Director at Black Dog Films, Greg Barnes, reflects on five recent music videos from around the world that he deems to be special in their own ways
The year is 2021, I’m a director on the Black Dog Films roster and there’s not much out there in the real world to laugh about...but there are wonderful and talented people across the creative industries making powerful, subversive and mesmerising distractions to keep us smiling, and in my case, sometimes grimace in envious admiration. The five videos I’ve picked for this Music Monthly instalment of High Five celebrate the comic fringes of music video and the people who make them happen...
Salvatore Ganacci - 'Step-Grandma'
Production: Business Club Royale
Director: Vedran Rupic
Vedran Rupic and Salvatore Ganacci are a match made in heaven / Sweden; that perfect artist and director relationship where unwavering trust and connection leads to the maddest and most original results. My first introduction to their collaborative works was 'Horse' - I was blown away, and they’ve kept the bar consistently high since. Ganacci’s deadpan performances mixed with Rupic’s surreal FX laden direction is a heady concoction, and 'Step-Grandma' is a hilariously dark addition to their body of work. The couch flip at the end made me spit my tea.
James Blake - 'Say What You Will'
Director: Bear Damen
Sound: Staub Audio Berlin
Colour: MPC Los Angeles
Bear Damen is fast becoming a personal favourite. He has built an aesthetic all of his own, a style that spans genre and format without limits - I feel like that’s an incredibly rare and disciplined place to be. The power of trust - in making something comedic - appears to be a recurring theme in this list, and this video might be the most emblematic of that point. To get an artist like Blake to trust a concept like this, and in turn, his on-screen rival Finneas go along with it, is a huge achievement in itself, not to mention making the story flow, the laughs hit and the visuals sing. This is the work of a truly great director, who clearly surrounds himself with a brilliant team, and hats off to Blake and Finneas for genuinely funny performances too. Who knew!? I didn’t.
Mentis ft. Kate Wild - 'Excuses'
Production: Stink Films
Director: Eoin Glaister
Eoin Glaister just keeps delivering great concepts. I often see his videos and wish I could peel through their corresponding treatment decks - get a glimpse of these beautifully realised films in their design stages. The idea behind the video for 'Excuses' is irresistibly tragicomic, a provincial DJ with lofty dreams of Ibiza; brought to life in visceral 16mm with a perfect performance from lead actor, Lauren Socha. FFO crash-zooms, and I am very much a fan of crash-zooms.
Audiobooks - 'Lalala It's The Good Life'
Director: Rottingdean Bazaar and Annie Collinge
Editorial: Whitehouse Post
Post: Black Kite Studios
I’m a fan of both Annie Collinge and Rottingdean Bazaar, and together they make for one hell of a collaborative force. The leading effect of printing onto fabric and manipulating the material into synchronised movement feels so effortlessly entertaining in spite of the quite obvious mountain of work required to pull it off. There are some concepts, or innovations in approach, that are so bold and fresh that the tools needed to capture it are less important (this was all shot on an iPhone), and this is certainly one of those.
Caribou - 'You Can Do It'
Director: Richard Kenworthy of Shynola
Who doesn’t love dogs? Or Caribou for that matter? My final video is one to leave you in a good mood - this life affirming montage of dogs running through fields and catching frisbees synced masterfully to the repeated phrase 'you can do it' is a potent dose of energy we could all benefit from. Richard Kenworthy, of directing trio Shynola, really knows how to complement a track with visuals that emphasise and embody the message and heart of the music.