15 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #23 Saam Farahmand

best music video directors,mtv,30,music video,videoclip,saam farahmandCompared to most directors in this list, Saam Farahmand is just a baby. Having said that, the Edinburgh International Film Festival recently called him 'the hottest music video director in the world right now' and that's pretty much what people have been calling him for the past five years. So there you have it: Saam Farahmand, the #23 music video director of all time!

 

30. Jonas Åkerlund

29. Walter Stern

28. Pleix

27: Steve Barron

26: H5

25: Tim Pope

24: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

23: Saam Farahmand

 

In the past five or six years, Saam Farahmand has risen to music video stardom rather quickly, given the fact that he is reportedly very (media) shy and remarkably absent online - his website is a black screen and contrary to the numbers 30 to 24 in this list he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. He does however already have an impressive list of music videos to brag about, some stunning commercials for amongst others Sagem and Nike, a '3D interpretation' of The xx's debut album and a number of fun VideoPortraits. Not to mention the instant legendary and influential tour documentary he made for/with Soulwax: Part of the Weekend Never Dies.

 

best music video directors,mtv,30,music video,videoclip,saam farahmandBut this is - of course - about music videos so you might want to start by checking out the ones below: The xx's ingenious Islands, Simian Mobile Disco's steaming hot Hustler and Klaxons' (NSFMTV) Twin Flames. And when you're done checking those, see some of the other videos he made for Hercules and Love Affair, Janet Jackson, These New Puritans, Cheryl Cole ft. Will.i.am, Mark Ronson and more Klaxons, much more.

 

Oh, and apparently he's working on a movie too. At least, that's what he told Flux: 'I would love to make a movie biopic of Tom Cruise, and i want him to play himself. We will use Benjamin Button CG and make-up to span his life from teens to old age and death. Together me and Tom would write the remainder of his life story. Then I would like Charlie Kaufman to make a film about me making the film about Tom Cruise. With Tom Cruise playing me.' Undoubtedly in cinemas by the end of 2012!

 

THE XX - ISLANDS

 

SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO - HUSTLER

 

KLAXONS - TWIN FLAMES

12 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #24 Dayton & Faris

0000294718_350.jpgBest known by now as the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris started their careers making a bunch of distinctive music videos. It landed them the #24 spot in my Music Video Director Top 30 - which so far looks like this:

 

30. Jonas Åkerlund

29. Walter Stern

28. Pleix

27: Steve Barron

26: H5

25: Tim Pope

24: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

 

The couple first got noticed at the end of the '80s when MTV picked up their video for Jane's Addiction Been Caught Stealing - like 27 times a day. They went on to direct part of Janet Jackson's The Rhythm Nation project and made videos for Soundgarden, Porno For Pyros (see below), The Ramones, Weezer, R.E.M. and - hey, everybody makes mistakes - Extreme. Then, in 1996, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris wrote music video history with The Smashing Pumpkins' Tonight, Tonight - a grand-scale homage to Georges Méliès' Le voyage dans la lune that won six MTV Video Music Awards. Back then, that still meant something. They even won a seventh award that night for The Smashing Pumpkins' less baroque but equally impressive 1979.

 

thumb0_828a2e9595614a189c8195a310ddb02e.jpgThe duo made several more videos for The Smashing Pumpkins (and Oasis, Travis and Macy Gray) but it was Freak On a Leash, their one collaboration with KoRn in 1999, which probably garnered the most attention - and rightfully so. Though it has to be said that a lot of the videos they made for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the '00s are also pretty darn good - like Californication (see below).

 

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS - TONIGHT, TONIGHT

 

PORNO FOR PYROS - PETS

 

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - CALIFORNICATION

08 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #25 Tim Pope

sedwarf.jpgWith MTV still celebrating its 30th birthday ... yada yada yada ... Time for the number 25 in my Music Video Directors Top 30!

 

30. Jonas Åkerlund

29. Walter Stern

28. Pleix

27: Steve Barron

26: H5

25: Tim Pope

 

Truth be told, Tim Pope also made his share of - being kind here - ordinary music videos but it's important to stress that Pope made more than 25 music videos ... in 1984 alone! Plus: he never made a video that wasn't at least 'sort of interesting'. I tried counting how many videos the British director made between 1980 and today but only thirty seconds in I decided life is too short. Through the '80s and the first half of the '90s Pope was THE go-to guy for The Cure, The The, Talk Talk and Neil Young, for whom he made the legendary music video for Wonderin' (see below). The list of pop and rock icons on his resume is however endless: David Bowie, Queen, The Style Council, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Bryan Ferry, Wham, Soft Cell, and that's just part of the '80s. More recently Pope also made promos for amongst others Kaiser Chiefs (see below) and Fatboy Slim.

