Found videos from the 2000s

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Tim Finn “Say It Is So”

2002-tim-finn-say-it-is-soThis is a Tim Finn video but the star ends up being Mareea Paterson, the bass player in his touring band, the Dirty Creatures. The video features around the band’s 2002 tour, and a performance of at the Civic Wintergarden (and the web tells me this gig took place on 19 October 2002). We see a lot of Tim and the band on stage, but there’s also lots of footage of them on the road, the glamorous life of loading up the station wagon with suitcases, before heading to the next airport.

Like a lot of recent Tim Finn videos, this focuses on Tim performing. It seems he’s most comfortable when he’s Tim Finn, the showman on a stage, rather than awkwardly trying to fit into a music video narrative. And like the last performance-based two videos (“I’ll Never Know” and “What You’ve Done”), this video is also shot in black and white. It’s a good style choice. It avoids the video falling into the “zany high jinks on the road” mould, and gives it a bit of style.

But yeah, the video totally hearts Mareea (who we’ll later come across in her solo project, Friends From Sweden). She’s easily the most exotic member of the Dirty Creatures, an otherwise unremarkable touring band of quality musos. So the video has latched onto this cool chick with cropped hair, tattoos and cigarettes.

She kinds of outshines him in the “on the road” segments, but when the band is on stage, there’s no risk of that. Tim is in his element, working the stage like the pro he is.

The video ends with a comedy postscript. Tim dances a merry jig on what looks like a solid stone ledge at the Wintergarden. But this is the Civic. It was built during the Depression. With the exception of modern strengthening, much of the solid-looking parts of the interior are just made of cheap plaster and cannot support the weight of a popstar. Tim’s foot goes through, damaging this Category I listed heritage building.

Best bit: the road sign pointing to Te Awamutu, just in case you’d forgotten.

Director: Andrew Morton

Next… the age of the winery tour continues.

The Have “Right On”

2002-the-have-right-onStraight outta Wanganui High School, the Have were the 2002 winners of the Smokefreerockquest, appearing at just the right time to ride the wave of the rock ‘n’ roll revival. Singer Brodie and guitarist Peter appeared as almost fully formed rock stars – rugged and hairy vs skinny and enigmatic. The pair are still playing today, in the Berlin-based psychedelic band the Sun and the Wolf. And they both look exactly the name.

But back in the early ’00s, the Have were ready to rock out. Their video, part of the SFRQ prize package, sees them playing in a most unexpected location – a warehouse filled with a mountain of golden sand.

The sand’s purpose soon becomes apparent – it’s there to crumble and quiver with the sheer magnitude of the band’s rockingness, helped out by the giant speakers suspended over the band, feeling a bit like a sword of Damocles. And of course the band get to run around a bit in it, kicking up dusty clouds. I bet they were finding sand everywhere for weeks after.

This is a really confident band. It’s one thing for a teen band to have a song with lyrics like “You should be kissing my ass!”. It’s another thing for its delivery to sound so self-assured that you forget all about the teen/rockquest thing. And when a band is playing on a giant mountain of sand, it takes presence to not be outshone by the epic location.

Directed by Greg Riwai (whose name has been popping up a lot in 2002), the video was a finalist in the Breakthrough Artist category at the 2003 Juice TV Awards.

Best bit: the remote control, a gift from the sands.

Note: This video was available at The Amplifier, but with the end of The Amplifier so went the video.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… outrageous damage to a Category I historic building.

The Feelers “Anniversary”

2002-the-feelers-anniversaryThe “Anniversary” video is filmed at a backyard party, with the Feelers rocking out on a small suburban deck, next to the barbecue. But despite the modest setting, this is not a modest affair. The place is absolutely packed and there doesn’t really seem to be much room for people to move. It makes me wonder if this performance was the result of a competition to have the Feelers play at the lucky winner’s house, with the music video production being thrown in as a two-for-one.

So the video is packed full of lively 20-somethings, all decked out in plastic leis and holding cups of non-alcoholic punch. The huge crowd obviously made it hard for cameras to film the band, because much of the video footage shows the band as distant figures through a sea of partygoers.

In the middle of all the chaos, the Feelers seem to be having a great time. There are fire-breathers, drunk-girl dancing and even a moment where – super lol! – the Feelers’ drummer uses jandals to play the drums.

The of adventures the backyard gig give more life to the song. The lyrics are about a failed relationship, the sort of thing that would more traditionally get a video involving a girl in a cafe. But this video turns “Anniversary” in to a party anthem. And I think that’s part of the magic of the Feelers – they could turn all these straight MOR tunes into hugely popular drunken shoutalong experiences.

