This NZ Music Month collection showcases NZ music television, spun from a playlist of classic documentaries and beloved music shows. From Split Enz to the NZSO, Heavenly Pop Hits to Hip Hop New Zealand, whether you count the beat or roll like this, there’s something here for all ears (and eyes). Plus music writer Chris Bourke gets Ready to Roll with this pop history primer.
Auckland Museum's Volume exhibition told the story of Kiwi pop music. It's time to turn the speakers up to 11, for NZ On Screen's biggest collection yet. Turning Up the Volume showcases NZ music and musicians. Drill down into playlists of favourite artists and topics (look for the orange labels). Plus NZOS Content Director Kathryn Quirk on NZ music on screen.
This collection rounds up almost every music video for a number one hit by a Kiwi artist; everything from ballads to hip hop to glam rock. Press on the images below to find the hits for each decade — plus try this backgrounder by Michael Higgins, whose high speed history of local hits touches on the sometimes questionable ways past charts were created.
It's hard to reduce legendary band Split Enz down to a single sound or image. Soon after forming in 1973, they began dressing like oddball circus performers, and their music straddled folk, vaudeville and art rock. Later the songs got shorter, poppier and — some say —better, and the visuals were toned down...but you could never accuse the Enz of looking biege. With Split Enz co-founder Tim Finn turning 65 in June 2017, this collection looks back at one of Aotearoa's most successful and eclectic bands. Writer Michael Higgins unravels the evolution of the Enz here.
Reuben Sutherland directs a hair-raising tour through a wretched laboratory in this music video — his second Shihad clip in a row to take away the Best Video Award, at Aotearoa's yearly music award ceremonies. Frenetically paced and skillfully edited, the video adheres to the feverish temperament of the song, while layered graphics add a sinister and unsettling sci-fi edge. Singer Jon Toogood nails his performance as a demented pharmacist bent way out of shape. Aside from making videos and commercials, director Sutherland is also one half of sound plus visuals group Sculpture.
'Sierra Leone' was one of those songs that quickly stood out from the pack. Andrew McLennan's synth-pop track won his new band Coconut Rough a deal with Mushroom Records, then became a runaway hit in 1983. The video, slick for the time, features bright colours, a running motif, and African imagery. But the pressure of being in demand for a single song became an albatross around the band's neck. As McLennan told website AudioCulture, "‘Sierra Leone’ became the only song from our repertoire that people wanted to hear and no matter what we did we couldn’t follow it up."
The first single off mutli-platinum 1998 album Supersystem helped bring Christchurch rockers The Feelers to a wide audience. For the video, director Joe Lonie has been given the resources to pull out all the stops — maintaining momentum with constant motion and cutting, while underlining the pressure motif by having the band performing in a boiler room, and claustrophobically running through a pipe. 'Pressure Man' was nominated for Best Video at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards. Lonie had first begun making music videos while playing bass for Supergroove.
This wistful, gently melodic rocker was the breakthrough single for this Australian based band of Kiwi brothers. Written by drummer Dann Hume when he was 16, it spent four months in the Australian Top 20 and was the NZ APRA Silver Scroll winner for 2005. Melbourne director Sarah-Jane Woulahan's video makes the brothers an elfin presence in the depths of a black and blue forest while the clock motif, which echoes the song's theme of passing time, takes its visual cues from vintage cinema.
The title track of Shihad’s seventh studio album sees the band moving beyond the harder edged rock of much of their previous work and embracing new technologies (with a decidedly electro introduction) while lyrically questioning the degree to which humanity has lived up to its potential. Director Sam Peacocke places the band in the wilderness of a damp, fog filled, tussock marsh of blacks, greys and dark greens while a man (an apple short of Margritte’s ‘Son of Man’) and woman rise up and run towards each other: irresistibly drawn to human connection.
‘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.