The 3Ds “Dust”

1996-the-3ds-dustThe 3Ds released their third album, “Strange News from the Angels” in 1996, but something wasn’t quite right. It didn’t have the same spark that “Hellzapoppin” and “The Venus Trail” did. The opening track “Dust” sounded like the 3Ds were trying to replicate the energetic opening tracks of the previous two albums, but had forgotten how to do it.

The video has a bit of that same tiredness. Three-quarters of the 3Ds are absent, leaving David Saunders alone in front of a green screen with some goofy puppets.

There’s a lot of low budget fun, looking like like an explosion in a 1990s cool clip art factory. A toy dinosaur robots, motorbikes, aeroplanes, insects, false teeth and other novelties get some screen time along with David’s disembodies head.

This video frustrates me because while it’s not terrible, it’s nowhere near as good as what the 3D’s have previously done.

Best bit: the orange-haired puppet’s dive out the window of the band’s practice space. Noooo!

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the awkward serious phase.

The 3Ds “Hey Seuss”

“Hey Seuss” is a train ride into a mixed-up world of theological dilemmas and children’s book characters. Directed by Andrew Moore, the video is neatly works with the troubled world of the lyrics and the more lively tone of the music.

Most of the video involves the band surrounded by David Mitchell’s Seuss-inspired character cut-outs. They also take a train ride on an elegant wood-panelled vintage carriage, along with the cutouts and a man in a tiger suit. There’s even a wobbly model train standing in for exterior shots.

Sometimes the 3Ds could come across quite sedate live, and if you look at the video closely you can catch glimpses of it. These guys aren’t rock stars. They’re four fine musicians who make great music. But the video doesn’t try to disguise this. Yeah, most of the band do look a little stiff, but somehow it works having them surrounded by the crazy world of the video.

The song ends by sonically falling apart and the video takes this path too, with a delicious freak-out ending with the band mucking around, Denise giving David M a playful shove. 3Ds, where ya been?

Best bit: David Saunders’ artistic gliding across the screen.

Director: Andrew Moore
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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”.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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

The 3Ds “Man on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”

The 3Ds are grand. “Man on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is David Mitchell’s grunty, crunchy, tense journey into the mind of a troubled man. The video is set in an industrial wasteland, both outside in a mound of rubble and in a derelict building.

With the previous two 3Ds videos fronted by David Saunders, it’s nice to have the wild-haired Mitchell taking the lead, with the quartet rounded out by Dominic on drums and Denise holding down the low end on bass, with workladylike concentration.

Then, like many great 3Ds songs, the song veers into a wild, feedback and sample-laced wig-out, and the video practically becomes sentient, threatening to actually have a nervous breakdown and leaving the band wondering where their video funding went.

The video starts at four minutes, but the interview with the band before that is worth watching, especially if you like crunchy Hot Cakes.

Best bit: Denise’s sensible sweater.

Director: Andrew Moore
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… ladies who write.

The 3Ds “Outer Space”

Cardboard sci-fi props, perfectly cheesy green screen use, Masonic symbology, scenic Dunedin, general malarky and an incredible pop song. I am so glad that this video exists.

Not only does the “Outer Space” video perfectly match the tone of The 3Ds’ first single of their first album “Hellzapoppin”, but it also lets the band’s deadpan non-rock-star vibe fit right into the crazy going-on. It’s like they’re all so bored with all the alien business that they can’t be bothered freaking out any more.

It’s also refreshing to see a New Zealand video that’s obviously set in a specific location, rather than in a studio or the nonspecific urban world of videolandia. The Dunedin Cathedral looks goth as well as gothic, and the countryside has that gorgeous Dunedin light. I can see why it would attract UFOs.

Best bit: Denise’s third eye. It blinks.

Director: Mairi Gunn
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… peace, love and ecstasy.