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.