Tourist “Do You Feel the Cold?”

2004-tourist-do-you-feel-the-coldTourist were an Auckland band who teamed up with Manic Street Preachers producer Greg Haver, who’d previously worked with 48May. So Tourist’s first single “Do You Feel the Cold?” has a very clean, epic pop sound – and it’s a good match.

According to an article at NZ Musician, in addition to their NZ On Air funding, Tourist also received $1500 from Positively Wellington Business – the Wellington region’s former economic development agency – for shooting the video in the capital. There’s even a little graphic proclaiming the video was made in Wellington.

But despite this, it’s not a hugely Wellington looking video. The locations have a certain familiarity, but it’s all shot at night and avoids the iconic Wellington streets, or it shoots in an indistinct blur. While other Wellington videos involve the bustling night life of Courtenay Place, Tourist stick to the deserted roof of a parking building or a stroll along empty Lambton Quay. And no one goes to Lambton Quay at night – it’s all closed.

We just see Tourist playing the song, with the occasional shot of the lead singer walking along the empty streets. It ends up being a fairly ordinary pop-rock music video – very straightforward, very inoffensive. And strangely enough it makes me miss the sort of videos of genre mates the Feelers, with their fun, over-the-top rockness.

Best bit: car park number 28, the unsung hero of the video.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… we’re halfway there.

Stylus “Incredible”

2004-stylus-incredibleStylus continue with their angry young rap-rock. Unlike the devilwoman rant of previous single “Backstabbers Incorporated”, this time it’s a feeling of general malaise that’s causing trouble.

Though there is no rap in this particular song, it is very much of the nu metal genre. In fact, both the song and the video have a strong Blindspott vibe. It’s encouraging that a young New Zealand band would take inspiration from another local group. Yay.

The heart of the “Incredible” video is Stylus playing the song in an empty room with forest green walls. That’s all pretty ordinary. Lead singer Matt has wrapped the microphone cord around his hand as he sings, which is a nice way of paying tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers while keeping your shirt on.

We also see Matt sulking in a living room where a young couple had just been arguing, moping on a single bed and feeling alone at a crowded party. Ok, so he’s not happy. There’s also a great slow-motion shot of a young woman hurling a vase full of flowers, which I’m sure symbolises inner turmoil or something.

The absolute highlight of the video comes at the end where Matt smashes up his bedroom. He rips the stupid posters off the wall, tips over his lame single bed, and smashes his guitar through his dumb computer monitor. And who’s going to clean that up, eh?

Best bit: the lava lamp on the bedside table.

Director: Adam Jones
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a rooftop in Wellington.

Sommerset “Say What You Want”

2004-sommerset-say-what-you-wantSommerset’s third video was for “Say What You Want” a lively punk-pop number with vocals from guitarist Milon. The video is basically the band on bicycles, hooning around the Tank Farm area. From memory, the band put out a call for extras on bikes via C4. And I’m pretty sure C4 host Phil can be seen on a bike – at least it looks like him through the chunky pixels of his lowres version.

The Tank Farm is a cool location for a music video – long, straight, flat streets; the intriguing towering tanks on either side of the road (in this case, Hamer Street); the hint of nautical activity; and the harbour at the end of the street. This is the really solid, functional part of the Tank Farm that even now hasn’t been gentrified. It seems the perfect setting for a pack of dude wearing matching jackets to come riding along with their message of self expression.

The video is really nicely shot, with the bikers gliding along smoothly, seeming both like a powerful gang and also a very styley collection of people. Oh, and it should be noted that no one is wearing a helmet, which a very pleasing flouting of the law.

The day ends with Sommerset performing in front of a few tanks, joined by all their bike posse. Maybe I’m just feeling all nostalgic for the golden days of C4, but I like this video. It’s simple but it captures the attitude of those punk-arses. This video won Best Rock Video at the 2004 Juice TV Awards.

Best bit: the cameo from Back of the Y stuntman Randy Campbell, whose jump doesn’t go well.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… angry! rooom! smash!

Sara-Jane “You Are”

2004-sara-jane-you-areThe sweet soul song “You Are” was the first single of Sara-Jane Auva’a’s debut album, which went on to win her Best Pacific Female Artist Award at the inaugural Pacific Music Awards (Tha Feelstyle took the male category).

The video is pretty straight forward. We see Sara-Jane in various settings – a music studio, blobbing out on her couch, in a car, in a steamy bathroom, and moping around in bed (she has the name bed cover as me, which is thrilling). Something is bothering her – a boy, obviously – which is causing her to be all a bit miserable. The trouble is, she spends a bit too much of the video looking glum – so much so that the video starts to feel like a downer.

Hey, maybe a visit to the Otara markets will cheer up Sara-Jane! Except everywhere she walks she sees happy young couples, a cruel reminder of she love she’s lost. Normally when we see the Otara markets in a music video, they’re shot as they are – a celebration of the South Auckland Pacific community. But this time, the markets are a backdrop for orchestrated drama. The action only focuses on a selection number of good-looking actors playing the role of market visitors, all shot in the golden morning sun.

“You Are” has a rather old-fashioned sound to it, especially when you consider that at the time the charts were full of exciting songs like Rihanna’s saucy “Pon de Replay” and the Pussycat Dolls’ assertive “Don’t Cha”. The video is well made and nice enough, but like the song, it just doesn’t feel like it’s making much of an effort.

Best bit: the guy at the market juggling fruit to impress his sweetie.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a biker gang.

Misfits of Science “Mmmhmm”

I hate it when this happens. Misfits of Science had a bona fide hit with “Fools Love”. It was the number one single for a month and was just generally a cool tune with a fun video. Then along comes the follow-up single “MmmHmmm” and it’s… disappointing.

After a minute-long introduction, which involves a woman (well, a man in a wig) repeatedly being stabbed in a mock horror movie, the song starts. It’s all about going to the club (the song references 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”) and partying.

That in itself is perfectly ordinary, but the partially animated video makes the unpleasant choice of using women’s bodies as decoration. There’s a line of women dancing on the bar top. We can’t see their heads, which suggests the video doesn’t care about their identity as individuals. All that matters is having some legs and boobs dancing about. Worse still are the other headless women bending over in front of the camera, thrusting their bums or crotches in front of the camera. And – oh – there’s an animated beaver over one woman’s crotch.

In 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” video, his club-going shorties looked like they were enjoying themselves and were into him. This video seems like a teenage boy’s idea of what sex might be like. The dudes have no idea how to interact with actual hot babes so the video has to reduce the women to body parts. Boobs are simple; brains are hard.

It just makes me think that, actually, the Misfits of Science would have been really rubbish to go to a club with. But then, considering the song has an entire verse about a malodorous toilet experience, they’re not even trying to pimp themselves. Perhaps the only people they’re trying to impress are 13-year-old boys.

Best bit: the chicken right at the beginning, before the video starts to suck.

Director: Ed Davis
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the markets revisited.

Greg Johnson “Kiss Me”

2004-greg-johnson-kiss-meThis video looks like it was shot on a smartphone, only it predates the modern smartphone. So I think we can just assume it was a cheapie.

This time Greg is in Los Angeles, the city where he now lives. But the “Kiss Me” video has the curiosity of a newcomer as it excitedly explores the city. There are shots of the secretly cool downtown area, the crazy life on Venice Beach, the mighty Watts Towers, a classic LA motel, and journeys into the desert.

Most of the time when we see Greg, he’s superimposed over the top of all the travel footage. So there he is with a billboard advising motorists “All you need is lube” hovering over his face.

At one point the camera lingers on an airline departure screen showing an Air Tahiti flight to Auckland. There doesn’t seem to be any connection to the rest of the video, but it seems like the sort of thing a homesick New Zealander might do upon seeing the name of their hometown flashing upon a screen.

The video feels like it’s lacking a conclusion. The song is about two lovers about to part, the video show Greg on the other side of the Pacific, but he seems quite happy there. Perhaps the lure of California has overshadowed any potential love interest.

Best bit: Greg, in the dessert, standing in front of a sign saying “Fried Liver Wash”, drinking a beer.

Next… the sum of the parts.

Damien Binder “Anytime”

2004-damien-binder-anytime“Anytime” was the fifth (or sixth, depending on how you count it) and final of Damien Binder’s solo video funding. And just to be different, the video is set in the Australian outback.

We meet Damien walking along a dusty red road in the middle of the bush, looking very cool with his guitar case in hand. He reaches a sealed road and sets himself up to hitch-hike, but no cars come along. Is it just an unpopular road or are more sinister things at work?

After entertaining himself on his guitar, he sets off on foot and discovers an abandoned car. Walking further, he comes to a small town, but there’s no sign of anyone around. Maybe it’s the day of the grand final and everyone is glued to their TVs.

Or maybe there’s been a Quiet Earth type of disaster and almost everyone on earth has mysteriously vanished. Damien, think – what happened at 6.12am? Hey, if he can make it across the Tasman there would be at least three New Zealanders he can hang out with. Maybe he and ’80s Bruno Lawrence could jam before the world ends.

