Burn

Blindspott/Blacklistt, Music Video, 2013

After a legal skirmish with ex drummer Shelton Woolright over rights to the Blindspott name ended in stalemate, the reformed members of New Zealand’s alt-metal institution opted to continue as Blacklistt. For ‘Burn’, the third promo from the band's 2013 self-titled album, London-based expat director Anthony Plant (By Your Side) transforms the brutal combat of Thai kickboxing into a slow motion ballet. “This clip was made to really showcase the beauty and peace of Muay Thai,” he explained. “...despite it being an aggressive sport there is a real spirituality that surrounds it.”

The Heater

The Mutton Birds, Music Video, 1994

This slow burning tale of a domestic appliance with a mind of its own was The Mutton Birds’ only number one hit. The sinister, surreal and partly animated video — the band’s fourth with director Fane Flaws — hints at the short films of Don McGlashan’s other project The Front Lawn. A furtive, nerdy McGlashan takes the lead with Elizabeth McRae (in her prime as Marj on Shortland Street) as his mother; the other Mutton Birds have cameos as a seedy second hand dealer (David Long) and a Salvation Army brass section (Ross Burge and Alan Gregg).

National Scandal

Schtung, Music Video, 1977

Eclectic ensemble Schtung flared briefly in the late 70s. This music video sees the band clutching umbrellas and briefcases, and forming their own brigade of conservatives in suits. Occcasionally betraying their love of silly walks, they stride through Wellington Railway Station, dash madly around the wharves, and climb the steps of Parliament. The (minimal) lyrics allude to politicians failing to fulfill their promises, although they can also be read as being about a failing romance. The song's final seconds include the lines "Pour on water", from nursery rhyme 'London's Burning'. 

If I Had My Way

Supergroove, Music Video, 1996

This single from Supergroove’s second album Backspacer (1996) reached number seven in the charts, and captures the band's shift from funk to rock after the exit of rapper Che Fu and trumpeter Tim Stewart. The lyrics ask "who would you kill?". Via madcap music video logic, they’re channeled into a fictional TV show, an exercise equipment promo, a pigsty, ice-skating rink, and a burning piano on a beach. The results won Best Video at New Zealand's local music award ceremony in 1997. Bassist Joe Lonie and cinematographer Sigi Spath had won it the previous year, for 'You Gotta Know'.

North by North

The Bats , Music Video, 1987

Flaming torches and streaming ribbons hanging off the front of the car are not your usual Kiwi road-trip accessories, but they're perfect visuals for this classic Bats song. Not to mention the iconic whirling burning guitar on the roadside. Alongside the imagery of motion, fluid camerawork tracks the band performing in front of a DIY Jackson Pollock-esque backdrop. Alister Parker (Gordons, Bailterspace), John Chrisstoffels, and Paul Kean (The Bats) are the directorial team. The song featured in Harry Sinclair movie Topless Women Talk About Their Lives.

We Built Our Own Oppressors

Die! Die! Die!, Music Video, 2010

In the best traditions of the Beatles, U2 and Head Like a Hole, Die! Die! Die! takes to a rooftop in New York for this video made by London-based director and editor Rohan Thomas. They sing of an urban nightmare of burning roads and bridges, places to avoid and not being able to return home – but the song's title takes full responsibility. The clip was the result of a guerilla shoot with a generator in 2009 that had them moved on from a series of prospective locations until they happened on an unguarded rooftop – to the surprise of nearby office workers.

Smiley

Craig Scott, Music Video, 1971

Inspired by an Australian musician who was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, this song was first recorded by Aussie singer Ronnie Burns before Kiwi Craig Scott turned it into one of his biggest hits. Released in June 1971, Scott's version would go on to win the Loxene Golden Disc Award. These extended takes of Scott in action were likely cut together with footage taken from other angles — footage which is now missing in action. Thanks partly to regular appearances on music show Happen Inn, photos of Scott and his hair adorned bedrooms across the country in the early 1970s.

That Look in Your Eyes

Th' Dudes, Music Video, 1979

This slow-burning Ian Morris/Dave Dobbyn song was the B-side of Th’Dudes first single ‘Be Mine Tonight’. Music videos for both songs were shot in a day at TVNZ’s Christchurch studios,  in the era before the music video boom – back when, as Dave Dobbyn puts it, “the state made your videos”. A relatively straightforward performance piece, with some outsized masks for visual relief, it has the band largely entering into the spirit of things — with the exception of Dobbyn who shows up at one point with a strange spot on his forehead, before managing a manic stare.

Stranger People

Doprah, Music Video, 2013

In a typically polished effort from the industrious Thunderlips duo, Doprah vocalist Indira Force’s metamorphosis into a schizophrenic kawaii girl (Japanese for ‘cute’) makes for an unsettling contrast to the song’s slow-burning ambience — although a late cameo from bandmate Steven Marr in Sailor Moon-style garb provides some comic relief. The clip premiered on US music journal SPIN’s online edition, and was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2014 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Pyromaniac

The Verlaines, Music Video, 1984

This song from Flying Nun stalwarts The Verlaines comes from their 10 O'Clock in the Afternoon EP — the follow-up to their signature single 'Death and the Maiden'. The video was made at TVNZ's Avalon Studios where more than a few clips were marred by inappropriate treatments in the early-80s — but The Verlaines were spared unnecessary trickery, props or actors. With a simple set and an all but imperceptible transition from black and white to colour as the only effect, the focus is on the burning, claustrophobic intensity of song and performance.