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.
A remixed version of a lighter song from hip-hopper King Kapisi’s third album Dominant Species, this down and dirty number gets a burlesque style treatment from director Sam Peacocke. Behind the Old West frontage of ‘King Kap’s Confectionary’ store (where the new flavour is coconut), a very dapper King Kapisi presides over a hallucinatory mix of candy, dancing girls, Donnie Darko-inspired rabbit suits — and a striking smoke effect, created from ink spreading on water. Lollipop was voted Best Hip Hop Video at the 2006 Juice TV Awards.
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 wistful, gently melodic rocker was the breakthrough single for this Australian based band of Kiwi brothers. Written by drummer Dann Hume when he was 16, it spent four months in the Australian Top 20 and was the NZ APRA Silver Scroll winner for 2005. Melbourne director Sarah-Jane Woulahan's video makes the brothers an elfin presence in the depths of a black and blue forest while the clock motif, which echoes the song's theme of passing time, takes its visual cues from vintage cinema.
The Chills visited England in 1986. This video mixes a moody rehearsal room performance with reminders of London, including Big Ben, the underground and apartment buildings (British sci fi comic 2000AD can also be spied). Vocalist Martin Phillipps wears the leather jacket of the song’s title. The jacket was bequeathed to him by Chills bandmate Martyn Bull, who died of leukaemia at the age of only 22. Paired with single 'The Great Escape', the song reached number four on the New Zealand charts, early in 1987.
This award-winner from the 2007 NZ Music Awards sees the Mint Chicks performing after dark, somewhere on the edge of suburbia, while a wolf (actually a siberian husky) sparks a journey through the streets — past people wrestling with poultry, and each other. Director Sam Peacocke (Manurewa, Shihad - Beautiful Machine) displays the same enigmatic approach taken with Mint Chicks clip Walking Off a Cliff Again. The band also took out NZ Music Awards for Best Group and Album. Real Groove magazine later rated this the best New Zealand single of the decade.
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.