Video Follows Music:
Six New Directors Who Are Making Music Video Cool Again (Wired)
Not long ago, it seemed music videos were doomed to go the way of the radio star. Cool bands hated making them, MTV had stopped showing them, and innovative directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry had long since moved on. Then, somewhere between OK Go’s treadmill-dancing “Here It Goes Again” on YouTube (more than 37 million views) and Feist’s “1234” choreography lesson turned iPod ad, the music video made a comeback — and launched a new generation of directors more at home with URL than TRL. Meet the next wave of filmmakers and their greatest hits — so far.
Cat Solen – Art-school aesthetic on the cheap.
Key video: Bright Eyes, “At the Bottom of Everything.” As a jetliner plummets toward the ocean, the passengers gleefully embrace, and smiling stop-motion clouds play catch with the plane. “I want to keep making videos because they’re artistic yet appeal to a mass audience,” Solen says.
Rik Cordero – Urban tales with a grime-noir twist.
Key video: Nas, “Be a Nigger Too.” A nine-minute epic of narrative arcs within arcs about the most loaded of words, with nearly every directorial technique thrown in. “It used to be the only outlet for non-mainstream videos were street DVDs,” Cordero says. “When YouTube came along, we just ran with it like purse snatchers.”
Matthew Cullen – Technical chops and enough whimsy to choke a dramatic prairie dog.
Key video: Weezer, “Pork and Beans.” YouTube semi-celebs from Tay Zonday to the geographically challenged beauty queen are gathered into one joyous mega-meme. “The Web is the new home for the music video,” says Cullen, who’s currently making viral shorts with Tiger Woods for EA. “MTV has become an afterthought.”
Vincent Moon – Home movies of hipster bands busking the streets of Paris.
Key video: Animal Collective, “Taste.” Psych-folk weirdos roll down the street in a shopping cart singing garbled vocals into cardboard cups. Moon’s video blog, La Blogotheque, features impromptu performances in odd places by bands like the Shins, Beirut, and the National. “I’m trying to fight what TV has made us in the past 20 years,” he says. “I want to use these new screens to communicate with the world.”
Vincent Morisset – Interactive Flash apps set to music.
Key video: Arcade Fire, “Neon Bible.” Clicking on the screen while frontman Win Butler sings causes him to perform sleights of hand with spooky expressionistic flair. “When I was a kid,” Morisset says, “I paid 50 cents for an MTV phone contest to see ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ a second time. So the immediacy of online is a plus.”
Keith Schofield – Visual gags worthy of Chuck Jones.
Key video: Brighton Port Authority, “Toe Jam.” Fatboy Slim tapped Schofield to shoot his new supergroup’s first single (featuring Dizzee Rascal and David Byrne). In it, a bunch of shag-carpet-loving swingers dance nude, Busby Berkeley-style, but it’s the censor bars over the naughty bits that steal the show. “It’s great,” says Schofield, who’s working on videos for CSS, Ladyhawke, and the Ting Tings. “You can make a video about pop culture or videogames or Linux, and then it goes viral.”