While the indie music community has succeeded in making its presence felt the past couple of years with the oodles of festivals raining down upon the country, music videos still remain a largely unexplored area. 2014, though, has had an encouraging number of quality videos, spanning genres, sounds and moods - with some breakdancing, shadow puppetry and animation thrown in for good measure. Heartened - hopeful - we had ourselves a little Youtube party exploring the crevices of the web to excavate some audio-visual treats, all under 10 minutes:
I. SICKFLIP - Zeepata
In August, Mumbai-based Sarvesh Srivastava aka SICKFLIP made waves with ‘The Ladakh Project’, an experimental audio-visual undertaking with friends and long-time collaborators, The Outbox Project. Two weeks spent two weeks travelling, documenting and creating, drawing inspiration from their travels which spread from Nubra Valley to Pangong lake produced sublime sounds that amalgamated with surreal beauty. In Zeepata, you’re bombarded with breath-taking time lapses and stop-motion photography that make prayer flags pulsate. The endearing quirks and mannerisms of the local monks and the ever-spinning prayer wheel are other touches we loved.
“Three months back I had the launch of my audio visual project The Ladakh Project which was very well received throughout the country and got a lot of love from a whole bunch of people for which I’m grateful for,” Sarvesh tells us.
II. Sandunes – Slybounce ft Nicholson
“Sanaya had shared the idea of the term ‘slybounce’ with me a while before the track was complete,” filmmaker Sachin S Pillai shares with NH7. “I, of course, fell in love with the track as soon as I heard it, having lived with the idea for a while, often trying to slybounce myself from gatherings. The depicted character is thus, a ‘slybouncer’ – a person who is constantly in a state of disconnection from reality and always just imagines himself as being somewhere else.”
We have to say he’s not alone; there’s nothing like a music video that you can relate to. This black-and-white roller coaster ride has theatre actor Karan Pandit bringing out his expressions like ammunition, capturing the dissonance the character feels with haywire eyes and drool dribbling down his chin, while Nicholson drones in his baritone in the backdrop of Sandunes’ undulating downtempo. What’s not to love?
III. Nicholson - For What II
Paloma Monnappa and Mihir Joglekar will startle you with the seething emotions portrayed in the second video of the trilogy. Directed by Sachin S Pillai (he’s really been on a roll this year) it is perhaps the most literal visual interpretation in Nicholson’s series of videos. A shockingly realistic depiction of the progressive stages of intimacy, this is definitely the film that has explored the darkest and most ecstatic points in an intense relationship between two individuals.
Speaking about the most intense point in the video, Paloma told us, “We figured it would be interesting for us to have one last look into each other’s eyes after the silent scream but this time, not with resentment or anger, but with a sense of calm and being at peace with the fact that we knew it was coming to an end. When Nicholson sings “And we tried so hard,” we look into each other’s eyes in a way that we’ve finally realised that we’re tired of fighting and that our relationship has come to a dead end and so, the ultimate choice was to just let go.”
IV. Asxem – Emotion
Mumbai-based electronic musician/producer Asxem Dlean layers his beautiful and heavily conceptualized single, released November this year, over GoPro-shots of the waves splattering onto the lens, transporting you to a beachside, trip-hop tinted fantasy that’s a great prelude to the end-of-the-year madness coming up. The idea for the track came about when his childhood friend who’s a massive surf enthusiast, randomly asked him, “’Hey bro, can you make a chill track for some of my surf clips I’m trying to put together?” Apparently, a lot of good things in life come out of spontaneous agreement.
V. Nanok - Fever
“Fever was one of the most unique tracks I came up with so I wanted to give it importance,” says Jai Vaswani, better known as Nanok.
Starring Varun Thakur, the video will have you cracking up with its quirky and feel-good vibe, wishing some of your own mornings unravelled similarly.
