‘Deb’s Night Out’ was a single from Shihad’s breakout second album Killjoy (1995). Director Chris Mauger’s video bypasses a literal take on the lyrics’ relationship paranoia for a deadpan depiction of cross-generational spirit. A young, sullen Jon Toogood is stuck in his denim jacket in the backseat with a couple of wine-guzzling oldies, en route to a suburban hall shin-dig. There the band gets down for some country and limbo dancing, the family-fun visuals contrasting with the song’s grinding guitar. Mauger’s stylistic touches include a canapé-cam.
With 'Turn from the Rain', The Veils added their name to the prestigious list of bands who have recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios — a list which includes The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. According to frontman Finn Andrews “The room there is so musty and still … you want any sound you make to be worth disturbing the grand silence for.” The idea of making a video at Abbey Road arrived at 2am in a Hackney flat; the performances were shot on 16mm film, an appropriately retro touch considering the venue. The recordings were later released on The Abbey Road EP.
In 2012 Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement sat down with some Kiwi children. They wanted to get back in touch with what the kids were about. Flight of the Conchords were creating a special song for health research charity Cure Kids; the children supplied them with lyrical ideas involving bowls, bubbles and a major overhaul of the banking system. A superstar team of Kiwi singers and rappers joined the Conchords in the studio. The chart-topping song's mix of deep concern and nonsensical rhyming celebrates and parodies previous charity efforts like ‘We are the World’.
The first single from the final Straitjacket Fits album features a typically oblique Shayne Carter lyric hinting at despair and defiance — possibly touching on the departure of founding member Andrew Brough. The overcast lyrical content and lurching, hard edged guitars find their match in this black and white video from director Andrew Dominik, which shrouds the band in studio shadows. Dominik went on to direct lauded films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly (the latter two starring Brad Pitt).
The Great Unwashed were an eclectic spin-off of legendary band The Clean. 'Neck of the Woods' comes from the later, louder period of their short existence. The accompanying video has a touch of experimental film to it. Alongside trademark Flying Nun primitive animation, and stand-in guitarist Stuart Page wearing a loopy mask, the lyrical mentions of sun and moon are imbued by psychedelic lightshow effects, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey (although on a somewhat tighter budget). The video was allegedly shot at TVNZ Christchurch’s studios, on the Miss New Zealand set.
Beneath the escarpments, the gold miners have perished as Wellington rockers Flesh D-Vice come thundering out of the wastelands of a Wild West desert landscape from hell. This studio performance video was made for a 1985 single. For all of the serious intent on display, 'Flaming Soul' is practically a torch song compared to some of the band's more ferocious outings and there are some lighter touches to be seen: a guitar lead plugged into the sand and lead singer Gerald Dwyer nonchalantly lighting his cigarette from the inferno of a flaming oil drum.
After Neil Finn-penned single ‘I Got You’ took Split Enz to number one, another Neil Finn song was chosen to announce follow-up album Waiata (aka Corroboree). The video — which screened in the early days of music channel MTV — is surprisingly understated, while retaining touches of familiar Enz weirdness. After walking past coloured silhouettes of the rest of the band, Neil arrives on a set designed on a theme of black, etched with lines of colour. Tim mimes enthusiasm while sitting on the floor, keyboardist Eddie Rayner moonwalks, and the Enz step on out of there.
A song about how hard it is to say goodbye, 'Beth' became a student radio fave and has been known to make some listeners feel a little teary. Perhaps sensing the potential for emotional meltdown, the makers of the music video introduce a touch of the oddball, with Voom long-stayer Buzz Moller flying to the moon in his pyjamas and meeting the rest of the band in an underground cavern, all the while addressing his beloved, “who went to Australia”. Moller finds his guitar in time for the amped up, I still care about you climax. The track is sometimes titled ‘Beth’s Song’.
Coming on like a 1970s exploitation film, this video sees The Sagittarian (aka Shae Sterling) pounding the streets of Bangkok in a white suit and sunglasses. While on the hunt for a mysterious quarry, he encounters guns, breakdancing monks and some spectacular scenery. Fellow musician and filmmaker Mikey Rockwell, who features on the track, adds a touch of comedy in the finale. The video won a Knack Award at the 2007 Kodak Fringe Awards. After Sterling starred in this, he went on to direct videos for many other musicians, including Stan Walker and Maisey Rika.
‘Cruise Control’ is one of the Headless Chicken’s most poppy and accessible songs, and became a hit in New Zealand, and (in remixed form), in Australia. This studio shot promo, for the ‘Eskimos in Egypt’ remix, has Fiona McDonald and the Chickens packed into a touring car cruising to old school rear projected nighttime cityscapes. It’s dark and moody: a wry touch of Hollywood glamour mixed with early 90s Auckland - dated by Knight Rider, bling and brick-sized mobile phones.