What do you do if you have no clue what your next music video should look like? Exactly, you watch other people’s music videos, desperately hoping that this will give you an idea of what’s possible, while using a process of elimination, meaning “This is not what I want”, and also keeping the door open for inspiration without being eclectic.
So we went to Vimeo and did some two hours research in this group. We were generous with giving likes, and admiration, trying hardly to avoid the rising feeling of frustration that is inevitably linked to such an approach.
I didn’t realize it at first, mostly because I live on a planet far from earth, with green grass, dancing butterflies, where everything is for free and people just love each other, that most of these music videos have been produced by record companies. It just occurred to me after a while, when words like “director”, “lightening team”, and “animators” (please note the plural) in the credits finally made it to my brain.
I felt like baking a cake to compete with Unilever’s sweet sales in the supermarket around the corner.
“Did you see, they have a director?”, I said to Robin, who was already in a state of agony, probably visiting my home planet. We don’t have a director, we are two people, one pushing the record button on our sufficiently working camcorder, the other one doing something before a green screen, both hoping that the post-production on our rusty old workstation will lead to “something cool”.
And this morning, I realized that I couldn’t remember any song. Strange thing. Shouldn’t this all be about the music at the first place? I had consumed all these flawless images, scenes in perfect lightening, animations that would take years only to render - but where did they belong to?
I know, it is a necessity to illustrate music these days. MTV has spoiled us, and it is so convenient to just consume pre-thought images instead of letting your mind create own images for a song. Maybe all the writers should stop producing literature, and just make movies; this would save us all from investing too much time and effort in being part of carefully formulated thoughts and expressed feelings.
At the same time, I realized that since we have the Beauty video online and showed it some friends, we only received feedback on the images, the video, but not nothing about the music, nothing like “Good song”, or “Well, I’m not into that kind of stuff, sounds like speed metal”, or even “Yes, my mom liked it”.
So the question is: is music still perceived if it is presented on its own? Or do we need images to decide if we like a song or not? Or wouldn’t we even watch the video if the song creeps the hell out of me in the first place? Or would we manage to listen to a style that we obviously do not like, but later-on, after the images have done their work, change our mind to “not that bad”?
What happened to me yesterday evening was that I even couldn’t remember the music, which is not a good sign. I mean, at least one song should have made it to my center of taste.
If everyone would be like me, and I hope that’s not the case, the music has become secondary when you watch a video. Music is, however, a factor that can make you last till the end of a video. But I don’t think that most unfamiliar songs without visualization can be strong enough to make it, with some exceptions of course, especially when it comes to established bands like Metallica. This might sound a bit devastating, but is probably the ugly truth.
However, an interesting question would be if James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, for whatever reason, would picture themselves for a song on Death Magnetic in a Californian toy shop in Armani business suits, feeding popcorn to puppies with pink ribbons, if that would change the perception of the song. Maybe.
Videos that caught our interest yesterday were:
The Airplane Boys - Catalogue Girl
PopKid 2000 - PlayBoy’s Bend
The Toxic Avenger - Toxic is Dead
the dead pirates - wood
arjanM - blackhole
Cinnamon Chasers - Luv Deluxe
Did you ever wonder, as a singer, why all the sounds and fine nuances you can clearly “hear” in your head never make it to the final recording?
If you do not know this frustrating feeling, good for you. But I had to live with this my whole life, until I came to the conclusion that my voice is somehow “complicated”, “cannot be recorded”, that I have to accept that I am a horrible singer that has no control over soft and powerful tones, sibilance, and that I’m simply unable to express what I really want to express. Before I finally quitted singing for several years, I had been recording in several studios, different equipment, different musical styles, different technicians, but no way, my voice never came out the way I wanted it to be.
This nightmare has finally come to an end. I still can’t believe it, and writing this makes me feel really nervous. This weekend, we recorded about 8 songs with the best microphone that ever came into our hands, and for the first time, every little tone that I produce is on the recording. I can’t believe it.
My new love is a Neumann U 87 Ai that we have rented over the weekend. It is not that I had never heard about Neumann microphones before, they are known for being excellent, but also extremely pricey, and they are so omnipresent in music studios that this could not be the right choice to create a signature sound.
Well, it is. I simply love it. For the first time ever, everything I want to express is on the recording. Nothing is missing, everything is there the way it should be. If someone now says that he or she does not like my voice, they had at least the chance to hear it the way it really sounds. That is such a relief.
I know I’m not a natural born soul talent like Aretha Franklin or Beyoncé Knowles, voices that would probably come out good even recorded with a Shure SM58 and a cheesy tape recorder. I like my voice, but I can also understand that not everybody is a fan of my style. However, I always thought that if it is possible to record rather mediocre singers like Madonna, Courtney Love, Deborah Harry, or Roisin Murphy, there must be a way to get my voice on tape in an acceptable manner. And there is.
Thank you Robin for convincing me trying out the Neumann, even if we cannot afford it. I know that song writing won’t be easier with this one, I know that equipment is no guarantee for success or at least being heard, I know that I’ll still have to struggle with my incapacitates when singing, but what the hell, at least the mic is on my side.