The American dream of so many New Zealand bands became a reality for Steriogram. In 1999 Whangarei’s Jake Adams and Brad Carter teamed up with Tyson Kennedy and Tim Youngson of Auckland. Kennedy, the drummer, impressed with his rapping, and they became known for manic energy, melodies and putting the fun into funk. Early use of the net built a wide fan base, and after a US talent scout saw a video for ‘White Trash’ online they signed to Capitol Records. Their 2004 debut Schmack! also contained ‘Walkie Talkie Man’; 2010 saw their third album, Taping the Radio.
If the Wool Board rocked, Steriogram’s ‘Walkie Talkie Man’ video would be the result. It uses wool to create people, instruments and tall buildings. A King Kong-like character scales Hollywood’s Capitol tower to kidnap singer Tyson Kennedy: inevitably, this warm fuzzy has to unravel. The ingenious stop-motion animation was made in New York by Frenchman Michel Gondry (director of feature Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and notable promos for Radiohead and Beck). The video – and the song’s use in an iPod advert – brought Steriogram worldwide exposure.
The video that helped Steriogram get discovered by Capitol Records is a nod to all things bogan, and is accessorised in line with this song title. From mullets to car mechanics, fluffy dice to line dancing, this homage to everything West Auckland, includes a cameo from then Cultural Ambassador for Waitakere Ewen Gilmour, and white trash rhyming to boot: “I got my Holden and I’m ready for Rolling / Yeah this car ain’t stolen ...”