Best bit: the brief glimpse of the face of a chilled-out, eyebrow-ring-having party bro.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Deceptikonz “Don’t Front on Me”

2002-deceptikonz-dont-front-on-meSo this is a bit of a weird one. From what I can figure out, in 2002 the Deceptikonz originally received funding for a song called “Chillin'”. A video wasn’t made, but the song ended up on the Sione’s Wedding soundtrack, released in 2006. But also in 2006 came the video for “Don’t Front on Me”, which seems to have been made with the transfered funding originally intended for “Chillin'”. There’s no NZOA logo on the version of the video I’ve found online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t made with funding.

“Don’t Front on Me” was the first single from the Deceptikonz’s second album, “Heavy Rotation”. It comes after Mareko’s modest local success in 2003, but before Savage’s massive international success in 2008. In the video’s YouTube description, Dawn Raid describe the album as “slept on”.

So, to the video. It’s directed by Sophie Findlay who had previously done “Swing” for Savage. It’s a simple set-up – the group rapping in front of green-screened graphics, promoting the band and South Auckland.

It looks like Mareko wasn’t available for the video, so when his part comes, they use a body double wearing a Mareko-style bucket hat, pulled so far down that he looks like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert. Or maybe the real Mareko was just feeling really shy.

The best solo bit comes from Savage, having an angry rant in an old phone box. It breaks the monochrome world of the video to introduce a bit of bright red into the picture. The lyrics dish a bit of their reality – they don’t have to be nice to their fans but they never seem to win the awards they’re nominated for. Hmm, I wonder if the two are connected somehow.

It’s an ok song, but it doesn’t have the instant zing of their earlier stuff. And that’s what the video feels like to. It’s ok, but it’s not even close to the captivating “Stop Drop and Roll” bootcamp.

Best bit: angry phone box Savage flanked by two little Savages.

Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… we’re having a party and everyone’s invited.

Salmonella Dub “Platetectonics (Fartyboom)”

2002-salmonella-dub-platetechnonicseIn the early 2000s, anti-genetic-engineering sentiments were very popular. There was even an all-star charity single called “Public Service Announcement”, as well as the pressure group Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (MAdGE). The “Platetechtonics” video is Salmonella Dub’s foray into the anti-GE world, with an animated cautionary tale.

The video is a sequel of sorts to the group’s “Problems” video, directed by “Problems” co-director Steve Scott. And indeed this video stars the same animated characters from “Problems”, though in a more cartoony form. This time he’s a scientist and has cross-bred a “natural seed” with a “mutant seed”. And you just know this isn’t going to end well.

He plants the seed, has a nightmare about it, returns the next morning and discovered a giant purple bush. He eats a berry and goes a bit mental and had some choice hallucinations involving the music, just like in the “Problems” video. That’s a hard life.

The GE plant gets all Little Shop of Horrors, chasing the hero up a volcano. But suddenly he starts to bloat up, and floats high above the earth. The moral of the story? Er, GE food gives you gas?

The track itself is a fairly laid-back, almost instrumental number. The video is far more engaging and interesting. It avoids the temptation to takes the lazy stoner path, and instead turns the sound into the soundtrack for a surreal adventure with a moral lesson.

Best bit: the classic animation chase up the volcano.

Director: Steve Scott
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the phone box of rage.

PanAm “Interstate Boy”

2002-panam-interstate-boyI figure the titular Interstate Boy is a distant cousin of Telegram Sam. He seems to exist for the purposes of making the lyrics sound cool. Is the song really about a pretty boy who has travelled to several states? Or is just an excuse to drawl out “interstate” because it’s a cool word?

The video doesn’t even attempt to sort out the lyrics. Instead the band are plonked inside a grunty old steam train along with an old man. The video is also shot in high-contrast black and white, so things manage to look really cool. Yeah, check out the clouds of steam and the hot fire of the engine boiler.

A lot of the video involves lead singer Paul playing the song on his acoustic guitar, when the only guitar in the song is loud, distorted, crunchy electric. It’s like a warped take on the cliche of the travelling hobo, hitching a ride in a boxcar. We also see the whole band playing, crammed inside the narrow-gauge New Zealand railcar.

Meanwhile, the old man (who has a pet rat) come in and does a freaky dance in front of the band. This sort of thing never happened on the Crunchie train.

And these high jinks continue into the night, as the train rolls onto its destination, with the three rock dudes, the old fella and his pet rat. I’m intrigued to know what happens next. What further adventures will these four interstate boys (and one interstate rat) face?

Best bit: the brief appearance of a comedy Afro wig on the old man.

Bonus: here’s a list of director Richard Bell’s five favourite videos that he’s worked on, as presented on a rapidly decaying TVNZ webpage.

