Trick with a Knife

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1994

This black and white video is certainly not the first to adopt the patented 'are these images connected, or is it all a trick' approach. A woman crouches in a nightgown; a man waits in an expensive looking chair; a confident woman in a distinctive dress enters the room, possibly for the cash. Taken from 1994's Broadcast, probably Strawpeople's most successful album, 'Trick with a Knife' features vocals by Fiona McDonald. Strawpeople founders Mark Tierney and Paul Casserly make fleeting appearances.

Scenarios

Chong-Nee, Music Video, 2006

This black and white music video features Chong-Nee and guest vocalist Niki Ahu encouraging a neighbour to drop her two-timing boyfriend. The song peaked at number 17 on the New Zealand charts in early 2006. The video was one of three directed by Martha Jeffries for John Chong-Nee's debut album Just Getting By On Love. Jeffries later relocated to the United States, where she directed episodes of Emmy award-winning climate change series Years of Living Dangerously

Little Things

TrinityRoots, Music Video, 2001

This (mostly) black and white video stars late great actor Wi Kuki Kaa (Ngāti, Utu). The concept is simple but impactful: a close-up on Kaa's eye leads the viewer in and out of a series of memories. In combination with Kaa's performance — seated on a veranda, as family activities take place around him — Chris Graham's video works superbly to convey the essence of the song. The cinematography is by Adam Clark (Boy, the Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night). Julian Arahanga (Broken English) appears among the moving celebration of whānau and community.

Keep On Pushing

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2001

Made by off-duty Lord of the Rings crew and directed by James Barr, this video won The Knack Award at the 2001 Flying Fish Music Awards, and was a Handle the Jandal award-winner the same year. Shot in black and white, the clip is visually strong, but contains lots of shots of the band falling from buildings, so don’t watch it if you suffer from vertigo. And please don’t try this at home! Onetime band member Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) turns up in the final stages, with an emergency bucket.

New Tattoo

Hello Sailor, Music Video, 1994

“I’m as blue as a new tattoo...since I lost you” sings Graham Brazier on this first single from Hello Sailor’s 1994 comeback The Album. Loss is leavened by the harmonica and guitar of the band’s energetic brand of pub rock. In the black and white music video they cruise around in a Chevrolet, intercut with Auckland street scenes and a young woman in a leather bustier walking her dog. ‘New Tattoo’ peaked at five in October 1994, the band's highest chart placing. In a 2013 AudioCulture profile, Murray Cammick rated it "a strong addition" to the Hello Sailor canon.

Stand Up

Scribe, Music Video, 2003

Scribe's first single ‘Stand Up’ conquered the charts, paired as a double A-side with soon to be signature tune ‘Not Many’. But where ‘Not Many’ is a statement of personal intent, ‘Stand Up’ flies the flag for Kiwi hip hop: the video features many of the fellow musicians namechecked in the song. Shot in a basement below Auckland's Real Groovy Records in black and white (except for the ‘Not Many’ sections), Chris Graham's NZ Music Award-winning video offers an energetic, confrontational performance from Scribe, who took another five NZ Music Awards in the same year.

Circus Kids

Bike, Music Video, 1997

'Circus Kids' was the second single from Bike’s sole long-play record Take In The Sun. It is a prime example of the layered, classically-inspired arrangements and pop songcraft that frontman Andrew Brough had touched on in his previous band Straitjacket Fits. In this swirling, elegantly-gothic promo video, an innocent young boy goes a-wandering, and discovers the seedy underbelly of circus life — all rendered in lush black and white by director Jonathan King, and veteran cinematographer Neil Cervin. 

One Good Reason

The Swingers, Music Video, 1979

The Swingers have long been umbilically tied to one composition: 1981 chart-topper 'Counting the Beat’. But the band's debut single makes clear that their gift for percussive pop was there from the start. The accompanying video sees the trio getting down to it in their union jack-emblazoned shirts; the lyrics channel the same kind of sexual frustration as Stones classic ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. The result is arguably in the same realm of catchy. After reaching number 19 in NZ, ‘One Good Reason’ featured in Aussie film Starstruck. Strawpeople later released a funked up version.

Super Trouper

Headless Chickens, Music Video, 1995

In 1995 Flying Nun released compilation CD Abbasalutely, made up of ABBA covers from their stable of artists. Headless Chickens contributed with this decidedly heavy cover of 'Super Trouper', ABBA’s ninth and final UK chart topper. The monochrome music video for the remake takes place at the RNZAF Base at Whenuapai, with the Chickens adopting many precarious positions on top of aircraft. It was directed by Jonathan Ogilvie, who helmed numerous Flying Nun music videos. The song's title was inspired by a popular concert spotlight.

Save My Life

Bike, Music Video, 1996

In 1992 songwriter and guitarist Andrew Brough left Straitjacket Fits, determined to perform his own brand of "f***ing uplifting pop music". Three years later he formed Bike with drummer Karl Buckley and bassist Tristan Mason. Debut single 'Save My Life' was a finalist in the APRA Silver Scrolls. Brough was a fan of sunny, West Coast guitar jangle and 'Save My Life' has a bob each way: guitars chime, while a morbid lyric ('Don't you try and save my life /cos' I'm already dead') floats overhead. Director Mark Tierney chooses a dreamy palette which combines orange with monochrome.