"I'm gonna build a room that echoes, around and around and around with its own sound." Peking Man's career peaked in 1985 with 'Room That Echoes', a number one hit that saw the band dominate the 1986 music awards. Directed by John Day, the surrealistic video features animated computer graphics of the afore-mentioned room, slowly building wall by wall and tracking against a background of stars. Margaret Urlich is the only band member present, appearing as a lone silhouetted figure dancing across a checkerboard floor.
As band member Haddon Smith points out, "you get the feeling Richard Bell knows what he's doing". And having produced renowned music videos for the likes of Depeche Mode, U2 and Nirvana, you have to agree with him. Bell's captivating concept, astute editing and spectacular set unite to deliver a thing of pure delight. "We designed our own rooms. Mine is essentially my room in Auckland recreated in a small cube in an old warehouse somewhere in Christchurch!" Haddon Smith - April 09
Neil Finn has described the lyric to this song as "on the one hand, feeling kind of lost and, on the other hand, sort of urging myself on". The wistful single was Crowded House's breakthrough, hitting number two in the US (and the top spot in Aotearoa, after local radio earlier showed little interest). Australian director Alex Proyas (The Crow) based his video on locations from the band members' childhoods. As Finn walks from room to room, the video also neatly reinforces the band's name. 'Don't Dream It’s Over' remains one of the biggest international hits penned by a Kiwi.
'Maybe Tomorrow' was the song that opened the door for Goldenhorse. Released in February 2003, the single's mixture of the bittersweet, the nostalgic and the supremely catchy helped make it NZ radio's most played local song that year; it was also a finalist for a Silver Scroll songwriting award. In the video, Kirsten Morrell sings of past and future, sorrow and possible celebration, alongside grainy home movie style images of the band at the beach, and at the mike (possibly in someone's living room). A less popular alternative video for the song featured Morrell singing in the kitchen.
Kimbra's second single, the jazz inflected 'Simply on my Lips', was recorded when the future pop star was 16 and still at school. The starkly simple black and white video was directed and animated by Joel Kefali (later one half of award-winning video team Special Problems). It placed Kimbra with her guitar in the corner of a room, whose walls became a canvas for Kefali's line drawings. The result won the Best Breakthrough category at the 2007 Juice TV awards. Within months, Kimbra had signed an international management contract and relocated to Melbourne.
Stumble into a mid 1990s underground bar and a lime green room, in this early Garageland video. After singer Jeremy Eade lines up another shot, the camera moves woozily elsewhere to take in the secondhand sofas, as the band rock out. Garageland made international inroads with their spikey, sweet sound. Flying Nun's Paul McKessar remembers their popularity. “My favourite moment was the Smashing Pumpkins support at the Supertop with the whole crowd singing ‘Fingerpops’. Co-directors Peter Bell and Carla Rotondo also directed Garageland video Beelines to Heaven.
The darkly arresting imagery of this Fanatics video — featuring leather clad models marching in robotic unison — was almost not to be, according to director Mark Albiston. "The band said 'do what you want — but no models'. I said 'what if we put them in jars'? They said...'mmmm... ok'." This swift negotiation lead to an industrial setting (the generator room under Wellington Hospital), with an army of models being baptised, energised and commercialised. The song was later used as the opening theme for New Zealand's Next Top Model.
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.
Herbs visited the troubled East Coast town of Ruatoria in 1987, bringing music and aroha. They left with a documentary and this music video, which shows the band meeting and performing for the locals. Both The Power of Music and the music video were co-directed by Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors ) — in one of his earliest turns as director —and cinematographer John Day (Room that Echoes). The ode to love and harmony was judged Best Music Video at the 1987 New Zealand Music Awards.
The Chills visited England in 1986. This video mixes a moody rehearsal room performance with reminders of London, including Big Ben, the underground and apartment buildings (British sci fi comic 2000AD can also be spied). Vocalist Martin Phillipps wears the leather jacket of the song’s title. The jacket was bequeathed to him by Chills bandmate Martyn Bull, who died of leukaemia at the age of only 22. Paired with single 'The Great Escape', the song reached number four on the New Zealand charts, early in 1987.