Found videos from 1999

Resting bitch face, actual cows, a red room, Catholic guilt, a scenic boat trip, forecourt drama, romantic Venice, an outdoor TV and and pre-millennium tension.
Continue reading Found videos from 1999

TrueBliss “Number One”

1999-truebliss-number-oneIt’s clear that the video for TrueBliss’s second single takes a lot of its inspiration from French film director Luc Besson’s stylish sci-fi film “Fifth Element”. For “Number One”, the mana of Milla Jovovich is diluted between the five members of TrueBliss, making it fall short of Besson’s futuristic vision. Instead it’s Carly, Keri, Erika and Megan in orange lycra scraps, with Joe in orange lycra clothes.

Their futuristic costumes are also accompanied by futuristic makeup, with Carly wearing what looks like a futuristic monobrow, as well as a futuristic pointy fringe. There are also attempts at formation dancing, and some of the ‘Bliss are better at it than others. So sometimes it looks slick and smooth, other times it looks like a regrettable beginners Zumba class. There’s also one scene where they appear to be worshipping a giant orange apple because… just because.

Then things get weird. The girls run into a chamber and lean over five tanks filled with blue goo. What’s inside the tanks? Why, hot boys, of course. The ‘Bliss bring the goo boys to life with a highly symbolic explosion of goo. TrueBliss welcome the lads onto their scifi Marae with some more not-quite-right dancing. The adventure ends with the ladies walking off with their new blue dudes, whose orange-thong-framed blue buttocks glisten in the sci-fi light.

The old glitchy VHS copy of the video adds to its charms. In fact, it all feels like what the year 1999 was supposed to be like back in the 1960s, complete with elaborate hair, make-up and redefined gender roles.

It all sounds pretty ridiculous, but it’s hard to not be charmed by this crazy world. The Anthony Ioasa-written track made it to number 12 in the charts and the video seems like a bold attempt at promoting a group who were enjoying a short but significant burst of fame and success. This isn’t just an attempt to make a music video; it’s an attempt to make popstars.

Best bit: the lone shot of the group all dancing in unison – you can do it, guys!

And this video seemed like a good one to end the year on. 5000 Ways will now be taking its annual break, back on Monday January 14 with the new millennium. Thanks to you, dear reader, and to everyone who’s commented and shared stories, and to all the people who’ve got around to uploading videos. Merry Christmas, happy New Year and see yiz in 2000!

Weta “Got the Ju”

As with all the other Weta videos on YouTube, this one is short. It’s the last one minute and 28 seconds of the “Got the Ju” video, but that’s ok.

Like a lot of people, the first time I heard the song, I thought the chorus was controversially exclaiming “Got the Jew! Got the Jew!” But it turns out it’s slang – either short for juice or juju, depending on who you ask. And yes, this is what 90% of the YouTube comments are about.

It’s nice a nice, positive rock tune and the video doesn’t go any deeper than that. The video is directed by Reuben Sutherland who had previous worked with Weta pals Shihad. Unlike the previous videos that were a bit more high concept, this one is simple black and white concert footage.

The concert is somewhere in central Auckland – and the Sky Tower really makes it easy to positively identify Auckland settings. It looks like Aotea Square, or somewhere around that area. It’s a decent crowd and Weta appear to be goin’ off. It reminds me of seeing Aaron Tokona’s new project A Hori Buzz at Homegrown earlier this year. It was crazier, the audience was smaller, but there was the same sense of stagecraft. This is a band that knows how to perform.

Sadly this was the final NZOA funded video for Weta. Their next single “Calling On” had the mighty wallet of Warner behind it, intended as a vehicle to launch Weta in Australia. Except the band broke up, splintering in some rather interesting directions, which we’ll get to when the late ’00s roll around.

Best bit: the rock pose silhouette against the distant Sky Tower.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… moody delights.

