October 2008: Cairo Knife Fight, Cobra Khan, Collapsing Cities, Dave Dobbyn, Devolo, J Williams

Nature vs wallpaper, bloody lovers, Uncle Dave’s musical adventure, when shyness stops you from doing all the things in live you’d like to, and a solo dance.

Continue reading October 2008: Cairo Knife Fight, Cobra Khan, Collapsing Cities, Dave Dobbyn, Devolo, J Williams

Dave Dobbyn “Pour The Wine”

2005-dave-dobbyn-pour-the-wineDave Dobbyn’s music videos are usually quite interesting, but this one is just really forgettable.

Dave is playing the song with his band in an underground bar. The video is shot with desaturated colour, so it’s virtually black and white with mild hints of red. Sometimes the footage is full screen, other times it’s split into two or three boxes on screen. It’s achingly dull.

Five years later, in 2010, Cee Lo Green released the lyric video for his song “Fuck You”. This was the first modern dynamic lyric video and it sparked the now ordinary craft of lyric videos. And it sets a benchmark: is the “Pour the Wine” video more interesting than it would be if it were a lyric video? No. I would rather see the lyrics on screen (or just listen to the song on its own) than go to the effort of watching this boring video. Or maybe the Mint Chicks could come along with their felt-tip pens and scribble over the vid.

DD’s videos don’t have to all be as bold as “Don’t Hold Your Breath”, but he’s such a legendary performer that his videos should capture at least some of that spirit.

Best bit: Dave’s satisfied smile at the end, which is nice.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the importance of having goals.

Dave Dobbyn “Welcome Home”

I have a theory about this song. After Dave Dobbyn saw “Loyal”, a song about a relationship breakdown, used to foster national pride in a sports contest, he decided to write an actual proper song about pride in New Zealand. And so “Welcome Home” was born, and I imagine Dave has done quite well performing it at all those sports, military and civic ceremonies, all in honour of people who have “sacrificed much to be here”.

The video starts in black and white, with Dave walking down a busy street. He occasionally turns to wave and smile at people off camera, and you just know it’s people who are just shouting “DAVE DOBBYN!” because, hey, it’s Dave Dobbyn.

A bit of colour comes to the video via portraits of immigrants, all posing next to the flags of their former home country, and longer established New Zealanders. There’s a meat worker, schoolkids, dairy owners, a kebab shop couple, a taxi driver, and a forklift driver. There’s also refugee Ahmed Zaoui and a couple of brothers from the Dominican Priory where he lived at the time.

The oddest person to feature is a Westpac teller. She’s standing in front of a partition with “welcome” on it, and for a brief moment the video suddenly feels like an ad for Westpac. But New Zealanders work in banks as well as kebab shops, hardware stores and freezing works.

A lot of New Zealand music videos try to capture an essence of New Zealand, but trust Dave Dobbyn to just layer on the New Zealandness so deep that it goes beyond a cliche and actually becomes how New Zealanders happily see themselves. This is New Zealand.

Best bit: Dave’s thumbs up to one of the “DAVE DOBBYN” yellers.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… nothing ever happens in the suburbs.

Dave Dobbyn & The Stone People “Don’t Hold Your Breath”

So here’s the concept: Dave Dobbyn, with bleached blonde hair and wearing red and white striped pyjamas, wanders around the army training area at Waiouru with a tank in the background. Pretty awesome, right? And it’s Dave Dobbyn’s first NZ On Air-funded video.

“Don’t Hold Your Breath” is a stark song, mostly just Dave’s voice and guitar, with the occasional burst of drum thrown in. The lyrics are political, imagining an end to many of the world’s troubles, then adding “don’t hold your breath”. It’s not an obvious choice for a single, but it seems like no attempt was made to sweeten things up. The video is as stark as the song.

As well as Dobbyn’s military manoeuvres, the video quickly cuts in clips of important world events (the same sort of stuff Billy Joel sang about in “We Didn’t Start the Fire”). But all that is less interesting than Dave in the desert. He even has a knife that he occasionally stabs into the ground just because that’s the kind of thing he does.

I’m most intrigued by the utility belt that Dave’s wearing with his pyjamas. It’s like something woke him up in the middle of the night, leaving him to flee the house in his PJs with his prized possessions – guitar, stabby knife and utility belt. Well, that’s all you need for the apocalypse.

The video also has pretty quick editing, giving it a feeling of urgency. This isn’t just a lone man wandering around a barren landscape – he has a message for everyone.

Best bit: Dave’s funky strut along the top of a ridge.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a satellite transmission.

