Kiwi music show Music Nation introduced young presenter Bic Runga to the nation, shortly before she took her microphone skills in another direction. In this debut episode, the show's 'field reporter' Ian Hughes (aka Hugh Sundae) interviews winners at the 31st NZ Music Awards, while Runga introduces many of the accompanying videos. There are double helpings of Supergroove, who took away five awards on the night, and Che Fu sings a thank you speech a cappella. But there are murmurs of discontent over Purest Form taking the public vote for best single.
Part Māori, part Niuean hip hop/reggae star Che Fu made his name in Supergroove as Che Ness, then became a successful solo artist. One hip hop show billed him as Che-Fu, a take on kung-fu; the name stuck. Weeks after leaving Supergroove, ‘Chains' — a collaboration with DLT — spent five weeks at number one. Debut album 2b S.Pacific (1997) spawned three more chart-toppers and went double platinum, then unheard of in local urban music. Alongside further solo releases, Che Fu has performed with King Kapisi as Hedlok, and with Supergroove. In 2009 he was named a Member of the NZ Order of Merit.
Napier raised hip hop producer Darryl Thomson (DLT) is thought to be the first person to 'scratch' on a New Zealand produced record. At 16 he was inspired by a Life article about rap and breakdancing. He was a founding member of influential Kiwi hip hop groups Upper Hutt Posse and Dam Native. In 1996 he collaborated with Che Fu, who had recently left the band Supergroove. The result was single 'Chains', which topped the Kiwi charts, won three NZ Music Awards including Best Single, and kick-started Che Fu's solo career. These days DLT runs workshops on creating art and making beats, and is a father.
From Shihad’s first album Churn, the video for 'Derail' is a dark and unsettling affair, recasting everyday Kiwi pursuits in a tense, almost disturbing manner. It’s directed by ex-Supergroover Joe Fisher (now known as Joe Lonie), who marries their dissonant riffs and twisted time signatures to black and white footage of horse racing and punters at the track. Added to the kiwiana gothic mix is some serious looking gumboot tossing, churches and religious imagery: cows and power pylons, golf, bumper boats, roller coasters and dodgems.
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.
Goodshirt's attention-grabbing promos were typified by high concepts rendered with low-budget No 8 wire smarts — often with game participation from the band members. This mind-bending creation by director (and ex-Supergroover) Joe Lonie is no exception: a Mazda 929 (or an Austin 1300, if you watch the video's other version) is re-deconstructed, before leaving in a cloud of smoke, loaded with frog men. Lead singer Rodney Fisher gives the standout performance. He had to sing every lyric backwards to achieve the desired time-warping end result.
This soulful number was the first single from Che Fu’s second album The Navigator. It marked the debut of his new band, The Krates. The ambitious video translates the song’s message of undying friendship to a World War II setting (filmed at the NZ Warbirds Association hangar at Ardmore Airport). Che-Fu’s Supergroove bandmate turned Krates drummer Paul Russell plays the cheeky English chap, while P-Money has found some turntables that possibly aren’t authentic wartime issue. Fade Away was judged Best Music Video and Single of the Year at the 2002 NZ Music Awards.
Homegrown Profiles was a spin-off from music channel C4's local music series Homegrown. Screened in 2005, the interview-based show featured episodes devoted to the Finn Brothers, Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, Anika Moa, Shihad and Che Fu. The hour-long programmes were based around an extended interview with each artist, intercut with music videos and other performance material— all held together with a well-scripted narration by researcher/ interviewer/ director Jane Yee. Yee writes about making the show here.
Joe Lonie began making music videos while playing bass for legendary band Supergroove. Since then his 60 plus music clips — four of them Tui award-winners — have included one-shot wonders Gather To The Chapel (for Liam Finn) and Blowin’ Dirt (for Goodshirt). On top of a busy commercials career, and a Cannes Gold Lion award, Lonie began adding drama to his CV in 2012, thanks to two short films set in a moving vehicle: foulmouthed, festival-hopping taxi tale Honk if You're Horny, and rock band short Shout at the Ground. He also directed South Auckland-set web series The Factory.