June 2010: Julia Deans, K.One, King Kapisi, Knives At Noon, Midnight Youth, Nightchoir, North Shore Pony Club

Ordinary scenes, urban and suburban, monkeys, elephants camels, and tigers, lost in space, travelling light, split screen special, and the best party.
Continue reading June 2010: Julia Deans, K.One, King Kapisi, Knives At Noon, Midnight Youth, Nightchoir, North Shore Pony Club

March 2010: Kids of 88, Kidz In Space, King Kapisi, Kirsten Morrell, Maitreya, Nameless Sons, Nathan Haines, Nesian Mystik

Stretching and flexing, ghostly goings on, a Bangkok kickboxing gym, a hundreds and thousands man, the story and the ink, the hunter possibly becomes the hunted, an edgy London sound, and demons on wheels.

Continue reading March 2010: Kids of 88, Kidz In Space, King Kapisi, Kirsten Morrell, Maitreya, Nameless Sons, Nathan Haines, Nesian Mystik

October 2005: Dam Native, Die! Die! Die!, Gasoline Cowboy, Goodnight Nurse, King Kapisi

A highly symbolic lollipop, polite zombies, a beach dream, and an old abandoned rugby ground.
Continue reading October 2005: Dam Native, Die! Die! Die!, Gasoline Cowboy, Goodnight Nurse, King Kapisi

King Kapisi “Raise Up”

2005-king-kapisi-raise-upKing Kapisi returns with the first single from his third album, Dominant Species. The video is very dark, edgy and urban, a complete change from the fresh outdoor settings of his earlier videos.

The video takes place on the most gothiest basketball court. It’s black, with a black and grey graffiti mural on the back wall. Playing on the court are two teams of four, both dressed in arrangements of black and white sportswear.

2005-unakapisiKing Kapisi also joins in with the neutral colours. Alternating an entirely black and entirely white combo of hoodie and shorts. He wears the hood up and pairs it with sunglasses, which gives him the look of the Unabomber’s police sketch.

The overall black palette of the video does make it seem like King Kapisi is trying to be all tough and serious, which reminds me of New Kids on the Block’s ill-fated attempt to go gangsta in the mid ’90s. But, ok, it is still a very stylishly shot video.

Best bit: the dramatic goal shooting of the basketball game.

Director: Sam Peacocke
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… shirtless street party.

King Kapisi “Stomping”

2003-king-kapisi-stomping“Stomping” was directed by the fellows of Mukpuddy, a superfun Auckland-based animation house. There’s a ton of talent at Mukpuddy, but the “Stomping” video feels troubled by the same sort of troubles that often strike animated music videos. That is, it feels a bit slow and empty, like there wasn’t enough time and/or money to fill out the animation with enough footage to give it more movement and excitement. At one point, there’s a totally blank white screen for almost two seconds, which feels really long. For a song that’s all about stomping, the video has a strangely placid feeling to it.

The video starts by zooming in on Bill’s Electronix shop, where a TV screen shows a video game promising combat between King Kapisi’s team and some monster types. “Start” flashes on the screen, but that’s the last of video game grammar we see. There’s no sense of any gameplay in the video.

I should say, the animation is great. It’s colourful and funny and expressive. I almost feel like taking a bunch of screenshots of all my favourites stills. Maybe the visuals would work better if the animation was given a new audio track with just voices and sound effects, not having to rely on the song. It’s one of those rare cases where the song is good and the visuals are good but together they just don’t quite work.

Best bit: the detailed and rather pretty background of the space scenes.


Director: Mukpuddy
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… basic training.

King Kapisi “Elemental Forces”

2003-king-kapisi-elemental-forcesA boxing ring is a simple and dramatic setting. It symbolises conflict on display. So it’s not surprising that the boxing ring has been the setting for many music videos (check out this list). But I can only think of two NZOA funded videos that have used the ring – Rubicon’s “The Captain” (with the band in netball uniforms) and Wordperfect’s “The Word Perfect Show” (he doesn’t take off his robe, but the ring girl wears a bikini). But the obvious comparison is LL Cool J’s bombastic 1990 video for “Mama Said Knock You Out” – and indeed “Elemental Forces” seems to be paying tribute to LL in some shots.

So here’s King Kapisi entering the ring for his ode to hip hop culture, shouting out to “MCs, DJs, b-boys, graff artists”. And while the video starts off with a traditional boxing match, the ring is soon given over to hip hop artists, mostly b-boys. There’s also King Kapisi going the MCing (of course) DJ CXL behind the turntables, but there’s no sign of any graff artists. But then, there aren’t all that many surfaces to paint.

The video is directed by King Kapisi himself, and stars his friends and family. Like “Mama Said Knock You Out”, the most of video is shot in black and white. It gives it all a very dramatic look, and not just a bunch of entertainers mucking around in a boxing gym after hours. The one excursion into colour takes place outside the ring. In front of a giant backdrop of Kapisi’s Overstayer flag, he gets enjoys some full-colour posing.

There’s also something to be said for King Kapisi actually having the right build for boxing. He looks like someone who could actually win a boxing match, no accidental lolz from a skinny-arse muso trying to be Rocky. (The only time this has ever worked is Sandra Bernhard kicking David Lowery’s arse in Cracker’s “Low” video.) Yeah, there are better boxing music videos, but as far as the genre goes, this is a really good effort.

Best bit: the fierce breakdancing spins.


Director: King Kapisi
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… overexposure.

King Kapisi featuring Che Fu “U Can’t Resist Us”

2003-king-kapisi-u-cant-resist-usA giant crown-shaped cloud overs above the setting of this hip hop video: it’s a farm. It’s not the first time a New Zealand hip hop video has used this unconventional location. In 2000 Dark Tower’s “You Beauty” threw out the symbolic hip hop rulebook and filmed on a farm.

But while King Kapisi, Che Fu and friends have just as much fun down on the farm, their rural adventure is more focused and more… sheepy. Directed by Chris Graham, the video makes bold use of the landscape and the photogenic farm life.

The video starts with King Kapisi burst out of the middle of a flock of sheep (who have a much happier life than the sheep in the Skeptics’ notorious “AFFCO” video), leading to a livestock auction taken by former All Black Michael Jones. The video is full of cameos, with Inga Tuigamala, Imon Starr (of Rhombus), Oscar Kightley (recently seen in the Ill Semantics “Watching You” video), Nathan Rarere, director Chris Graham, and the late great Peter Fatialofa.

The auction over, King Kapisi hurls around some nunchakus made from jandals, before joining Che and Imon in the woolshed for some shearing. There’s a surreal break in the middle of the song where the three talk in shrill-voiced Kiwispeak on a smoko. “Oh, fair suck of sav, man,” says Che.

And there’s more fun to be had. Che and Kapisi go for a hoon on a tractor with a booming sound system, then as night comes, the younger dudes go on an eel hunt.

Artists go to so much effort trying to make Auckland seem so much more gritty and urban than it actually is. It’s really refreshing to see a video that happily abandons that world and goes in the opposite direction – a day in the countryside.

Best bit: Che Fu flouting the “No lying in wool bins” sign.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… it’s a bloody big truck.

King Kapisi “Conversate”

2001-king-kapisi-conversateA while ago I was speculating that Salmonella Dub’s “Push On Thru” journey to a ski slope could be the first half of the adventure Wham continue in their “Last Christmas” video. But here’s a much more interesting second half of a winter wonderland video scenario.

“This is a Urale clan production,” declares Kapisi at the beginning, and indeed it is, a lively, fun romp in the snow directed by the man himself, produced by his sister and edited by his cousin.

The “Conversate” video is set at the Cardrona skifield (“from Krush Groove to crushed ice”), with Kapisi taking his place on a throne made of packed snow while violinist Sam Konise stands next to him, playing along. Dammit, I want an ice throne and a violinist to punctuation my rhymes. There’s also action shots of snowboarders, clips of a ski simulator video game, and DJ CXL on the cut. So already the video manages to be more amazing in the first 20 seconds than Salmonella Dub managed in the whole video.

“Conversate” is a lyrical smackdown, a declaration from Kapisi, asserting his steez as a top MC. “Standing firm in a river of blood, killing you and your homies,” he alarmingly brags. The cliche would be to set this video in an urban setting, deep in a mean-as world of tough guys.

Instead Kapisi has hit the slopes, mainly alone with his violinist and his ice throne, otherwise surrounded by fellow snowboarders. So what does this say? Is his message so powerful that it can travel from Central Otago skifields to the urban streets? Or has he come to the skifield to assert himself there, a message of warning to any wack MCs snowboarders? Or maybe he’s been exiled to the snow, driving away from the city by an MC with greater steez, leaving Kapisi to attempt to create a new life at Cardrona. I get the feeling it wouldn’t take much to be the best MC at a ski resort. But hey – only King Kapisi has a throne of ice. Super cool.


Director: King Kapisi
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… always willing and able.

King Kapisi featuring Teremoana “Saboteur”

2000-king-kapisi-saboteurThe “Saboteur” vid is a Tarantino-inspired outing, set in central Wellington. The action starts at the Marksman Motor Inn (just across the road from the Basin Reserve), with DJ Raw collecting King Kapisi for a gig. They cruise around Wellington in a vintage car where Kapisi takes a call on a chunky old Ericsson cellphone (but not old enough to be vintage). On the other end is Dave Fane, playing the “Samoan bar manager”, who rants at the “Samoan emcee” and “Samoan turntablist” (everyone in this video gets labelled). The duo arrive at Bar Bodega in its old location, before it was shuffled along Willis Street to make way for the bypass.

Kapisi and Raw take to the stage and the bar soon fills up with (in order of arrival): a trance DJ and groupie, the West West Side Crew, the East Nor’ East Side Crew, the XXXL Crew, fake ass DJs, a yakuza hit man, and undercover cops. So, that’s a pretty good audience for a local act.

Unfortunately there’s some tension between the West West Side and East Nor’ East crews. But if they just stick to their respective sides of the club, everything should be ok. Unless the Nor’ Easters are mad that the West Westers can get closer to the stage. But as Kapisi advises, “With that gangsta mentality, you sabotage yourself”. The music seems to bring everyone together.

In the end the biggest trouble is caused by the Samoan bar manager. “Play some old skool,” he impores, shoving an Abba LP at Raw. His request refused, he storms off in a huff, sabotaging things by pulling the plug on the gig.

From the old Ericsson to Bar Boedga, the “Saboteur” video feels like a postcard from the early ’00s, but it doesn’t feel stuck in that time. You never know when sabotage might happen.

Best bit: the trendy ’00s club threads of the undercover cops.


Director: King Kapisi
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… busking wars.

King Kapisi “Second Migration”

2000-king-kapisi-2nd-migrationThere are two versions of the “Second Migration” video. I’m not sure if the second video had NZ On Air funding, so I’ll look at both of them.

The first version is basic as. King Kapisi, Tha Feelstyle and DJ Raw stand behind a desk with turntables and a mixer on it. The entire Overstayer Crew is in full effect – DJ Raw DJs, King Kapisi and The Feelstyle rap. It looks like it was filmed in someone’s garage, with some ye olde film scratches digitally added to give the video a bit of texture.

The trio are all wearing t-shirts from King Kapisi’s Overstayer range of streetwear. Their uniform look is rounded out by bright white hats. Occasionally there’s a postcard-like photo of a Pacific Island (matching the lyrical themes), but most of the video is just three men in a room. Ok.

The alternate version kicks things up a notch. It’s like when a TV show comes back for a new series with bigger, bolder opening titles. The original footage of the trio is used, but slotted into a bold computer animated world.

The video begins with scenes of tropical islands, and later switches to city scenes. The two locations both look appealing and sinister, which nicely works as a metaphor for the experience of migration.

The basic footage from the first version also finds itself playing on huge screens in the bustling metropolis. It’s like these guys have come to this bold new country and promptly managed to take it over. Which is kind of what King Kapisi had done musically.

Hey, so maybe the first version of the video represents the newly arrived migrants, operating with basics, while the second version is the migrants having fully embraced their new home, taking full advantage of all it has to offer.

Best bit: DJ Raw getting really meta by scratching with King Kapisi’s “Reverse Resistence” LP.


Alternate version


Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision – version one
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision – version two

Next… a hearty headbang.