The video has a lot of fun with Damien’s rock star silhouette, giving him plenty of interesting walls to stand against and roads to walk down, guitar case in hand. Well, if everyone else in the world has vanished, you would have a bit of fun with your newfound status as king of the world.

The story ends with Damien walking off into the sunset, not even stealing an abandoned car. Being an entertainer, maybe he’s just looking for an audience to play to. Well, maybe he can reach Dubbo by nightfall. There might be people there.

Best bit: law-abiding Damien does not steal beer from the pub after determining it too is empty.

Director: Richard Bell

Next… all you need is lube.

Graham Brazier “In Your Company”

2004-graham-brazier-in-your-companyWe last saw Graham Brazier way back in 1998 with the noirish world of “Long Gone for Good”. This time things are much more upbeat, with Graham pottering around the house, having his attention diverted by his dog and cat.

Graham also hangs out with his mum in her second-hand bookshop, he walks his dog, has coffee with a friend and watches a rugby game. The song has a really nice relaxed feeling to it and the video goes with that. The rock ‘n’ roll excesses of the early Hello Sailor years are long gone. The “In Your Company” video seems to depict a fairly ordinary day in Graham’s fairly ordinary life.

The one music video touch happens when Graham sits down and writes the names of various dead musicians on strips of cardboard – Joe Strummer, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, one of the Ramones and other dead dudes – and then throws them out the window. Because art.

But the video ends with a common touch – Graham having a singsong at the local rugby club. It’s all so chilled out that when it sings the line “Turn off the light/I’m in your company”, it doesn’t sound at all smutty.

Best bit: the cat walking all over Graham. There should be more pets in music videos.

Note: the YouTube clip begins with Graham reading a poem. The music video itself starts at 1:25, but you might as well start with the poem.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Goodshirt “Lucy”

Goodshirt’s “Lucy” video takes the form of a television current affairs story, with real-life TV journalist Amanda Miller playing the part of the reporter. She talks to three men, all of whom are obsessed with Lucy, a pretty model.

Nerdy Derek has known Lucy since primary school, is mates with Goodshirt, but somehow that’s not enough to win her over. Glen, a tattooed and pierced badboy, is obsessed with a skincare ad Lucy has done, inspiring him to get her face tattooed on his back. He seems pretty aggro, and there’s even a shot of a restraining order Lucy has taken against him. The third Lucy obsessive is Ryan, who’s in hospital with serious injuries sustained after falling off the harbour bridge while attempting to hang a banner declaring his love.

Goodshirt themselves are virtually absent from the video, appearing in a few photos with Derek and possibly as one of Glen’s tattoo clients. The video sticks so strictly to the conventions of a television current affairs story that there could easily be another version using the actual interview recordings instead of the song. There’s so much going on with the visuals (it’s the sort of video that gets better with repeat viewings) that the song tends to sink into the background, like a random track chosen by the story’s video editor.

But what’s missing from the video? Lucy herself. She exists only as photos. It’s understandable that a harassed model wouldn’t want to be part of a television story profiling three losers who are obsessed with her. But if this were a real story, there’d be some sort of behavioural expert commenting on the obsessive behaviour. And as entertaining as the three obsessives are, the video leaves me wanting to know all about Lucy.

Best bit: the blank “get wall” card some uncaring person has sent Ryan.

Director: Wade Shotter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Fang “Something Good”

2004-fang-something-goodFang’s second and final NZOA-funded video was “Something Good”, a pop stomper. The online video, like a lot of ones uploaded to the Arch Hill account, is very pixelly, like it was ripped from a CD-ROM that had fallen behind the couch. Therefore I cannot guarantee that my observations are totally accurate.

It’s night time and singer Sonya and bassist Ben are asleep their beds. Sonya is troubled by a strange dream, while Ben is up and about sleepwalking. Or his sleepwalking all part of Sonya’s dream?

Like the zombies in Dawn of the Dead, some kind of instinct has brought Ben to a mall. At the same time, Sonya leaps out of bed and goes along to the mall in her pyjamas. What is it that has triggered such drama? Cake.

There’s a lone table with two cakies waiting for them. They sit and scoff, with Ben bolting after he finishes his treat. This leaves Sonya sitting alone, and she seems to suddenly realise she’s in a mall, in her pyjamas, eating a tartlet.

By the way, sleep-eating is a legit psychiatric disorder, known as nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED). Usually it’s people raiding their own kitchen, but I like the idea that someone would go all the way to a mall and sit down for a dignified treat in their pyjamas.

Best bit: Ben’s stroll past a women’s clothing store, with the hottest lady fashions of 2004.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision