet tone and that feeling seeps through to the footage. It’s a reminder that K Road never really feels like it’s radically changed until the past is compared with the present. While there are plenty of familiar businesses (Rasoi, Leo O’Malley and, er, Dick Smith), the video is packed full of the ghosts of K Road past.
Best bit: the glistening metal facade of Al’s Diner.
The video opens with the ruins of an old church. One wall has what were once a series of three crosses moulded in the concrete, but the right-handed cross has broken away to a giant hole. “I’m an atheist,” King Kapisi asserts. “Glad to meet ya!” Well, nice to meet you too.
The video is shot in Samoa and manages to make the place look like a tropical paradise with a slightly uneasy undertone. Mr Cabbage spends a lot of time with no shirt on, but rather than just being the standard music video “aw yeah, check me out”, there’s also a practical side. Most other men and boys in the video are just wearing lavalava, so it’s not especially out of the ordinary.
The tone of the video makes the ordinary scenes of island life seem kind of sinister. The ordinary scenes of little boys playing, men fishing and people harvesting bananas somehow seem a little edgy. (This in turn has given me the idea for cosy murder mystery set in Samoa.)
But the video also has a travelogue quality, with perfect scenes of island life. Hey, there’s King Kapisi walking past with a surf board emblazoned with the Samoan flag. This in turn is a reminder of what’s missing – urban life. The song is straight outta Auckland but the video has taken it from its predictable city context and moved it to a highly religious South Pacific island nation.
And it works. The contrast between the music and the setting help underscore the message of the song. And it lets an artist use a tropical island location without it ever feeling like a Duran Duran video.
Best bit: the older women combing her long white hair.
“Melusine” is a lush ’60s-influenced pop song about merman love. The video goes in a slightly different direction, exploring Jan’s relationship with gender identity (and that makes it seem pretty serious, but it’s really quite fun).
The video starts with a waiting room filling up with handsome fellows but we soon realise that the guy in the middle is Jan in drag. She makes a pretty decent bloke, but as soon as she starts singing, we’re instantly reminded that she’s a lady.
ManJan enters a room labelled “nga wahine anake” (women only) and begins to strip off, revealing the female form. There’s a lot of nudity in this part, but it’s shot very tastefully and cleverly. It’s not done to titilate, and director Tracey Tawhiao hasn’t needed to use any comedy prop placements to hide rude bits.
From the naked state, Jan transforms into a glamourpuss, with bold make-ups and a fabulous gold lurex gown. It actually reminds me of the videos Madonna makes that mess around with gender – the feminine is a bit masculine, the masculine is a bit feminine.
NB: Jan Hellriegel has written a really good piece called the Emancipation of Melusine, where she writes about the making of the song and the ideas behind the video.
Best bit: the te reo sign, a welcome piece of New Zealand.
I’d always assumed that HDU were something like a death metal band, mainly based on their name. So I’ve just had the shocking discovery that – like most bands out there – HDU are just pop. Well, pop hidden under a lot of feedback.
The video for “El True East” is at the artier end of the music video spectrum, but it works well. The video starts off shot in dark gold – fibres, leaves and a naked man crawling in gold sand. There are also flashes of old video, like a signal from another time trying to break through into the golden world.
This all jumps around as the music gets all Sonic Youth, then suddenly things calm down and the video enters a peaceful blue world. The naked crawler is now the naked swimmer, wiggling through bubbling liquid. Go to the light!
And from that blue world he emerges into a bright world. He just spends a lot of time standing upright, waving his arms around. And yeah, this is what you’d probably do if you’d just gone through a kind of rebirthing experience. Fade to white.
This video works really well. Directed by Richard Shaw and Sally MacDonald, it picks up on the tone of the song but gives the video a strong narrative that keeps it interesting, working perfectly with the music.
Coelacanth return with “Never”. The Kiwi Hit Disc likened this song to Bailter Space and quoted Tearaway magazine enthusing, “Their music is to die for. We like them very much.”
Lole “Take You Higher”
Another track from Lole. This time she has “Take You Higher”.
