Betchadupa “My Army of Birds and Gulls”

2004-betchadupa-my-army-of-gulls-and-birdsThis video might not actually have had NZ On Air funding (it’s on the ‘maybe’ list), but if it did, this would make it the final Betchadupa funded video, so that’s worth looking at.

“My Army of Birds and Gulls” was the opening track from Betchadupa’s second and final album. It has a very mature sound, that was the obvious transition into Liam Finn’s beardy solo career.

The video starts off with an animated world of a snow-covered landscape filled with birds. Betchadupa appear along with the chorus, and we find the quartet wearing short sleeves amid the wintry animated landscape.

The world of this video is beautiful, surreal and slightly sinister, with the implication that indeed Liam’s avian army does have actual military capacity. This feels like the end of the revved up teen rock of Betchadupa and the start of that aforementioned beardy rock. It’s serious song and a serious video, and it feels the upper limits of serious for a band with the goofy name Betchadupa.

Best bit: the camera looks down on Liam as snow falls, echoing Anika Moa’s “Youthful” video.

Next… a different kind of STD.

Bennett “Baby Gone Bye Bye”

The video starts off ok and everything is fine with this chilled out tale of a lost love. There’s Bennett hanging out by the pool at the Hilton in Auckland, sometimes accompanied by the girl he’s saying goodbye to.

But then Bennett sings, “Now it’s too late for excuses. You make me abusive, make me want to lose it”, which is accompanied by footage of Bennett pummelling a punching bag.

There are two ways of looking at this. Either Bennett is getting into peak physical condition so when he comes to being abusive, he’ll be in top form. And that’s awful. Or he’s just working out his frustrations with the punching bag. It’s not clear which is the case, so the video ends up having a really sinister undertone to it.

The rest of the video is Bennett telling his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend why they have to break up at various scenic points around central Auckland. It seems a no-brainer – she’s cheating on him, he has anger management issues. They’d both seem a lot happier without the other in their life.

Best bit: the distant cityscape of St Mary’s bay with the setting sun behind it.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… angry tweets.

Anika Moa “In the Morning”

2004-anika-moa-in-the-morning“In the Morning” was the first single off Anika Moa’s second album. By that stage she was free from her first record company’s desire to mould her as a pop singer. She was now able to get in there with really personal songs. In this case, “In the Morning” is about an abortion she had at the age of 20.

Darryl Ward’s video captures the emotion of the song. It starts with Anika safely nestled under a cosy quilt (curiously reminiscent of Miley Cyrus’ later “Adore You” video). She slowly emerges from her safe place and discovers everything is on fire. But it’s ok – it’s a symbolic music video fire, not a terrifying house fire.

Anika walks among the burning bed, dressing table and piano. She has a dark haunted look on her face, as if this destruction is both oppressive and liberating for her. Hey, the symbolic music video fire is the gift that keeps on giving.

She ends up stepping into a wardrobe which has Tardis-like properties. As it burns on the outside, Anika is safely making her way though the clothes, back to her safe bed.

Best bit: the allure of the bed.

Director: Darryl Ward
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… cool, pool, fool.

Missing videos from 2004

February 2004

The Have “What You Owe”

“What You Owe” was the third single by Rockquest winners The Have. The group were one of five New Zealand acts to perform at South by Southwest in 2004, with “What You Owe” being included in a best of SXSW CD included with UK music industry publication Music Week.

Director: Adam Jones

February 2004

Falter “Fear Of Heights”

Christchurch punk-pop band Falter, the 2003 Rockquest winners, have their second single “Fear of Heights”. The single was recorded at York Street Studios as part of their Rockquest prize package.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 2004

Crumb “Got It All”

The saga of the missing video for Crumb’s song “Got It All” has the best story. Basically, the band had agreed to work with a director who was planning an ambitious semi-animated video. It involved something like the lead singer performing at a gig, seeing a mysterious girl who zaps him and he’s sucked into a cartoon world. The production was all going well until the band saw the finished product. It was terrible. No one was happy. The label refused to pay and the video never saw the light of day. No known copy of it exists, just some raw footage and a few stills. One can only hope that some day “Got It All” will surface in all its glory.

Dimmer “Case”

2004-dimmer-case“Case” is the final video from Dimmer’s second album “You’ve Got to Hear the Music”. It’s one of those great Dimmer tracks that sounds like the soundtrack to the best/worst weekend. The video used to be hosted at Amplifier and a lone screenshot is all that remains.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Gramsci “Recovery”

Gramsci get gruntier with the very röck “Recovery”. 2004 feels like the tail end of the early ’00s rock revival. It will be interesting to see how much rock there is in the years to come.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Lucid 3 “Pitch Jumping”

Lucid 3’s song “Pitch Jumping” is their most popular track on Spotify, so it’s sad the video isn’t available anywhere. It’s a typically laid-back Lucid 3 track, with some cool organ playing.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Have “Monday Through Friday”

The Have’s song “Monday Through Friday” is another track that might not have actually had a video made, but the Rockquest winners were keeping busy and have more funding to come.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

August 2004

Heavy Jones Trio “Free”

The Heavy Jones Trio song “Free” was their second funded video and the first single off their debut album. Director Ivan Slavov vaguely but intriguingly noted that the band “gave us freedom of expression which lets us do our job.”

Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Niki Ahu “Nobody Knows”

Niki Ahu won a Mai FM talent quest and had her single “Nobody Knows” produced by UK producer Colin Emmanuel. The Kiwi Hit Disk quoted Niki describing the song as “deep, grunty and heartfelt.”

Strawpeople “Love My Way”

“Love My Way” was the Strawpeople’s penultimate NZ On Air funded video, another track fro their final studio album Count Backwards from 10. The song had vocals from Leza Corban.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Visions

October 2004

No Artificial Flavours “Homeland”

“Homeland” was the follow-up single from No Artificial Flavours, but also their final NZ On Air funded video – though I’m not actually sure if a video was made. There was talk of an album, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. But I found a 2009 profile of frontman Taaz where there’s mention of new music.

Salisha Taylor “I Saw An Angel”

Young singer Salisha Taylor had her debut single “I Saw An Angel”. There’s little trace of her online, but I found a post on the newsgroup where an enthusiastic member of her team described her as “a real diva but she still replies to all her fan mail.” This prompted someone to cruelly reply: “It’s good to see New Zealand music in the international spotlight. It’s a shame its shit New Zealand music.”

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

December 2004

48May “Spinning Around”

48May had funding for their song “Spinning Around”. There’s no sign of the video, but instead here’s “Into the Sun”. It seems to have been made around the same time and includes outtakes from “Home By 2”, as well as ever reliable live footage.

Red Drum “Resurrect Jim”

Red Drum was a rock band fronted by Garageland frontman Jeremy Eade and “Resurrect Jim” was their funded song. A 2003 blog from Arch Hill Recordings mentions the production of a Red Drum song called “No Cross in the Crossroads”, but there’s no sign of that either.

Director: Paul Taylor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Rhian Sheehan feat. Gramsci, Bevan Smith & Matthew Mitchell “Miles Away”

Rhian Sheehan teamed up with Gramsci and friends for “Miles Away”.

Director: Age Pryor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision


This month’s consolation video is Steriogram’s lively “Walkie Talkie Man”, directed by the perpetually creative French director Michel Gondry, far removed from the world of NZOA. By the mid 2000s Monsieur Gondry was well established as one of the cool-dude video directors, so he was the go-to guy for Capitol Records when they needed an impressive music video to attempt to launch Steriogram in America. The stop-motion-animated woolly world was created by production designer Lauri Faggioni and her team of knitters. (This is also a good enough place to link to Gondry’s enigmatic video for “Sugar Water” by Cibo Matto, one of my favourite videos ever.) Seeing a big budget video like this makes all the New Zealand videos set on beaches seem like roughly made home movies (and in some cases that’s just what they were). Sometimes it’s just nice to revel in the world of the fancy international music video in all its glory. (Director: Michel Gondry; Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Hey, this is the halfway point!

In almost three years, I’ve reviewed 777 videos, which is quite a lot, really. There are also 350 videos that aren’t currently available online (like the ones above), though there are definitely more videos available from the mid 2000s than there were from the early ’90s. And 57 previously awol videos have since turned up online, which is splendid. I just need to get around to catching up with those ones.

When I started 5000 Ways, I didn’t have a specific end date in mind, but I realised that I don’t want to do it forever (oh God). So I’ve decided that a good enough end goal is June 2011, the final funding round of $5000 grants before that was replaced with the current Making Tracks scheme. I’ve roughly calculated how long it’s going to take to complete it and I will reveal this: it’s going to take a bit longer than three years. It’s ok. It’s not like I have anything better to do.

The one thing this project has done is completely kill the joy of nostalgia for me. When I look at a video from the olden times, it’s like I’m seeing it how I saw it back then. And when I’m not watching old music videos, I only listen to contemporary music. Anything older than five years just makes me feel depressed. Yay.

Anyway. This is still loads of fun. Most videos are a pleasure to watch and there’s a lot of good stuff out there. The only ones I have trouble with are ones that are just really boring – because no one deliberately sets out to make a boring video. But at least now when I come across a difficult video, I can at least console myself that I’m over the hump.

Ok, on we go. Here’s a video right from the beginning, “The Beautiful Things” by the Front Lawn one of the first three to be funded.