The man behind the SJD acronym — Sean James Donnelly — has been an eclectic solo dance/pop-rock act, and part of a live six-piece band. Tracks ‘Beautiful Haze' and ‘I Wrote This Song For You' were heard widely after being licensed for advertising campaigns. His seven albums to date are characterised by inventive and eclectic songwriting. In 2013 SJD was awarded the Taite Music Prize for his album Elastic Wasteland.
SJD (aka Sean James Donnelly), winner of the 2013 Taite Music Prize, talks samples, lyrics and home studios in this series made for secondary school music students. Donnelly demonstrates his fondness for old synthesisers (he admits liking their crankiness, and the way they make their most interesting sounds as they start to fall apart). Talking a couple of years after the release of second album Lost Soul Music, he traces the origins of Lost Soul single ‘A Boy’, and its music video — which features his son, and was animated and co-directed by his brother Kieran.
A stoic Sean James Donnelly carries on singing while facing an aerial barrage of feathers, fruit, toys and worse, in this dreamy after dark video, directed by globetrotting commercials maker Lawrence Blankenbyl. The calm amidst chaos music clip captures the wistful essence of the song, which preaches rebellion in the chorus, and going with the flow in the verse. 'A Beautiful Haze' is taken from SJD's fourth album Songs from a Dictaphone (2007), which reached number 11 on the Kiwi music charts.
Musical shapeshifter SJD (short for Sean James Donnelly) released second album Lost Soul Music in 2001, early in a career that has seen him blending synthesisers, backwards voices, and a love of melody — all while working to ensure that each new album heads somewhere different from the last. His vocal on single 'A Boy' shows echoes of Beck, an artist some have cited as an influence. Co-directed by his brother Kieran and Dominic Taylor, the music video mixes lively, childlike animation with shimmering images of an unusual room and the boy inside...whose head is often a blur.
This short documentary from the Loading Docs series is a profile of artist John Radford, and his alter ego Ron Jadford. Both are concerned with real estate. Director Ursula Grace Williams captures Radford creating Graft, an artwork consisting of 256 miniature replicas of 1900s suburban villas. Spray-tanned Jadford, with tinted sunnies, moustache and mobile phone, is the real estate agent selling the houses, and he won’t take no for an answer. The short documentary explores art as performance, the creative process, and the line between art and business.
Don McGlashan has won the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll award twice. In 2006 Miracle Sun gained him another nomination. McGlashan's lyrics evoke a mythical summer and directly reference Opo, the 'friendly' dolphin whose visits to Opononi in the mid 1950s became the stuff of Kiwi legend. The song's sweeping chorus is bittersweet, and a lap steel guitar adds a slightly mournful tone. The black and white video mixes National Film Unit footage of Opo charming holidaymakers, with shots of McGlashan and his band heading to the Hokianga and playing a gig for locals.
Don McGlashan began his career as a restless teenage French horn player. He started to thrive in the post-punk era, writing iconic songs with Blam Blam Blam, mixing theatre and music with The Front Lawn and composing for film and TV, before forming The Mutton Birds in 1991. This episode of Sunday traverses McGlashan's life as he launches his belated solo career. Friends like Dave Dobbyn and Mike Chunn wax lyrical about McGlashan's talents, and snippets from his 2003 Auckland Festival show at the St James Theatre demonstrate why he is so beloved in Kiwi music history.
The format for New Artland was to film a leading Kiwi artist devising an artwork, in collaboration with a community that they have some kind of bond with. In this episode host Chris Knox meets Karl Maughan, known for his vibrant paintings of garden flowers. Maughan returns to Palmerston North's Freyberg High School (where he was encouraged to enrol at Elam School of Art) and enlists 20 students over a week to make a 30 metre long mural. He explains why rhododendrons are his main subject, and gets permission from the principal to help the kids graffiti the art block.
With The Free Man, genre-hopping director Toa Fraser (The Dead Lands) takes on the world of extreme sport. The globetrotting documentary is built around encounters between Kiwi freestyle skier Jossi Wells and The Flying Frenchies, known for their base jumps, wingsuit flying and tightrope walks at terrifying heights. As Wells gets direct experience in the art of walking a highline, director Fraser investigates what adrenaline junkies gain — and lose — when putting their lives on the line. The Free Man got its Kiwi premiere during the 2017 NZ International Film Festival.
Orange Roughies was a 'border security' drama series following a Police and Customs task force in Auckland. Storylines included drugs busts, undercover ops and plenty of motorised chase action. In this excerpt from the first episode, customs officer Jane Durant (McLeod's Daughters actor Zoe Naylor) boards a ship suspected of trafficking children from China. The TV One series was devised by ex policeman Scott McJorrow and Rod Johns, for production company ScreenWorks.