Via a distribution agreement with PolyGram, the album was released toward the end of that year and went on to become the biggest selling jazz album in New Zealand ever. It was also released globally on the Verve label and helped establish Nathan as the force he was to become over the next decade.
Our second signing was OMC, via my longstanding connections with Alan Jansson, and Pauly's presence at The Box. It was a project that Alan and I had worked towards for several years and Pauly provided the perfect vehicle for our scheming and planning.
How Bizarre of course was the result and it exploded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching number one on the US pop chart and number one in over a dozen other countries, selling, if all the singles and albums are added together, around four million records.
Unfortunately to our eternal regret, the demands of the project, and the cost of taking it worldwide forced us to sell master rights to PolyGram (now Universal) who (both PolyGram and Universal) proceeded to mishandle and generally make an appalling dogs breakfast of the project (although some fine folks, like now Universal MD, Adam Holt, played a huge role in the success, as did many of the harder working folks at the coalface in both companies) and Pauly's career as a whole. Pauly, until his untimely passing in January, 2010, remained one of the most fascinating artists I have ever worked with, and a unique talent. He deserved much better. There is quite a book in it - mostly written.
huh! also worked as a compilation label, with success in New Zealand with the Nice'n'Urlich series, the first mixed DJ album (from The Box), the acid jazz New Groove albums (which gave the world the term 'Future Jazz' for better or worse), the BPM mix series and the Room Service albums, which also had massive Australian sales.
More or less, huh! was wound down in 2004 as a result of changing personal priorities.
As a result of of the massive success of OMC, and various compilations, huh! is probably the most successful NZ independent label ever and it's first two signings made an impact worldwide.
And as far as I know, the only NZ indie to have its logo on the front cover of Billboard...twice.
Peter Urlich designed the logo, the name was pinched from James Brown (and the exclamation mark came from my buddy Gerhardt Pierard), and Andrew B White did most of the graphics, although not all. I've tried to credit the graphic artists and whoever else was important to the records where I can.
For compliations on the label go here
limited numbered edition (250) white label from our first signing, featuring "Lady J" and producers Alan Jansson & James Pinker's extended doped out dub. Worth heaps now and the holy grail for Nathan Haines collectors (of which there are a few)
the debut album from Nathan - NZ's biggest selling jazz album ever - in two different sleeve: the superior Andre Jewel original and a slightly blander pop-star sleeve (which we called the 'Rupert Bear' sleeve) foisted upon us unwillingly by PolyGram. Rule No.1: never trust the judgment of major record companies...
its hard to know what to say about this one - 2 million singles plus sold, double platinum in Australia, triple platinum in NZ, and platinum or gold in just about every other country in the world - and it still sells a decade later. Crafted by the hand of producer Alan Jansson who's the closest thing I've ever met to a production genius.
The sleeve was adapted by Gideon Keith with direction from Alan from an old single by Babble....sorry Tom....
The video was directed by Lee Baker, but in reality was conceived and controlled by Alan. It had over 15,000 TV plays in the US between 1997 and 2000 and cost a total of $7000 to make. BMI estimate radio play in the US is over 4 million plays by 2007 of which 500,000 were between July and September 1997.
also of note was the song Stole My Car, a parody of the original which hit the Australasian airwaves in 1996. Created by Rotorua radio DJ DJ Dene Young, it was a huge airplay smash.
At one time it was considered to release the parody as a free bonus with a re-issue of the original and it was thought that it would've likely driven the record back to number one. This was vetoed as Pauly was offended by the content of the parody, so Stole My Car remains unreleased.
at the bottom is the first draft of the sleeve
above right, the borrowed Babble sleeve
The official video of How Bizarre is all over the net, often, sadly in the bastardised edited form that the Australians did without asking anyone. Instead of posting that I thought I'd add a brilliant video of the parody done by students in Hamilton, NZ, in 2006:
the second NZ single and a platinum seller in NZ. Top thirty in the UK and Top Ten Germany. The video, below, was storyboarded by Pauly and myself.
The song is the perfect amalgam of the feel of a Pacific beach party, and was heavily influenced by the legandary Polynesian dance bands of the 1950s and 1960s led by the likes of Bill Wolfgramme and Bill Sevisi (indeed the iconic steel guitar player was around the studio about the time it was recorded), mixed with the Alan Jansson developed Urban Pacific Sound The video, which was very personal for Paul, reflected that. It spoke to and of his roots.
The single sleeve, was Andrew White's first for huh. It featured in some long forgotten Australian movie so they re-edited the video and ruined it. Still - we had a free week in Sydney whilst they did it....
essentially huh1 with an added track, the lovely NYC recorded "Avenue Dreams", a collaboration with Joost Langeveld - Australian only release, but later added to Shift Left as a limited bonus disc in NZ
the runaway international, and almost instantaneous, success of the single led to enormous international pressure for a long player thus much of this was recorded as Pauly and I were flying backwards and forwards all over the world, with Alan couriering dubs of backing tracks and mixes to us for approval.
Almost two million sales to date, so they must've done something right.
live and utterly essential - recorded all over NZ with band and DJs, including Manual Bundy. As close as you would get to the legendary Cause Celebre sessions with being physically there.
It was about this time we suggested he cut down the band and move into a more contemporary style, which he absolutely refused to do...and then went out a few months later and did exactly that ....ummm..it was a pleasure Nathan......
single three and a big European hit, especially in Germany.