Bonus II: Songlines Across New Zealand has a good interview with Paul from PanAm. He describes the “Interstate Boy” video as:

“A sort of ‘crazy train’ idea seemed a fitting visual motif for the song Interstate Boy. Got the train, got the weird actor guy, got the chickens and the rat, got the band on board and voila!- a music video. It has its flaws but it’s an interesting little video.”

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the dire consequences of genetic engineering.

Katchafire “Who You With”

2002-katchafire-who-you-withThis song is about smoking heaps of pot and getting really off your face and hanging out in Hamilton. Which, for young Hamiltonians, is a popular option.

But the video never explicitly illustrates this, cleverly setting the lyrics of “wrap it up” and “throw it all my the papers” in the world of fish and chips. Yes, the band are sensibly having a good feed before their night out.

The video revolves around a big event at night, but before that the band have to get coordinated through a series of text messages (and one of them has the same cheap-arse Nokia that I had back then!). The text message is a friend of music videos. It’s an easy way to show communication or exposition without the need for dialogue.

While most of the video strays from literally illustrating the lyrics, when the song mentions “spinning out around Hood Street”, the video throws in a few shots of the street itself, a central Hamilton road known for its adequate collection of pubs and restaurants. And David’s Emporium, which is like Geoff’s Emporium or Pete’s Emporium, only better.

Finally all the text recipients come together and everyone meets up at a big ol’ outdoor party, with bonfires and that type of reggae dancing that is only tolerable when one is stoned. It

For a video that can’t show what it’s literally about, it does a really good job of expressing the vibe of the super chilled-out world of pot. I’m not sure how this works, but the song actually seems to slow down and possibly warp the fabric of the space-time continuum as it progresses. Sweet.

Best bit: the Union Jack cellphone case.

Director: Michael Reihana
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… all aboard!

Goldenhorse “Maybe Tomorrow”

2002-goldenhorse-maybe-tomorrowThe “Maybe Tomorrow” video takes us deep into the world of Goldenhorse at the peak of their winery-tour powers. “Maybe Tomorrow” was their highest charting single – peaking at number 10, and the video is their straightest. There are no vampires or caravan curiosities. Instead the video is just Goldenhorse being elegant an New Zealand pop band.

It’s shot in grainy old film (I don’t know much about film formats, but I’m going to guess it’s Super 8). It gives it a cosy, nostalgic feeling, as if this song has just always been around.

We see Goldenhorse performing at a small venue. Rather than bold rock lighting, their stage illumination is provided by the glow of domestic lamps. (You know who else had tons of lamps in their music video? The Holiday Makers.) Sometimes it has a sophisticated ambience, other times it’s just a bit gloomy.

We also join the band down at the beach, where they’re frolicking in the sea. It’s very New Zealand – or at least how homesick Kiwis on their OE, stuck indoors on a miserable winter’s day in England like to imagine things are back home.

It’s a lovely video for a lovely song, and normally that’s where I’d end thing. But a couple of years later – 2004 – the world of “Maybe Tomorrow” got more interesting. First the song was used in an ad for instant jelly, running with the feeling of New Zealand outdoorsy joy. But then a few years after – around 2006 – a second video was made for the song, this time without NZ On Air funding. And this time it was back to the slightly askew world of the earlier Goldenhorse video.

This time Kirsten plays a perfect housewife who is preparing snacks in her kitchen. We also see the rest of the band playing the song in a dark room. It turns out – gasp! – Kirsten is holding the band captive in her house. Was this dark video treatment a reaction against the very nice world of the earlier video and the even nicer world of the jelly ad? I like to think so – an inherent weirdness in the band that cannot be suppressed.

Best bit: Kirsten’s head-bang finale.

Director: Rachel Davies
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… fish and chips as a metaphor.

Evermore “Slipping Away”

2002-evermore-slippin-awayslippThis was the second funded video for Evermore, and they’re still at the stage where they felt like a high school band slowly figuring out who they are. Lead singer Jon has a comedically affected way of singing, introducing weird vowels to almost every word (“thing” becomes “theee-uhn”), that he has long since ditched.

The “Slipping Away” video is really simple and it looks like a low-budget job. It’s just the band performing on stage at a venue. It looks like a bar, though we never see the audience. The performance area has a low ceiling and it looks like it would just take one moderately enthusiastic leap from a band member so see them bumping the ceiling tiles with their heads.

Nothing much happens in the video. They got the funding, they made a video and it got played on the telly. It’s a perfectly ordinary early-career music video. If they hadn’t struck it lucky in Australia, this might just be another footnote in the history of NZ On Air funding, but as it stands, it’s good to come across a band in their younger, awkward years, while they’re still figuring things out.

Best bit: Jon’s backlit hair, an accidental ’80s hair metal throwback effect.

Next… old lamps for new.