Chris Cudby / Hans Pucket
/ Tuesday 2nd March, 2021 9:12AM
Aotearoa is currently back at various levels of alert, but that doesn’t mean we can’t collectively cross our fingers (or alternative arcane ritual) and look forward to the bevy of awesome live events scheduled to happen soon. Barring any more Covid curveballs, Pōneke annual tradition CubaDupa 2021 will be happening on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th March — taking over the avenues and alleyways of Cuba Street Precinct with a vast variety of local sounds, cultural activities and tasty food options for windy city dwellers to tuck into.
Playing as part of CubaDupa this year are newly expanded four-piece Hans Pucket, who’ll be bringing the party with the special addition of full horn section. As beloved for their stylish, self-directed and frequently very funny music videos as for their eminently danceable "Pure Horny Power Pop" anthems, we invited twin brothers Oli and Callum Devlin to discuss their deep connection with Aotearoa’s cinematic history for their Here’s Five selections. Scroll on down to listen and learn all about Hans Pucket’s favourite NZ film soundtracks, and (touch wood) catch them bringing the magic as part of the festival’s star-studded music programme, including Troy Kingi, JessB, composer John Psathas‘ Cubasonic "mass musical interruption" plus lots more…
Saturday 27th March and Sunday 28th March 2021 – Cuba Street Precinct, Wellington (free)
20 stages and creative zones featuring 470 performances and 20 parades with over 1700 artists from all over Aotearoa
Head along to www.cubadupa.co.nz for the full programme
1. Eagle vs Shark (2007) – ‘I Love You, Awesome’ by The Phoenix Foundation
Oli Devlin: This was my first time hearing pop wizards The Phoenix Foundation, take the humble acoustic guitar, an omnichord, a glockenspiel and — apparently — a salsa jar of water used as a shaker — and create unknown worlds of strange, sad beauty: the gorgeous instrumental tracks Hitchcock and Sea World taken from the album Pegasus.
But for whatever reason — I Love You, Awesome was the track that stuck in my brain. Maybe I was 14 and a romantic. Maybe it was The Phoenix Foundation’s nuclear precise pop arrangement. Maybe it was just 2007 when the ukulele was maybe the coolest it was ever gonna get — the time of Beirut’s Elephant Gun and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, who I was also obsessed with.
Also featured on this soundtrack, and new to my wee ears, was two explosively endorphin-filled garage rock pop masterpieces from The Reduction Agents — James Milne of Lawrence Arabia.
As a hopelessly romantic 14 year old I connected deeply to this film about absolute weirdos finding love. And as much as the characters were frighteningly earnest or emotionally guarded, the music was well off the leash. The film conjured a country of creative weirdos and wild music that I definitely wanted to live in. It was a big deal.
2. Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) – ‘The Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All’ by Howard Shore
Oli: Fellowship Of The Ring came out in December 2001 — Callum and I went to see it for our 8th birthday party in February the next year when it was still packing out cinemas. We probably saw trailers for 2002 fare like Scooby Doo, Attack of the Clones or the Toby McGuire Spider-Man (incredible). Then the lights went down.
It is the overture that pulls you into another world. That main string melody — sick with loss, obsession, addiction, all the despair in the world, the thousands of years that pass in that scene…Then immediately going into the biggest and scariest battle ever — 8 year old Oli absolutely ate that shit right up.
It takes a little effort to watch the film now without all the associated politics creeping in. Some say this trilogy is Jackson’s most collaborative and inspiring work as a director and it still shows. Every artist collaborating on this film is firing on all cylinders — and in every single moment of its music — over 3 hours composed just for this film — Howard Shore rains absolute magic.
3. Daffodils (2019) – ‘Fall At Your Feet’ (Crowded House) by LIPS (Steph Brown and Fen Ikner)
Callum Devlin: This is a movie absolutely bursting with music, with a story built wall to wall with blockbuster NZ anthems. My main memory of seeing the film was being mortified at seeing my giant face as an extra in a particularly emotional moment, but the production and musical arrangement of these inimitable tracks by LIPS are undeniable, and a huge part of the success of this film. And some stellar vocal performances don’t hurt.
4. Shopping (2013) – ‘Solomon’s Story I’ by Grayson Gilmore
Callum: Shamefully, I had totally forgotten I’d seen this beautiful film until researching this list. Grayson Gilmore’s soothing ambient score has a kind of home demo feeling, in a “stay up until 2am recording guitar onto a tape recorder hoping my flatmates don’t hear” kind of way. It perfectly fits this intimate, coming of age film and revisiting it on Bandcamp made me desperate for a rewatch.
5. Goodbye Pork Pie – ‘Gerry Escapades’ & ‘Main Theme’ by John Charles
Callum: I could have filled this list with Geoff Murphy and John Charles collaborations (hon. mention A Quiet Earth) but this is the one that sticks out. I first saw this movie on DVD when I was sick home from school and remember it scared the shit out of me. First, because these guys are maniacs, and second was the score. Underneath the crackly honking sound design and yelled dialogue sits this brassy score that swings from giddy Dixie comedy in early antics to haunting and bleary suspense during the final chase, and the woozy sexy main title, really crawling into your sinuses. The jazz band orchestration is something very of its time, making me curious about a country I didn’t know and probably doesn’t exist.