King Kapisi “Reverse Resistance”

1998-king-kapisi-reverse-resistenceThe video opens with the ruins of an old church. One wall has what were once a series of three crosses moulded in the concrete, but the right-handed cross has broken away to a giant hole. “I’m an atheist,” King Kapisi asserts. “Glad to meet ya!” Well, nice to meet you too.

The video is shot in Samoa and manages to make the place look like a tropical paradise with a slightly uneasy undertone. Mr Cabbage spends a lot of time with no shirt on, but rather than just being the standard music video “aw yeah, check me out”, there’s also a practical side. Most other men and boys in the video are just wearing lavalava, so it’s not especially out of the ordinary.

The tone of the video makes the ordinary scenes of island life seem kind of sinister. The ordinary scenes of little boys playing, men fishing and people harvesting bananas somehow seem a little edgy. (This in turn has given me the idea for cosy murder mystery set in Samoa.)

But the video also has a travelogue quality, with perfect scenes of island life. Hey, there’s King Kapisi walking past with a surf board emblazoned with the Samoan flag. This in turn is a reminder of what’s missing – urban life. The song is straight outta Auckland but the video has taken it from its predictable city context and moved it to a highly religious South Pacific island nation.

And it works. The contrast between the music and the setting help underscore the message of the song. And it lets an artist use a tropical island location without it ever feeling like a Duran Duran video.

Best bit: the older women combing her long white hair.

Director: Sima Urale
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… inner city love.

King Kapisi “Sub-Cranium Feeling”

1997-king-kapisi-subcranium-feeling“Sub-Cranium Feeling” was King Kapisi’s first single and it made it to number eight in the pop charts. The arrival of King Kapisi was interesting. One minute he wasn’t there, the next minute he’d always been there. And so this video is like the birth – or the creation myth – of King Kapisi, where he just comes swimming along, surrounded by colourful lavalava, a violin, LPs and family photos.

The video even starts with a little kid who comes running into a studio, straight for the microphone. Then we meet ol’ King Cabbage himself, frolicking in a mysterious dark pool of water. We also see him in a more ordinary setting, rapping into a mic, in a comfy cardigan and wearing specs.

YouTube uploader mindbait describes the video as “simple but great”, and that’s a perfect description. Nothing much happens in the video, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a strong song and the video works as a perfect introduction to the world of King Kapisi.

Best bit: the violin that emerges from the water. That’s munted it.

Director: Sima Urale
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… lonely teen girl.