Okay, fine, most indie music videos are terrible. Actually, terrible is probably a gross underestimate. Why do all of you independent musicians bark about “F**k labels, I want my creative freedom!” and then make videos exactly like all of your peers? Please, stop. I actually find this extremely fascinating considering that we live in a world where the amateurs can torrent the same tools as the experts, yet the amateurs tend to lack the creative skills to take advantage. Yes, you cannot torrent a RED camera but you can exercise that same creativity you put into your lyrics to develop an actual concept and shoot it with a camera you can afford. When you make videos rapping on rooftops in your freshest Supreme gear while your buddy twirls a camera around your face, we know that you took zero time into developing that video and frankly, if you don’t care about developing a full body for your art to live then why should we care about watching it?
I’ve compiled my six favorite exceptionally well done videos by indie artists from 2013. This isn’t a complete list, of course, just the ones that I tend to go back to and watch over again.
G-Eazy – Almost Famous
Oh, Gerald. We’ve been able to count on G to bring us solid visuals for a couple of years now but this is my all-time favorite from him. He just dropped it yesterday and I’m out of adjectives to describe it. However, this is definitely the best concept we’ve seen all year and G-Eazy’s current status in the industry makes the timing flawless.
Jared Evan – Sloane
This beautifully directed video from Rik Cordero is the perfect example of what happens when an artist recognizes his craft and takes his time to convey it. The video concept, a little mix of Men in Black and Kanye’s Runaway, has Jared’s voice (figuratively and literally) seeping from it.
HAHA-YO – I Play Lacrosse
First of all, if you’re not hip to HAHA-YO then it’s time. HAHA-YO pumps out consistently great visuals that range widely in scale of production but are always consistent on quality. I Play Lacrosse brought to you by Danny Corey is a perfect “importantless” video. It’s fun, it looks great, and the song is catchy as hell.
Jon Bellion – One More Time
One of the most talented videographers in the game right now, GRVTY, brings us the minimalistic, modern, stunning visual to go along with one of the singles from Bellion’s latest project, The Separation. I do have one complaint: the video is about 58 minutes too short.
Sam Lachow – King Lear
Seattle’s very own, Sam Lachow, is another artist you can count on to always bring grade-A visuals. King Lear was certainly a deviation from Lachow’s usual visuals but it still feels like him. Mixing just the right parts serious, funny, and engaging — Sam & Friends deliver one of the most unique videos of the year.
Sean Kongery* – Aware (ft. Elias)
For this track, Kongery teamed up with Los Angeles vocalist Elias and I can honestly say I’ve gone back and watched it often. The visual, created by Lake Effect Films in conjunction with Justin Clough, is meticulously detailed shot at seven locations that flows alongside a great storyline and a prime track.
So, next time you make plans to shoot a video, try actually making plans. Don’t just hop on the nearest bridge and ask your buddy to move the camera around you while you spit mad fire. Take your time, plan it out, hire some extras (or friends who do things for pizza and beer), think about your audience, and maybe even spend some money for a great indie director, but most of all — HAVE FUN WITH IT because we can sure as hell tell when you’re not.
As a fan, what videos would be on your list? Share the link in the comments or tweet it to me.
*Disclaimer: I manage Sean Kongery, so this may seem bias, but I hold him to a very high standard of quality and he blows me away each time.