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Grandmaster Flash wins Polar Prize

The Polar Music Prize 2019 goes to Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler). In 1982, the song “The Message” was released by his group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The song is known as the first prominent hip hop song to provide a social commentary. In the video for the song we see documentary pictures from New York giving a visual description of the lyrics. In between we see the group singing in the streets. There is also a short dramatic sequence in the end with a police intervention, to really empathize the bad situation for the people hanging out in the streets.

In 2013 hip hop-artist Timbuktu (Jason Diakité) released a version with Swedish lyrics as a way of showing his views on the problems in Swedish suburbs, following riots in Husby.

VONAVI – “Sunburst”

We meet them in the streets, the homeless people. The music video “Sunburst” tells the story of a man in the streets of New York City reflecting his life. It’s a poetic and engaging film that really connects to the music. The video is directed by Daniel Uribe and produced by Picture Farm. MusicVideoMania got the chance to interview Daniel:

Can you tell me a bit about the background for the story in the video?
I met VONAVI (Andrei Ivanov) a few years ago through Vimeo. We eventually became good friends, and an opportunity to collaborate occurred when he finished his first album and asked me if I would like to direct a music video for one of his songs. I listened to the full album and found “Sunburst”, which is a powerful, beautiful, cinematic track with so many textural sounds and sections merged to craft a story. The music video was inspired by a homeless man I encountered on the streets of New York City, who was begging for spare change with his eyes closed. While encountering homeless people is a daily occurrence in NYC, the image of this man having his eyes closed piqued my curiosity as to the memories, feelings and potential life story this man was observing in his head. These curiosities inspired the storyline of “Sunburst”.

How would you describe the purpose of the video?
The purpose was to craft a story around this homeless character and place the viewer in his shoes, portraying the emotional conflict and mental images that could potentially circulate in his mind. But I also wanted to simultaneously spark a message of hope, abstracting the definition of the title “Sunburst” and using it as a metaphor for hope and the beginning of a new day.

How was the collaboration between you and VONAVI (Andrei Ivanov)?
Since we are friends, we had an easy and close communication. Andrei had a lot of trust in me, which gave me great freedom in the process of making the video, with checkpoints along the way. Since there was no demand of having him on the video, I was able to focus on the story and create this film.

How was the production process? How long were the preparation and shooting days, what were your struggles, and so on?
The discussion between Andrei and I started a year and a half ago, but the production process lasted around three weeks. We scouted for several nights, did a casting call, and had our pre-production meetings. The shoot happened over a weekend, with one night on the streets, and a day at a house. The main obstacle we faced was the weather, as we were forced to reshoot the sunrise sequence due to a cloudy day. After that, we spent a couple weeks editing and finishing. This music video had a low-budget, and so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the group effort of the entire crew. I am extremely grateful to everyone who collaborated with me on this and to VONAVI for his trust.

I noticed there was a “behind-the-scenes video” for the music video “Ultralife” that you made for the group Oh Wonder. Are there plans to make one for “Sunburst”? What do you think about “behind-the-scenes videos”?
I wasn’t involved in the making of the “behind-the-scenes video” for the video “Ultralife”; it was produced by Oh Wonder’s management and shot by the talented Tim Toda. There was no possibility in doing one for “Sunburst”, as I was fully occupied with the video itself. Otherwise, I think “behind-the-scenes videos” are great, in order to see how the films are crafted and what the production environment is like, but they usually don’t show the difficult parts of the process, like decision-making.

How important do you think a video is for the artist in general?
I think they are very important. We live in a visual world and music videos are an extension of the artists, as a part of the artist’s brand. A music video explores the track further and sometimes can have a stronger impact on people when listening to a song that is accompanied by a film. Having said that, a music video is just one visual interpretation of a song, as every single person experiences a song in different ways in their imagination.

Are you involved in any new music video projects?
For the moment, there are no new music video projects planned. I am currently working on some personal short films. It would be nice to direct a music video in the upcoming months, but I want to do it for a track that I love. We’ll see what comes up…

The Louvre has visitor record with the help of a music video

The Parisan museum The Louvre had more visitors than ever during 2018. There are several reasons and one is the video “Apeshit” by Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In the video we see lots of artwork and the beautiful interior of the museum building. Music videos by big artists reaches millions of people on YouTube and are important as marketing tools and means for communicating messages. Hopefully the video helps to open the eyes for history and great pieces of art.

Read the article on Beyoncé and Jay-Z help Louvre museum break visitor record in 2018

Robyn – “Honey”

Robyn is back after a couple years of silence. Her dreamy dancefloor music is beautifully presented in the video “Honey”. It is blurry pictures, close-ups and slow motion moves – all perfect for the sound of Robyn. The video is directed by Max Vitali, son of Leon Vitali who was Stanley Kubricks right-hand in several movies.

Cash Lansky – “OPP”

For some people death is a close companion. In the video “OPP” with artist Cash Lansky, death walks with him. It’s almost like they are friends. A fascinating video that reminds you of Ingmar Bergmans film “The seventh seal”, where Max von Sydow plays chess with death. The video is made by directors + jacksonkarinja and Uppercut editor Paul La Calandra.

Sam Fender – “Dead boys”

Sam Fender takes on the tragic issue of male suicide – boys who take their own life, with the help of director Vincent Haycock and produced by Park Pictures. The images of boys/men with faces without expression grabs you. It’s stylized and beautiful in a cold way. There is sadness and anger, but mostly emptiness. The beauty of life can be hard to find.

Sam Fender himself says: “If this track helps one person open up then it’s the best thing I could hope for.”

Parker Bossley – “Chemicals”

Cut-out images creates playfulness and charm. The video for Canadian singer Parker Bossleys “Chemicals”, takes us on an animated journey using scrapbook-style. It’s a dreamlike trip into animal kingdom. Different doors takes you further like inter-dimensional portals. The weird cut-out images reminds of the one’s Terry Gilliam made for Monty Python but the director Joseph Wallace has made it more visually striking. It’s poetic and in some parts psychedelic with kaleidoscope effects.

Selena Gomez – “Back To You”

Music videos aren’t serious stuff. At least that’s the impression you get from Selena Gomez “Back To You”. The video plays with itself and the with romantic idea of a couple running away. Made in vintage-style with lots of self distance. Also, notice how it presents itself with the word “Video”. A great joy to watch and a throwback to Selenas old profession as a comedienne.