If there was a Kiwi band that achieved the unlikely alchemy of bringing longhaired rockers and hip hop homies under one roof, it was Supergroove. The rock funksters enjoyed a hugely successful seven-year career, releasing three albums and anthems ‘Can't Get Enough', ‘You Gotta Know' and ‘Scorpio Girls'. In 1997 the band split, but reunited 10 years later, older and wiser. Band members included hip-hop/reggae heavyweight Che Fu, promo director Joe Lonie, and future Cambridge classics scholar Karl Steven.
It's the holidays: time to let your hair down, have a swim, give in to your appetite...and have a boogie. From Kings to The Clean, from 'Ten Guitars' to 'Trippin', let NZ On Screen supply the music, with this epic playlist of classic Kiwi party songs. In the backgrounder, music fan and publicity maestro Nicky Harrop takes us through the tracks, before bidding adieu to NZ On Screen.
Music videos — often they're no more than a promotional tool; sometimes they are works of art. They provide a chart of changing fashions and trends, and offer emerging filmmakers the chance to really show their stuff. The best clips lift the music even higher. So get your groove on for this career-spanning, 'best of' compilation: from mad scientists to metalheads, from Supergroove to The Naked and Famous — almost every Best Music Video winner at New Zealand's local music awards, since Andrew Shaw first took the prize for DD Smash's 'Outlook for Thursday' in 1983.
Black, white and red exuberance abound in this award-winning music video from Supergroove. The band's funk-heavy live performance is intercut with scenes of the band clowning around at the Otara Market, on a Three Kings volcano, and crowded into the back of an open-top VW. The hairstyle of vocalist and future Cambridge classics scholar Karl Steven — shaved, aside from an extended fringe arrangement at the front — is a relic from another era. An alternative video made for the same song revolves around the band doing everything backwards.
Supergroove's 'Scorpio Girls' hit number three on the NZ charts in 1993 and was the band's first single to attain gold record status. It was also included as the opening track on their 1994 debut album Traction. The video, directed by Supergroove bass player Joe Lonie, translates the band's sense of fun and boundless energy to the small screen, combining live performance clips with footage of the band members, armed with torches and running through the old tunnels at North Head on Auckland's North Shore.
Shot in alternating colour and moody black and white, this is a straightforward music video: cutting together a wahine washing her hair in a basin, with the band performing on a garbage strewn wasteland, slo-mo strolling along a city street, and singer Che Fu (Chicago White Sox cap and duffle coat) wandering a wintry North Shore beach. Director and band member Joe Lonie captures lively performances from the band's multiple members, to help bring the clip to life.
If nothing else, Supergroove are evidence that in New Zealand, it’s not just our top sportspeople who wear all black. Luckily, they are a lot more than just that, as evidenced in this video for their guitar heavy hit You Freak Me. As the band rock out on stage, chaotic footage combines close ups, strange camera angles, and constant flashing lights amongst the haze of smoke machines and cigarettes. Not all heavy, the song features a brief funky interlude before a rare burst of hostility from the typically calm Che Fu.
This single from Supergroove’s second album Backspacer (1996) reached number seven in the charts, and captures the band's shift from funk to rock after the exit of rapper Che Fu and trumpeter Tim Stewart. The lyrics ask "who would you kill?". Via madcap music video logic, they’re channeled into a fictional TV show, an exercise equipment promo, a pigsty, ice-skating rink, and a burning piano on a beach. The results won Best Video at New Zealand's local music award ceremony in 1997. Bassist Joe Lonie and cinematographer Sigi Spath had won it the previous year, for 'You Gotta Know'.
It had to be a big ask getting all seven members of Supergroove in one shot and looking good for this video, but the result trips along with pace, great upside down special effects, and some bonus goldfish. Shot in one epic, 18 hour session, Can't Get Enough was one of the earliest Supergroove videos directed by bassist Joe Lonie, who went on to helm 50+ clips for everyone from King Kapisi to Goodshirt. In 1995 'Can't Get Enough' was the first of a trio of Supergroove videos to take away the supreme award for Best New Zealand Music Video of the year.
This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles features hip-hop star Che Fu, who began his music career with high school band The Lowdown Dirty Blues Band, which later evolved into 90s chart-toppers Supergroove. Che Fu talks about his messy split from Supergroove, and how the huge success of the single 'Chains' (with DLT) wasn't enjoyable because he was still upset by what had happened with the band. He also talks about the making of his three solo albums. Since this documentary was made in 2005, Che Fu and Supergroove have reconciled for reunion gigs.