Tadpole’s 2000 debut album The Buddhafinger debuted at No.2 in the RIANZ Top 40, and spawned no less than six singles. ‘Alright’ showcases the band’s ability to fuse nu-metal and dance elements into a hooky pop concoction, dominated by the polished, theatrical vocals of Renee Brennan (who had a sideline in voiceovers and DJ’ing). The dreadlocked guitarist in red Dickies is Chris Yong — political groupies may recognise him for his later stint as Laila Harre’s deputy in the Internet Party.
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’.
In 1991 Push Push’s 'Trippin' reign at the top of the charts was ended by a synth-reggae cover of Johnny Nash soul song ‘Tears on my Pillow’. The number one debut from The Parker Project was followed by this single, also released on Trevor Reekie's Pagan label. It made it to number 24 in the charts. The video, directed by Peter Cathro (I Love My Leather Jacket), was from the first year of NZ On Air funded music videos. It cuts between black and white shots of the singer making his way to an Auckland school hall, and colour images of him singing with the backing of a Samoan choir.
This Kaleidoscope profile heralds the arrival of producer Larry Parr on the global film scene, following “the Kid from Raetihi” in his Jaguar from the hometown premiere of Came A Hot Friday (at that point the second most successful NZ film at the box office) to the Auckland offices of his company Mirage. In spite of the shoulder-padded, aspirational 80s framing, Parr talks about more troubled productions (eg. Pallet On The Floor) and the need for less self-conscious local cinema, with disarming honesty. Billy T James and Ian Mune provide character references.
Documentary She Shears profiles five women who blow away stereotypes and sexism in the traditionally male world of sheep shearing. Two are legends of the sport: Emily Welch and Jills Angus Burney (also a High Court barrister). The other three are hoping to make their mark with the blades at the sport's pinnacle: Masterton’s Golden Shears. The event has no separate gender categories. She Shears was directed by first-timer Jack Nicol, and produced by Breaker Upperers producers Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder. It debuted at the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.
Love Soup was a brief prelude to the rise of Bic Runga. She formed the duo with Kelly Horgan as a seventh former at Cashmere High School in Christchurch. They placed third in the 1993 Smokefree Rockquest and won a recording contract with Trevor Reekie’s Pagan Records. Runga then signed with Sony. One of her Love Soup songs ‘Drive’ was re-recorded for her debut Sony release and went on to win the 1996 APRA Silver Scroll (and the other Pagan recordings were released as part of the Drive EP). Kelly Horgan later played in Auckland band Heavy Jones Trio.
This cautionary tale about the perils of lost love comes from singer-songwriter Greg Johnson's third album Vine Street Stories (named for the address of the Auckland house where it was recorded). Director James Holt (a flatmate at the time) shot the clip on 35mm and gave it a rich, golden-hued setting of brocades, leathers, candles and curtains to showcase musicians including Pagan Records founder (and broadcaster) Trevor Reekie and Johnny Fleury (father of Zowie) on Chapman Stick. Boh Runga contributes vocals (around the time she formed her own band Stellar*).
Ted Brown found cult cred in the late 80s with The Tunnellers, a band he started at age 17. The band won Most Promising Group at the 1988 NZ Music Awards, and in 1993 Brown scored a Tui for Most Promising Male Vocalist. Several singles for Trevor Reekie's Pagan label followed; Reekie later described Brown as a “monster singer”. The songs included La De Da's cover 'How is the Air Up there', under the moniker Ted Brown and the Italians. These days Brown is based in Los Angeles — where his music tends towards more of a country sound. Brown sometimes collaborates with fellow Kiwi-born émigré Greg Johnson.
Love Soup was a high school duo formed by singer-songwriter Bic Runga and guitarist Kelly Horgan. After coming third in the Smokefree Rockquest, they were picked up by Trevor Reekie’s Pagan Records. This video is about all that is extant from Love Soup, as they were overtaken by Runga’s burgeoning solo career. Shortly to be signed by major label Sony, her debut hit single (and APRA Silver Scroll winner) ‘Drive’ was only months away. Aged just 19, Runga already looks and sounds remarkably assured as she sings about a lost friendship, to a mystical CGI cipher.
The Holidaymakers were a sweet soul band from Wellington that developed out of the Eelman Records scene which had included acts like The Tombolas, Hulamen and Rodents. They released their first single, ‘Sweet Lovers’, on Trevor Reekie’s Pagan label in 1988. It spent six weeks at number one, and they went on to clean up at the 1988 NZ Music Awards winning seven awards (including Single of the Year and Most Promising Group). After next single ‘Waiting in the Sunshine’ failed to emulate the success of ‘Sweet Lovers’, the group members went their separate ways.