Image British Council

The 2008 MTV Music Video Awards has just concluded and franky we’re a little disappointed with the nominations, never mind who walked away with the Moonman. Where were the cutting edge videos, eh? Where was Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’, Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?’ and Temposhark’s ‘Blame’? These days, music videos are more celebrated for their choice of popular music, snappy choreography and glossy vids rather than cutting edge techniques and mind blowing visuals. In an effort at putting things right JUICE dug up this interview with Shynola from last year. In KL for Antenna an event organised by the British Council, Shynola are Gideon Baws, Chris Harding, Richard Kenworthy and Jason Groves. Cutting their teeth on UNKLE music vid ‘Gun’s Blazing’, they recently created the animation for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy film, and are the creative heads behind the occular candy that is Beck’s ‘E-pro’, Rapture’s ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, JuniorSenior’s ‘Move Your Feet’ and the wickedly sick Blur ‘Good Song’, which had the audience cracking up with laughter when it was screened at Zouk’s Loft. JUICE spoke with Jason Groves.

So what have you guys been up to?
We’re not doing any music video stuff at the moment. We’ve been taking time off trying to learn the art of film making and doing some commercial work, saving money so we can make our own full-length feature.

Ah ok. Care to share the details?
It’s kinda sketchy but we’re writing it as a cowboy movie set in the modern age.

With music videos, do you guys usually get a brief from the band or do you guys pitch the ideas?
We always pitch the ideas. That’s generally how it works in music videos here in the UK: you receive the music, dream up some ideas that fits well and then send those ideas in script form back to the record label. Occasionally we get a brief from a band, but we always turn those jobs down. We’re in this business to be creative. If we wanted to be told what to do then we would just make ads – there’s more money in ads, so at least you’re paid well to polish their turds.

Out of the Shynola’s portfolio, which work are you most proud of?
For me it was the video which we did for Lambchop’s ‘Is A Woman’. We worked with a friend of mine, an illustrator named Fiona Hewitt. I love it because the story for the video of a leaf floating down a stream is so simple and yet we have to make it interesting enough to hold the viewer’s attention.

Saw anything recently that made your eyes pop out?
I recently saw a great music video in New Zealand by a director called Ruben Sutherland. It was for a track by Doves – ‘Sky Is Falling’. A totally boring song, but a great video. It had loads of biplanes doing a kind of ballet in the sky. Really beautiful.

After working in the video medium for so long, do you think that video has already exhausted all possibilities of creative exploration?
No way! That’s like saying painting has exhausted all possibilities; there’s always something around the corner you didn’t expect. Music video as an art form has only just begun.

Campaign to have only the best music videos aired on your small screen. Write to the mayor of your favourite music video channel. Thanks to the British Council for hooking up this interview.