Friday, 20 October 2017

R+P Post 8: Possible tracks for the single

One of our group's first activities was to compile a list of possible tracks for our single. We did this by creating a list of songs we believe would be good for the music video, keeping in mind that they would have to be three minutes or under to fit the requirements of the brief.

We then shared our choices in a meeting and created a longlist for our song choices:

Our longlist
From that, we had a few favourites:

BLACK CAT ZOOT - 'SWEET DREAM'


Pros:
  • The lyrics contain lots of opportunities for us to create intertextual references in our music video, which was something we were planning to do; for example, the line 'dancing in the rain' created ideas to reference the film 'Singing in the Rain'.
  • Out of the songs on the long list, this track stimulated our group with the most ideas and discussion, about set-ups, potential narratives and ways we could fit in some of aesthetics we wanted to replicate from other music videos; for example we liked the concept of a character 'hopping' from world to world (possibly referencing pop culture), with the sets appearing handmade (i.e cardboard).



R+P Post 7: Record labels of interest

R+P Post 6: Current trends in popular music

Thursday, 19 October 2017

R+P Post 5: The kind of video I would like to make

After some research with my group, we found some music videos that we thought had similar ideas and aesthetics to our own.

SIA - 'YOU'VE CHANGED'


Our group really liked the use of cardboard props used to convey the story of this video. We thought that the handmade aesthetic of this video was an entertaining and visually interesting idea, especially as all the effects - of the selection on the main menu, and of the 'sing-along' - were done practically instead of in post production. We decided that we wanted to make homemade scenery and props for our own music video.

SONS OF PITCHES - 'MMMBOP (in 10 Genres)'


Our group enjoyed this video for it's comedic visual change in style to create references for the audience to decipher. We thought the idea of the audience being challenged throughout the video, in this case to discover what the '10 genres' being referenced are, very helpful, and it taught us that one way to keep an audience member interested throughout a three minute music video is to consistently change the set up and add intertextual references to keep them on their toes.

I FIGHT DRAGONS - SAVE WORLD GET GIRL


As well as having similar homemade scenery to the Sia video, our group liked this music video because of it's homage to old sci-fi movies, i.e Star Trek. We wanted to replicate what this music video did with it's intertextual references, entertaining the audience by tapping into their nostalgia and adding visual references, such as the old Star Trek uniforms and unconvincing laser battles with prop aliens. We thought this added a comedic edge to the music video, which was definitely the tone we were looking for. 

MEGHAN TRAINOR - 'ALL ABOUT THAT BASS'


Our group were keen to have a pastel colour palate for our music video, and this music video had a lot of the colours we were looking to replicate. The pale, pastel pink in the background was one that we want to have as the backdrop for any band shots we will have as it is simple yet pleasing to the eye, allowing the action of the performers to take centre stage.

R+P Post 4: Audience groups of interest (unfinished)

Our group were interested in a target audience of indie pop fans, skewed towards girls aged between 12-25. To investigate this audience further, we set up an online survey which we sent to a wide range of people, so that we could gather information about what our target audience was like and also understand what our secondary audience might be.

From the results of our survey, we discovered that...

Monday, 16 October 2017

R+P Post 3: Music genres that interest me

Although I enjoy music from a broad range of genres, my favourite genre must be indie rock.

INDIE ROCK

The word 'indie' comes from the word independent. Therefore, indie rock describes a genre of rock where the performers are under small and relatively low budget labels that are outside of studio control. It also connotes the handcrafted approach the artist tends to take towards their music making. I admire this approach; in contrast to pop songs that are created with a primary focus of being 'sellable', in my opinion independent songs feel more honest, as they do not feel pressured to be marketable and 'liked' by the majority of the audience.

The sound of indie rock tends to be alternative to the sound of popular rock, resulting in music typically not 'compatible' with mainstream methods of listening to the genre, such as on the radio or music channels. Therefore, most indie rock is exhibited online, on sites such as Bandcamp or YouTube.



THE SOUND
Instruments are typically centre-staged in the music of indie rock. Unlike most popular rock bands where one figurehead (usually the singer) is foregrounded as the pusher for the band's image, in indie rock all members are treated on the same level.

Uncle Tupelo - Effigy

For example, song 'Effigy' by the indie rock group Uncle Tupelo features an extensive guitar solo. This set it apart from many pop rock songs where the lead's vocals often take the spotlight, whilst the loud guitar and drums accompany. 

The vocals have a real quality due to the singer's voice not being 'glossed over' with auto tune to make it sound nicer. The result is a raw, sometimes flawed singing voice with minor errors left in to provide a grounded quality to the vocals. I believe this adds to the honest image of independent groups as they rely on their talent rather than on technology to make them sound good.


White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

For example, in the song 'Seven Nation Army' by the White Stripes, Jack White's voice is deliberately left with a 'live' quality to it, lending to the visceral, raw image they are trying to spread with their revolution anthem. This song also features one of the most recognisable guitar lines in music history, again signifying the importance of instruments to the indie rock genre. 

THE LOOK


A common image for bands in the indie rock genre is a grunge, live aesthetic. This often utilises a lot of black and white photography, the lack of colour stripping any layers of false pretence from the band's image and leaving them looking like talented, honest musicians.

A simple Google image search for 'indie rock bands' proves how common this aesthetic is
The bands often choose to showcase their instrument playing visually, meaning most of their marketing, including advertising for tours and music videos include images of live performance with instruments.