Tim Finn “Underwater Mountain”

1999-tim-finn-underwater-mountainSigns point to this video not actually having NZOA funding. It’s not on the definitive completed videos list and there are no NZOA logos in the video. But it was on the original funding list from December 1999 and I like it so here it is.

The video is directed by Matt Heath and Chris Stapp, just before their legendary TV2 series “Back of the Y Masterpiece Television”. Possibly inspired by the 1999 film “Office Space”, “Underwater Mountain” tells the tale of a disgruntled office worker. Tim Finn is absent, with the video being a mix of animation and a few subtle live-action elements.

We meet our hero staring at a frozen progress bar on his PC. Oh, nothing changes. Surrounded by stacks of paperwork, his one inspiration is the tropical island featured with May on is wall calendar. There’s a brilliant orange sunset and a lone palm atop his own personal Bali Hai.

He ends up freaking out in his cubical, hurling his troublesome PC about. This results in his boss being decapitated (yay!), the PC cord wrapping itself around his leg and dragging him out the window (boo!) and a sexy lady co-worker grabbing his hand to come along for the ride (yay!).

Down they go, falling into a sewer, then into a polluted waterway. There our hero discovers the skeletal remains of other disgruntled workers and their PCs. Inspired, he crawls back up to the surface where he discovers his Bali Hai – a giant pile of rusting, rotting trash. He climbs it and finds his lady friend at the top. They sit and watch the tropical-like polluted sunset. Aww.

“Carl Jung would tell you that this song is truer than most folks can recognize,” says YouTube commenter mahajohn. I would say the same about the video.

Best bit: the upside-down freefall kiss – so much better than Spider-Man.

Directors: Matt Heath, Chris Stapp

Next… juice box.

The Feelers “World Away”

1999-the-feelers-world-awayHere’s a video in a nutshell: the Feelers perform the song “World Away” live in Helen Young Studio while a camera crew film them. And that’s it.

It’s a curious thing. The concept seems like it should be fairly interesting at a bare minimum, but it’s strangely dull. There’s no magic, no buzz, no showbiz. It’s literally just four guys in a recording studio performing a song.

I think the set-up is part of the problem. It’s a band and a film crew crammed into a recording studio. Everyone has to stay in their own space to avoid messing up the playing or the recording. So the Feelers are rooted to the spot, daring not to move too much. The camera crew is likewise hiding in corners or sliding back and forth on a dolly track.

Whatever you think about the music of the Feelers, they usually make pretty entertaining music videos. But the “World Away” video feels like it’s gone to great lengths to show us a side of the rock experience that bands don’t normally make public. It’s the dull routine of recording a song in a studio. There’s none of the vibrant live energy we saw in their “Pull the Strings” video. It’s kind of boring.

But here’s the funny thing. This song reached number nine in the pop charts, making it one of the Feelers most successful singles. Perhaps this video shows a side of the band that very much appeals to its fans.

Best bit: the random arty out-of-focus camera shots.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… deep sea skiving.

Salmonella Dub “Johnny”

1999-salmonella-dub-johnnySalmonella ditch the barbecue and get all film noir with the “Johnny” video. When we meet Johnny, he’s either having a terrible dream or undergoing brainwashing. Either way, the Salmonella Dub eye logo is emblazoned on his chest, and he’s just woken up to find himself at the corporate HQ of Salmonella Dub, Inc.

The band suspiciously eye this dodgy looking fellow who had ended up in their highrise Auckland boardroom. He’s given a package and ends up going to a night club. There he encounters a femme fatale who is all seductive glances and hair. There’s also tense conversations with goons involving guns, the mysterious package and eyebrows.

The femme fatale seduces Johnny. She has a cigarette, but it turns out to be the same variety that the Penguin smoked on Batman. She blows a poisonous gas in his face, knocking him out.

Johnny wakes up and discovered he’s in the back of a convertible, travelling on a scenic bush road. He leaps out of the car, but the goons are soon on his trail. Deep into the bush he runs, eventually coming across a dam. There’s gunfire (crikey!) and Johnny commandeers the abseiling set-up of a nearby DOC worker and sets off down the dam.

