So you’ve spent hours in the studio tracking your epic debut concept double album. Now what? If you’re thinking of making your first music video as the next step in your career, don’t get all flustered yet. You don’t have to be OK Go to make an awesome budget-friendly video but you do need some good ideas, a healthy amount of pre-planning, and some serious dedication. With that in mind, here are a few things to strive for and to avoid when shooting your first silver screen masterpiece.
Do: Stage a live performance
The live performance video is a classic for a reason. It’s simple, easy to set up, and doesn’t require your awkward bassist to pretend that he knows how to act. Perfect. Just remember to have adequate lighting “ even workman’s halogen lights will do “ and a tripod so that you can capture at least one full steady take of the band in addition to your cameraman’s love of zoom-in close-ups. Just remember to synchronize your playing with what’s actually happening in the song. You don’t want to look like this:
The Byrds, the Zombies, Fountains of Wayne, OK GO ¦ mop-topped power pop has a long history here in the U.S. and overseas. Its combination of hooks, guitars, swagger, and rhythm has proven to be an indelible attractor. So if you’re into power pop, it’s likely you’ll be into The Yearbooks. The Chicago-based band is made up of singer Sars Flannery, guitarists Eric Hehr and Bill Friel, bassist Drew Potenza, and drummer Adam James. Together, they crank out hooky rockers with karate chop guitar riffs and propulsive rhythms. Start your introduction with She Did It With Her Eyes. It’s angular, edgy, and jagged with airy vocals”part Strokes and part Death Cab For Cutie. Season of Love, with its staccato guitars, throbbing bass, and strutting drums, is the sound of being cool. Listen and learn.
The big music moments of this year’s Super Bowl weren’t just limited to Madonna’s Roman Empire-inspired theatrics or M.I.A.’s middle finger gesture during the halftime show. OK Go debuted their new music video for “Needing/Getting” right before the game. As we’ve come to expect from the band, the video was a wonderful little piece of musical engineering ingenuity.
The clip is probably the most technically impressive video effort from the band so far. MTV reported that the video used over 1,100 instruments”many found and reappropriated from junkyards”and that the cost for the production, over six figures, was the most expensive for one of their videos to date. But OK Go must be laughing all the way to the bank. After all, that’s not just any car that they’re driving. That’s the new Chevy Sonic that they’re rolling in, pounding on trash cans and whipping at electric guitars.
So this is it, then. OK Go has moved from being a band in the conventional sense to being a literal vehicle for marketing. And the transition happened so naturally that nobody even noticed. It doesn’t hurt that the days of bands being decried for selling out, for “going corporate”, are long gone.
OK Go had their popular beginnings like many bands that came up in the alternative rock sweepstakes of the early aughts. They had a minor hit when their single “Get Over It” earn them some radio play and some features on MTV and VH1. Then their backyard choreographed, no budget video for “A Million Ways” debuted on YouTube and became a viral smash. Instead of writing off “A Million Ways” as a happy accident, the band brought out the treadmills for “Here It Goes Again” and the rest is history.
No matter what you think about OK Go, they do their videos well. Also, according to lead singer and mastermind behind much of the band’s visual works, Damian Kulash, they’re not conceived of with a cynical, money-oriented agenda. After all, Chevy wasn’t the one that approached the band with the concept for the video. It was the other way around.
“”It was an idea I had about a year ago. Our co-director, Brian L. Perkins”he’s a old friend of mine, he was in my college band, and he’s directed some of our other videos”works for an agency that works with Chevy. I told him if you ever have a car company crazy enough to try something this awesome, then I have this idea,” Kulash said in a feature on MTV Buzzworthy. And surprise surprise, Chevy liked the idea too.
To his credit, Kulash stays hands on with all of his projects. The filming of the video seems like it was shooting the video was a big headache and Kulash was there for every step of it. Damian himself spent days before filming began tuning instruments in the desert. Car and Driver Magazine has an excellent feature on the “making of” process, sharing schematics for the tricked-out car to documenting the various technical issues that the crew encountered in the Mojave. But the band, and Damian, remained upbeat through the whole process. Then again, they were getting paid to do stunt driving in the desert in a musical rally-sport course. If you want to spend your day making stuff, somebody is going to have to help you pay for it, says Kulash. If only all of our day jobs were as cool.
The one-take video. Gimmick? Sure, it’s a bit of a gimmick, but we’re talking about music videos here, folks. These are essentially ads made to sell records, so let’s appreciate that the artists and directors here made the effort. And an effort it must be to coordinate some of these more complicated shoots. Oh, you know what I learned? That Rube Goldberg machine video from OK Go was not one-shot. Cheaters! They make the list anyway for their Internet-burning treadmill video. Cheeky bastards.
10. Undone “ Weezer
The video that launched Weezer. It was years before fans stopped asking drummer Pat Wilson to do his little butt-shake dance.
If any mention of “DIY” only brings to mind the unintelligible screaming of safety-pinned punks, it might surprise you to hear about the incredible independent success of a country artist like Corey Smith. On the strength of his devoted fan base and catchy tunes, Smith has sold over 900,000 digital singles and over 200,000 records independently. Though he released his most recent album The Broken Record on Average Joe’s Entertainment, Smith has stayed true to his independent roots, re-recording past crowd favorites such as “Twenty-One” with new studio polish. We recently caught up with Smith to chat about his grassroots success, his collaboration with producer Rick Beato and how a teaching gig isn’t that different from a music career.
OS: You’ve had an incredible amount of success without any type of record label backing. How did you garner such a loyal grassroots following?
CS: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this question over the past few years, and unfortunately I’m still a long ways from answering it. There are many, many tremendously talented artists out there and, for whatever reason, only a few of them are able to break through and gain a substantial fan base. If I knew the secret formula, I’d be able to make a fortune writing books, teaching classes or running my own record label.
There was a time when I thought I had the answers, when I thought I understood what was going on, but experience has proven me wrong time and time again. Fans aren’t a product of just the songwriting or just heavy touring or just social media or just file sharing. They are a product of all those things and more.
All I know is I love writing songs. I love recording them. I love performing them. I can’t imagine my life without music in it, without art in it. Like breathing or eating or drinking, it’s become a part of who I am and ultimately, the joy I get from the process of creating is the only true measure of my success.
Am I happy I have a fan base? Truly. Do I know how it came to happen? Not really. But I thank God that it did.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame winners announced
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its selection for 2011 inductees this week. Those who made the cut: Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love. Eligible nominees like Bon Jovi will have to live on a prayer for another year.
OK Go lead GPS parade around Los Angeles
For their latest video caper OK Go took to the streets with their fans, friend and total strangers for a parade along a 8.5-mile route in LA. But not just any route, a route that spelled out OK Go using the Range Rover’s Pulse of the City App. Check it out below.
Remember when Miley Cyrus was busted smoking salvia out of bong?
Scandal erupted last week when a video emerged showing Miley Cyrus smoking the legal herb salvia out of a bong. Billy Ray Cyrus poured out his achy breaky heart on Twitter, and the blogosphere erupted in posts about Miley going bad. This week Miley was spotted partying on the town in New Orleans with Kelly Osbourne. See guys, nothing to worry about!
Fans outraged over documentary on Michael Jackson’s autopsy
A documentary called Michael Jackson’s Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson is scheduled to air next month in the United Kingdom on the Discovery Channel, enraging some of the King of Pop’s fans. Because the show’s medical examiners don’t have access to Jackson’s actual body, an anatomically correct synthetic cadaver will be used to demonstrate the autopsy instead. Fans cried foul, saying Jackson should be allowed a minimum of decency and respect. We cry foul for that reason, and cause face it, the thought of a naked Michael Jackson cadaver is kind of foul.
- TRON Legacy soundtrack hits #10 on Billboard
- Darren Criss sings entire Rolling Stone interview
- Scissor Sisters debut trippy Invisible Light video on Pitchfork
- Ke$ha sings Dead Flowers with no Autotune
- New Pornographers remind fans of oil spill, Katrina in Oxfam video
- Yoko Ono recreates War Is Over poster in 100 languages … if you want it
- Jack White will perform with Wanda Jackson in January
- Duff McKagan and wife strip down for PETA ads
- Paul McCartney performs Give Peace a Chance on SNL
- Coldplay to release concept album in 2011
- Denise Richards dating Nikki Sixx
OK Go releases Last Leaf video
If you read this column with any regularity, you know that if OK Go releases a video, it’s likely to show up here. Today we present you with Last Leaf, wherein a few slices of toast provide the backdrop for a poignant, stop-motion vignette. We still can’t tell if the animation is etched onto the toast itself, or projected. Either way, it’s a bread-winner. Hope you like.
Best duets this week”Conan and Jack or Rihanna and Jon?
