Interview

Mike Smith: On directing drama and passing on Russell Crowe...

Interview and Editing - Ian Pryor. Camera - Jess Charlton

Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio WavesDugganSerial KillersThe Almighty JohnsonsNothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and docu-drama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.

Artist

AttitudeLive

Assembled for the song ‘Long White Cloud’, the team behind the unofficial Rio 2016 Kiwi anthem included a host of talented Kiwi musicians. The band was led by blind vocalists Cam Dawson and Natalie Te Paa, with help from former Checks guitarist Callum Martin and singer Leza Corban (Strawpeople). The song was composed by Paul Fitzgerald. Behind the scenes, a number of in-demand session musicians made up the rest of the band. Former Split Enz bandmates Mike Chunn and Eddie Rayner manage and mix respectively.

Beings Rest Finally

Beat Rhythm Fashion, Music Video, 1981

‘Beings Rest Finally’ was the A side of the first of three singles released by Wellington post-punk outfit Beat Rhythm Fashion (the single shared its initials with the band’s name, as did the flip side ‘Bring Real Freedom’). A product of early 80s nuclear dread — the “disaster day” in the lyrics might refer to the death of millions — the band nevertheless saw it as a “happy sort of lullaby” rather than a sad song. The TVNZ video captures this combination of innocence and terror as children paint a colourful mural over news footage of war, unrest and a mushroom cloud.

Husband House

Sneaky Feelings , Music Video, 1985

"The season's old and the leaves have turned to gold / And the wind blows cold from the south ..." The song is mournful, dreamy and elegiac, and so is the music video, from Steve Young. The clip features amiably laidback performances by the band members, hanging out in various Dunedin locations — including synchronised guitar dancing (a la the Shadows) on a wintry-looking beach: grey clouds, pale blue sky and a charming "out now on Flying Nun" drawn in the sand as the closing shot. The orange $50 note in the busking bowl is a notable 80s relic.

Long White Cross

Pluto, Music Video, 2005

This video goes for the patented band playing moodily in a warehouse approach. The debut single from Pluto's long in gestation second album is built around drums, guitar and the band's distinctive vocal sound. The lyrics to 'Long White Cloud' trade in tiredness, confusion and a woman who is kind, but no longer on the scene. Judged single of the year at the 2006 New Zealand Music Awards, it was also nominated for the Silver Scroll songwriting award. The song went on to feature during the water-logged opening titles of border security drama Orange Roughies.

The Graham Kerr Show - Cooking with Kerr

Television, 1966 (Full Length Episode)

In this episode, New Zealand's first celebrity chef abandons his usual format to answer queries from his studio audience about food and cooking. Topics covered by the soon to be world famous Graham Kerr include how to stop scrambled eggs drying out (add cream), battering oysters (never) and when to make Christmas cake (at least six months in advance). The show is a fascinating preserve of mid-60s cuisine – from crumbed cutlets and bolognese to the Galloping Gourmet's curious ‘Long White Cloud’ dessert. Kerr, of course, is as witty, charming and urbane as ever.

Artist

50Hz

The Wellington studio whiz behind 50Hz, Jeremy Geor, stamped his mark on the country's dance scene in 1997 with the cinematic beats and breaks of debut album Cyclehum. Self-released it was the first full length drum and base release to roll out under the long white cloud. It was judged by industry insiders in Rip It Up as one of Top 100 New Zealand albums of all time. After a five-year hiatus, 50Hz re-emerged with Carbon (Released on Loop Recordings), which featured an impressive list of guest artists, including Ladi6 and the Black Seeds' Barnaby Weir.

Dreaming

Scribe, Music Video, 2004

After his hard-hitting debut single 'Stand Up' and the hit remix of 'Not Many', Scribe took a gentler approach on the third single from his five times platinum debut album. Rolling clouds open the music video, which trades bombastic beats and ominous synth tones for gentler piano. The chart-topping hook, originally written for Che Fu, was sung by Scribe himself after encouragement from collaborator P-Money. Photos from Scribe’s childhood appear on screen while he raps about the struggle to realise his potential, before glimpses of 'making of' footage from previous videos.

Artist

fiveandahalfminutes

Simon St. Marcus and Tristen Deschain are "sheep-herders of the synthlines" (DJs) for the Christchurch trip-rock duo fiveandahalfminutes. Listing Aphex Twin and PJ Harvey among their influences, they describe their dark, atmospheric sound as "dust storms and leaking storm clouds inside hallways bent out of shape by emotion and apathy". They released their first EP Our Hallways in 2006. Daniel Batkin-Smith (also the drummer for the L.E.D.s), directed the video for the single 'Plans'.

Blowin' Dirt

Goodshirt, Music Video, 2001

Goodshirt's attention-grabbing promos were typified by high concepts rendered with low-budget No 8 wire smarts — often with game participation from the band members. This mind-bending creation by director (and ex-Supergroover) Joe Lonie is no exception: a Mazda 929 (or an Austin 1300, if you watch the video's other version) is re-deconstructed, before leaving in a cloud of smoke, loaded with frog men. Lead singer Rodney Fisher gives the standout performance. He had to sing every lyric backwards to achieve the desired time-warping end result.