Heavenly Pop Hits - The Flying Nun Story

Television, 2002 (Full Length)

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'. 

Collection

The Flying Nun Collection

Curated by Roger Shepherd

Record label Flying Nun is synonymous with Kiwi indie music, and with autonomous DIY, bottom-of-the-world creativity. This collection celebrates the label's ethos as manifested in the music videos. Selected by label founder Roger Shepherd: "A general style may have loosely evolved ... but it was simply due to limited budgets and correspondingly unlimited imaginations."

The Barrel

Aldous Harding, Music Video, 2019

Mixing elements of theatre, masks and expressionism, The Barrel was a finalist for Best Video at the 2019 NZ Music Awards. The song won Lyttleton born Aldous Harding an APRA Silver Scroll Award. Harding burst onto the scene in 2014 with her album Party, impressing audiences with her vocal range, cryptic lyrics and mesmerising physicality. In this single from third album Designer, Harding is centre stage, jiving gently in platform shoes and a Dr Seuss hat, before turning the tables with a surprise reveal. Harding co-directed the video with Martin Sagadin (Spring Interlude).

Collection

Dunedin

Curated by NZ On Screen team

NZ On Screen’s Dunedin Collection offers up the sights and sounds of a city edged by ocean, and famed for its music. Dunedin is a bracing mixture of old and new: of Victorian buildings and waves of fresh-faced students, many of them carrying guitars. As Dave Cull reflects in his introduction, it is a city where distance is no barrier to creativity and innovation.

Collection

Five Decades of NZ Number One Hits

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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.  

Collection

Turning Up the Volume

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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. 

Tally Ho!

The Clean, Music Video, 1981

This video marked the directing debut of the multi-talented Chris Knox. Capturing the energy of The Clean's legendary first single, the clip memorably broke with local music promo standards (lip-synching, filming inside a studio etc) and set the template for Knox’s cheap but effective DIY method. He shot the band walking (and lying) on the street using a borrowed 16mm camera, set at a slow frame rate. He also played around with negative reversal film, to obtain some of the more distinctive images. 'Tally Ho' got to number 19 in the local charts; the band were "shocked and delighted".

Hail

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1988

The title track and first single from the debut Straitjacket Fits album displays the trademark epic, brooding menace they did so well. An old brass tap dripping rust (or blood) and a plumber threatening with a wrench are among the disquieting scenes in the accompanying video; there is also a reaper figure running through the tunnels on Waiheke Island. The video effects of the period get a good workout, as do the carnival/merry-go-round images which graced the cover of the original record album (but not the subsequent CD versions, which used completely different artwork).  

Alligator Song

Bill Direen, Music Video, 1985

With its mysteriously instructive "do the alligator" lyric, 'Alligator Song' is still a crowd-requested favourite at Bill Direen's live shows. The song is taken from the Flying Nun LP CoNCH3 that featured a new line-up of the Bilders, including bassist Greg Bainbridge and drummer Stuart Page. The video's moody feel and emphasis on the physical movement of an exotic dancer in the back alleys of Christchurch reflect Direen's previous projects with Blue Ladder Theatre. The location was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and is now in the red zone.

Pyromaniac

The Verlaines, Music Video, 1984

This song from Flying Nun stalwarts The Verlaines comes from their 10 O'Clock in the Afternoon EP — the follow-up to their signature single 'Death and the Maiden'. The video was made at TVNZ's Avalon Studios where more than a few clips were marred by inappropriate treatments in the early-80s — but The Verlaines were spared unnecessary trickery, props or actors. With a simple set and an all but imperceptible transition from black and white to colour as the only effect, the focus is on the burning, claustrophobic intensity of song and performance.