DJ Raw feat. Che Fu, Flowz and KOS 163 “Downtown”

2002-dj-raw-downtownDJ Raw has been previously known with for his turntable work as part of King Kapisi’s Overstayers crew. But for “Downtown” he has his own go, with guest vocals from Che Fu, and KOS 163 and Flowz of the Footsouljahs.

It’s a sunny Wellington day and the dudes have met up for a game of basketball. They’re playing on the urban wasteland next to Te Papa that was eventually redeveloped into Waitangi Park (with a proper ball court). But back in 2002, it was an old car park surrounded by graffiti-covered hoardings – much more photogenic for music videos.

When the evening comes the lads head off to a nightclub where there are plenty of young women to catch their eye. Much of the song is about the men’s reaction to the women, and depending on who’s rapping (or singing), the tone varies from romantic to sexual.

The evening ends with the lads sitting around at the nightclub joined by a large number of women. There’s only a slight hint of awkwardness, which actually makes the scene feel more authentic than if all the ladies were totally into it.

The concept of the video is nothing new, and it actually feels a bit dated. Like, if this had been produced in 1998, it might have seemed fresh. But in 2002, 2003 it’s just not as interesting. Weirdly enough, I’m most excited by scenes of pre-development Waitangi Park.

Best bit: the bitch face given by a club girl after the “girl, we can be together but nothing is forever” bit.

Next… live action brothers.

Detour “She Walked In”

2002-detour-she-walked-inDetour are a Christian rock band, signed to Parachute Records. They have since changed their name to Detour180 to make it clear that they aren’t just veering off to the side – it’s a total 180 degree detour.

“She Walked In” sounds influenced by Creed, aiming for spiritual grandness. It seems like a love song, but then with talk of a “beautiful vessel”, maybe they’re talking about Mary. Or maybe it’s just a polite way to describe a vadge.

The video is only available on the band’s website and it’s in a tiny little Flash player that can’t be expanded to full screen. So I’m left looking at wee figures rocking out in a dark warehouse while a sad African orphan looks up from a World Vision ad underneath.

So, the band are playing in front of an audience that are doing a really good job of looking like an actual audience and not friends of the band roped into helping the video. But like most music video fake audiences, everyone has their hands in the air, waving like they just don’t care. This is what I imagine Parachute was like in the early years.

At one point there’s a shot of a blonde woman standing at the back of the audience. She doesn’t really seem to be into the band. That would suck – if the subject of your love song didn’t really like your band. But as it’s so hard to see what’s going on in the video, maybe the woman does end up down by the stage, waving her hands in air.

Best bit: the “Detour” road sign leading the way to the concert.

Note: the video was previously only available in a tiny format on the band’s website, but it’s now available on the Christian video site God Tube. Thanks, God Tube!

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… basketball in the museum car park.

Craig McKenzie “Funky Little Hip Hop Angel”

2002-craig-mckenzie-funky-little-hip-hop-angelChristian musician Craig McKenzie last showed up as part of the hip hop duo Sumix, who had a funded video for their song “Jump House”. That video isn’t around, but you should go and listen to “Jump House” right now. It has the most incredibly high-energy verses, and a chorus that sounds so intensely Christian, like it ought to be headlining at Parachute ’96.

“Funky Little Hip Hop Angel” has a similar energy, but this time it’s a love song, a tale of unrequited love, when Craig spies a hot chick down at the shops.

The video follows Craig as he walks down the street, sometimes observing his Jandal-clad feet, other times revealing that he’s carrying a rabbit in a cage. As well as this, Craig’s love dilemma is illustrated by stick figures and really cheesy computer graphics.

After wandering town with his rabbit and lusting after a couple of ladies, Craig arrives at the pet store where he works (oh, so that’s why he was carrying the rabbit), and there he gives the rabbit to a little girl who’s excited to get her new pet. Well, that’s cute.

The most interesting thing about the video is that all the main players get an on-screen name caption – there’s Craig, the rabbit, the pet shop boss, but also the two chicks – Jo Price and Joy Ramirez. I like really that. Rather than just being music video hotties, they are allowed to be actual people with names.

This was Craig McKenzie’s one and only solo video to be funded, which is a kind of a pity. I will miss the crazy energy of his music and videos.

Best bit: the quadruple split-screen effect on the rabbit.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Director: Greg Riwai

Next… men of every Creed.

Blindspott “Lit Up”

2002-blindspott-lit-upHaving built up a substantial fanbase (and that’s something that Blindspott have always been good at), they finally had the opportunity to show off with a live video.

The video consists of live footage shot at a Blindspott gig, and there’s a little bit of stage banter at the beginning, where it is established that there are a large number of Westies in the audience.

