Inspiration for the music video

During my research, I decided on certain elements that I would use in the production of my music video, inspired by different media products.

For starters, the video for Scafandru will follow a Todorov narrative; however, the scenes will unfold in reverse chronological order (i.e. starting with the re-established equilibrium, ending with the initial equilibrium). This was inspired by the 2002 movie Irréversible, directed by Gaspar Noé.

Alongside that, the opening scene (the end of the narrative) was inspired by a short story by Hitrecord user demartino.

Apart from these two main influences, the production (technique, mood, editing) will be inspired by many other movies, videos or stories I have watched/read lately.

Band Websites

One of the minor tasks of the Music Promotion Package is designing a website for a band, to complement the release of the album promoted through the music video. I wanted to analyse the website of the band I chose, Robin and the Backstabbers, but they no longer use a website. They now do all of their promotion on their Facebook page.

A couple of years ago, they had their own website with their music videos, concert dates and more information, but that is no longer up. Instead, they used a new website for the release of their latest album. The website is arhanghel.sk, as the album title is Arhanghel’sk. The band used to post updates from rehearsals, new singles as they became available and information about the album’s online release on Deezer, Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music. However, the website is no longer in use and all content has been taken down.

For this reason, I decided to analyse the website of a newly-formed alternative band from the UK, Nothing But Thieves. Their website, found at nbthieves.com, is a great looking, responsive single page. The first few sections link to each of the band’s singles (links iTunes, video, and Spotify), followed by a list of future gigs. At the bottom of the page there are links to all their social networks and to their merchandise store. In addition, when you access the website, a song starts playing; you can pause it clicking on a button, or you can select a different song from what looks like a “tag cloud” of songs – four song titles floating at the top of the page.

My only complaint about Nothing But Thieves’ website would be the absence of a “Bio” or “About” section, especially since the band and its members are new and not well-known. Other than that, it is a great example of what a band website should look like. I will most likely base my website on a similar template.

Music Video Analysis | Mere – ‘Niciodată’

Mere is a local band from my hometown, and they have just released their second video for a song called Niciodată (‘Never’). It is an amateur video, but many shots look great aesthetically, mainly due to well-done colour correction and focus pulls. However, some shots were filmed at 50 frames per second, thus losing the desired cinematic look. Also, handheld shots filmed at 50 fps look unpleasant and shaky; even if the DoP wanted to give those shots a handheld look, 24 fps would have been much more appropriate.

The narrative also has some lack of clarity: it begins with a woman undressing in her (?) bedroom, then getting in her car to go meet the band who is playing on a makeshift stage in what looks like a deserted courtyard. Meanwhile, the band members are shown playing their song in an old apartment, then moving to the aforementioned outdoor stage. The song ends when the woman gets to the “concert” (where you can see no one other than the band members), with no explanation of her presence there and without any interaction between her and the band other than someone handing her a bottle of beer. After the music stops, there is a short shot of the woman driving, angrily hitting her car’s dashboard, followed by an unknown man in the passenger’s seat reaching for a button/dial on the dashboard. There is no clear connection between this shot and the rest of the video – the man’s identity remains unknown, and so is the reason for the woman’s anger.

This whole uncertainty and confusion might be intentional, as the main recurring line is “Nothing ever happens” (“Nimic nu se întâmplă niciodată”). It may try to convey that nothing happens when the woman arrives, nothing interesting happens in her bedroom or car. However, this seems too far-fetched – it might just be a narrative with an unclear plot.

Another questionable aspect is the depiction of sexuality in the video – the woman gets undressed for no apparent reason (even in the thumbnail), as this, again, seems to have nothing to do with the narrative.

All in all, the video is not that bad, but it seems to have been made in a rush, without giving enough thought to the narrative and some of the visuals. It tries too hard to make the band look professional, and that’s exactly where it fails, sadly.

 

Music Video Analysis | Jurjak – ‘Șoapte’

Jurjak is by no means an established name in Romanian music. He is an ex-lawyer in his early 30s who has just released his first music video (the first single from his upcoming debut album) last year. Șoapte (‘Whispers’) is a gloomy, yet very catchy song – just listen to the bass line. The music video looks very professional, with great cinematography and beautiful colour grading, which help set the mood.