Does the joy on Jon Bon Jovi’s face when a culturally relevant (and minxy) pop star joins him onstage do it for you? Or is it seeing Conan O’Brien wield an axe and do his best rockabilly snarl? You don’t have to answer yet”watch the clips below and then decide who wins the week’s best duet.
NKTOBSB co-headlining tour
Muffle your squeals, 30-year-olds! New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys have joined forces FOR THE OLD-ENOUGH-TO-BE-YOUR-DAD TOUR*. Stop thinking about your mortgages and toddlers and rediscover the glory of A.J. McLean’s goatee!
*Not the real tour name, but it should be.
Keith Richards attacks Swedish journalist
Strangely enough, it seems a lifetime of soaking your liver in Jack Daniels doesn’t mellow you out. Keith Richards found this out when confronted with a reporter who had negatively reviewed a Rolling Stones concert in 2007, calling the band amateurs. Richards hoisted himself off his rocker* and demanded the reporter, Markus Larsson of the Swedish publication Aftonbladets, apologize. When that didn’t happen, Richards proceeded to give Larsson a couple wallops about the head, hissing, You’re lucky to get out of here alive. Don’t feel bad, Markus. At his age, Richards is lucky to get out of anywhere alive.**
Courtney Love shows The New York Times what class looks like
Courtney’s school of class involves getting tipsy before your interview with The New York Times, sending the reporter and photographer up to your room at the Mercer Hotel, then showing up an hour later drunk and completely naked. Read this indelible tale of elegance and refinement in its entirety here.
- Is Pink preg-o?
- Kanye West mad about Today show interview
- Christina Aguilera gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Lupe schools Soulja Boy on new track
- Lil Wayne gives video thanks to his fans
- Jay-Z responds to Hammer
- Susan Boyle releases holiday CD The Gift this week
- Swizz Beatz is NYU’s new Producer in Residence
- Neil Young memorabilia burned in fire
- Coldplay play secret gigs for homeless charity
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club bassist fined for injuring fan
- Posthumous pardon for Jim Morrison indecent exposure charge?
- Britney releasing big, big, big track
- Jane’s Addiction planning album for 2011
Ke$ha, Ciara, Jewel, Jake Shears and more tell bullied kids, It Gets Better
This week, several artists took to their webcams to record heartfelt messages for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project”aimed at bringing hope to bullied gay and lesbian teenagers. Ke$ha, Ciara, Jason Derülo, AJ McLean, Joel Madden and Jake Shears are just a few of the musicians who’ve posted their own messages. You can check them out here.
Hollerado go 8-bit for Americanarama video
Watch your back, OK Go. Canadian rockers Hollerado have come out with their own ambitious video choreography, and it’s pretty bitchin’. Watch them create a larger-than-life 8-bit video game with a big box, some placards and a couple well-timed sound effects.
Weezer offered $10 million to break up
How mean-spirited and pointless can people get? Head over to www.thepoint.com and see firsthand. That’s where Weezer-hater James Burns established his fundraising campaign to come up with $10 million to offer to the band in exchange for them hanging up their guitars for good. Beard writes:
Every year, Rivers Cuomo swears that he’s changed, and that their new album is the best thing that he’s done since Pinkerton, and what happens? Another pile of crap like Beverly Hills or I’m Your Daddy. This is an abusive relationship, and it needs to stop now.
Tired of Weezer, too? Throw some virtual money over to Beard. He’s already got nearly $300! Who’s your daddy now, Cuomo?
Saudi Arabia Photoshops Mariah Carey
What to do when you’re an ultra conservative country promoting a concert for a scantily clad pop singer? You Photoshop the poster, duh. In this case, Saudi Arabia officials covered Mariah Carey’s whorish shoulders with extra cat. Problem solved.
Lil’ Wayne gets solitary confinement
Most inmates get solitary confinement when they try to shank somebody. Lil’ Wayne got his for having headphones and an MP3 player charger. We’re no criminals, but seems like that would make a really ineffective shiv.
- Kenny Chesney Number 1 on Billboard
- Kanye West announces new album title
- Justin Bieber to revive Punk’d?
- Kim Zolciak debuts new single, Google Me
- Homeless man + two Kermit puppets + Under Pressure = lolz
- Levi Johnston stars in Brittani Senser’s After Love video
- Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and more celebrate John Lennon’s 70th birthday
- Beach Boys Broadway musical?
- Kanye West hides ballerinas under blanket on SNL
- Mario arrested for assaulting his mother
- Dave Grohl files $75 million lawsuit against Scissor Sisters