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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.