DLT feat Ryad “Liquid Skies”

2001-dlt-feat-ryad-liquid-skiesThe city is no place for a horse. I’d complained about the lack of DLT in his previous videos, so it’s just as well that he makes an appearance in “Liquid Skies”. Guest vocalist Ryad isn’t in the video, but DLT’s daughter is, as is a white horse.

DLT is hanging out with the horse in a city parking building. Back in the olden days Auckland used to have places where a horse could be parked. Stable Lane in Newton, for example, used to house actual stables. But now what’s a person to do if they find themselves with an urban pony that needs a whare? You put it in a car park?

Fortunately this isn’t the horse’s permanent home. We also see it on the beach, having a really good, luxurious roll around in the sand. This is the horse of freedom.

There’s also footage of DLT in downtown Auckland, as well as random urban scenes from Tokyo. We see his young daughter wearing a Tino Rangatiratanga t-shirt, squinting in the golden sunlight.

It’s a supremely chilled out video for an equally chilled out song. Contrasting the horse in an urban and a coastal setting is so much more powerful than just having the horse romping around alone. And it’s great to see DLT appear again in one of his videos. It’s just a little sad that this was his last NZ On Air funded video.

Best bit: the horse having a good shake to get all the sand off.

Director: BG Riphead
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… dance your cares away.

DLT featuring Rascalz “Can’t Be Stopped”

2000-dlt-cant-be-stoppedDLT teams up with Canadian hip hop group Rascalz. I’m guessing that the trans-Pacific collaboration might be why neither DLT nor the Rascalz properly appear in the video.

Instead it’s a combination of animation and live action footage of skateboarding. The animation is pretty basic, and it reminds me of the sort of thing that students of today knock out in their first year of animation school. It doesn’t seem such a wise choice to have an animation of a dude doing an ollie off stairs, then showing a clip of the real (and far more awesome) thing shortly afterwards.

More successful is an animation of some dudes spraying a massive graffiti mural on a wall. It’s a work in progress throughout the video, and is revealed near the end to be an impressive piece.

The rest of the video is animation of hip hop dancers, fisheye film of skaters doing ramp tricks, and occasionally we even see the man himself, DLT.

This is the second DLT video where the guest MCs haven’t been able to appear in the video and I think it’s suffering for it. The “Chains” video was so powerful with Che Fu’s presence in it. There’s just something that a human being does that animated people can’t.

Best bit: the bad-ass graffitists spraying the camera, heist movie style.

Next… a fine day in the suburbs.

DLT feat Sage and Gravity “I’m Your MC”

2000-dlt-im-your-mcOk, let’s kick off 2013 with not just another new year, but a new millennium. We resume our journey in the year 2000. DLT’s album “Altruism” was the follow-up to his 1996 debut solo album “The True School”. While his first album had the massive number one hit single “Chains”, the first single off “Altruism” only charted at 19. But here’s the kicker – “Altruism” charted higher than “The True School”.

And where “Chains” featured the mighty Che Fu, “I’m Your MC” had guest vocals from two previously unknown American female MCs, Sage and Gravity. The song takes its inspiration from Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman”, by way of Ice T’s “I’m Your Pusher”.

But anyway, to the video. Despite being the central focus of the song, the two MCs are absent from the video, and DLT is depicted as a shadowy, limelight-avoiding figure. Instead the video focuses on people who move, with a broad selection of dancers and martial artists doing their thing in front of flaming fiery flames.

The only person not moving is a pregnant woman who stands still, contemplating her swollen belly. Hey, that baby is now a 12-year-old.

Nothing much happens in the video. Once we’ve cycled through the collection of movers kicking, swaying, flipping and breaking, it starts to feel quite repetitive. The song and the video suffer not having the MCs present. If this was a showreel for a performing arts school, then it would make sense, but the visuals feel disconnected from the song. And that’s a pity because it’s a brilliant song.

Best bit: the middle-aged woman with a sword. Fear her.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… look straight down the millennium gun.

DLT feat Mighty Asterix “One Love”

1996-dlt-feat-mighty-asterix-one-loveDespite its Bob Marley sounding title, “One Love” is an upbeat funk/soul-inspired number with an absolute killer chorus and started as a Supergroove remix.

The video has a lot going on, and it’s packed with cameos. Going by Peter McLennan’s notes on YouTube, there’s activist Tame Iti, artist Greg Semu, director Greg Riwai and music industy figure Kirk Harding, and I also spotted Joe Lonie, of Supergroove and other music videos. But it doesn’t feel like these guys are being wheeled out as super celebrity appearances (I mean, they’re not necessarily household names) – it’s more like they’re there because they were just hanging out with their friends making the video.

The video is full of people, from staunch bros hanging out down the local shops, to loving couples snuggling up together. The song has a message of unity (no surprises there) and the video does a good job of showing that without forcing it. People aren’t getting along because they’re in a music video that requires them to get along; they’re getting along cos they just do.

Even the Mighty Asterix manages a bit of self-love, with an impressive rotating shot of himself three times. This has to count as a mid-’90s digital effect that doesn’t look like a lame-arse gimmicky digital effect. It’s a fun video that nicely captures the spirit of the song.

Best bit: the store front of Otara Coffee and Takeaways.

Director: Marcus Ringrose
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… silky raven tresses.

DLT feat Che Fu “Chains”

1996-dlt-chainsIt was 1996. Supergroove had regrouped as a serious rock band, squeezing out Che Fu. DLT had left Upper Hutt Posse and was branching out as a solo DJ and producer, and everyone hated the French because they had resumed testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. These three factors combined to create “Chains”, one of the greatest New Zealand songs.

The song alternates between Che Fu’s angry verses spitting at France for dropping bombs, and the clearer chorus with the memorable line “Living in the city ain’t so bad”.

The Kerry Brown-directed video captures both sides of this, with edgy urban scenes mixed with apocalyptic imagry. Scenes of Pacific-flavoured graffiti mix with skulls, gas masks and a cross made out of money. Interestingly, the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision notes there were two videos made, with the other one directed by Gideon Keith and Grant Fell. There’s no sign of it online.

But back to the best known version and there’s a naked lady boob, which I had not previously noticed. But there it is, being all arty. It’s interesting which videos get away with nudity. I guess if you’re not being terribly sexist, no one minds.

But the star of the video is Che Fu. Wearing his ever present backpack, he is full of attitude. Sometimes seen with equally cool DLT, it’s like Che has taken everything he’s learned from his years with Supergroove and put it into the song and the video. He works the camera with such menace that it almost feels like this song could single-handedly put a stop to French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Best bit: the rotating hand grenade, like a macabre gameshow prize.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… stretch limo party!!!!

Missing videos from 1996

February 1996

Dei Hamo “International Whirl Rocker”

After making his mark doing the guest rap on Nathan Haines’ “Lady J”, Dei Hamo went solo with International Whirl Rocker (or “Rocca”, as it is listed in the NZOA database. The song was due to be released on Papa Pacific Records, but the label folded before this could happen, with Phil Fuemana eventually including the track on the groundbreaking Pioneers of a Pacifikian Frontier album. Here’s Dei Hamo performing the song live on Mai Time.

Teina Benioni “Gone Fishing”

Teina was nicknamed “the bard of Otara”. He played all the instruments and sang all the vocals on his song “Gone Fishing”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1996

Eye TV “Immaculate”

Another track from Eye TV. “Immaculate” was a return to a more electric sound for the group. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Eye TV perform “Immaculate” in white room under flashing lights.”

Director: Sharron Ward
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moana and the Moahunters “Prophecies”

“Prophecies” was a track on Moana and the Moahunter’s second album, Tahi. It’s a gentle soul ballad, and Moana’s website says it touches “on more spiritual matters”. This looks like a case where the video was never made.

Splitter “What You Know”

Splitter had “What You Know”, described by the Herald as “XTC-meets-powerpop”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The Splitter singer sings “What You Know” strapped to a chair in an interrogation room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1996

Bike “Old & Blue”

Bike’s first single, “Save My Life”, is afforded digital immortality due to its inclusion on the Flying Nun “Very Short Films” compilation, but second single “Old and Blue” isn’t so lucky.

Director: Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dam Native “Top Notch Vocalist”

The only mention of the Dam Native song “Top Notch Vocalist” is in the NZOA funding list. It seems like the sort of funding that might have ended up going to a different song.

Future Stupid “Greed”

Christchurch band Future Stupid were causing a ruckus with “Greed”. While the music video isn’t online, you can take your pick of 1997 live performances at the Summer Series, the Big Day Out or a DIY music video.

Lodger “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me”

Another song from Lodger, aka Damon from Dead Flowers’ side project. I assume that “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me” is a cover of the Small Faces song.

Second Child “Prove You Wrong”

“Prove You Wrong” is the sixth funded video from Second Child.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Splitter “Tremolo Panned”

Splitter was an Andrew Thorne project and “Tremolo Panned” was a nice piece of mid-’90s rock. But best of all, the Kiwi Hit List noted that the song features “Graham Brazier on electrified harmonica”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Do You Feel In Love”

The Exponents said farewell to Warner Music with a final single, “Do You Feel In Love”. Nga Taonga’s description suggests the video is a classic style Greg Page animation: “A claymation Exponents perform “Do You Feel In Love”.”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1996

Breathe “Smiley Hands”

Breathe debuted with “Smiley Hands”, giving just an inkling of the major label excitement they stirred only a few years later. The olden internet has revealed this short but amazing article about the Smiley Hands EP. Taken from a December 1996 issue of RipItUp, it’s the kind of music writing that’s so scarce in this digital age.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Igelese “Emotions”

“Emotions” was Igelese’s second funded video. There’s no sign of it ever having been made, which might be tied to the end of Igelese’s record label, Papa Pacific. But he went on to compose music for Lord of the Rings and Moana, so it turned out well.

Lole “Feel Like Making Love”

Lole covers “Feel Like Making Love”, that’s the safe Roberta Flack song, not Bad Company’s rock classic.

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Go”

OMG, Peaches?! Wait, it’s not the Canadian performance artist, but a Debbie Harwood project. She got her musician mates to cover classic New Zealand pop. “Go” is project’s one original track, penned by Rikki Morris.

Seven a Side “Running Back to You”

Also from the Rockquest is Seven a Side, winner of the Tangata Pasifica Beats category. A funded video for “Running Back To You” was part of the prize package. The track also featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Supergroove “5th Wheel”

“5th Wheel” is an attempt at a sweet pop song, complete with flute, strings, and ah-ah-ahs. I believe vocals are by Joe Lonie, and the video involved him sitting on the back of a ute.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The 3Ds “Vector 27”

“Vector 27” was from The 3Ds final album, Strange News from the Angels. It was also the final 3Ds video to be funded. Nga Taonga enticingly describes the video as, “The 3Ds go for a drive in the countryside and encounter flying saucers and aliens.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1996

Ardijah “Oh Baby”

After returning from five years in Australia, “Oh Baby” was Ardijah’s new single. The video isn’t online, but here’s a short clip of a live performance from the era. Nga Taonga describe the video as “Ardijah perform “Oh Baby” in cabaret setting.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bobby Owen “Falling”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described 18-year-old Bobby Owen’s single “Falling” as a “moody soulful ballad” that was recorded at Fuemana Studios.

Dam Native “Extremities”

Another cool track from Dam Native. “Extremities” was produced by Zane Lowe.

Greg Johnson “Softly On Me”

“Softly On Me” featured Boh Runga and was produced by Dave Dobbyn. Jonathan King directed the video, filmed at a Tongan church in Auckland.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Mary “Golden Halo”

Mary was an all-girl band, and they were a very all-girl band. Check out this profile in the Herald – about half the article is about aspects of their all-girl-bandliness. Their sweet, girly song “Golden Halo” was the first of many funded videos. I’ve heard from a performer in the video who says she wore a halo, naturally enough.

Stellar “Real”

It’s cool seeing signs of Stellar’s early work, putting in the hard yards before they were snapped up by Sony and became pop icons. “Real” was another early single.

December 1996

Ardijah “Bad Buzz”

More Polyfonk from Ardijah, this time with “Bad Buzz”, a Bob Marley tribute. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Ardijah sing “Bad Buzz” walking through sideshows / amusement park.”

Director: Neil Cervin
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Brothers & Sisters “Parihaka”

Like both Tim Finn and Jacqui Keelan Davey, the young Maori band Brothers & Sisters pay tribute to the pacifist Te Whiti with their song “Parihaka”. The track featured on the Tangata Records compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

DLT “Black Panthers”

The instrumental “Black Panthers” was the second single off DLT’s album “The True School”.

Fat Mannequin “That Matters”

Fat Mannequin deliver “That Matters”, a very ’90s rock ballad.

In The Whare “Sister Dread”

According to NZOA, In The Whare’s music was a mix of reggae, hip hop, funk and metal. Their song “Sister Dread” also featured on Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision