As we’ve seen in the past, a music video can launch a band into the indie stratosphere when shared in the online space — YouTube even got hip to the trend with its Musician’s Wanted program. This state of affairs got us wondering: How do some of today’s up-and-coming indie acts use online music videos in their quest for stardom?
To answer said query, Mashable reached out to an array of SXSW’s finest — bands both on the the brink and over. Some gave us serious answers about how music videos fit into their artistic scheme, others — not so much (ahem, Das Racist).
Check out their answers below. We hope to add more as the musicians we contacted find their way to computers. Note: Some of these vids are slightly NSFW.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
What’s your favorite music video?: [Kip Berman, lead singer] I like the “Everything With You” video because it feels really natural and good. [Keyboard player and Buzzfeed editor] Peggy and her BFF Carlen are hanging out and doing fun stuff together. It fits nicely with the song, which is about hanging out with your BFF and doing fun stuff together. It doesn’t seem phony, yet it’s not careless or entirely haphazard, either.
How important are online music videos when it comes to publicizing a band? How have they functioned for you?: It’s easy to say videos don’t matter as much as the song itself or the live performance, and I’ll say that, too. A lot of bands I really like have sort of not-so-awesome music videos or videos that seem at odds with their actual aesthetic. Still, when a band has a really embarrassing video, it’s hard to shake that image from the song itself — so we try not to have overtly terrible videos.
But I don’t like when a really cool video becomes more important than the song — though some over-the-top stuff is great when paired with the right kind of band. I really love the new Yeasayer video for “O.N.E.,” MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” and Lady Gaga gets more and more fantastically epic with each release.
I guess from a “press” point of view it’s good to have the most sensational video possible (Buckcherry, “Crazy B*tch” — but again, that makes sense [for] Buckcherry). But we’ve never wanted to just gain views for views’ sake — we’d rather (a lot) less people see it, but actually appreciate it as a visual complement to the song, not in a pure spectacle way. We’re not all that “spectacular.”
We recently shot a video with a lot of “furries” (or more politely, “fur suiters”) in it… it’s pretty funny, I think. Maybe not as exciting as female prisons or post-apocalyptic lord of the green screen fantasies, but for us — it’s a start.
French Horn Rebellion
What’s your favorite music video?: [Robert Perlick-Molinari, lead singer] Definitely the “Broken Heart” video. That was our first collaboration with Dax and Barry from the Sniper Twins. It’s so simple — we’re dancing and Barry’s in the corner being weird. That doesn’t sound a lot different than most of the dance parties we throw, actually. But the entire video is one shot. And our dancing is actually choreographed. Felt like we were a boy band a little bit. Thankfully Barry was there with his ketchup and mustard bottles so no one would confuse us with The Backstreet Boys.
How important are online music videos when it comes to publicizing a band? How have they functioned for you?: Our music videos have been great for us. We have more views on YouTube of our songs than anywhere else our music is posted. They came from a really fun and creative place, so we’re really proud about the videos, and feel they are a good representation of how we wanted to start out a group.
The Happy Hollows
What’s your favorite music video?: [Chris Hernandez, drummer] Our newest video is just amazing and our friend Ben Hoste put so much work into it (he had to animate it by hand!); it’s called “Death to Vivek Kemp.”
How important are online music videos when it comes to publicizing a band? How have they functioned for you?: With YouTube and Vimeo and all these other online video outlets, it’s definitely been amazing to have such access to not only our fans, but to people who’ve never even heard of us before! So it’s been a really amazing experience for us to know and be involved with so many creative and supportive people who have helped us out with videos in the past. It’s really become a great collaborative effort to help each other stand out and make a name for ourselves!
What’s your favorite music video?:
[Victor]: Can’t pick a favorite, but our most recent one is Jordan Fish’s “Rainbow in the Dark” video. [Video above.]
[Himanshu]: Bob Weisz’s “Shorty Said” video.
How important are online music videos when it comes to publicizing a band? How have they functioned for you?:
[Victor]: The act of making online music videos provides handfuls of people with something to do with their leisure time (afforded to them by a system of global economic domination by the wealthy few) that feels slightly more productive than other more passive forms of entertainment like watching TV, going to the movies, purchasing a roller coaster ride, etc. Somewhat ironically, the end product is a form of passive entertainment.
[Dap]: Music videos allow men and women to feel sexy and fancy-free. Transcend.
[Himanshu]: Tweens love YouTube.
Bear in Heaven
What’s your favorite music video?: [Jon Philpot, frontman] We’ve made a few music videos and we like them, but it’s nice when a fan makes something… especially if it’s strange. Here’s a favorite. [Video above.]
How important are online music videos when it comes to publicizing a band? How have they functioned for you?: They’re important us. We make them on the road to entertain ourselves and our listeners. I guess we could just make songs… but videos are fun!