Shihad Beautiful Machine

Shihad Beautiful Machine

Director: Sam Peacocke

“We give up that dream of being in America or we change our name and give it a go. Those were my options — Shit A or Shit B.”

In this film chronicling the highs and lows of Shihad, Jon Toogood tells it like it is. Beautiful Machine traces the band’s twenty-three years of the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. It follows Shihad’s successes and failures in the local and international music industry, and investigates the band’s longevity despite numerous setbacks.

The film’s greatest strength is its demonstration of how hard it is for a Kiwi band to get anywhere in the music industry. It gives the viewer a good look at what goes on behind the scenes with the managers and record companies that the band deals with. Beautiful Machine takes a very upfront and honest approach to the rockumentary that sets the film apart from its music documentary ilk. It contains candid interviews with the band members’ parents, ex- and current partners, and music industry insiders. The music itself is set aside to make room for the stories of the band members’ lives and relationships with their wives, girlfriends and families.

The film is about ambitions and aspirations, and whether or not fulfilling these will bring the happiness the band had hoped for. As it follows the band with four number one singles, Beautiful Machine explores not only the place a New Zealand band has in the American music market, but New Zealand’s place in an increasingly Americanised world.

Not just for the fans!

–Taryn Dryfhout
This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2012.
Posted 8:39pm Sunday 3rd June 2012 by Taryn Dryfhout.