My Favourite Music Video

My Favourite Music Video: Famed animator Johnny Kelly picks Radiohead's Pyramid Song

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Johnny Kelly’s bio on the Nexus site reads like a dream to-do list of any animator. An award-winning filmmaker and high esteemed creative, hardworking Johnny has carved a name for himself in the design and filmmaking world by making charming, beautiful short films that have won him countless prizes and worldwide affection. Has he got a favourite music video? Of course he bloody does! And it’s not surprise that it’s an absolute banger. Here he is telling us about Shynola’s work for Radiohead’s Pyramid Song.

Johnny kelly: Radiohead – Pyramid Song. Directed by Shynola.

Despite being 13 years old, this video looks amazingly fresh – even in unglorious 360p. When I saw it on TV at the time, I was studying graphic design and immediately realised I was doing the wrong ruddy course. Shynola showed that animation could be well designed, mind-bogglingly technical (without letting the technique take over), and crammed with ideas. Most excitingly, they proved that you didn’t need a giant production company and squadron of animators – many of their early videos were created at home in their bedrooms. I love the fact that without the music, it could be a brilliant short film, but with the music it seems to fit into a perfect Thom Yorke-shaped glove. The subject matter is pretty much as dark as you could imagine – doomed underwater city, suicidal lead character etc. but somehow like all their work, there’s humour to it.

A good companion piece is this compilation showing some of the blipverts Shynola also made for Radiohead’s previous album the year before. Shown during TV breaks, it was quite a surreal experience to come across one of these between Turkey Twizzler and Direct Line adverts.

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    Shynola: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

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    Shynola: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

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    Shynola: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

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    Shynola: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: My Favourite Music Video View Archive

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    New York-based director Rajeev Basu has made plenty of curious projects that have kept us occupied for hours at a time, from this video game where your character punches itself in the face to stay awake to this collaborative project in which he invited a bunch of our favourite creatives to imagine what drones might look like once they become legal, so it makes perfect sense that his favourite music video be equally fascinating. And it is – if a little gory (it’s not for the fainthearted). Here he is explaining why he loves it so.

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    Art director, VJ and music video director Hans Lo can usually be found crafting retro-futuristic visuals for up-and-coming electronic acts like Com Truise, Jagwar Ma and world renowned acts like Simian Mobile Disco. So it may surprise you to discover that he’s really just a die-hard metal fan at heart – in particular a lover of the heavyweights of the early 1990s. His favourite music video reflects this perfectly; a stand-out track and seriously creepy piece of Savankmajeresque stop-motion for the legendary Tool directed by their guitarist Adam Jones.

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    I’m glad we caught Dan Wilton while he was on dry land with some time to spare, most of the time he’s cavorting around the world getting drunk in hotel rooms with really cool bands or pursuing his ongoing photography project looking at his beloved American football. We love Dan’s work, and Dan himself, and knowing how much he loves pop culture we asked him tot ell us about his favourite ever music video. Here he is…

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    Ryan Hopkinson’s work is a mesmerising merge of science and technology with art. It therefore seems perfect that, as such a fantastically forward-thinking film-maker and photographer, he’s chosen Björk’s video for All is Full of Love directed by Chris Cunningham, as his favourite music video. We’ve written about Ryan quite a few times, and posted about his photography as well as his stunning film work, all of which uses special effects spectacularly and surprisingly. Here is the fascinating conceptual visual artist on what he likes best about the legendary video, which seems more 22nd Century than anything 20th Century:

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    Absolute banger this week from London-based filmmaker and photographer Phoebe Arnstein. As well as spending her days taking rather uncompromisingly beautiful photographs of her loved-ones, Phoebe has spent the last few years as a professional camerawoman, operating enormous machinery and creating videos for the likes of Jamie Isaac, South London Ordnance and Gang Colours among others. She kindly took time out from behind a lens of some sort to tell us about her favourite ever music video, and it’s an absolutely summery, 90s corker. Here she is…

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    For this week’s My Favourite Music Video we were lucky enough to get the pickings of Igor Haefeli of Daughter, the musical collective he fronts with Elena Tonra and Remi Aguilella. Together, the band are quickly making a name for themselves performing their haunting melodies and gorgeously broody sounds on stages as diverse as in front of the Tate’s recent exhibition Ruin Lust. Here he is explaining why he chose the eclectic mishmash that is The Avalanches video for Frontier Pyschiatrist, directed by Kuntz and Macquire.

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    Filmmaker Andrew Telling is something of a rare gem in his industry, in that each film he makes bears his signature in every single shot, yet he’s able to shift seamlessly from one client to another. It’s pretty apt then that he picked an equally talented filmmaker for his favourite music video, Kahlil Joseph, whose short for Kenzo had us raving a couple of weeks back. He too has an inexplicable presence in his films, making sublime, quietly poetic works that leave his viewers stunned time and again. We owe Andrew a pat on the back for giving us an excuse to rewatch his masterpiece for Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes.

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    From someone who makes animations about the characters in Guess Who coming to life or short films about small characters meeting and falling in love in treacherous, alien landscapes, it’s pretty weird that Kirsten Lepore is utterly obsessed with Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker. But then again, who wasn’t completely hypnotised when they first saw it? It’s one of those things that remains with you forever, and yes, one of the best music videos of all time. 10 points to Gryffindor for Kirsten sending us a photo of her and a friend dressed up as Richard D. James and one of the creepy dancing girls.

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    Since this feature started I have been praying someone would pick a video from my own youth that I could probably draw out the storyboard for in my sleep. Documentary-maker and spectacular director Toby Dye has picked one of the most controversial and utterly brilliant music videos from the noughties, Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty. Wet, wild and weird it’s a hard-hitting David LaChapelle masterpiece and Toby has justified his love for it beautifully. After you’ve stepped briefly into the past with a chap-wearing X-Tina, go to Toby’s site and check out the work he’s done for Unkle and Massive Attack and a documentary he made about dwarves in showbiz.

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    Fantastic choice today from famed animator and Pick Me Up Select Julia Pott. Julia’s cute but informed work is known and enjoyed by many, particularly because it’s usually pretty hilarious, cute and touching all at once. Here she is telling us about why Jamie Thraves’ video for Radiohead’s Just is the best music video ever made. After you’ve checked this out, have a read of a great interview with Julia we did a few years back, it’s a real insight into her career as an animator.

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    Good choice, Camilla! Surprised no one else has chosen Jonathan Glazer’s career-making epic of a music video yet. Camilla is an expert filmmaker whose work stretches across fashion films, music videos and promos. We particularly like her because she’s responsible for putting a member of Franz Ferdinand in one of those creepy horse masks for a music video. Here she is talking about one of the most legendary music videos of all time, Radiohead’s Street Spirit.