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.
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.
Florian Habicht first won attention for 2003's Woodenhead, a fairytale about a rubbish dump worker and a princess. By then Habicht had already made his first feature-length documentary. Many more docos have followed: films that celebrate his love for people, and sometimes drift into fantasy. In this collection, watch as the idiosyncratic director meets fishermen, Kaikohe demolition derby drivers (both watchable in full), legends of Kiwi theatre and British pop, and beautiful women carrying slices of cake through New York. Ian Pryor writes here about the joys of Florian Habicht.
Featuring artwork by Grammy-nominated Kiwi Sarah Larnach — whose art has been a key feature on Ladyhawke's albums — the music video for My Delirium weaves between reality and a dreamscape where cats dominate the Mount Rushmore sculpture, and Ladyhawke soars through space in a car. The video opens with the singer in a dreary roadside motel, before animated artwork on the wall comes to life, featuring a cartoon Ladyhawke walking out of the motel and hitting the road in a classic convertible. The musician won six Tuis at the 2009 NZ Music Awards.
This cascading pop song from Wellington band Fur Patrol’s debut EP Starlifter accompanies an early music video from director Greg Page. Julia Deans and her band mates appear mired in concrete in a suburban swimming pool which begins to fill — but they play on, apparently oblivious to the rising water. The pool was owned by neighbours of Page’s parents in Palmerston North, who were happy to indulge him, but it was Fur Patrol who suffered for Page’s art as they coped with water that was very cold and not especially clean.
This pop-punk version of Monte Video's novelty hit by Wellington band Spacial Verb was the winner of a competition run by radio station Channel Z. The video reprises the original's tale of finding love in all the wrong places, with the station's staff making up the cast and lead roles for breakfast show hosts (and former ICE TV presenters) Nathan Rarere and Jon Bridges. Rarere rings every ounce of lasciviousness out of the already suspect lyrics — and that's Bridges in the pink. Watch out also for James Coleman and Clarke Gayford in the trio of drag queens.
This dance pop anthem was a number one for the reality TV series-generated act TrueBliss — and the biggest selling single by a New Zealand artist in 1999. It was written (like most of the TrueBliss album) by Anthony Ioasa, an APRA Silver Scroll winning co-writer for Strawpeople's 'Sweet Disorder'. The video features a girls' night in slumber party, complete with home movies, hairbrush microphones, pillow fights, dress-ups, American Indian head-dresses and hula dancing. There is also quite a lot of moody introspection for what is essentially an unabashed love song.
Sitting in the Rain is a New Zealand pop landmark. One of the earliest music promo clips, filmed for television in 1967 by the NZBC, it is a cover version by a local band that became better known than the original (by UK blues stalwart John Mayall). The Underdogs were a powerful electric blues combo, but with 'Sitting in the Rain' they knew that less is more; the film clip, used to fill TV scheduling gaps, is similarly unfussy. Like a surly, underground Monkees, the anarchic Underdogs don't hide the fact that the performance is mimed.
The penultimate Pop Mechanix single was an exploration of carnality, anchored by chiming guitars with vocals by Andrew McLennan (Coconut Rough and 'Sierra Leone'). It was one of the first music videos directed by Spot On video competition winner Paul Middleditch, who was still at school. He went on to make videos for Tim Finn and Tex Pistol, commercials, and 2009 movie Separation City. The location was a cold, disused office. “Luckily,” says bass player Paul Scott, “we were into leather jackets, big coats and damn big hair because the place was absolutely freezing”.