“The idea for the music video came very naturally – a crazy, quirky, foolish guy who’s in a world of his own. That’s exactly how the music made me feel,” Nanok explains the idea behind the video to Soundbox. “I conveyed this to Reema and Kunal from Catnip. They scripted the story around this idea. But to be honest, most of the second half of the video was impromptu, beautifully executed by Varun Thakur!”
VII. Your Chin – Who Would Have Thought
If you belong to the bandwagon of well-wishers who genuinely believe we are in dire need of more, great indie-pop in the country, then Your Chin’s track and video is exactly the sort of work that placates any worry of declining quality. Raxit Tewari’s clean and minimalist video, directed by Misha Ghose just magnifies the effect of the song and if we had to pick just one video as our absolute favourite of this year, this would undoubtedly be it. Shot over the course of a day, the real beauty of the direction lay in the animated editing that provided all the necessary quirk to keep it interesting.
Mira Ghosh told Red Bull, “We knew what we wanted - definitely quirky like most Your Chin lyrics, something that was strange, possibly not comprehensible to everyone. But, something with enough layers and enough surprises, to keep the video interesting despite several watches.” We can vouch for the fact that they executed their intended vision perfectly.
VIII. Su-Real - Trapistan
“I’ve come to believe that most brown people around the world are Trapistanis, even though Trapistanis come in all colours, shapes & sizes,” trapmaster Suhrid Manchanda tells GenerationBASS. “We’re still largely “trapped” in belief systems, value systems, institutional systems that are outdated and serve to maintain the status quo. We pray to different Gods yet we all suffer the same fate. From Jersey City to Jalandhar, Dubai to Dharavi, we’re trapped by a trail of history, culture, genetics and environment that is greater than all of us. For whatever it’s worth, Trapistan is my attempt to break out.”
Got to respect an album with a real message, and such a well-formulated one, to boot. Not to mention, it’s also India’s first indie music video to be shot entirely with drones. What Trapistan definitely succeeds in doing, is putting trap on the Indian map and how. His video as well, is dark, weird and wonderful.
IX. B.R.E.E.D – Forever
Off his latest EP ‘The Inside’, future bass outfit B.R.E.E.D.’s sublime track ‘Forever’ found a fitting home in this feel-good video.
“When we were composing and finishing the tune ‘Forever’, we always envisioned a homeless character walking around touching different people’s lives with this tune playing on his boom box,” Ritesh D’Souza, one half of the outfit along with classically-trained pianist Tara Mae, tells Vh1.”This song is written in such a style which you could listen and chill to, or dance to, and we always wanted to create a music video that appealed to a wide spectrum of people from young to old - in fact we have a scene where we feature an elderly couple. For us, we really enjoy artistic videos and steer away from typical commercial styles. We brought in Emileigh Barrett and her team to direct and produce the video, and the story line developed further with her inputs. We had great support from some friends here in LA along with the ability to work with local actors, artists, and comedians which made the video even more special and interesting to make. In the end, we were very happy with the result and we had a great time shooting it in LA. We definitely plan to shoot many more videos for upcoming releases.”
Ritesh and Tara make an adorable cameo in the video as well, which was a touch we really liked.
X. REDS Ft. Delhi Sultanate - Fever
This video is all vibes with sporadic shots of fire-torches, dramatic close-ups, lots of dancing and really neat editing.. This video makes us want to climb into it and join the good-looking people dancing under the banyan tree, slave to the power junglist’s massive tune. Wouldn’t mind one of those moustachioed masks either. Another video, a live performance, we really liked of his was done for Jawanan Studio, joined by his empress Begum X.
XI. Skyharbor – Evolution Djent/progressive metal band Skyharbor
say, “Evolution pretty much sums up the journey we’ve been on. We feel it’s the perfect introduction to our second album and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it.”
First track off their second album, the explosive video features Dan Tompkins, Emma Tompkins and Jack, their son, and is directed and animated by Michael Di Lonardo while Stewart King Media has worked on additional music production.