There video was made in Melbourne but was a little to glitzy for its own good. It said nothing about the song and Pauly didn't like it at all.
Unfortunately this was the beginning of the period when the Australians began to take control and eventually, from a failure to understand what they were dealing with, derailed both OMC and Pauly.
There was a UK mix by Phil Bodger, which both Alan and Pauly hated so much they called it the Phil Butcher mix.
NZ only single, which reached number 4, but with OMC's best video, from director Kerry Brown (Crowded House etc), gloriously shot around the Desert Road plateau in freezing temperatures, and by Kerry with a small crew, of various people and scenery around NZ.
My favourite shot was a Buddhist monk on a West Coast South Island beach.
When it came to do Paul's bits, he and I drove down to the Desert Road in the centre of the North Island. It was horrendously cold and he was less than happy all day. The editing covered that well.
The single mix was a completely different version to the album mix, with added vocals from Taisha Khutze.
This song was also the BNZ advertising theme for a couple of years.
US remixes. Included the remixes done in the US by the son of a radio network owner to ensure airplay. Who says payola is dead? There was also an odd US 12" with How Bizarre on one side and the Theme From Grease on the other.
There were also 12"s done in the UK, Italy and Germany that we knew nothing about at the time - nobdy asked and they carried the Polydor logo incorrectly.
from Mike Neilsen and Benny Staples - effectively a collection of their UK vinyl releases and a couple of new tracks. PolyGram were not keen on releasing this - it confused them - but it sold and sold, both in New Zealand around the world.
Their live gigs at Cause Celebre were also quite amazing.
the 10" was a limited (2500 copies) green vinyl white label with US & UK mixes, the best mix being the Sharp mix - very rare. The CDEP version went out as a bonus disc with the album in NZ only, as The Uptown Project.
There was also a "How Bizarre" club mix (not on this 10") that Alan Jansson and I did late one night which had nothing in common apart from the title, with HB. It ended up on some thirty global compilations!
Mixed by Greg Churchill and Dean Webb live in 1996. New Zealand's first mixed club album, from the now legendary Box in Auckland - in a gold metal tin, designed by Andrew White, which was not CD friendly but looked great.
Limited to 1500 copies and now deleted and rare.
Kim English - Nitelife (Basement Jaxx Nitebeats) /
Armand Van Helden - The Funk Phenomena / Sub•Merge - Take Me By The Hand (Instrumental Mix) / Angel Moraes - Deep Deep Down (Factory Dub) / Cool Jack - Jus Come (Jus Came On Da Dub Mix) / Daft Punk - Musique / CJ Bolland - Sugar Is Sweeter / Hondy - No Access (DJ Sneak Mix) / Armand Van Helden - The Phunk Phenomena ( Kenny "Dope" Mix) / Sound Enforcer - Second Series Icon EP / Dave Angel -Fever /LaTour - E (Savanjihi Sunset Mix) / DJ Misjah & DJ Tim - Access (Vocal Mix) / Goldie vs. Rabbit In The Moon - Inner City Life (Rabbit In The Moon's Escape From Vocalic Mix)
Incredibly stupid career moves part one. This single, from the soundtrack to the Mr Bean movie, was so obviously a lose-lose situation and I warned PolyGram and Mercury, in writing, about the ramifications of releasing this substandard piece of tosh and were ignored.
The embarrassing video, in a Hollywood pool, cost more than every video and recording made by Pauly to date, combined. An almighty flop, a terrible record, and a career killer.
Its on my label but I disowned it before release.
the worldwide sleeve (except Australia) at the top and the Oz sleeve below
debut from the vocalist who sang the chorus on How Bizarre and Right On, produced by Alan Jansson.
New Zealand release August 1998. Reached # 2 and a gold single in NZ.
The wonderfully simple video was directed by Mark Tierney.
Not a record we wanted to release but the Universal choice. Top 20 nevertheless. Notable for the Greg Churchill and Simon Holloway remix of Don't Be Shy
debut album, officially unreleased. Marked for US release early in 1999, it got lost in the PolyGram / Universal merger and was rescheduled and rescheduled until....
Oddly enough, it was pirated in Thailand from the advance copies sent by Mercury.
A Claire Price/Alan Jansson pop masterpiece, that signalled our move from Universal to FMR, who were far more artist friendly - remixes from Greg Churchill / Simon Holloway & James Pinker. Sleeve by Andrew White and a very cool video from Darryl Ward.
Claire later moved to Paris where she remains.
This was the reason we moved from Universal to FMR: a litany of mistakes and mishandling of the third Sina single.
As a single it remains unreleased, although it was picked for US release by Mercury. A killer.
From the soundtrack of the film "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted".
Named one of the tracks of the year by NZ Listener.
a reissue, mainly for US orders, of the classic 1994 single, complete with the original vinyl remixes
One of the most important NZ releases in the past decades.
The original, defining Urban Pacific album, with Sisters Underground, OMC, Semi MCs, etc, repackaged and reissued.
Nathan's third album...recorded in the UK for Chillifunk, and co-produced by Phil Asher. It included the worldwide club smash, Earth is the Place.
collection of various UK and US 12" remixes, available only as a bonus disc with the New Zealand edition of Sound Travels
The digital reissue of huh 1.
2010 digital reissue.
the digital reissue of huh 2, with two bonus tracks