Missing videos from 2000

February 2000

Brett Sawyer “Supercool”

Another track from the elusive Brett Sawyer. His single “Supercool” has almost no digital traces, but there is a brief review by Graham Reid in the NZ Herald, where he accurately describes Sawyer’s album When It Happens as being “Not bad, but over the long haul not gripping.”

Joshna “Anything”

Joshna’s single “Anything” notably was written by New Zealand songwriter Pam Sheyne, best known for co-writing Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”. The song has a cool housey sound with undeniable pop chops.

Mary “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)”

Mary contributed the gentle track “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)” to Christmas on the Rocks a yuletide compilation of New Zealand indie artists. (It’s actually quite a good CD, by the way.)

Moana and the Tribe “Speak To Me”

Moana, having ditched the Moahunters and rebranded to Moana and the Tribe, has “Speak To Me” the first single off her third album “Rua”. It was, as Graham Reid noted in the Herald, a departure from the hip hop sounds of earlier albums and a move to the world music sound she’s known for today.

Suzanne Neumann “Lose Control”

Suzanne reports that the video for “Lose Control” was released and was played frequently on television. Unfortunately the video is not currently available online.

April 2000

Before Friday “Now”

Before Friday were a duo of Dean Chandler and Ben Bell-Booth. They had a few singles – including “Now” – before deciding that it would be better if Dean went solo with Ben as his manager.

Carly Binding “We Kissed”

“We Kissed” was originally intended as the first single off TrueBliss’s second album, and indeed the funding was originally given as a TrueBliss single. But but eventually Carly Binding left the group, taking her pop with her. Carly’s first solo single was “Alright with Me (Taking it Easy)” had its video funded in 2002, leaving the funding for “We Kissed” on the books for later use.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dave Dobbyn “Just Add Water”

“Just Add Water” was the opening track from Dave Dobbyn’s 2000 album “Hopetown”. Here’s a live version with Bic Runga and Tim Finn.

Deep Obsession “I Surrender”

After their run of three number one singles, Deep Obsession weren’t able to keep up the same level of success. “I Surrender” was the final single from their album “Infinity” and it charted at 25.

Fiona McDonald “I Don’t Care”

“I Don’t Care” was the eighth and final track to have a music video funded from Fiona McDonald’s album “A Different Hunger”, leaving only four tracks without a video. I think that’s a record!

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 2000

Breathe “Get Yourself Together”

“Get Yourself Together” was the fourth single from Breathe’s major label debut Don’t Stop the Revolution.

Brett Sawyer “No Mistake”

“No Mistake” is the fifth Brett Sawyer track to have funding and it’s the fifth where the video can’t be found.

Dave Dobbyn “My Kinda People”

Dave Dobbyn goes back to his sneery, punky roots with “My Kinda People”, the second single from his album Hopetown.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pluto “Moscow Snow”

The moody “Moscow Snow” was the first release by Pluto, appearing on an Antenna Records compilation. Here’s a live version recorded at the Helen Young Studio for TV show Squeeze.

August 2000

Breathe “When The Sun Comes”

Breathe has “When The Sun Comes”, which includes the lyric, “Everybody likes to grow their hair long/Every once in a while/Or something like that”.

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Confucius “Rollcall”

Confucius was the work of Christchurch electronica musician Nava Thomas. Director Gaylene Barnes intriguingly describes the “Roll Call” video as “Confucius and MysteriousD become trapped in a drum and bass time warp, in this sepia toned music video which incorporates archive footage.” The video was also a finalist in the 2001 New Zealand Music Video Awards.

Director: Gaylene Barnes
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

House of Downtown “Downtown Groove”

The House of Downtown track “Downtown Groove” was best known as the closing credits song for the Tarantino-esque 2001 New Zealand film Stickmen.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Leonard “Claire Swire”

Leonard’s second and final funded video was for “The New Claire Swire”. An intriguing song, assumedly about an office worker who wrote a personal email about semen that was forwarded around the world.

Director: James Moore
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Mary “Ophelia”

More sweet guitar pop from Mary, with their harmony laden track “Ophelia”, an ode to two kittens.

Shaft “Might As Well Be Dumb”

Last seen in the mid-’90s with “Downhill Racer”, Shaft return with the loping “Might As Well Be Dumb”.

Sola Monday “All For A Dance”

Sola Monday’s second and final funded video was “All For A Dance”, a sweet folky, jazzy number.