XII. Prateek Kuhad - Savera
This video is adorable, with what looks like a female version of Casper (complete with pink bow in hair) floating around in her house waiting eagerly for a date, and has been animated by Nisha Vasudevan. The track ‘Savera’ is actually a hidden track from his ‘Raat Raazi’ EP, an idea that was inspired by The Beatles’ 23-second track ‘Her Majesty’ off Abbey Road.
Says Kuhad, “This video is all Nisha, even the concept. I really liked her work on The Lightyears Explode song ‘Good Night‘ and we sent across ‘Savera’ to her and asked her if she would like to make a video for it. And that’s how things started rolling.”
XIII. Vivek Rajagopalan feat. K.C. Loy - Chakita Dang
Catchy and energetic, Chakita Dang is collaboration between Vivek and his long time friend K. C. Loy, a singer, lyricist and composer, with the latter writing the track to Vivek ‘expressing his admiration for his music and his instruments, the mridangam and the ganjira’. With all the percussions recorded live, in one take using EHX, the bilingual lyrics are written using Hindi chhand, that are used in the poetic traditions of North India. The ‘nautanki dance drama feel, prominent in Rajasthan, U.P.’ that this imparts is set off by the riveting shadow puppetry visuals, adding to the story-telling in this video the folk-dance and drama element. The collaboration for the music video with Anurupa Roy, a renowned puppetry artist from Delhi is unprecedented in nature. Performing shadow puppetry to a ready track has never been attempted before. It is interesting to see boundaries between music and shadow theatre being blurred as the composer and the singer become characters, actors and performers in the video. Like all things experimental and first of their kind, the collaboration came with its own challenges.The entire video was shot in one day with very minimal post production work to maintain the organic and earthy feel.
XIV. Ganesh Talkies – Dancing! Dancing!
Kolkata-based band Ganesh Talkies’ video for the first track (produced by Miti and Neel Adhikari) off their debut full-length album is easily one of the most popular indie videos to come out of the year, a debauchery of psychedelics put through a strain of ‘80’s disco. Directed by Ayushman Mitra, it depicts a housewife traipsing through a colourful retro dance party, in departure from her daily routine. She walks around wide-eyed while vocalist Suryasha Sengupta kills it, backed occasionally by co-ordinated dancers and its Gairik Sarkar’s spot-on editing that really makes the whole thing tick.
This watch will have you go ‘dancing! dancing!’ in your heads upto a week after you’re done.
XV. Sattyananda - Extraterrestrial
Sci-fi grooves to breakbeat with elements of classic Indian thrown into the mix, as a space cadet rages under a rain of bokeh. Directed by Rahat Mahajan, the futuristic video also features a UFO and a man breakdancing his way down a black and white street; a watch that’s guaranteed to remove you from your dimension and draw you into its own.
XVI. The Wanton Bishops And Swarathma - Lay It On Me
The Lebanese blues rock duo, The Wanton Bishops, met up in Kolkata with Indian folk rockers, Swarathma, in a cross-cultural collaboration that creates a unique sound that’s evocative and soulful. Replete with fairy lights, cymbals and powerful vocals, the video has been directed by Misha Ghose and conceptualised and put together by Naman Saraiya on behalf of Red Bull. This one’s not to be missed.
XVII. Demonic Resurrection - Trail of Devastation
“We have always played around with unnamed forces of darkness in the past. With this release, we felt the need for an evil overlord to take the reigns and bring in the apocalypse. A savage and unstoppable force such as this had to be a definitive and commanding figure, which is why we came up with The Demon King.” said Mephisto (Keyboards) of the veteran Indian metal band Demonic Ressurection explains.
Homegrown absolutely loves the artwork done by Michal ‘Xaay’ Loranc, who has previously worked with bands such as Behemoth, Vader, Nile and Necrophagist to name a few.
Words: Aditi Dharmadhikari