Creating New Zealand's first local hit involved a lot of trial and error, as a company best known for making radios grappled with how to make records. Sixty-six years later Neil Finn visited musician Jim Carter, whose Hawaiian-style guitar is part of the magic of the original 'Blue Smoke' track. Finn "gently persuaded" Carter to help him record a new version on a laptop in just a few hours. Alongside newsreel shots of WWII soldiers, this evocative clip features footage of two musicians from different generations sharing memories, and making music about saying goodbye.
Website AllMusic argued that the stripped back, "vagually rootsy" sounds of the Nashville-recorded Say It is So made for one of Tim Finn's finest albums to date. The mostly animated video for the opening track follows a depressed computer worker who goes stir crazy, before a serendipitious escape alongside the only woman in the office. Aside from romance, he soon discovers adventure can spring less welcome surprises. Directors Matt Heath and Chris Stapp (Back of the Y) get in an environmental message, once things get aquatic.
This US-shot video from Liam Finn’s 2014 album The Nihilist sees Finn roll up in a land celebrating ‘Jubilancy Day’. When the video premiered on Noisey.com in February 2014, Finn said that the concept aimed to show the absurdity of human holiday rituals: “Like, if you weren’t from earth and you came and saw us worshipping an Easter bunny or a guy in a big red suit, you might think it’s quite strange.” The rat and tomato-centric family fun — directed by Brooklyn, NYC duo Anthony and Alex — includes cameos by Australian musos Kirin J Callinan and Eliza-Jane Barnes.
The non-violent action preached and practiced by Māori prophets Te Whiti and Tohu at Parihaka in Taranaki forms one of the most compelling episodes of New Zealand’s 19th century history, as they resisted Pākehā confiscation of their land and home. Tim Finn was inspired to write this paean to the pair after reading Dick Scott’s influential book Ask That Mountain. Band Herbs provide the accompaniment. Fane Flaws and cinematographer Alun Bollinger’s video was shot over a night at Auckland Art Gallery and takes Colin McCahon’s striking Parihaka triptych as its centrepiece.
Australian music video maestro Richard Lowenstein (INXS, U2, cult film Dogs in Space) directed this bouncy city-life clip for the song when Tim Finn first flew solo from Split Enz. Bright colours, video scratching, an animated sausage dog — what more could you want? Finn walks along carrying a ghettoblaster in Wayfarer sunglasses; it must be the 80s. 'Fraction too Much Friction' got to number two on the Kiwi singles charts in 1983, and number eight in Australia. That year Finn recorded a last album with Split Enz, before leaving the band he co-founded roughly a decade before.
Another all in one shot beauty from director Joe Lonie, this gorgeously-crafted video was filmed in and around the historic St Stephen's Chapel above Auckland's Judges Bay and Parnell Baths. The camera floats through pohutukawa trees and Auckland pioneer gravestones as an ubiquitous Liam Finn exhorts everyone to gather by the chapel. The tiny, elegant church in question was built by Bishop Selwyn, and as it turns out, just around the corner from where Finn grew up. 'Gather to the Chapel' appears on his first solo album, 2007's I'll Be Lightning.
This 1993 award-winner was the first Crowded House video made in New Zealand. Director Kerry Brown and producer Bruce Sheridan wanted to emphasise the surreal, fantasy elements of the song, using distinctly Kiwi imagery. Locations included beaches and dense bush on the West Coast, the plains of Central Otago and the Victorian architecture of Oamaru. Scenes of an Anzac Day ceremony and marching girls also highlight the homeland setting. Brown took inspiration from Salvador Dali paintings for the psychedelic effects that were added in post-production.
This Betchadupa video opens with frontman Liam Finn performing in a recording studio; the other band members are soon revealed playing to unusual, sometimes unprepared audiences. Drummer Matt Eccles plays an impromptu gig in a lift, Chris Garland entertains boogying kindergarteners with his guitar, and Joe Bramley on bass harasses shoppers in a cinema foyer. By the end, the band are back together. Taken off Betchadupa's self-titled EP, the catchy track was nominated for a 2000 Silver Scroll songwriting award. Lead singer Finn was around 16 at the time.
Reflecting the nautical themes found on chart-topping album Time and Tide, the classic 'Six Months in a Leaky Boat' demonstrated that Tim Finn was far from out of good ideas, even though he was soon to leave the band he had sailed with for so long. Opening with scene-setting Eddie Rayner instrumental 'Pioneer' and images of boats at sea, the video soon reveals Tim Finn and band below deck, in sailor's garb. Finn's much-loved line about refusing to be overcome by "the tyranny of distance" was likely inspired by the 1966 book by Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey.
With departed founder member Phil Judd back in NZ, this UK written Tim Finn rocker took Split Enz even further into pop territory and away from their art rock roots. Of a piece with the most energetic New Wave of the time, it was accompanied by a video with an appropriately frenzied performance which former member and Enz historian Mike Chunn rated as one of their most infectious. The band are wearing Noel Crombie’s art-school designed suits, Neil Finn looks ridiculously young and endings don’t come much more abruptly than this one.