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.
Chris Knox's grungy collage-style clip suits this mournful song perfectly. The sequence offering multifarious images of what “turning brown” might mean — from a deep tan to race-swapping — is a particular delight. The shot of Knox's daughter Leisha as a toddler, with the scratched in message "there is always hope" gives the clip a surprisingly poignant ending. In his ScreenTalk interview for NZ On Screen, Knox recalled it was a technical problem that led to him scratching directly onto the film, in the style of his hero Len Lye.
"There's just some things that I want to tell you" yells Jon Toogood on this track, as he addresses a bitter ex-lover he is very thankful to have got away from. The song is driven by drums, whose beats per minute are matched by the high speed editing of this video. The slices of live footage concentrate mostly on a long-haired Toogood, and a very large audience at the Big Day Out. A number of crowd surfers are among them. The single is from Shihad's second album Killjoy (1995) — their first to go gold in New Zealand.
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.
This video for the debut single from Christchurch rockers The Feelers was one of the first made by director Joe Lonie after the disbanding of Supergroove (where he played bass, and learnt his craft directing their videos). It earned Lonie a nomination for Best Video at the 1998 NZ Music Awards. The video begins, as it ends, with a man fleeing from unseen forces. Lonie builds and maintains 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.
Scribe's first single ‘Stand Up’ conquered the charts, paired as a double A-side with soon to be signature tune ‘Not Many’. But where ‘Not Many’ is a statement of personal intent, ‘Stand Up’ flies the flag for Kiwi hip hop: the video features many of the fellow musicians namechecked in the song. Shot in a basement below Auckland's Real Groovy Records in black and white (except for the ‘Not Many’ sections), Chris Graham's NZ Music Award-winning video offers an energetic, confrontational performance from Scribe, who took another five NZ Music Awards in the same year.
The synth-pop song was a runaway hit in 1983 and the music video, slick for the time, was one of the first Kiwi videos to use special effects. It’s a little overblown, but so were the song’s lyrics ("so cold in the desert tonight ..."), and the new romantic silliness all works a charm. Great Afro-art house imagery, especially the zebra and tribal masks.