Salmonella Dub “Loletta”
Back before Salmonella Dub were the kings of barbecue reggae, they had “Loletta”, an askew jazzy number. From memory, the video was a studio-based black and white job. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform in monochrome while the subject of song is in colour in backstreets”.
The Kiwi Hit Disc noted that “Colour Me Blue” was a “heartfelt ode” to Barry’s “globetrotting son”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Barry walking on rural road as cyclist passes. Cyclist seen in various rural locations interspersed with Barry singing in one room then another.”
“Started Something” is another video from the early days of Breathe. The track has an epic film montage sound to it. The Film Archive describes the video as, “Band perform in leaking warehouse/ garage.”
“Outer Space” is an upbeat pop-track, produced by Eddie Rayner. The Split Enz connection continues, with Bryan Bell saying that the song was “‘Loving The Alien‘ meets ‘Poor Boy‘”.
Michelle Rounds “Culture Cross”
Singer Michelle Rounds had the song “Culture Cross”.
Southside of Bombay “Say”
“Say” was produced by Ian Morris (who had previously produced “What the Time Mr Wolf”). The Kiwi Hit Disc quoted band member Kevin Hodges saying that the love song, “just felt like a good summer single”.
“All Alone” was the second of Freaker’s two funded videos. An album was planned but it didn’t get released due to the closure of record label Deepgrooves, so it’s likely this meant the “All Alone” video wasn’t made either.
New Loungehead “Ike Just Do It”
New Loungehead subvert a corporate slogan with “Ike Just Do It”, from their album Came a Weird Way. New Loungehead were another act signed to Deepgrooves.
Vocal trio Ma-V-Elle were back with “Love Is”, the soulful closing track from their debut album.
Girl band Mary have the track “Bigger”. Nga Taonga offers this rather comprehensive description of the video: “A woman sits at night in a green corner diner/coffee bar with large windows (which recalls the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks at the Diner”). A car approaches with the guitarist in the back seat. Mary perform “Bigger” on a TV screen in the diner. The car stops for the singer/ guitarist.”
Wellington trio NV have “Don’t Make Me Wait”, described by the Herald as having a “bitter brand of bubblegum”. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Woman sings on roadside with warehouse, pedestrians and traffic – and later rioters – behind her.”
Named after the last Dutch governor of New York and/or an international cigarette brand, the Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their entertaining loungey grooves. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Four office workers in a pub sing karaoke to the Peter Stuyvesant Hit List’s “Superkool”. The Peter Stuyvesant Hit List are seen performing on the karaoke screen.” Ah, the old “music video as karaoke track” treatment.
“Big Cat” was the penultimate video that Bailter Space had funded in the ’90s, before returning with “World We Share” in 2012.
Leza Corban “Comfort & Joy”
Debbie Harwood put her coordination skills to good use with the album “Angels”, featuring New Zealand singers (Hammond Gamble, Rikki Morris, Mika) and TV personalities (Willy de Witt, Leanne Malcolm and Nick-bloody-Eynon) covering classic Christmas songs. Leza Corban, who had previously sung with Strawpeople, had the first single “Comfort & Joy”.
Brett Sawyer “She Came Along”
The video for Brett Sawyer’s song “She Came Along” was filmed at St Leo’s school hall in Devonport.
Eye TV have the comedically named “The Doo Song”. The Kiwihits entry notes it was rerecorded and released in 2000, and the database note that the funding was changed to the “Doo Song” from their song “Ditch Witch”.
“Classy come-down band” NV have the single “Unlikely”, which was a nominee for Best Video in the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards. Nga Taonga describes the videos as, “Singer in Queensland lakes setting and on jetty”, by which I think they mean Queenstown.
Paua Fritters are (were? I think they’re still together) an acoustic folk-pop group with busking roots. “Her Story” was a finalist in the 1998 APRA Silver Scroll awards.
“Kronos” is another track from Deepgrooves artist Pause.
In the world of non-NZOA-funded videos, 1998 saw Neil Finn contending with a 50-foot woman in the video for “She Will Have Her Way”. Neil is expertly integrated with footage from films “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock”, making him the beau of the towering heroine, a height pairing reminiscent of the golden days of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter.