Is this what happens when robots take over the world? Pine is in this video, but the camera pays more attention to a collection of wind-up robot toys wobbling around on a table in front of the band.
Yeah, the band have a catchy indie pop song and they’re playing it in a room decorated with fairy lights, but the focus is on the little robots. Even when drummer Stephen is in shot singing the song, he’s out of focus. The toys are just that much more interesting.
As a concept, it works. Pine aren’t necessarily the most rocktastic band to watch, so it helps putting them into a secondary role, adding a bit of mystique. The song is little over two and a half minutes, not really time for a complicated video. The simple world of cool robot toys lets the song really stand out.
By the way – this is the third song to mention Geraldine in its lyrics. I don’t even think Auckland or Wellington has been mentioned that much.
Best bit: the two robots who seem about to start a fist fight.
“Days on End” was shot in one take, but it doesn’t feel like a typically gimmicky “one-take wonder”. The video was shot in New York City and focuses on band members walking the city streets, but it isn’t a simple walk around the block.
Instead the band cover vast distances, catching taxis to take them around the city. When we see Aaron and Stephen lip-syncing, the video is slowed down, given a dreamy feeling. But in between verses the action speeds up with the group zipping around the streets, so fast it’s impossible to keep track of their journey.
It’s a chilled-out, lazy song, and the video is just as relaxed. The potentially exotic setting of New York hasn’t been allowed to dominate the video. This isn’t a band who are bursting with excitement at being in the Big Apple. It’s just some people hanging out in a city.
Best bit: the sped-up journey slows down for a little while to feature a couple of old ladies hobbling along the footpath.
Note: The first 1:23 of this video is bars and tone, which is very unpleasant.
So here’s the concept of the “Beaten Again” video: Stephen from Pine gets soaked with a torrent of water. Just to flesh it out, he’s standing in front of a nondescript block of flats and is wearing a blue raincoat. But that raincoat doesn’t provide much protection. The water just keeps on coming, but he is occasionally allowed a little reprieve when another band member kindly towels off his hair.
“Torture the band” music videos seemed to be a thing in the early 2000s, but the video for this cute indie pop number does it a bit differently. For a start, the lyrics talk about overcoming adversity. He’ll never be beaten again, even though he’s getting sprayed with water. And indeed he seems to be enjoying it, often looking like a little boy laughing his way through the fun experience.
But there’s a slightly darker side to the video. When it starts, he’s already wet – so the soaking has obviously been in progress for some time. And when the video finishes, after being towelled off by his two laughing bandmates, he is sprayed again. This suggests a never-ending cycle of wetness, like he’s ended up in an inner ring of indie-pop hell. Lulled into a false sense of security by his towel-wielding diabolical bandmates, he is never allowed to dry off.
And yet there Stephen is, usually smiling. The occasional dark look flashes across his face, but mostly he seems to enjoy this water torture, rather then be annoyed by it. Yeah, he won’t be beaten again, etc.
Best bit: Stephen’s look of relief at being towelled, like a puppy.
According to an Augustino fan forum from 2001, “Overblown” was a radio-only release for Augustino. The forum is amazing. It’s so full of energy and enthusiasm for this cool band everyone loves, there’s bonding and hugs when September 11 happens, then the forum regulars suddenly peter out just as the band release their debut album. And if a band’s fan base can’t stick around, there’s not much hope for the band.
BJ White “Uptown”
The only thing I can find out about “Uptown” by BJ White is that it was included on a sampler CD from Festival Mushroom Records, in between tracks from Lash and Kylie.
Canvas were an enthusiastic trio of young men from Wellington by way of Christchurch. “Tina” was a good pop track and the video got decent airplay on music video shows.
So, an artist called Flipside received funding for a track called “Movin'”. It’s almost impossible to google (and it doesn’t help that there are two other artists called Flipside with tracks that involve “Movin'” in the title) so I can’t find anything on this track.
Nurture was a poptastic collaboration between Deep Obsession producer Christopher Banks and singer Phil Madsen. “Beautiful” was their first single and it reached #13 in the charts.
Sumix “Jump House”
Sumix was a hip hip duo consisting of friends Craig Mckenzie and Aidan Richards. Their single “Jump House” is an upbeat number with a insanely cheerful chorus that instantly reveals Craig’s roots in Christian pop. (Seriously, it has such a Christian chorus). The video was involved the duo going down the slides at Wairewa hot pools. The video evidently made so little impact that director Joe Lonie could safely later recycle the video concept Falter’s “Falling to Pieces” video in 2003.
It sounds like the name of a yuletide horror film, but Jester‘s “Eyes 4 Xmas” is actually a sweet guitar-pop tune. The video seems to have taken inspiration from Popstars. Nga Taonga describes it as “An amusing take on a reality TV talent show. We are privy to auditions for the band (“day 12″), recording the single, shooting the video, creating an image and – Jester’s first show.”
Sheelahroc were an all-girl hip hop trio from Christchurch, comprising of Ladi6, Voodoo Child and Tyra Hammond, a powerhouse of talent. The cool and cautionary “If I Gave You Th’ Mic” was their only NZ On Air funded video. My vague memory of it was an overhead shot of Ladi6 in a space like the train station foyer. The video needs to be online! In this documentary, the group talk about the video shoot being a bit of a mess, and the end video not really making much sense.
Canvas had their second funded video “Sunday”. From memory, it was the band playing the song in a house, going for a lazy-Sunday vibe.
Carmen Steele “Believe In Me”
Kiwihits noted that Carmen Steele‘s song “Believe In Me” was a “reaction to media coverage of the tragic incidence of child abuse in New Zealand” and that the production make it “one of the year’s most evocative songs”. It was Carmen’s only NZOA funding.
Garageland‘s “Highway” is a cheerful ode to road-tripping, and other pleasures. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Footage from the road – including the Capitol Records – and on stage on a US tour by Garageland.”
GST, the early incarnation of Opshop, have the song “Put Up A Fight”. Most significantly, it was the making of this video that inspired Jason Kerrison to build his apocalypse shelter. As Jason told Salient, the video was filmed at his landlord’s “monolithic dome structure”, which inspired him to build his own.
PA Styles “Summer Breeze”
PA Styles were twins Naomi and Sharlene Sadlier. “Crowds are drawn to P.A Styles like moths to a flame,” claimed a Southgate Entertainment press release, creating an image of crowds of people madly running around PA Styles. “Summer Breeze” was their only funded video.
Director: Rongotai Lomas
Purrr‘s final funded video was “Oxygen”, but I’m not entirely sure if a video was actually made. Oh well, it was nice knowing you, three-piece girlband.
D-Super “The Moths”
D-Super go for a janglier, poppier sound for “The Moths”. It was their third and final NZ On Air-funded music video.
Meno Panteboy “Any Kinda Weather”
Meno Panteboy were an Auckland group made up of musicians who’d previously worked with artists such as Che Fu, Greg Johnson, Nathan Haines and John Rowles. “Any Kinda Weather” was a bFM hit. (In case you’re wondering, panteboy is the Greek transliteration of rendezvous and is another name for a coffee house.)
Slim have their final NZOA-funded video “Crumbling”, an upbeat song about someone who is struggling with drink and drugs.
I’m disappointed that Aaria‘s “Cry No More” video isn’t online. The slick bilingual pop vocal group had a top 10 hit with this single, but it was to be their last. From memory, the video had a similar vibe to the Spice Girls’ “2 Become 1” – all city-at-night cool.
The Relaxomatic Project “At The Onset”
There’s no sign of the final video “At the Onset” from Auckland groovsters the Relaxomatic Project.
I’m not sure if Garageland actually made a video for “Crazy”, but it’s worth celebrating as it was their last lot of video funding. They had a total of 15 videos funded over seven years, which is an impressive rate. From the low-budget fun of the early years to the more sophisticated vids of later years, Garageland made good use of the medium of music video.
Lavina Williams “So I Cry”
The “V” in Ma-V-Elle, Lavina Williams went solo with “So I Cry”. In 2006 Lavina made it to the final 12 of Australian Idol, following younger sister Emily who placed second in the 2005 series.
According to the bio on Amplifier, Michelle Kazor‘s debut single “In This Life” was the “highest charting song from an unsigned act ever on radio” – but that’s referring to a radio plays chart, not the singles chart. I’m not totally sure if this video ended up having NZ On Air funding, but it’s in the Nga Taonga archive, nonetheless.
There were two non-funded videos that made a significant impact in 2001. One was the Deceptikonz‘s “Fallen Angels”, the other was Blindspott‘s debut “Nil By Mouth”. It was self-funded and made with a budget of a mere $800. With a solid song behind it and a great scream-along chorus, it proved a popular hit and won Breakthrough Video Artist at the Juice TV awards and launched Blindspott as alternative metal heroes. (There’s a slightly-higher-budget alternative version, but it’s not as much fun as the original.)