You Freak Me

Supergroove, Music Video, 1994

If nothing else, Supergroove are evidence that in New Zealand, it’s not just our top sportspeople who wear all black. Luckily, they are a lot more than just that, as evidenced in this video for their guitar heavy hit You Freak Me. As the band rock out on stage, chaotic footage combines close ups, strange camera angles, and constant flashing lights amongst the haze of smoke machines and cigarettes. Not all heavy, the song features a brief funky interlude before a rare burst of hostility from the typically calm Che Fu.

Not Given Lightly

Chris Knox, Music Video, 1989

Chris Knox directs his own face in this video for his classic Kiwi love song. The camera gradually pulls out from an extreme close up of Knox's face to a living room full of family and friends. Jump-cutting on the beat, Knox, with trademark simple-but-effective style, effectively fuses lyrics, song and an impassioned performance. Interestingly, in his ScreenTalk interview, Knox says he now regrets using a solarising video effect in the later part of the clip.  

Girlfriend

Streets of Laredo, Music Video, 2012

Dave Gibson (ex-Elemeno P) formed this indie-folk family act with his brother and wife. Now based in New York, they share centre stage with their new home in this hyperactive video for their debut single. As daily life in the Big Apple rushes past them, they busk the city’s streets and landmarks apparently unmoved by the commotion (but twitching slightly). There are unscripted cameos from a scene-hogging Batman and a courier van that gets a little too close, but the award for best supporting actor goes to a seemingly endless bottle of orange soda pop.  

Buffalo

The Phoenix Foundation, Music Video, 2010

In this promo for the title track from the Phoenix Foundation's 2010 album a boy practises holding his breath, to better himself for meeting a sea nymph. It's a suitably giddy concept for a song that builds from its simple two-note intro onwards to a surging crescendo. "I'm on the sea floor / I am the mammal you adore / I'm on the sea floor, closer to the planet's core". A submarine South Coast swim and a glide through the pine trees of Wellington's Town Belt later, and our hero is united with his maiden. Directed by Nathan Hickey aka drummer for Beastwars.

In the Morning

Anika Moa, Music Video, 2005

In this intimate video, set beneath bed covers and shot mostly in close up, director Darryl Ward captures the conscience-stricken essence of Moa's song. Ward's delicate work coupled with Moa's sincere performance, makes for an enchanting confessional.

Opportunity

Mr Lee Grant, Music Video, 1967

Taken from hit music show C’mon, this short clip has Mr Lee Grant performing his first number one hit ‘Opportunity’. After leaping to attention — and suffering an awkward landing — he recovers quickly to offer a jaunty performance on a psychedelic set, complete with American flag motif. The song (a cover version) charted in May 1967, helping cement Mr Lee Grant’s position as one of the country's premier pop stars. He would top the local charts twice more — and come close another time — before leaving New Zealand in March 1968, in an attempt to conquer the United Kingdom. 

Cold

Deep Obsession, Music Video, 1999

‘Cold’ was another number one hit for dance act Deep Obsession. The video (one of two made for this track) arguably takes the title a trifle too little literally: extended studio close-ups of coldly-lit vocalists Zara Clark and Vanessa Kelly in blue eye makeup are contrasted with glimpses of the band performing live. Third member (and later director) Christopher Banks can be seen sporadically. The second of three consecutive chart-toppers for the band, ‘Cold’ saw Banks and Clark nominated for best songwriting at the 2000 NZ Music Awards.

Give Up Your Dreams

The Phoenix Foundation, Music Video, 2015

The video for this Phoenix Foundation single features Bret McKenzie excavating a deep hole, in a landscape that evokes the work of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky (although Loren Taylor's video was actually shot in a clearing close to Wellington's wind turbine). The band turns up to watch, and the man finds eye-opening liberation from his toil. Vocalist Samuel Flynn Scott credited inspiration for the song to musician Lawrence Arabia’s recipe for satisfaction: ditching dreams of success, in order to enjoy making music. The result was a finalist for the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll. 

Touchdown

The Stereo Bus, Music Video, 1999

'Touchdown' was drawn from the second (and final) Stereo Bus album Brand New (1999). The stylishly minimalist video, directed by Alex Sutherland and Michael Lonsdale, appears to be a continuous shot, circling around band members and objects in a white studio set. Biffed chairs and bottles, and singer David Yetton, get up close to the lens while guitarist Jason Fa'afoi (who was co-hosting What Now? at the time) also makes multiple appearances. The slow pan matches the tempo of the band’s textured guitar pop; the promo won Best Music Video at the 2001 NZ Music Awards.

If I Were You

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1994

From Straitjacket Fits’ third and final album Blow, ‘If I Were You’ keeps its hand on the sonic brake, while providing contrast with the melodic sounds of recently departed bandmember Andrew Brough. Director Andrew Dominik’s moody music video accents Shayne Carter’s niggly ‘agony uncle’ lyrical advice via fireworks, watery prism effects and lip close-ups. The Fits’ final single made APRA’s Top 100 Kiwi song list. Dominik went on to direct Chopper, Killing Them Softly and acclaimed Nick Cave documentary One More Time with Feeling.