A child on an oriental rug is mesmerized by a stack of televisions spelling out
MOOJ ZADIE:
MUSIC VIDEOS

They’re like little snack bites 🍿

Music for this episode is by the galaxy’s own Breakmaster Cylinder. Illustration by Kolin Pope.

TRANSCRIPT

Mooj Zadie: My name is Mooj Zadie and I really love music videos. And sometimes I direct them.

I wasn’t like really allowed to watch music videos, um, because it was just like taboo. Cause just like a lot of, you know, I just remember MTV and it’s just like a lot of skin. And that was really like frowned upon in like my household. And it was just like, you can’t watch that, like, um, so maybe there was this like this illicit like love affair or whatever, with music videos.

[Thriller by Michael Jackson Plays]

I remember seeing like Thriller, of course. And I thought it was amazing.

[Billie Jean by Michael Jackson Plays]

Another Michael Jackson music video, where he’s just like walking on the sidewalk and then the sidewalk lights up as he like takes each step and it was just like really magical… I don’t know, I feel like this is turning into “and this is why I like Michael Jackson.” Jump to seeing Grimes direct her own music videos. Just like the visual world that Grimes created, it was like so impactful that I was like, okay, I want to pay attention to this.

[Kill V. Maim by Grimes Plays]

If you’re trying to fall in love with this medium one music video I highly recommend is Grimes Kill V. Maim. So the music video features Grimes as this like modern day subway vampire character with her group of friends who are all like different characters from like a street fighter game. They’ve commandeered the subway and like there’s like blood spilling out of their mouth and the outfits are like fantastic. And the movement is just like jittery and so befitting to the song and just like everyone’s performance is like 100%. It’s so lovely. And it’s just like these body movements that have never seen before. It’s like high art mixed with like DIY punk visuals. I feel like every frame is like something that I’ve never seen before.

What I really like about music videos is like, there’s really no defined format. It could be very like dance heavy or could be like no movement at all. It could be narrative or it doesn’t have to be. Some music videos have a good concept. Like that’s the Turn Down for What music video, where it’s just like this guy who’s on the roof who can’t stop moving and is just like falling through floors and it’s just like injecting everyone he sees with like crazy maniacal dance moves, you know? I think it’s like the most experimental art form that has the chance of going mainstream or that is mainstream. Like, imagine if the Childish Gambino like This is America music video, which is like pretty out there, like if that was a painting, it would be like, “okay, cool. That’s weird. I don’t get it.” And they’re so perfect for the internet age. Like they’re short, they’re visually grabbing. The cuts in a music video are just so rapid. And they’re just like snack bites, you know? That’s what I love about music videos. It’s just like, “okay, I’ll pop on and real quick, enjoy this for five minutes,” whatever. And then kind of do it again or move on with my day. You know, it’s like not a big commitment and it’s just like this like canvas where you could really play and experiment.

Mark Bramhill: Enthusiast is produced by me, Mark Bramhill. Today’s music is by our galaxy’s own Brakemaster Cylinder. Editorial assistance from Lenna Mendoza. You can find the music videos Mooj has directed, his fantastic series Anatomy of a Music Video, and a few of his favorite videos for you to get started with at enthusiastpodcast.com. Thanks for listening.

Mooj Zadie: When I made my first music video, which is like in 2010, I do remember like the feeling of like, “Okay. I’m not a musician, but I really like music. And how can I contribute to the music world?” And also, like, it’s not as daunting. Like I want to make movies! I want to make TV shows! But like, I don’t know where to start. And music videos seemed like an easy place to start.