 

cure.jpgAccording to his own words Pope will probably be remembered as the guy 'who made the wardrobe video'. Truth be told: The Cure's original Close To Me video (see below; there's also a sort of redux of both the song and video) is highly memorable but so was pretty much every The Cure video - including the spider video for Lullaby, of course. Besides, in my mind, Pope will be best remembered as the guy who made a video for every track of Soft Cell's Non-Stop Exotic Cabaret album - including the infamous Sex Dwarf video which was banned from pretty much the planet when it was released in 1982. They didn't have Vimeo back then.

 

NEIL YOUNG - WONDERIN'

 

THE CURE - CLOSE TO ME

 

KAISER CHIEFS - EVERYDAY I LOVE YOU LESS AND LESS

06 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #26 H5

royksoppremindme.pngA lot graphic and animation artists have tried their hands on music videos in the last thirty years but H5 has definitely been one of the most prolific companies to do so. That's why they're at number 26 in my Top 30 of the best music video directors ever:

 

30. Jonas Åkerlund

29. Walter Stern

28. Pleix

27: Steve Barron

26: H5

 

gother.jpgH5 was established in 1995 by two French graphic designers: Ludovic Houplain and Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. Hervé de Crécy (yes, Etienne de Crécy's brother) joined them in 1999 - the year in which they made their first groundbreaking music video: Alex Gopher's The Child (see below). The company continued to make playful animated videos for amongst others Playgroup (2001) before breaking into the mainstream with Röyksopp's brilliant Remind Me (2002; see below) - winning a string of awards, including an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video. The company also started dabbing in live action with Massive Attack's Special Cases (2003) and Audio Bullys' The Things (2003) but animation clearly remained their forte. Since 2009, they've even got an Oscar to prove it - their ingenious animated short film Logorama struck gold at the Academy Awards.

 

ALEX GOPHER - THE CHILD

 

RÖYKSOPP - REMIND ME

 

GOLDFRAPP - TWIST

05 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #27 Steve Barron

best music video directors,mtv,30,music video,videoclip, steve barron, a-ha, take on me, dire straits, calling elvis, money for nothing, michael jackson, beat itSo yes: MTV is turning 30 this month - it's the fourth time I've said it in as many days and I'm getting somewhat tired of it - and I'm counting down my 30 favorite music video directors. This is the list so far:

 

30. Jonas Åkerlund

29. Walter Stern

28. Pleix

 

And at number 27: Steve Barron!

 

I'm sure there are a number of reasons why one would like to reward Steve Barron with - at least - a top ten spot. He made some tremendously classic music videos - the most tremendously classic being a-ha's Take On Me (1985; see below), in which the Norwegian band is being made to look way cooler than should be legally permitted. That same year, Barron even made a follow-up to the video - a-ha's The Sun Always Shines On TV (1985) - which was unfortunately far less classic.

 

best music video directors,mtv,30,music video,videoclip, steve barron, a-ha, take on me, dire straits, calling elvis, money for nothing, michael jackson, beat itAnyway, the Irish director also created legendary videos for a.o. Michael Jackson's Billie Jean (1983; see below), The Human League's Don't You Want Me (1981) and Dire Straits' Money For Nothing (1985) and Calling Elvis (1991; see below) - effectively unmasking Mark Knopfler's emotional depth; in reality, it seems he's a Thunderbird. But it's not all good news: Barron was responsible for a number of whatever music videos as well - Eddy Grant's I Don't Wanna Dance (1982) being just a simple (but efficient) example. He also worked with Bryan Adams one too many times and when he finally quit the music video business, Barron went on to direct some seriously bad movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Coneheads.

 

However, let us remember the good things and keep in mind that Barron was at one point one the first and one of the best.

 

A-HA - TAKE ON ME

 

MICHAEL JACKSON - BEAT IT

 

DIRE STRAITS - CALLING ELVIS