Splitter “Supermarket Girl”

August 2000 is proving to be not a particularly fruitful month for finding music videos online. Joining the missing persons line-up is Splitter with “Supermarket Girl”.

The Nomad “Life Forms”

There’s no sign of The Nomad’s second video, “Life Forms”.

October 2000

DNE “The Cause”

DNE’s second and final video is for the upbeat dance-pop number “The Cause”. “We are bound to see this group do great things,” says the equally positive bio at Amplifier.

Goldfish Shopping Trolly (GST) “Hey You”

Goldfish Shopping Trolley (or GST for short) was the original name of Opshop. “Hey You” was their first single and has the classic Opshop anthemic sound. At the time, GST were threatening to release the alarmingly titled album “Homo-Electromagneticus”, which promised to capture “the turbulent etheric renderings and solid earthy rhythmic growl of the native New Zealand west coast”.

December 2000

Breathe “She Said”

After a run of 10 videos, Breathe go out with “She Said”. They just seem like a band that – for whatever reason – never quite lived up to their potential.

Loniz “Child Street Blues”

Loniz were a Tauranga-based trio who later became Pacific Realm. “Child Street Blues” was their first single, which the Kiwi Hit Disc says was playlisted on iwi and b.Net radio stations.

Shihad “Just Like Everybody Else”

The list I have of completed videos includes the Shihad track “Just Like Everybody Else”. But when even the very thorough Shihad Wiki doesn’t list it in their exhaustive videography, it’s likely it was never made.

The Subliminals “Uh-Oh”

Oh, this is cruel. There are two older Subliminals videos on NZ On Screen, but no sign of their one NZOA funded video, “Uh-Oh”. Here’s the band playing the song at Flying Nun’s 30th birthday celebrations in Dunedin in 2011.


Weta were one of those bands who seemed hovering on the verge of greatness, but for whatever reason, things didn’t happen. (But things are very much happening for Aaron Tokona’s new band, the psychedelic AhoriBuzz). This is Weta at their best, getting series amongst shipping containers.


Dark Tower with Dave Dobbyn “The New Outlook”

1999-dark-tower-new-outlookDark Tower team up with Dave Dobbyn, reworking the DD Smash hit “Outlook For Thursday” into a manifesto promising a new outlook for the New Zealand music industry.

The video starts with a young woman giving a weather forecast, recalling that ’90s television trend for hot chicks reading the weather. Meanwhile, the Dark Tower lads are summoned by Dave Dobbyn, who is cooler than the young ‘uns, as this subtitled dialogue demonstrates:
Dave: Now is the hour of the Tower.
Dark Tower: Yo! Yo! Yo! The OG godfather wants us to kick it. Let’s bust a move, yo! Word.

We meet two versions of Dark Tower. In one, they’re three blinged-out hip hop gangstas, surrounded by a harem of hotties, ticking all the boxes of hip hop video cliches and inventing some of their own (cask wine!). In the other, they’re three New Zealanders, casually dressed, hanging out in the bush. Does this represent the conflict Dark Tower feel, torn between being pop stars and musicians?

Both versions hang out with Dave Dobbyn – in the first, he’s dressed like a Bond villain, in the second he’s casually hanging out in the recording studio.

There’s a lot to the song and the video. It’s pretty meta, criticising bands who sample old songs while doing the same thing themselves. (“Look around – all you see is grave robbin’… to the hook of David Dobbyn.”) There’s also room for a relevant Bible verse – Matthew 16:26.

But is the conflict between the two Dark Towers resolved? Two lift doors open and each version of the group emerge, acknowledging each other before moving off in different directions. A graphic asks “What’s the ‘real’? You decide.” Whoa.

Best bit: Dave Dobbyn as the OG godfather.

Director: Marc Swadel

Next… female problems.

Missing videos from 1997

February 1997

AKA Brown “Tonight Is Yours”

AKA Brown was Sam Feo of the Semi MCs teamed with the mighty Chong-Nee.

Annie Crummer “I Come Alive”

Annie Crummer has “I Come Alive”, another single off her Seventh Wave album. It’s a sweet, uplifting track.

Future Stupid “Rock Star”

My theory is any band who writes a song called “Rock Star” is deeply conflicted by their role in the entertainment industry. Future Stupid evidently have this concern. Here’s a live video.

Moana and the Moahunters “You Haven’t Done Nothing”

The Kiwi Hit Disc reckoned that Moana and the Moahunters cover of Stevie Wonder’s funky protest song — originally titled “U Haven’t Done Nuthin” — would appear on their second album, Rua, but it didn’t make it. It did, however, later show up as the opening track on the compilation album Southside Funk ‘N’ Soul (1985-1996), a collection of previously unreleased tracks.

Russell Harrison “The Best”

There’s no sign of the video from long-time Lotto presenter Russell Harrison, but there’s a non-NZOA-funded clip of this smooth R&B jam “Why You Wanna”. Russell plays three guys auditioning for a role by doing an improv seduction scene in a bar. The video starts at 0:20, but it’s worth watching the introduction, where he seems a bit annoyed by the video.

Thorazine Shuffle “Secret You Hide”

Thorazine Shuffle is listed as having received funding for their song “Secret You Hide”, but as far as I can tell this wasn’t released as a single and didn’t have a video made. Here’s a video of a 2018 live performance.

April 1997

Buckle “Swoon”

Buckle appears to have been a “jazzy, trip-hop” group. “Swoon” was their one and only funded video.

Cicada “Backstab”

“Backstab” was Cicada’s fourth and final funded video, but it doesn’t look like a video was made. But there are plenty of other Cicada videos online. Frequent Cicada video director Marc Swadel made a demo reel of five music videos for the five tracks off Cicada’s Oscillator EP: “Alpha Jerk”, “Sway”“Good”, “Spine” and “Winter” (which had a proper funded video made).

Eye TV “Snakes & Ladders”

“Snakes & Ladders” was the opening track from Eye TV’s third album, “Birdy-O”. The Nga Taonga has this intriguing description: “Band members run, push man in shopping trolley, and ride bicycles. They perform as a rival band with Christian placards on Auckland waterfront.”

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Lava Lava “Feel The Heat”

Dance band Lava Lava had “Feel The Heat” and a video which included “fire dancing on the top of Mt Eden, live footage from the TRU SCHOOL 97 tour and a Cadillac with licence plate SPADE!” If anything puts this video firmly in 1997 it’s “spade”.

Southside of Bombay “Running”

Southside of Bombay had the single “Running”.

June 1997

Ardijah “Love So Right”

Ardijah give a South Pacific update to the Bee Gees song “Love So Right”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Coelacanth “Choke”

Coelacanth were a four-piece alternative rock band. A bio of the band notes that they produced “four completed music videos, three of which never made it to air.” Is “Choke” one of those unaired videos?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “I Wanna Know”

The Dead Flowers get really really pop with “I Wanna Know”. They must have been promoting the crap out of it because there are two live performances from TV shows – a delightfully degraded VHS copy of an appearance on Ground Zero, and this one from Ice TV. Nga Taonga describe the video as “The band play in a passenger waiting room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Down In Splendour”

Another track from Debbie Harwood’s Peaches project, matching her favourite female singers with classic New Zealand songs. This time vocalist Leza Corban covers the Straitjacket Fits tune “Down In Splendour”.

Propeller “Repeat The Question”

Propeller have “Repeat The Question”, another track from their final album and their penultimate NZOA funded video. Here’s a live-ish recording.

Southern Tribe “Closer”

Southern Tribe was a solo project by Hamilton musician Andrew Newth (formerly of Love and Violence). Described by the Htown Wiki as an ‘elaborate looping’ video, the laid-back, instrumental “Closer” was directed by Greg Page. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Man lying prone on ground rises and follows a figure (who looks him) into building and observes other versions of himself. He throws himself from balcony, then rises .”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1997

Mary “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Mary have their second video “I’ll Be Seeing You”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform against a white backdrop interspersed with brief shots of them in outdoor setting (city street, beach).”

Director: Sigi Spath
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Muckhole “Kooza”

“The past three years have left me bruised and broken,” Muckhole wail. Sadly the “Kooza” video isn’t online, depriving us of the visual depiction of this emotion.

Propeller “Refrain”

“Refrain” is the final video from Propeller. Farewell, Propeller.

October 1997

5 Go Mad “Too Bad”

5 Go Mad had two videos funded. “Too Bad” was the first track. According to Stephen from the band, the video was shot “in the back of an old monastery on Richmond Road”, and featured Jan Hellriegel.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bike “Anybody Know”

Just as I start liking the music of Bike, the videos start disappearing. “Anybody Know” is a an upbeat guitar pop track with gloriously noisy guitars.

Dead Flowers “Free”

Dead Flowers have the song “Free”, produced by Eddie Rayner. There are few traces of it online.

New Loungehead “Johnny 14”

New Loungehead were purveyors of very cool jazz. “Johnny 14” was the opening track off their album “Came a Weird Way”. Peter at DubDotDash takes a look back.

