I used to pride myself on my extreme lack of culinary skills. A lot of people find their thrills whilst cooking, for some it is relaxing and to others it is a way to get friends and family together and converse over a roast dinner. I was far away on the other end of the scale, secretly taking delight in my kitchen catastrophes. Perhaps it was a mechanism to lower people’s expectations if I ever found myself in the situation where I was required to cook something for them. I would recount the time that I tried to make big fluffy pancakes (the kind with baking powder and bananas cooked into them) and instead of making breakfast I transformed the kitchen into a smokehouse. The pancakes were inedible and charred, yet the middle was raw. I attribute my lack of interest and basic scientific knowledge (I once put tinfoil in a microwave) to my wavering attention span. It is easily challenged, especially when it comes to following instructions. I’m constantly trying to find the quickest way around a task and unfortunately I have the worst time management in planning things to be fulfilled at a particular time and in a set manner. This is why I dismissed following recipes for so long.
On Monday evening, I made a vow that I was finally going to make an effort to become a dab hand in the kitchen. A friend gave me a recipe for a medley of spinach, mushroom, onion and a bit of soy sauce to accompany ravioli. It was so simple, and yet so incredibly perfect. This incentivised me to be more adventurous with my meals and each time I grew increasingly surprised with myself at what I was achieving and gaining, in both life skills and presumably weight. Thinking about it afterwards I thought about how cooking and music are related. Making music or, indeed, a music video is like following a recipe. There are the necessary ingredients; a collection of talented musicians, talent, originality and a vision. The right combination of these components can make for a memorable medley, just like my ravioli. Making a visual story that will be associated with a song can really pepper a person’s perceptions of either the sound or action of the video. An awful video will leave a bad taste in your mouth, similar to the common belief that we eat with our eyes. This week, I decided to extend my newfound love for recipes and adapt them to the videos we were graced with throughout the last sevem days.
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – ‘A 1000 Times’ (Glassnote Entertainment Group)
Frontman of The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser has collaborated with Rostam from Vampire Weekend and they have shown that you can never have too many chefs at the helm of a project. Returning two years later with a more jubilant sound to Leithauser’s solo album, Black Hours, his first since the demise of The Walkmen. Coincidentally, Rostam worked with Hamilton on that album and their compatibility lead them to this new and welcomed endeavour. So, what recipe did the duo decide to test out for the video for their debut single together, ‘A 1000 Times’? Let’s take a look…
– A handful of moments following a woman singing along to Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam around the city. We can all recognise that mime endured nose crinkle when you’re signing away to yourself in public.
– A drizzle of nostalgia in the video’s narrative with the young boy growing into Hamilton who then, presumably is represented by the older gentleman at the end performing with a suave cohort of musicians.
– Set the video in a well palleted area to bring out the flavours and tones of the song. In this instance, a school gym ensures minimal distractions from the lovely sound of the melody.
– Serving suggestion, add a dishy bassist in the band to make the video even more appetising.
Moses Gunn Collection – ‘Dream Girls’ (Independent)
If one video was to be awarded three Michelin Stars this week based on obscurity and more than one chuckle throughout the near four minute duration, then Australian psychedelic pop ensemble, Moses Gunn Collection eat up the competition. ‘Dream Girls’ possesses that nonchalance all bands need to just have fun with making music and not taking themselves too seriously. In saying that, they still manage to create something worthwhile and addictive.
If you are in a band and want to recreate the fanciful and frivolous fun of ‘Dream Girls’, follow this step-by-step guide…
– Four ladies wearing pastel silk nightdresses accessorised with oversized unicorn heads. Lazed motions by these silky unicorns will provide the illusion of the dream girl in said song.
– Peel away any inhibitions you may have with regards to the image you emanate as a band. Forgo fashion quandaries and dedication to jean tightness, these will spoil your ability to feel free and at ease when it comes to shooting the video. Instead, opt for comfort and wear pyjamas and a sleeping hat. As you can see, you won’t have to sacrifice the span and breadth of dance moves because your circulation won’t be cut off from your outfit.
– Make a marinade of makeshift sliver glitter stars, over the top dance moves, and a speaking solo to one’s dream girl for the perfect base to enhance this already lighthearted song.
No Monster Club – ‘I’ve Retired’
(Mirror Universe Tapes)
Dublin band, No Monster Club played a rogue card this week by releasing a music video for a song not on their current album, but its predecessor, People Are Weird. The video for ‘I’ve Retired’, was filmed over a two year period and compiles snippets of their live shows in Whelan’s, Bello Bar, Record store day at The RAGE and many other gigs, festivals and shows.
How did the band manage to make ‘I’ve Retired’, fresh and exciting again, and not appear like a lingering leftover?
– Capture the essence of your live shows. Demonstrate that you are Cayenne Pepper and never Vanilla in the seasoning rack of life.
– Add a frontman, Bobby Aherne in this instance, with inimitable style and chameleonic hairstyles to keep the visual exciting and memorable.
– Don’t be afraid to break away from the regimental rules of releasing music. Sometimes it’s good to revisit work and remind people why they love what you do. The same can be said for a “famous dinner dish.” We all know someone who makes the best chicken and vol-au-vents, and the evenings when they bring that to the table you’re hit with a special kind of happiness found in familiarity.
Massive Attack ft. Hope Sandoval – ‘The Spoils’ (Virgin)
I’ve always been a little afraid of Massive Attack. Growing up in the 1990s with older siblings I was exposed to music that was chilling and unsettling such as Faithless, Nirvana and Massive Attack. The fear of the latter grew from the video for ‘Teardrop’, and since then I have always been conscious of watching their videos in the day time and never, ever before sleeping. ‘The Spoils’ is no exception, while it is in no way gruesome the video has a sinister undertone and the lethargic, eery beat combined with Hope Sandoval’s vocal – which can be likened to a subdued Lana Del Rey – make for an atmospheric song. ‘The Spoils’ is fine dining personified. To recreate this high-end production you will need the following…
– When you’re a meaty band like Massive Attack it is important to maintain quality. This comes in the form of Oscar winning actress, Cate Blanchett and director, John Hellcat who has previously made videos for Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Gemma Hayes.
– Add a substantial amount of graphics to Cate Blanchett’s face and leave the virtual and prosthetic changes simmer for six minutes and watch her transform from the Hollywood personality into an indigenous head for a lasting effect on the viewer.
– Keep things simple. This video is so easy to watch and enjoy because your lulled into the monochrome world created by Massive Attack and Hillcoat. Simplicity doesn’t mean boring, there are dressings of blues and reds to ignite the energy between the sound and visual of this video.
Notable Mention…. Recipe for Disaster…
Green Day – ‘Bang Bang’ (Reprise Records)
There isn’t much to be said about Green Day at this stage in their career, however Billy Joel Armstrong still feels that his voice sings wisdom to the masses. ‘Bang Bang’ is an attempted critique of the insatiable appetite people have for instant fame, along with other devious moral issues. The animation and colours of the video manage to keep your attention, the song however is milk that has spoiled and needs to be poured down the drain. And so, Green Day have fully morphed into a recipe for musical disaster.