At a shop in a fork in the road in Newtown, Wellington, two people are ending their relationship. They’re trying to do so amicably, aiming for a clean break, hoping for a swift resolution.
But life is never that simple. An unexpected arrival at the shop soon brings turmoil, causing two people who fear confrontation struggle even more to express themselves.
All of this plays out in Mo Etc.’s new short film: it’s an art piece, one that literally involves an art curator and her partner; it’s also a stirring family drama, condensing months, maybe years, of memories into a six-minute parting.
The short film is for “Deep Down”, a standout song from the Te-Whanganui-a-Tara-based artist and producer’s latest EP, Buoys. It stars Maaka Pohatu, easily recognisable through his performance in Wellington Paranormal, and newcomer Te Ani Solomon, a recent graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.
Mo Etc.’s touch is felt everywhere in the short film – she wrote, directed and acted in the clip – and it was created in collaboration with her production company Ohokomo and Kororātahi Creative.
“It was shot at Drive-Thru Art Gallery and is about the end of a relationship/partnership,” she explains. “The characters in the video live in the art world which is symbolic of the music artist life. The man is packing down one exhibition to allow another in.
“As someone who avoids pain and suffering and confrontation as much as possible, there are situations that I just need to face up to. It’s about understanding the situation and being willing to be the villain in the narrative.
“What I’m singing about is never pretty, it’s raw and painful, but it’s the truth of who I am and how I showed up that day. I think it’s about continuing to put myself forward as an authentic storyteller.”
“Deep Down” was a standout among standouts on Buoys, which was shared on Bandcamp in April before its wider release on Thursday, June 1st.
Four tracks of woozy alt-soul merge to form a beautiful collection, one which Mo Etc. – otherwise known as Moana Ete – says is a “height growth marker” for her, and Buoys is further evidence of Rolling Stone AU/NZ‘s decision to recently hail her as one of eight Kiwi artists set to take over this year.
“First and foremost a stirring soul singer, always performing with supreme vigour, her songs are embellished with intoxicating electronic and alternative touches, the shapeshifting artist unwilling to be pigeonholed as a performer,” we wrote in our latest magazine issue.
“Her 2021 album, Oceanbed, was a piercing study of love, loss and self-discovery, and Mo Etc. followed it up last year with the sublime single “Underwater”, a hazily atmospheric song that also came with a vital message of resilience; as Moana knows, we all struggle under the weight of anxiety and expectation, and it’s how we contend with these feelings that makes us human.”
You can watch Mo Etc.’s deeply personal short film below. You can also check out her full EP here.