Director: Marc Swadel

December 1997

5 Go Mad “Above My Head”

5 Go Mad were a pop trio who won funding from the Recording Artist Development Scheme (RADS) run by RIANZ and Creative New Zealand “to promote emerging artists”. Rumour has it that the video for “Above My Head” was all but complete, but never made it off the edit suite (save for one VHS preview copy) due to reasons.

Director: Marc Swadel

B “So Long”

I talk about songs and bands that are hard to google, but this has to be the ultimate example: the band is called B and the song is called “So Long”. Do you know how many artists have a song called “So Long”? There are 12 songs with that name at Amplifier. But I finally managed to discover that B was Brendan Gregg of the Holy Toledos, and B also won RADS funding.

Director: David Reid
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Charlotte Yates “Console”

Charlotte Yates, probably best known for her work with When The Cat’s Been Spayed”, has the song “Console”. The Leeanne Culy-directed video was previously on Charlotte’s website, but in ye olde Real Video format. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Singer playing guitar under wharf by sea and in other locations.”

Director: Leeanne Culy
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dave Dobbyn “Waiting”

Dave Dobbyn has the upbeat pop track “Waiting”, with a hearty meandering melody. Here’s a live version.

Freaker “Mutilator”

Freaker were signed to Deepgrooves and “Mutilator” was an edgy instrumental track.

Lole “Comfort Me”

Samoan songstress Lole has “Comfort Me”. Instead here’s her song “Tu I Luga” which was used a David Tua’s entrance song in his big fight with Shane Cameron in 2007.

Pause “Only”

Pause was an early project by future Elemeno P guitarist Justyn Pilbrow, along with vocalists Jo Currie and Anna Copley. “Only” was their debut single, which Kiwi Hits described as having “eclectic rhythms and acoustic melody”. Deepgrooves describes the video as having been shot in black and white around Auckland, including breaking into the recently closed Auckland train station.

Director: Marc Swadel


Now let’s take a look at a video that didn’t have NZ On Air funding but that managed to make a huge impact despite its $250 budget. It’s “Jesus I Was Evil”, an ode to badassness by the late, great Darcy Clay.

Directed by David Gunson who filmed it with an assortment of cheap cameras, it sees Darcy performing at the Summer Series in Albert Park and being generally evil around town, which includes hoovering up a fat line of cocaine, played expertly by custard powder. The video ends with Darcy’s email address, back when email was still new. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision also hosts the video, with some good behind-the-scenes stories from the director.

Director: David Gunson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dave Dobbyn “Naked Flame”

1994-dave-dobbyn-naked-flameThe first thing we must do is note what Mr Dobbyn is wearing. This time he’s from the future, wearing a black leather trench coat with a black skivvie underneath, and with dark round glasses. His facial hair has been reduced to a goatee, the sort of which is now mostly seen on IT workers.

The song is about the fire of desire, and the video illustrates this with a dancer and flames. The power combo of flames and a naked dancing woman give the video a Bond feel, therefore making Dave Dobbyn the Bond villain (well, he’s already dressed for the part).

Taking a cue from the title, there’s a bit of actual nudity from the dancer. Her nipples can be seen a few times and possibly even some more frontal nudity, though I’m not totally sure about this, due to not wanting to be the sort of person who keeps pausing a Dave Dobbyn video looking for pubes.

But what’s most interesting – Dave and the dancer seem to inhabit totally difference realms. They never appear together.

Best bit: Dave’s intense facial acting skills.

Director: Fane Flaws
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… honouring New Zealand’s longjump greats.

Dave Dobbyn “Language”

1994-dave-dobbyn-languageFinally, Dave Dobbyn. Finally you grace us with your presence. Dave is a man of many appearances, so I feel it is important that these be logged. In “Language”, Dave wears a goatee beard, but it should be noted that in 1994, goatees were very hip. Although, like any youth fashion, that hipness did not necessarily extend to dads.

“Language” takes part in two universes. There is the colour, gloomy world of Dave Dobbyn. He lurks about in the shadows of either a junk shop or maybe the symbolic cluttered home of the tortured subject of the song. The other world is black and white, evenly lit, and with people of all sexual orientations who stare at the camera and look soulful, intense, angry or gloomy. This video must have been a boon for unemployed actors.

I don’t think this video does the song many favours. The video takes the gloomy tone of the lyrics, and ignores the much more upbeat music. And why dress Dave Dobbyn like a bogan dad?

Best bit: the hot guy with jean-clad legs akimbo.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… what happens at the pool in winter.