In 2007 Rolling Stone magazine named Liam Finn as one of that year's top ten ‘artists to watch' and explained that if you mixed a bit of Elliot Smith with a touch of despair and added a leprechaun, Finn would be the result. Accompanied by such applause, the singer-songwriter has assuredly stepped out of his famous father Neil's shadow, thanks to his achievements with the band Betchdupa, formed in 1997, and the success of his solo albums I'll Be Lightning (which Q magazine named one of the 50 best albums of 2007), FOMO (2011) and The Nihilist (2014).
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.
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 documentary tells the story of the legendary Flying Nun music label up to its 21st birthday. The label became associated with the 'Dunedin Sound': a catch-all term for a sprawl of DIY, post-punk, warped, jangly guitar-pop. The Guardian: "[it's] as if being on the other side of the world meant the music was played upside down". Features interviews with founder Roger Shepherd and many key players, the spats and the glory. The label's influence on the US indie scene is noted, and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus covers The Verlaines' 'Death and the Maiden'.
In episode two of The Big Art Trip hosts Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins and Nick Ward discover the art of crochet with sculptor Ani O’Neill and attend CAKE Collective’s roadside poster exhibition where they talk to photographer Deborah Smith. They also visit renowned sculptor Greer Twiss in his studio, talk with young multi-media artist Gerald Phillips about his music videos for band Betchadupa, drop in on painter and political activist Emily Karaka and head to Whangarei to see filmmaker Gregory King and the veteran star of his short film Junk, Rosalie Carey.
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.
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.
Filmed in guitarist Chris Garland’s warehouse apartment, this video for the single from Betchadupa’s second EP dryly subverts the generic “band-rocks-the-party” template, with the addition of a jaded audience member doing a running commentary on Liam Finn and company’s efforts — his complaints subtitled over the punky, effervescent din of course. The clip marks an early directorial turn from Gerald Phillips, the reclusive figure behind legendary electronic act Phelps & Munro.
Doprah formed in 2013 after vocalist Indira Force and producer Steven Marr met through the Smokefree Rockquest. Later that year, the young Christchurch-based duo dropped their first single ‘San Pedro’, sparking a flurry of blogosphere acclaim. A signing with Auckland label Arch Hill and opening slots for Lorde and Liam Finn soon followed. Their second single ‘Stranger People’, and its accompanying harajuku-styled video, premiered on SPIN magazine’s online edition.
Originally known as Lazy Boy (until a furniture company threatened legal action), Betchadupa was born from the childhood meeting of Liam Finn and Matt Eccles, both sons of Kiwi musicians. After showcasing their brand of catchy and eclectic pop on two EPs and an album, the four-piece departed for Melbourne, then London. Along the way they were nominated for a Silver Scroll award, and won over British music veteran Nick Launay to produce second album Aiming for Your Head (2004). Finn released his first solo album in 2007, with contributions from Eccles; Eccles began drumming for Belgium's Das Pop.