In our continuing effort to recognize the artists responsible for Unofficial Music Videos (or Amateur Music Video/Fan Video), TikiKiti caught up with director Jesse Locke from Bend, Oregon.
About two weeks ago, we singled Jesse out for his gritty visual take on the Oasis song, “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and followed it up with a director Q&A.
In the “Cigarettes and Alcohol” video, were you looking for particular narrative elements or just trying to create a vivid collage to accompany the song?
My narrative for that video was to depict drug and alcohol addiction in a graphic light. I’m not trying to preach and say this is bad, just show you images of fucked-up shit. I feel like this song is a down and dirty song, so I wanted to have visuals that didn’t pull any punches.
Did you have a specific idea in mind that guided you or was it a more organic process?
It always starts out with a specific idea, but then it changes as time progresses and new ideas are formed. So it’s a combination of both. I had an idea I wanted to use graphic drug imagery and then it grew from there.
Was all the footage taken from YouTube?
Is the mashup approach one you favor? What are some other ideas of methods that you’ve tried?
Mashups are fun. I’m trying to push the abstract video envelope these days and put visuals to beats that are on the base visually appealing, that don’t really pertain to a concept or a narrative that goes with the song.
Is there an art form that informs your work or that you are inspired by?
Animation is kind of like a unicorn to me. Like, I know people know how to do it well and make really cool shit. I want to make really cool shit, but the in-between is extremely elusive.
Is there an artist that informs your work or who inspires you?
Quentin Tarantino has been a huge influence on the way I view the world, and my interests in exploitation etc.
What have you been up to lately?
Heading to Jordan to film our second documentary in the region.
When creating a fan video, is there a goal you try to achieve?
My goal is for the band to [A] see it [B] like it. I want to create something that a major studio band would consider using for their official video.
What is it about a song that makes you want to create visual accompaniment?
It depends on the artist, not all songs make me think in terms of visuals. But there are certain bands that speak to me on a visual level. Like Radiohead. Every time I listen to any of their songs I instantly think of cool little vignettes that would go with it. Songs are pretty awesome to create to because of the beat. I edit everything to the beat, even films that have no music in it. It has to have a cadence so making a music video seems to be a simple and fun idea for a person who lives in a visual storytelling world.
What gear do you recommend for other aspiring video makers?
DSLR camera, an expensive steady cam (save to get) and 1,000 watt light kit.
It has been pointed out to the new guy (me) that our vernacular is lacking. Recent history indicates we have been referring to these visual specimens as “fan video” or “amateur video,” neither of which really resonates, you know?
Amateur is seemingly better than fan, since it suggests a neophyte’s charming lack of skill, as opposed to the rabid idolatry currently being lavished on this week’s K-Pop confection.
Since TikiKiti is still in its infancy (scratch that: we’re still floating around in amnionic fluid—good stuff!), it affords us the chance to define our terms and be a bit more descriptive.
If truth in advertising is still considered a valuable commodity, then here we are. The examples of amateur video singled out for fleeting recognition by the TikiKiti team are not created by anyone in the name of commerce, so not professional in that sense. Still, the word “amateur” reeks of ineptitude and bland hobbyism.
Presumably, someone associated with the project is an admirer of the featured musical artist. Why would someone choose to create a video homage to a song that means nothing to them? There has to be a moment of inspiration, an epiphany of sound, image, and movement that acts as catalyst for everything that follows.
In some cases, a fan’s inspiration means the spontaneous joy of young women kicking up a Terpsichorean tribute to Taylor Swift. Other examples are more studied and serious, a cinematic peek at someone’s subconscious in action, as in Meadow Marks’s interpretation of Bon Iver’s “33 God” above.
Whether through an attempt at a narrative or an abstract dip in the stream of consciousness, artistic decisions were made by someone. A music fan, certainly. But that’s not the whole story, is it?
The tides have brought us a steady influx of videos from English educational facilities, otherwise known as schools, or “academies,” if the family is rolling in pound notes.
The student videos are typically well-crafted works with serious production values, and can be identified with a caption that reads “A Level Media”, which I thought was a band’s name at first!
The Brit-vids offer a fascinating view of a youth culture that’s similar to our own, but with intriguing differences. See for yourself, with Three-Fold Law’s rendition of “Sleepwalking” by English hard rock darlings Bring Me The Horizon.
So what are we calling these videos? Probably one of the three above descriptives unless something better comes along.
I have a feeling we’ve just scratched the surface on this topic. I suggested “fanateur”, but I haven’t heard back from the board on that one. We’ll keep you posted.
One of our prime directives at TikiKiti is that we build and grow a community of fan video enthusiasts and actual producers. To that end, we want to zoom in, from time to time, on the creative types behind the keyboards, and the choices they make to get some idea of how the magic happens. Think of it as quick hits with fearless video artists for your daily inoculation of inspiration.
For instance, Jesse Locke, from Bend, Oregon, has orchestrated a grim tsunami of images to accompany the gritty Brit-rocker “Cigarettes and Alcohol” by Oasis. It’s an artful mashup approach, with footage from Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, Saturday Night Fever, Nosferatu, and Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as cutaways synched to band members themselves performing the song. It’s a seamless use of sound and imagery that makes a statement that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.
Thematically, Jess utilizes shots from acclaimed films to illustrate the dilemma of “having a good time” with the help of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. The allure of dancing, seeing a band, and possibly meeting new friends on a Saturday night, becomes waylaid and defeated by the pursuit of intoxicants.
Whatever goal one had in mind in terms of an enjoyable evening, quickly becomes secondary to getting drunk, getting high, or smoking a whole bunch of ciggies, which in turn echoes the weary, jaded sensibilities of the Oasis song. The fact that substance abuse has become so ubiquitous in pop culture, has nearly rendered its use a cliché.
In Niconico Douga’s anime riot created for the venerable pep rally pop anthem, “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers, a similar idea is approached from a different angle, as a joyful explosion of performance anime is used to celebrate more positive (albeit purposely naïve) entertainment possibilities.
The pageantry, wonder, and frenetic pace of the anime (including scenes from popular examples of the genre such as Tamako Love Story, Kids on the Slope, and Angel Beats!), paints a much more optimistic picture of fun, as images of nonstop leaping and bounding give way to Hi Standard’s furious punk version of “Saturday Night,” with its accelerated tempo pushing the video toward a near-hysterical finale.
Behold, two videos with very different views on a subject: and this is only the beginning of our curated exploration of fan-made music videos. Stay tuned for more opinion and analysis.
If you want to be a part of the discussion, send us fan videos, whether you made them or not, and we’ll take a look and see what make them tick.