Arctic Monkeys Tour Poster


Oasis - Wonderwall

WHY WOULD THIS GENRE BE APPROPRIATE FOR THIS TASK?
  • The indie genre is where the majority of up and coming music artists start out. For example, The Smith's were one of the most important rock bands to arise out of the indie scene in 1980's Britain. In our task, we have to promote an up and coming artist, and I think that this will be more accessible when pitching to the indie market. 
The Smiths
  • Indie's low budget roots means that we don't require our music video to contain any expensive effects to make it appealing to our audience, as most indie music videos (as can be evidenced in the Oasis video above) have fairly low-tech concepts. This plays into our strengths as we have finite time and resources, and will have to instead use our creativity to make our artist's music video stand out, much like Florence and the Machine's song 'Dog Days Are Over', which uses outlandish makeup and costume design as their music video's gimmick. 
Florence and the Machine - Dog Days Are Over

Thursday, 14 September 2017

R+P Post 2: Myself as a music consumer

Although I would not consider myself an incredibly musical person, I have been able to pin down how my consumption of music has evolved from an early age to where I am now, and how it relates to uses and gratifications theory.

5-9 Years Old

As a child, I did not own any albums. My mum owned some albums that I used to listen to; Dido, Enya (which I used to fall asleep to) and the song Rain Rain Beautiful Rain by Ladysmith Black Mambazo are the highlights of what my mum introduced me to. My family's main source of current music was through the radio channel Capital, which would feature the most recent hits. I remember being especially drawn towards the solo artist James Blunt; my dad bought me Back to Bedlam, Blunt's alternative/soft rock debut album and the first album I ever owned - I was obsessed over it. 

James Blunt - You're Beautiful


This song was my favourite on the album - I remember skipping the first song of the album so that I could get to this one first. I think what I liked so much about this song is how different it was from the other songs that played on Capital; the channel was populated by disco and R&B, and the most prominent male artists (e.g. Jay Z, Eminem) were fronting a tough masculine image. James Blunt's slow guitar and feminine vibrato in You're Beautiful resonated with me as it showcased a vulnerability and sensitivity that was lacking in the popular media image of masculinity. 

Jay Z The Blueprint (2006); James Blunt Back to Bedlam (2004)
The image of Jame's Blunt conveyed lots of compassionate values to me as child, and helped me form my own personal identity. This is important in the music industry as for an artist to resonate with an audience, they must have a behaviour or set of values which people can support and rally around; therefore, when we create the artist that we will be promoting in our coursework, we will create an identity that will allow audience's to resonate with their values.

10-14 Years Old 

As I grew older, my source of music grew wider as I started to listen to songs socially, introducing me  to some of my favourite party anthems, such as S Club 7's Reach for the Stars. My family also started to collect the Now That's What I Call Music compilation albums, which hosted a wide variety of artists and genres. I remember being particularly gravitated to the louder, angrier music when I was about 10, and one of my favourite singers to deliver this tone was P!nk. 

P!nk - So What


So What is from P!nk's fifth album Funhouse. I liked this song in particular when I was coming into my teens as it was my rebellious anthem - I sung in choirs at school so it was great to have a song that could only be sung effectively if shouted! Also as a lot of changes where happening in my life at that moment, as is common with children of that age, any anger or angst could be filtered out through hearing or belting out this song, which was just the kind of outlet 8 year old Jack needed.

The entertainment I sought through P!nk's songs is representative of music's power to create diversion and escapism from reality, allowing an audience to express emotions that are hard to express in day to day life and get away from problems and major changes in life. Our song choice must therefore have an entertaining quality to it that pushes an emotional reaction from the audience (e.g. anger, joy, sadness).

15+ Years Old 

My source of music has changed quite a bit. As my list of commitments have grown I don't actively seek new music on my own, and tend to just take music recommendations from friends as and when they come. This has led me to become more up to date with some classic artists as well as newer ones, singers like David Bowie and Iggy Pop, who I hadn't had the opportunity to listen to before. Mostly, I find music and artists I like through other media I enjoy, such as films, theatre and video games, hence why most of my albums are musical and film soundtracks - my favourites being Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the soundtrack to Baby Driver, both very much inspired by rock, my favourite genre.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (1999), Baby Driver (2017)
At this moment in time, I tend to seek music that has dimensions to it and can stir an emotional reaction. Although I do enjoy some of the pop music of today, independent artists tend to achieve this for me as they tend to include experimental and creative qualities in their composition which I really appreciate hearing.

Tom Rosenthal - Don't You Know How Busy And Important I Am?


Tom Rosenthal is an independent singer who releases all of his songs free to watch on YouTube, as well as selling albums without a studio. I first discovered him through a YouTube short film and have been following his work ever since. Similar to James Blunt, his voice and style are contradictory to mainstream music, and I particularly enjoy his quirky lyrics. Don't You Know How Busy And Important I Am? is very catchy and has a darkly humorous edge to it which I really enjoy and love to sing along to. Rosenthal, with over 130,000 subscribers, also demonstrates that you can create a name for yourself and your art without need for studio intervention, which I find very admirable.

This song also demonstrates diversion, through its entertaining satire on the world of business. Comedy and satire are common in music as they lend an extra layer of entertainment to the text, thus widening its appeal. The music video also reflects this by showing the business people dancing goofily. Our song choice and music video could do well to reflect this by having comedic or satirical elements that will satisfy music consumer's need to be entertained.