Salmonella Dub formed in Christchurch in 1992. Purveyors of dub reggae at a time when guitar rock and dance dominated the musical landscape, they sugar-coated their rhythms with a tongue-in-cheek band name and offbeat covers. They went on to establish themselves at the forefront of a distinctively NZ mix of groove based dub, reggae and electronica. Tiki Taane did time with the band as both a live sound mixer and a vocalist, before going solo in 2007. The following year saw album Feel the Seasons Change, with the band performing live with Māori instrumentation and the NZ Symphony Orchestra.
Salmonella Dub’s roots, dub, and drum’n’bass cocktail is shaken up on this single from their fifth album One Drop East. John Chrisstoffels’ energetic video won Juice TV’s Best R’n’b/Urban award in 2003. It borders on the claustrophobic as the camera gets right in amongst the band and an enthusiastic audience (swathed in appropriately rasta red, gold and green lighting). An apple-munching brass section might be a first but it’s megaphone-wielding singer Tiki Taane who is the centre of attention as he toasts up a storm.
While many bands might feature flash cars and scantily clad groupies, a lone cargo shorts-wearing skateboarder provides all the spectacle required in this Salmonella Dub video. Fortuitous sponsorship from a company that specialises in sliding skateboards gave rise to this skate-themed music video. Shot while on tour in Sydney, further colour is provided by laidback gig footage highlighting drummer and vocalist David Deakins, as he groves through this ode to the passing of time.
Platetechtonics continues a collaboration between Salmonella Dub and director Steve Scott. The everyman from Salmonella Dub video Problems features, in this case in a more cartoon-like form. But the cheery aesthetic belies a cautionary tale of genetic modification, mutations and monsters. A hooky brass section functions as a warning alarm for our hallucinating protagonist, shortly before monsters of his own creation overrun his Eden-like home planet. Micro and macro cross section views highlight the consequences of our scientist's wayward experiment.
Problems marks the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Salmonella Dub and director/animator Steve Scott (working here with co-director James Littlemore). The video features a lone wanderer stuck in a scorched earth desert. The briefcase of money he carries is useless in such a place, and despite stumbling across a detention centre and signs of civilisation (in the form of dystopian power plants and pylons) our wanderer keeps on his aimless lumber. Not even a trusty fake moustache gag can glean a laugh or stop him in his tracks. If only it were to rain...
An echoing synth gives this song an ominous tone, and the video matches it with B-movie flair. With the logo for Salmonella Dub’s third album Killervision burnt into his chest, Johnny wakes in the band's boardroom, and the tale of how he got there unfolds. His troubles begin at the Havana Bar where he is drugged, and awakens in the back of a moving convertible. The resultant chase through native bush ends with Johnny getting cornered high up on a dam, leading to perhaps the most daring fight scene yet seen in a New Zealand music video.