Philosophy

Hollie Smith, Music Video, 2007

Thanks to its control of light and texture, this is surely one of New Zealand's more luxurious music videos. As the song progresses, performer Hollie Smith takes on the persona of the central figure in a series of classic artworks — from the Mona Lisa, to a portrait of Frida Kahlo, to Edouard Manet's 1882 painting of a Parisian barwoman at the Folies-Bergère nightclub. Director James Solomon was later the prime mover behind 2015 web series K'Rd Stories.

Punching in a Dream

The Naked and Famous, Music Video, 2010

This music video continued the fruitful collaboration between The Naked and Famous and directing duo Special Problems. Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper brought their trademark mix of graphic design, film and painting to the synth-driven pop song. As vocalist Alisa Xayalith moves through a dreamscape, she sleepwalks, runs, skates and flies through pine forest, snow, sand, and a manor. Ice hockey masks and hoodies add menace. It won Best Music Video at the 2011 NZ Music Awards, part of a major awards haul for the group. The song has featured on a number of TV shows.

All the Young Fascists

Shihad, Music Video, 2005

With this arresting mixture of performance video and monstrous insect imagery, arts show maestro Mark Albiston (The Living Room) shows he is an exponent of the wham bam approach to music videos. Short sharp shots capture Shihad's energy on a set that is painted red and black. The band footage is intercut with images of a hungry praying mantis, whose darkest secrets are revealed via digital effects. The song is taken from Love is the New Hate (2005), the first album after Shihad's ill-fated decision to change their name to Pacificer.

I Feel Love

Fan Club, Music Video, 1989

"Hey you, you’ve got the moves … I can’t refuse!" Aishah and the Fan Club scored a run of pop hits in New Zealand and Malaysia in the late 80s with songs like 'Sensation' and this single (which peaked at No.8 in the charts). This bold studio-set video, directed by Paul Middleditch, won Best Music Video at the 1989 New Zealand Music Awards. With paint splashes, leather jackets, shades, silhouetted choreography, Dr Martens, and slick camera moves and editing, it’s an unmistakably 80s video, coupling the crisp pop beats with a fashion shoot or dance floor vibe.

Hey Seuss

The 3Ds, Music Video, 1993

This is the first music video from director Andrew Moore. The punning title is, of course, a plea to a divine figure rather than a children's author - but the Seuss characters (painted by guitarist David Mitchell) dominate this video, which is as crazed and chaotic as its soundtrack (and potentially seizure inducing at times?). David Saunders beseeches the camera, but respite comes only from a sequence filmed in a train carriage at Dunedin Railway Station. Is it possible for any New Zealander of a certain age to see that train shot and not think of the Crunchie commercial? 

Beings Rest Finally

Beat Rhythm Fashion, Music Video, 1981

‘Beings Rest Finally’ was the A side of the first of three singles released by Wellington post-punk outfit Beat Rhythm Fashion (the single shared its initials with the band’s name, as did the flip side ‘Bring Real Freedom’). A product of early 80s nuclear dread — the “disaster day” in the lyrics might refer to the death of millions — the band nevertheless saw it as a “happy sort of lullaby” rather than a sad song. The TVNZ video captures this combination of innocence and terror as children paint a colourful mural over news footage of war, unrest and a mushroom cloud.

I Like Rain

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, Music Video, 1987

The set has a back-drop curtain made out of milk bottle top foil; the band are wearing plastic rubbish sacks fashioned into tunics, and have painted faces. The props include a disco mirror ball, a toilet seat sculpture, a giant bug, and umbrellas. It's all slightly off-beam, but the band's performance is deadpan sweet. There’s the requisite Flying Nun film scratching, and some literal-but-amusing image and lyric matching. It all combines to make a DIY delight, an effortless two decades before Flight of the Conchords or Mighty Boosh.

Fragile

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1998

NZ On Air funding gave director Chris Knox a little more budget than usual and it looks like he enjoyed the experience. Knox and Alec Bathgate perform with bandaged balaclava-like heads and weird painted face masks - English Patient meets a K-Road flower cult - while an upside down world flickers in the background. Mad but great.

Don't

Paul McLaney and Anika Moa, Music Video, 2003

Set in a half-painted world of city, mountains and purple skies, director Ed Davis's video is a triumph of imagination and ingenuity over reality. The result is an extended aerial journey around an acrobat on a high wire — possibly reflecting some of the lyrics of this Paul McLaney and Anika Moa duet. Don't took out best video at the Kodak Music Clip Awards in 2003.

Four Seasons in One Day

Crowded House, Music Video, 1992

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.