There’s a tense 14-second gap where Johnny stands at the edge of the dam. Is he gonna jump? No, he’s going to climb down with the abseiling ropes. The chasing thug pulls at the ropes before strapping himself onto a second rope, chasing after Johnny.

This results in one of the greatest, most ambitious scenes in a New Zealand music video: a choreographed fight between two men on abseiling ropes, halfway down a dam. As far as ridiculous yet awesome cinematic things involving dams, it is second only to the opening scenes of “GoldenEye”.

At the bottom of the dam, the femme fatale awaits, smashing him with her gun. The goons have the package and they reveal it to Johnny. It’s… a snack-size pizza box with the Salmonella Dub logo painted inside it. Wait, what? Someone needs to teach the Dub what a MacGuffin is.

Best bit: the mid-’90s retro Tarantino vibe.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… can you feel the claustrophobia?

Rubicon “The Captain”

1999-rubicon-the-captainOh, Rubicon! At the time they seemed quite silly. A punk-pop band fronted by Marshall from “Shortland Street”, with a bass player who had a Helen Clark haircut and a guitarist with braided pigtails. But yeah, they were young and silly and just being dudes in their early 20s, jumping around and having fun.

“The Captain” was their first single and it’s lyrically a bit bleaker than their later singles. “I am the captain of this ship,” sneers singer Paul. “And I think that life’s a gyp!” Steady on, dude!

But the video is determined to cheer things up. It starts with the pyjama-clad band snoozing in bed together. A smiley face alarm clock rings and they quickly grab their surfboards and head off to the beach to partake in some (green screen) surfing.

Next is a boxing/wrestling match between Rubicon and the Badguys, a trio of goons wearing clown masks. Rubicon are wearing netball uniforms with G, J and P on their bibs – first name initials rather than court positions. The lads successfully kick the arse of the Badguys. Yeah, I really like the symbolism of this comedic battle representing the struggles of life itself.

I’m not much of a fan of the Rubicon logo. It’s everywhere in the video and it looks like the sort of thing that small businesses had in the ’90s, designed in MS Paint. But I reckon this is the first video where a band has not only featured its logo in the video, but put it all over the video.

All that’s left is for Rubicon to rock out, giving an energetic performance in front of an appreciative audience, including crowd surfing. And so dawns the age of teen pop punk.

Best bit: the band’s Monkees-like living arrangements.

Director: Ian McCarroll
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Mr Kiss Kiss Dub Dub

King Kapisi “Screems from da Old Plantation”

1999-king-kapisi-screems-from-da-old-plantationThis video feels like Samoa. The cloudy skies laden with moisture, the packed buses, cute kids, majestic waterfalls and coconuts to show you.

It’s directed by Joe Lonie and it’s easily one of the best videos he’s directed, rightly winning Best Video at the 2001 bNet Music Awards. While there are traces of the trademark Lonie gimmick style, it’s much richer and more human than his other videos.

For much of the video King Kapisi is hooning around on the back of a truck. It’s reminiscent of Lonie’s video for Eye TV where they perform the song “Dynamite” on the back of a truck while going up One Tree Hill. In that video the location didn’t really have anything to do with the song, but in “Screems” there’s a very strong connection. The song is all about Samoa, as is the location. And a historical bonus – the video shows vehicles driving on the right-hand side of the road, before Samoa’s 2009 switch to the left.

But going back a bit, the video starts with King Kapisi and his DJ doing a broadcast in a local radio station. People around the island tune in on their boomboxes – little kids showering, a man scraping out a coconut, a dude hanging outside a fale with more little kids. Everywhere the song is heard, it makes people happy. And as the NZ On Screen description notes, it’s taking the hip hop video away from its predictable inner-city setting and taking it to scenes of domestic life on a Pacific island.