There is a striking contrast between the sharpness of the image and the vintage look, between the modern city and the old Mercedes the man is driving. The narrative is also quite interesting, with an unexpected twist at the end: the serious-looking middle-aged man drives calmly through the streets of Bucharest, stops to buy flowers, and then drives to a lake where he takes a body out of the trunk. We can only assume that he throws the body in the water, as the video is cut off before we can see him doing it – this might have been a budget constraint.

Overall, the video for Șoapte was a pleasant surprise, in a world of flashy, cheesy, and overly-sexual music videos (society of spectacle), especially coming from a lesser-known artist. It is visually striking, yet nothing is overdone – no special effects, no useless hyperboles. It is a well-rounded, well-made video that complements the song perfectly.

Research on the band’s history

In order to get a better understanding of RATB’s background, I started reading interviews featuring Robin (lead vocalist and frontman) and other band members. In short, I found out that:

  • Arhanghel’sk is an album about leaving home and about the start of a war;
  • Robin is inspired and fascinated by reservoirs and dams because of a lake/reservoir close to his hometown;
  • Their songs and a previous video are partly inspired by the hills and woods in Harghita county, Romania;
  • Their biggest lyrical inspiration is symbolistic Romanian interwar poet George Bacovia.

I will base further research for my video on these findings.

 

Sources:

 

Robin and the Backstabbers – ‘Scafandru’

After researching the meaning around some Robin and the Backstabbers (RATB) songs, I decided the song I will promote through a music video is Scafandru (literally Diver). Not only do I like the song, but it doesn’t have an official video and it is the opening song of RATB’s latest album, Arhanghel’sk. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to release a video for this song, and I think it is a decision the band would’ve taken if they wanted to make a new video.

You can listen to the song here:

Robin and the Backstabbers | Introduction

Robin and the Backstabbers is a Romanian band formed in 2010. They have released two studio albums: Stalingrad: Bacovia Overdrive Vol. I (2012) and Arhanghel’sk: Bacovia Overdrive Vol. II (2015). Their songs have hints of grunge, folk, and alternative rock, but they describe their sound as “melodramatic pop“.

They have released 8 music videos so far, most of them directed by the band’s former bass player, Vlad Feneșan. Their videos range in style from DIY, home-made videos such as Minciună mai mare nu am (“I Don’t Have a Bigger Lie”) to highly-produced, 4K resolution videos such as Sat după sat (“Village after Village”); from the highly abstract Soare cu dinți (“Sunshine with Teeth” – a Romanian idiom), to the interpretive narrative that is SPNZRTR (spelled Spânzurători – “Gallows”). This is why making a video for a Robin and the Backstabbers song is a challenge, seeing as they have touched on a plethora of different video genres throughout their career.

I have picked a song for now, but I’ll try to analyse a couple more of their releases in order to find the one that would look best on screen. Until then, this is Natașa (Natasha), a song about love, drugs and suicide taken from their debut album, Stalingrad:

Re-evaluated my pick for this year’s coursework

After struggling to come up with a strong story for my short film and only being able to come up with small snippets and motifs that I couldn’t bring together, I decided to switch my focus from the short film package to the music promotion package for my A2 coursework.

Still, here are some of the notes I took for my short film:

  • people in an elevator or another small, confined space
    • inspired by Vice article
    • maybe waiting room instead of elevator?
      • easier to film, more control, the space may have more personality
  • someone in the waiting room makes the main character a proposal
    • inspired by Fargo (TV), Lorne Malvo asking Lester whether to kill Sam Hess
  • people telling life stories, describing simple everyday events
  • reversed Todorov narrative (scenes in reverse chronological order)
    • new equilibrium, disruption and repair, initial equilibrium
    • inspired by Irréversible
  • find dialogue in a book?
  • In retrospect, reading an old text message, she realised something was definitely wrong.
  • opening scene (end of narrative) inspired by this
  • an apparently harmless dialogue leads to the disruption
  • character walks past people doing the same thing over and over again
    • inspired by my family playing bridge at the dining table

I just started doing research for my music video last week, so posts about that will be published soon.