The video is cut to match the dynamics of the song – the constrained intro roaring into the hearty boganny verses. The editing manages to disguise the fast that the camera work isn’t all that great sometimes. The self-designed parental-advisory sticker from the band’s debut album keeps flashing up on screen, reminding its audience that – check this out, Mum! – there are swear words in the song.

There’s both black and white footage and colour, and both lots work. The black and white is as metal as a pair of black jeans, while the colour is full of the energy and fire of Blindspott’s live shows.

The song ends with very sedate outro, and the video goes with that a bit too much. As a result, things just fade away, where it feels like there should be more connection with the audience – a bit of cheering. But it still feels like a good document of Blindspott on their way up.

Best bit: the brief flashes of spider silhouettes, just to alienate the arachnophobes.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a distraction.

Bic Runga “Listening for the Weather”

2002-bic-runga-listening-for-the-weatherWith “Get Some Sleep”, Bic had a song about life as a touring musician, but the video was about the whimsical adventures of Bic’s mobile radio station. “Listening for the Weather” is another song about live on the road (and the relationships left behind), but this time the video is all about Bic’s life as a jobbing musician.

We find her on stage, cheerfully performing the song with a harmonica wired around her neck. The video makes the process of a live gig seem very workmanlike, but also satisfyingly artful. Outside of the live venues, there’s footage taken from the windows of cars and aeroplanes, scenic New Zealand, scenes from provincial streets and urban scenes. Every moment of life on the road seems glorious and cool.

The tour stops by the Opera House in Wellington and the Civic theatre in Auckland, but the old Southland Country Music Association building in Invercargill also makes an appearance. There are also quite a few shots of the different shoes Bic wears throughout her travels, but they are quite cool shoes.

“Listening for the Weather” is a pretty sedate song, and the video goes with that feeling. It seems to be a good reflection of where Bic was at the time of her Beautiful Collision songs, finding an more mature, slightly weary voice.

Note: Director Paul Casserly says the video was shot mostly on DV cam and Super 8, but that DJ Stipson “did all the really nice shots on a 16mm”.

Best bit: the glamorous old lady revelling at the Christmas parade.

Director: Paul Casserly

Next… entertaining the westies.

Anika Moa “Mother”

2002-anika-moa-motherThe “Mother” video takes the familiar path of the close-up lip-sync, made most famous by Sinead O’Connor in “Nothing Compares 2 U” (though without anything that would prompt an open letter from Ms O’Connor). But Anika is not alone in this. A few seconds into the song she’s joined by another version of herself. Not an evil twin, just another Anika.

While Left Anika sings most of the song, Right Anika joins in to harmonise and has a few verses of her own. Left Anika is more thoughtful and serious, but Right Anika is full of energy, unable to keep still. I like to think that this is what the Breeders were like, back when it was just the teenaged Deal sisters duetting on country songs at biker bars.

Both halves seem to have no edits in them, which means Anika was able to two different lip-syncs playing two different characters. Even though Ms Moa is known for her jolly character, she’s able to knuckle down and give a serious performance (twice!).

The song itself is an ode to Anika’s mum, so it’s nice to think that such is her feeling of aroha for her mum that took two Anikas to really convey the emotion. Awww…

Best bit: Right Anika’s moves during the dance break.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Director: Justin Pemberton

Next… life on the road.

50Hz featuring Ladi6 “Seek Know More”

2002-50hz-seek-know-moreLadi6 appears in this video as a sort of career seer, narrating the tale of a man conflicted about his role in the high-flying corporate world.

The man in question emerges from Wellington railway station one morning and has an odd moment. A life-changing thought seems to have hit him. But maybe he was just glad to be out of Lower Hutt.

At work, he’s at a meeting, sitting at the head of the table in front of a decorative kimono on the wall. Channelling Tom Cruise, he leaps up on the table and gives a spirited speech, which gets an enthusiastic reaction from his colleagues. This move gets him the keys to a very fancy car (licence plate: I) and he has a hoon around Lambton Quay. Life made.

But strange things are afoot. Suddenly the man is on a rattly old city bus, a gold coin in hand. He stops off at Zambesi and gets a new suit, kindly giving the empty Zambesi bag to a homeless man. Here you go, chap, here’s an empty paper bag 4 u.

Back at work, things are different in the boardroom – there’s a different person sitting at the head of the table. The man pulls out a folder and slides it to the new head. This guy is not impressed by the folder’s contents and throws it back. The hunter has become the hunted.

I like that things are a bit surreal. If it had gone for a more literal depiction of the song’s lyrics, the video would risk seeming cheesy. But weirdness is very forgiving.

Best bit: that the homeless man is literally across the road from the Zambesi store.

Director: Mike Bridgman
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… twice as nice.

