My Favourite Music Video

My Favourite Music Video: It's Civil Wars, Jon Hopkins and UNKLE director Tom Haines

Posted by Liv Siddall,

WOW this is a good choice. Music video-director and generally wonderful filmmaker Tom Haines has picked an absolute classic this afternoon to show you all. Yes it’s a bit of a spoiler (don’t watch this if you plan to watch Once Upon A Time In The West, ever) but it’s so incredibly spine-tinglingly terrific maybe it’s worth the sacrifice? After you’ve checked his favourite music video out, go over to Tom’s site where you can see some of the terrific videos he’s directed for people like Devendra Banhart, The Temper Trap, Nick Cave and many, many others. Wowzah!

Tom Haines: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage directed by JT Helms

Maybe it’s a cop-out to not pick an actual music video, though I remember seeing this around the time I got into music videos and I thought it was such a perfect marriage of image and song. I know little about the video’s creator, JT Helms, and I think he might have got a little lucky with this grafting of Arcade Fire’s homily onto Sergio Leone’s classic 1968 Spaghetti Western Once Upon A Time In The West.

Or maybe it was divine providence, as Sergio Leone, together with Morricone, somehow acted as a precursor to music videos, using hyper-dramatic staging, and a musical refrain that often becomes synonymous with the films. Leone is also famous for playing music while he directed many scenes in his Westerns, so there is a historical truth to such a marriage. The net result is loaded with drama, tension and redemption and makes the simple and yet powerful lyrics in the song My Body Is A Cage echo out as we see Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson go toe-to-toe in an existential gun fight.

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    JT Helms: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage

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    JT Helms: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage

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    JT Helms: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage

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    JT Helms: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage

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    JT Helms: Arcade Fire – My Body Is A Cage

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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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    Tomas Leach is a longtime friend of It’s Nice That, a terrifically-talented director and a man who’s brimming with interesting ideas. But it’s funny how much more you learn about someone when you hear them talk about the work that inspired them to do what they love. So it is with Tomas’ choice, Daniel Wolfe’s Blind Faith for Chase & Status. It’s a video that’s always worth revisiting, but particularly so after you’ve read why Tomas thinks it’s a “period masterpiece.”

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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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    Nicos and Tom are a powerful animation duo from London whose recent project Tharis Sleeps was perhaps one of the most ambitious stop-motion films made in recent history. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go over here and then buy frames here. If you have, and you are already fans of these very talented young men’s work, have a read of their joint-favourite music video, the classic Money for Nothing by everyone’s Dad’s favourite band, Dire Straits.

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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.

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    Remember that amazing animation of a skeleton running through the shelves of a bookshop commissioned by handbag-maker and book-lover Olympia le Tan? Simon Cahn worked with Spike Jonze on that masterpiece, and has since been making a whole bunch of incredible films for the likes of NOWNESS, Hanni el Khatib and Hermès. Simon’s a pretty cool guy, and a loyal one too it turns out – for his favourite music video he’s picked a somewhat overlooked piece of work from the Spike Jonze back-catalogue. I don’t know about you but I always forget how hilarious Ludacris is.