Rob Brandon + Drew O'Neill x January's M.V. Zeitgeist


D. VS P. – The January Issue

This month we’ve got director Rob Brandon of Agile alongside Bullion boy and producer Drew O’Neill.

Rob Brandon: I love this so much. The Hollywood sequel! It’s What Aliens is to Alien. Brilliantly inventive choreography and two incredibly powerful performances. I would happily watch a video like this for every track on her album.

Drew O’Neill: Enter the thunder dome. Blockbuster sequel to Sia and Daniel Askill’s Maddie Ziegler dance power house video from last Summer. And what way to follow it up than to introduce a blockbuster actor still desperately trying to lose his ‘blockbuster actor’ label by acting more and more like a looney (and definitely earning some genuine respectability along the way). Take away the egos, the controversy and other fluff and it’s the choreography and masterful wielding of anamorphic lenses that stand out here. Tip top.

A producer’s perspective: I also would make sure Mr. Labeouf was in a cage on my set, to keep him away from the crew.

DO’N: I think that with performance videos it is hard to get across live energy a lot of the time and this one really does that with a cracking edit. The unexpected green trees on stage are such a great contrast to the red suits and you realise you’ve really missed them when you come out of night mode again.

Say no to violence against morph suit henchmen.

RB: This was super fun to direct. I jumped into one of those gimp suits towards the end of the day. That’s me getting choked by Phil (bass) during the breakdown. I met the guys a few months ago, we are all from Essex and we love a good fight. I suggested beating them up in the dark and shooting on night vision cameras. They loved that. I think it’s some of my best editing work.

RB: Honestly this was a little disappointing. I think she is one of the coolest dancers ever but she always restrains. Which I hate. She should be dancing throughout the entire video. Near the end it kinda looks/sounds like ‘what’s it gonna be’ – Busta Rhymes & Janet Jackson (but not as good).

DO’N:FKA Twigs has a magic power over alternative music fans, with music video directors all tripping over themselves to work with her. But she don’t need em. Now directing her own videos, she has a lot to live up to.

Pendulum feels a bit like a mish mash of two of her previous videos – the submissive sexuality of Papi Pacify with the VFX and rotation stuff in Water Me – and it doesn’t deliver on either very well. It was the simplicity of these previous videos that makes them so good. Saying that, it builds pleasingly unconventionally and feels very “FKA Twigs”, which is crazy that you can say something like that about an artist who hasn’t been around long really.

DO’N: Childish Gambino Treatment reads – “Will make Childish Gambino look cooler than he already is.”

Initial thoughts – “Didn’t believe you could do it but you bloody did it.”

This video makes the best of the natural charm and skill of the artist. Tempting us with subtle supernatural dance moves but not beating us to death with them. Big fan of the poltergeist lighting setup at the breakdown and Mr. Gambino proving that air synth playing IS cool after all. Like a lot of good music videos it’s a simple idea delivered well and holds your attention until the very end.

I tried a similar dance late night in Bethnal Green KFC once – a simple idea, also delivered well.

RB: It reminds me of a few Michael Jackson videos. It references a lot of the best ones. It’s like a drunk ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’. But mostly it reminds me of Michael Jackson because it has magic touches throughout.

Hiro should direct a feature with Donald Glover as the lead. They are a great team.

RB: FL is an artist every director wants to work with. He’s been around for a few records, had a great history of promos and is still changing and growing a lot. This is a beautifully executed film with quite a rare performance from FL. I always love to see the artists in their videos.

DO’N: Oh man, to work on a music video like that… Just one LA storm drain location, please. Just one.

I love Flying Lotus’ short film videos and this is no let down. The old timey, deathly atmosphere is a big contrast to the crisp, crunchy digital production of the music which is really interesting I think. You’d think it would be DustyLo and his pair of scary bendy arm fellas that are gonna pull you down into the underworld, but it turns out your son is a robot and he’s packing a futuristic uzi to blow your flowery brains out, go figure.

Word Is Cheap

word is cheap is the site to go to for all your music video needs. A site so visually stimulating it’s already banned in North Korea. You can dance if you want to.

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