Missing videos from 2002

February 2002

Tadpole “Now Today Forever”

The lone missing video for the February funding round is “Now Today Forever”, the second single from Tadpole’s second album, and a rather driving rock number.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

April 2002

Che Fu “Top Floor”

There’s also only one video missing from April, Che Fu’s uplifting number “Top Floor”. As it happens, I wrote a summary of this video in 2002. It sounds amazing:

Che Fu and his posse are hanging out on the front porch of a large wooden lodge. A young lady hands out pieces of chocolate cake and MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave pass out cups of instant coffee. With a very laid-back vibe, Che Fu spends most of the video sitting in a rocking chair, knitting. But just in case you think he’s turning into an old gran, in the middle of a song he turns into a robot and does a rap. But then it’s back to the porch. At the end of the song he’s finished knitting. He admires the, er, long red thing he’s made, tosses the ball of wool up in the air and it magically transforms into a snow ball and then Che’s snowboarding off into the sunset.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 2002

Fast Crew “Mr Radio”

Along came the Fast Crew, which included Kid Deft who later reverted to his maiden name, Dane Rumble. “Mr Radio” was their debut single, a rant about the difficulty of getting play-listed – something that would soon cease to be a problem for the Crew. The single reached #15 on the Independent NZ chart.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Fuce “Restless”

Christchurch band Fuce have their final NZOA-funded video “Restless”. The group had plans to relocate to Auckland in 2003, but I don’t know what (if anything) happened next.

In 2002 I wrote this about the “Restless” video: This video uses two visual clichés, one old, one getting old. The first is where the camera jerks about as if it’s trying to find something to focus on. The second is when the camera moves as if the power of the music is making the camera shake. Yeah, it’s a low-budget NzonAir video, but it’s looking ok. It just could have looked better if it had just shown the band playing the song, instead of all the dumb camera tricks.

Director: Aaron Hogg
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Splitter “You’re Right To Rock”

Splitter got in on the rock ‘n’ roll revival with “You’re Right To Rock” an ode to you-know-what. Sample lyrics: “Power chords are ringing like a bell!”. Aw yeah.

Subware “Into”

Subware’s final funded video was the lush “Into”, with vocals from Sandy Mills.

Theo Va’a “Little Angel”

Theo Va’a was an 10-year-old singer (dancer, entertainer, songwriter and professional model) from Palmerston North who later wowed the 2003 Christmas in the Park crowd. “Little Angel” featured Atilla Va’a, who I assume grew up to be the 130kg rugby prop asserting himself here.

August 2002

Mace & The Woodcut Crew “Shake ‘m”

“Shake ‘m” is a collaboration between rapper Mace and Auckland producers the Woodcut Crew producers. I’m going to assume it’s an instructional song about making protein shakes.

Pluto “Perfectly Evil”

Pluto have the dark and synthy “Perfectly Evil”. It’s been entertainingly used as the soundtrack for an almost wordless short film made by some year 13 students for their media studies assignment.

Director: Wade Shotter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 2002

Lavina Williams featuring Emily Williams “Higher Lovin'”

Ex-Ma-V-Elle singer Lavina Williams teams up with her younger sister (and future Australian Idol star) Emily for the soul jam “Higher Lovin'”. Their sisterly harmonies sound fabulous.

December 2002

Crystal Fitisemanu “Sunny Summer’s Day”

I’m not sure if the video for Crystal Fitisemanu’s song “Sunny Summer’s Day” was made. There’s no mention of it online, but there is a brief mention of a $3000 grant in 2001 from Creative New Zealand for Crystal to record five songs.

P-Money featuring 4 Corners “The Xpedition”

“The Xpedition” is another track from P-Money’s debut album, this time featuring 4 Corners on vocals.

Rhombus “Tour Of Outer Space”

Well, Rhombus go on a “Tour of Outer Space”.

Director: Wade Shotter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Tadpole “Always Be Mine”

“Always Be Mine” was the penultimate single released off Tadpole’s second album.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision


This month’s consolation video is “Verbally Decapitating” by DJ Logikal. It was the winner of a competition that TVNZ’s after-hours music show M2 held, with the prize being a $10,000 fancy music video made for the winning track. This is a throw-back to how things were in the days before NZOA, where TVNZ (and its predecessors) made music videos for bands. Though in this case, it was a heavily promoted contest with an alcohol sponsor. The video – which is a really is a proper fancy video – sees DJ Logikal infecting downtown Auckland with his scratched-up beats, and it features pre-development Britomart for some gritty urban decay. It visually name-checks P-Money, and incorporates the song’s samples by having people on the street lip-syncing the words. The video rightly won Best Editor for James Anderson at the 2003 Kodak Music Clip Awards.

Director: James Anderson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision