Making Music - The Black Seeds

Short Film, 2005 (Full Length)

Wellington funk, soul, reggae act The Black Seeds manage to cram themselves into a single shot for this episode from a series made for secondary school music students. Bookended by stripped back performances of 'Keep on Pushing' and 'Going Back Home', they explain the development of these songs from their origins as bass grooves. Mike Fabulous has cautionary words for aspiring songwriters about the dangers of overcomplicated song structures while Barnaby Weir reassuringly suggests that virtuosity is not an absolute prerequisite for being in the band.    

Seed

Dimmer, Music Video, 2001

Moody, minimalistic and monochromatic, this animated clip matches the relentless forward motion of the song to images of a train moving across a landscape. Birds fly — as so do some of the lyrics — and the surroundings grow more Daliesque. Seed was one of three Dimmer videos directed by animator and sometime Dimmer drummer Gary Sullivan. Band founder Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits) complimented Sullivan's "straight on down the line" railway imagery for how ably it suited the song; it appeared on Dimmer's long-in-gestation debut album I Believe You Are a Star.

Artist

The Black Seeds

The Black Seeds are key flagbearers for the downbeat Wellington sound, thanks to the unique fusion of dub, reggae and funk they're been pushing out since 1998. Led by singer Barnaby Weir (Fly My Pretties), the Wellington collective's line-up has included keyboardist Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) and drummer Rich Christie. Dub-pop tunes like 'Keep on Pushing' and 'Something So True' have helped The Black Seeds become favourites on the local summer tour circuit, and they've taken their southern soul on several international tours. En route, two of their five studio albums have topped the New Zealand charts.

Collection

NZ Music Month

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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.

Hey Son

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2001

Don’t mess with the Black Seeds! The band members run amok in a government office when they are wrongly accused of civil disobedience. Heads get photocopied, computers get beaten up, and chaos rules in this clip made by director James Barr. Look out for Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords fame, who was a member of the band at the time. 'Hey Son' is taken from the band's 2001 debut album Keep on Pushing

So True

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2005

The laidback pop-reggae of double platinum album On the Sun was a noughties Kiwi summer soundtrack, and this golden hour-hued affair is a video to match. A Seedy trio (Barnaby Weir, Bret McKenzie, Daniel Weetman) head on holiday to the Coromandel for a smorgasbord of baches, pohutukawa rope swings, mussels on the barbie, and cricket on the beach. There's a nod to the sponsor's product as McKenzie pulls the Holden into the Tararu Store for a Fruju pitstop: one of the future Oscar-winner's earliest paid acting gigs was in an ice-block commercial.

Keep On Pushing

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2001

Made by off-duty Lord of the Rings crew and directed by James Barr, this video won The Knack Award at the 2001 Flying Fish Music Awards, and was a Handle the Jandal award-winner the same year. Shot in black and white, the clip is visually strong, but contains lots of shots of the band falling from buildings, so don’t watch it if you suffer from vertigo. And please don’t try this at home! Onetime band member Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) turns up in the final stages, with an emergency bucket.

Sometimes Enough

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2006

Wellington’s Black Seeds serve up another dose of their brand of funky roots reggae on this, their debut single from third album Into The Dojo. Director Jason Naran’s video is based on a concept by former Black Seeds member Bret McKenzie (who cameos briefly on Kitchen Cam 1). The result re-imagines the concept of social networking, with a cast of online fans grooving to the music. The video was judged Best Roots winner at the 2006 Juice TV Awards.

3 News - 'Corngate' interview with Helen Clark

Television, 2002 (Excerpts)

On 09 July 2002 the ruling Labour Party was under pressure on the Genetic Engineering (GE) issue, when John Campbell confronted Prime Minister Helen Clark over the suspected release of GE corn seed in 2000. In a 3 News special a fired-up Campbell, informed by Nicky Hager's yet-to-be-published Seeds of Distrust, alleged there had been a cover up. Upset at what she perceived as an ambush, Clark reacted tersely; she later labelled Campbell a "sanctimonious little creep". With a general election looming, the encounter was dubbed 'Corngate'.

The Living Room - Series One (excerpts)

Television, 2002–2003 (Excerpts)

A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for NZ music — it ripped open the venetian blinds, rearranged the plastic-covered cushions, and shone the sun on Aotearoa’s homegrown creative culture. Often letting the subjects film and present their own stories, it was produced for three series by Wellington’s Sticky Pictures, who also made follow-up arts showcase The Gravy. These excerpts from the first series show a calvacade of local talent, including an early Flight of the Conchords screen outing.