The “Screems” video is also notable for featuring product placement, the first I can remember seeing in an NZOA video. The product in question is King Kapisi’s own Overstayer brand t-shirts, reclaiming the term as a badge of honour. (And King Kapisi, Teremoana Rapley and their kids still make Overstayer clothing).

There’s something very perfect about this video. Everything just comes together and it doesn’t just just look good, it feels good.

Best bit: the bus following the truck, hazard light flashing.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… aye aye, cap’n.

Eye TV “One Day Ahead”

1999-eye-tv-one-day-aheadEye TV go for a simple performance-based video for “One Day Ahead”. They’re playing on stage at a theatre but with their backs to the empty auditorium. The video has been shot with the song sped up and then slowed down in edit, giving the everything a dreamy feel.

The video was directed by Greg Page and it shows his strength – capturing a band’s live energy. The sped-up/slowed-down trick has a nice side effect – because miming to a Chipmunk version of your song is kind of silly, the band all look genuinely happy, something that’s hard to achieve in a video.

I need to comment on lead singer Sean’s hair. It’s starkly bleached blonde. Now, I know this look was fashionable in the ’90s. Nathan from Zed did it. Even Justin Timberlake once did his hair like this. But looking at it now in the ’10s, it seems like peacocking, a practise used in the “pick-up artist” community where a man uses outlandish dress to get the attention of unsuspecting women. So, hey ladies, check this out – bleach blonde hair, hoop earrings and… a soulful, uplifting pop song.

But the video isn’t trying to get in anyone’s pants and so doesn’t let Sean’s hair take over. The song has a Manic Street Preachers sound and the video generally keeps things pretty low key. There’s one moment of wildness, though. In the middle of the song the slow-down action gets crazy, looking like they did one take totally over the top. Drums are thrashed, the keyboard teeters, and rockstar leaps are made.

The song ends by fading out and the video ends with a close-up of someone’s foot twisting to the beat, implying that the song is going on forever.

Best bit: the keyboard player’s internal struggle between wanting to have a bad-ass rock star freak out but not actually wanting his keyboard to smash on the floor.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… tasi, lua, tolu, fa.

Deep Obsession “You Got The Feeling”

1999-deep-obsession-you-got-the-feelingWith the previous two Deep Obsession videos both being set in a strange sci-fi/fantasy world, it’s refreshing to discover this video is set in the real world. Well, kind of.

“You Got The Feeling” is based in the comfortingly ordinary environment in a motel. YouTube uploader NZLutz notes it was “the then already closed Blue Dolphin Motel in Parnell, Auckland”. In a room, a shaggy-haired cleaner vacuums the room. He spies a hand-held film camera on a bed and takes a look through the viewfinder. Whoa! When he looks through the camera, he sees a party taking place in that very room. See, they couldn’t just make a video set in the real world.

This cool toy is way more interesting than vacuuming a boring floor! Work duties aborted, the cleaner spends his time looking at the Deep Obsession party taking place via the camera. It’s not just Zara and Vanessa larging it; they’re joined by dozens of really good looking people.

The cleaner follows the party out to the patio where some formation dancing happens. It’s reminiscent of the dancing in Britney Spears “… Baby One More Time” video crossed with a Les Mills class, all halterneck belly tops and bootleg trousers.

The party movies to the pool and another motel staffer discovers the cleaner pervily lurking around the pool. What would happen if he took the camera with him to other places, like the supermarket? Would he discover a disco in the cat food aisle, or a lone hot person trying to figure out which is the right rice for risotto.

The motel boss has noticed that the cleaner has been neglecting his work and yells at him, which is totally understandable. But the cleaner has seen the good life. He wants more. Thinking outside the square, the cleaner turns the camera on himself and finds himself inside the party. Woo!

But what’s going to happen when the party ends? Who’ll clean up the mess?

Best bit: the random partygoing dude wearing a sheer shirt that reveals his man-nipples.

Director: Jesse Warn
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… slo-mo no-go rock show.